Most web surfers and office workers don’t need to spend loads of money on a monitor. In fact, photography, video production, and gaming are likely where you’ll see the big investment given the need for higher resolutions, higher refresh rates, and immersive curved screens. If all you need is a decent monitor that gets the job done, you can get a great one for under $100.
Acer’s SB0 series is a stylish, budget brand, and the SB220Q is no exception. It looks great in any location thanks to its narrow frame that’s just 0.24 inches deep, relatively trim bezels, and an attractive, patterned stand. It’s not the biggest display, at just 21.5 inches diagonally, but that’s still big enough for work and play. Remember, size isn’t everything when it comes to buying a monitor.
Built with an IPS panel, the SB220Q has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a maximum 75Hz refresh rate, a 4ms response time, a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 250-nit maximum brightness. There are no built-in speakers, nor will you find a 3.5mm jack for headphones. The outputs are limited to just one HDMI port and a single VGA port. There’s also no VESA mounting option.
It does support AMD FreeSync though, making it a decent solution for AMD-powered PC and console gaming.
This TN panel from Asus features specs similar to Acer’s SB220Q, though it’s certainly not as attractive. More suited for business environments, the VS228H-P doesn’t include sync technology for gaming but does support VESA mounting so you can more easily affix it to a wall or custom stand. It also has a solid port selection, including HDMI, VGA, DVI-D, and a 3.5mm audio jack, making it a great solution for the office.
The VS228H-P features a 21.5-inch screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a maximum 75Hz refresh rate, 5ms response time, a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a maximum 250-nit brightness. What you won’t see here is the rich color palette and wide viewing angles associated with IPS screens, built-in speakers, or thin bezels.
BenQ’s 21.5-inch monitor sports super-thin bezels for a better “frame-free” view. It’s not quite as attractive as some of our other picks, but it does offer a few bonus features not found on the Acer model: Two built-in one-watt speakers and two HDMI ports. Throw in audio input and output jacks, VGA connectivity, hidden cable management, and VESA mounting, and you have a decent monitor for a decent price.
This IPS panel features wide viewing angles, a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, a maximum 250-nit brightness, a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 5ms response time — not stellar, but a solid all round spec list. Other goodies include adaptive brightness, an ePaper mode, low blue light mode, and brightness intelligence.
Overall, the GW2283 has a lot to offer for a mere $96, though it doesn’t include sync technology for gamers.
HP Pavilion 22cwa
HP’s Pavilion 22cwa may be the least impressive monitor on our list, but it comes in at the lowest price at $85. It doesn’t include built-in speakers, cable management, or sync technology, but what is does offer is a 21.5-inch IPS panel promising rich colors and wide viewing angles. It’s somewhat attractive too, though its bezels appear slightly larger than the BenQ and Acer models elsewhere on this list.
This Pavilion-branded display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, a 250-nit maximum brightness, a 7ms response time, and a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio. If you’re looking for connectivity, it’s rather limited, providing one HDMI port and one VGA port. The included VESA mounting kit allows you to attach this monitor to a wall.
LG’s 22MK430H-B undoubtedly targets gamers with features like on-screen crosshairs, a black stabilizer, and Dynamic Action Sync that speeds up the image refresh process. It even includes AMD FreeSync support to reduce visual tearing and stuttering when connected to AMD-based graphics cards and APUs. The 5ms response time isn’t great for gamers, but it’s not a deal breaker, especially at this price.
This IPS panel measures 21.5 inches and sports a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at a 75Hz refresh rate. It also has a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio and a 250-nit maximum brightness. It’s not exactly attractive and lacks the super-thin bezels seen on this list’s other models, but you can easily mount it to a wall. It includes one HDMI port, one VGA port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
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