The best monitors for 2019

Expand your desktop real estate (or just make it prettier) with the best monitors

LG 32UD99-W review full
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
best computer monitors badge

It wasn’t long ago that monitors with 4K panels and curved designs were inordinately expensive and required a hefty system to run, but that’s changed over the past few years. More recently we’ve seen the monitor market really come into its own.

Previously exotic solutions have matured into affordable and increasingly high-performance options for gaming, media, and even your home office. Here the absolute best you can buy.

At a glance

Product Category Rating
Samsung CF791 Best monitor overall 4.5 out of 5 stars
Asus ROG Swift PG279Q Best gaming monitor 3.5 out of 5 stars
BenQ Sw2700PT Best monitor for professionals 4 out of 5 stars 
Dell S2419H Best budget monitor 4 out of 5 stars

Samsung CF791

The best

Samsung CF791 monitor review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: You want a sensible but impressive curved ultra-wide monitor.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking upgrade their desktop experience

How much will it cost: $800+

Why we picked the Samsung CF791:

Most ultra-wide monitors offer a spectacular viewing experience — that’s what they’re for. But Samsung has somehow managed to outdo the competition with the CF791, delivering a stellar viewing experience, a deep curve, and a display that is almost otherworldly.

Before you even turn it on, the Samsung CF791 cuts an elegant figure. A broad aluminum-colored disc supports a glossy white armature that seems to effortlessly hold the display aloft. And once you hit the power button, the CF791 just springs to life.

Right out of the box, the colors and contrast are nearly pitch-perfect. Hitting a 940:1 contrast ratio without any calibration, and delivering nearly perfect color accuracy after calibration, the CF791 was full of surprises during our review. It consistently outperformed the competition and our expectations. Games look great, movies look great, and even day-to-day productivity is enhanced.

That said, it’s not a 4K monitor, so that might be a downside if you’re looking for the highest resolution you can possibly get. But the CF791 delivers impressive display quality on a 21:9 1440p display panel that somehow manages to prevent any and all light-leakage.

This monitor routinely sells for $800 online. That’s not cheap, but given the fact that this CF791 is the best-in-class ultra-wide monitor, it’s an investment that will easily outlast your desktop.

Our full Samsung CF791 review

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

The best gaming monitor

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Why you should buy this: 1440p, 165Hz refresh rate, and Nvidia’s G-Sync.

Who it’s for: Gamers, media enthusiasts.

How much will it cost: $750+

Why we picked the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q:

Simply put: it’s fast. Seriously, this thing is too fast for its own good. You can push the refresh rate up to 165Hz which is, currently, a little overkill. Let’s be honest, is your gaming rig powerful enough to run any recent games at 165 frames per second? Well, if isn’t today, it might be in the future, and that’s why the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is our pick for best gaming monitor.

Its price tag is justified in part due to the fact that it’s a little more future-proof than competitors with 1440p resolution. By allowing you to push the refresh rate to a currently unnecessary degree, it has a lot of head room. It will look smooth and vibrant for years.

The monitor’s image quality is good, with sharp and crisp 1440p resolution, and solid marks in contrast. While it’s not technically the most impressive monitor we’ve tested, it is better than many of its gaming-oriented rivals. Playing Overwatch or Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is when this display really shines.

Our full of the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q review

BenQ Sw2700PT

The best professional monitor

BenQ-SW2700PT-monitor-hero
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: You need pitch-perfect color accuracy

Who it’s for: Photographers, graphic designers, anyone who needs perfect color accuracy above all else.

How much will it cost: $550+

Why we picked the BenQ SW2700PT:

For professionals like graphic designers, photographers, and film editors, a monitor needs to reproduce colors as faithfully as possible, and in our tests, the SW2700PT did just that.

That might be an understatement. In fact, the SW2700PT reproduced colors almost perfectly. To put it in perspective, when a monitor reproduces colors there is almost always a slight difference between the displayed color and the color data itself. That “color difference” can skew the look of an image and cause problems when editing digital content. This BenQ has almost no noticeable color difference, so images shown on it appear as they should.

It’s also bright, sharp, crystal-clear, and comes with an attachable shade to preserve color accuracy even in a bright office environment. The SW2700PT is a fantastic monitor, and the best choice if you’re in the market for a new professional-grade display solution. BenQ also offers a 4K model, the BenQ SW271, though you’ll spend over $1,000 on it. Meanwhile, the larger 32-inch model will cost closer to $1,400.

Our full of the BenQ SW2700PT review

Dell S2419H

The best budget monitor

Dell S2418H
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: You don’t mind 1080p and don’t want to break the bank.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a great monitor under $300.

How much will it cost: $249

Why we picked the Dell S2419H:

This one is not exactly a showstopper, but it will earn your respect with an impressive spec sheet and excellent contrast ratio. The Dell S2419H is a reliable all-around choice for a home office or a dorm-room desktop. If you just want a monitor that will work well — but more importantly won’t cost you an arm and a leg — look no further.

The Dell S2419H isn’t just a good budget monitor, it’s a good monitor overall. The color accuracy is fantastic, and the contrast ratio is still extremely competitive, coming in at 1000:1 at full brightness. If you’re looking for a good all-around monitor, but you don’t want to make the jump to 4K or invest in an ultrawide, this is a very good pick.

Our full of the Dell S2418H review

How to decipher monitor specs

You might be wondering what some of the specifications you read above mean. You can read our full guide to buying a computer monitor, which details every important aspect when considering your option. For now, here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Aspect Ratio: It’s the relation of the monitor’s width to its height. Most monitors are 16:9 — the same as an HDTV. But some are 21:9, which means they’re much wider than a typical display.

FreeSync and G-Sync: These are two, separate frame refresh technologies. the former promoted by AMD, the latter proprietary to Nvidia. Read our comparison of FreeSync and G-Sync to learn more.

Resolution: How many pixels the monitor has. More tends to provide a sharper, more realistic image. The most common options are 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.

Refresh Rate: Express in hertz, abbreviated “Hz” — This is the number of times the monitor image refreshes each second.  The standard monitor has a 60Hz display, but a higher refresh rate can make the monitor look smoother in motion. 144Hz is a sweet spot for high-performance gaming.

How we test

We test monitors by putting them through a comprehensive series of test that includes color accuracy, color gamut, gamma, brightness, contrast, and black levels. Our testing is complimented with real-world use, so we know how the monitor will look to you every morning.

Our testing is conducted with both out-the-box and calibrated settings. By doing this, we can tell you whether or not the monitor will look good from the moment you turn it on, and if you’ll see much benefit from tweaking its settings.

Computing

AMD will launch anniversary edition Radeon VII and 2700X to celebrate 50th year

Ahead of its new hardware lines launching this summer, AMD will celebrate its 50th anniversary with special editions of its top-tier gaming hardware: the Radeon VII and Ryzen 2700X.
Mobile

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.
Deals

These are the best memory foam mattress toppers for a better night’s sleep

You may not want to drop a bunch of cash on a new mattress, but with a good mattress topper, you may not have to. Modern technologies make it easier to get a good night's sleep, and we've rounded up the top 10 mattress toppers you can buy.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Mobile

Keep your new iPad (2018) sparkling with the best screen protectors

Your iPad sports a stunning 9.7-inch screen and you'll want it to stay that way. The best iPad (2018) screen protectors guard against cracks, scratches, and even smudging from your fingers. Check out our top picks here.
Computing

Here's everything you need to know about setting up your wireless router

Want to get Wi-Fi working in your home, but don't know where to start? Here's a quick tutorial outlining the four basic steps needed for most routers. You'll be browsing on your laptop from the couch in no time.
Product Review

Without 4K or Core i9, the new Razer Blade Pro trades features for polish

Razer hasn’t updated its 17-inch gaming laptop for a couple of years, while showering most of its attention on the smaller sibling. The new Razer Blade Pro takes a lot of cues from the 15-inch model, stretching it out for the big screen.
Computing

Intel’s new Core i9 processors bring 8-core power to laptops

Intel announced a new line of ninth-generation mobile processors that bring eight-core Core i9 processors to laptops. In addition, the company announced a slate of new desktops CPUs that bring the rest of the lineup up to date.
Computing

Pain in the wrists? Type in comfort with one of these great ergonomic keyboards

Long typing sessions can leave anyone's wrists aching, but if you have one of the best ergonomic keyboards, that doesn't have to be the case. Our list of favorites will support good typing posture while being comfortable to use.
Computing

Lenovo Legion, IdeaPad gaming laptops sport 9th-gen CPUs and 16-series graphics

Lenovo is expanding its gaming laptop range with a line of new Legion and IdeaPad notebooks that sport Intel's latest, ninth-generation Core CPUs up to an i7 and a choice of Nvidia graphics with options for everything up to an RTX 2080…
Computing

Asus launches a fleet of ROG gaming laptops with 240Hz screens and 9th-gen CPUs

Asus launched updates to nearly every gaming laptop line they have, ranging from the high-end Zephyrus to the budget-level TUF Gaming. The naming schemes might be hard to parse, but there are some impressive options in Asus' new lineup.
Computing

Nvidia’s new GTX 1660 Ti and 1650 graphics cards for laptops start at $799

Nvidia announced the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650, two new mobile graphics cards to flesh out the Turing lineup for laptops. These GPUs don't have the ray tracing capabilities of the RTX 20 series, but start at much lower prices.
Computing

Microsoft reverses decision and extends lifeline to MS Paint for Windows 10

Microsoft reversed its decision to deprecate the classic MS Paint software on Windows 10. Microsoft announced on Twitter that the mainstay free image editor that comes pre-installed with Windows will live on for now.
Computing

Acer gives Predator, Nitro gaming notebooks CPU and GPU upgrades

Acer's latest gaming notebooks will be getting a processor and graphics boost. The company announced that Intel's ninth-generation mobile CPU and Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti will land on the Predator Helios 300, Nitro 7, and Nitro 5 laptops.