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Computer monitor

ByPriceRunnerUpdated May 9, 2019

We tested computer monitors and name the AOC C24G1 as best in test. This is a computer monitor intended for gamers that produces good image quality and has a number of clever functions. If you're looking for a more general monitor, the AOC 27P1 is a good choice.

How we did the test

We carry out all of our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. We used the monitors in everyday situations; everything from playing games to watching films and editing documents. We tested them with several different computers and via several ports to minimise sources of errors. Some of the factors we have taken into account when we tested these computer monitors were:

  • Image quality: How good is the monitor in terms of colour, greyscale, black and white? What settings are there?
  • Ease of use: Is it easy to assemble? Can the display be adjusted vertically/angled? What controls are there for changing the settings (buttons, joystick etc.)?
  • Design: What materials has the manufacturer chosen? Is there a lot of dead space around the screen? What's the build quality like?
  • Sound quality: Does the monitor have built-in speakers, and if so how well do they perform? Can they replace dedicated speakers?

We have taken all of these factors into account and compared them to how suitable the monitor is for its target audience. This has finally been weighed up against the computer monitor's value for money, resulting in an overall score.

1. AOC C24G1

High image quality, quick, cool design

Target group: Gamers Size: 24 inch (16:9) Panel type: VA Response time: 1 ms Refresh rate: 144 Hz Ports: VGA, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4x2 Miscellaneous: Vertically adjustable, AMD FreeSync

AOC C24G1 24"

The AOC C24G1 is a curved computer monitor aimed at gamers. It has a really quick refresh rate and low response time given the panel type, which makes it a good middle ground for anyone looking for a monitor with high image quality and a fast response time. The curved design is intended to give a more immersive experience. We don't particularly notice this, but it gives a nice stylish touch to a product group that's normally rather bland, design-wise - or completely over the top. We don't have any problems with distortion or similar effects as a result of the curved shape. It quite simply works very well. The very thin frame around it leaves very little dead space, making the monitor feel compact despite its 24 inches. It's very easy to adjust the monitor vertically - you simply push it up or down. It's also very easy to install, as assembly is done completely without tools. It also includes a display port cable, so you can use the full power of the monitor. However, the power cable is unfortunately very short and limiting.

The AOC C24G1 has uniform illumination and good sharpness. The tone of the image is a bit on the yellow side when we test it with factory settings. The black is also a bit on the tame side. But the viewing angle is good and the colour is nice and rich. It also has a uniform greyscale. However, you'll have to spend some time calibrating the C24G1, which you need to do before sitting down and starting to play. This is because the pre-installed factory settings are a bit off in terms of the colour. Fortunately there's plenty of room to change the settings, and a number of pre-set profiles intended for different types of game. You can also save the settings for two different users. But the physical buttons on the lower edge of the frame are very small and it's hard to distinguish them from each other. Given how many settings the monitor has, it would have been good to position them in a more user-friendly place, and ideally to make them physically different. The settings interface could have been more user-friendly too. As it stands, it's quite fiddly. And unfortunately you can't really calibrate the black properly without losing out on detail. The monitor has an acceptable antiglare coating, and lag is limited. Given the price class, the AOC C24G1 is a very good buy for a gamer who has the hardware to back up the specification - in other words, a sufficiently good computer.

Great image quality (after calibration)fast responsehigh refresh rateattractive designeasy to adjustlots of settingssimple assemblygood range of ports
Very short power cablemenus hard to navigate

2. Asus MG248QR

Modern and fast with built-in crosshair

ASUS MG248QR 24"

The Asus MG248QR is a fast computer monitor with a high refresh rate for a uniform playing experience. A fun detail with the MG248QR is that you can bring up both a crosshair and timer function with just the press of a button. There are even different types of crosshair so you can find one that suits the game you're playing. This is useful for anyone who plays a lot of first-person shooters, as it helps you improve your in-game performance. The physical buttons on the back that switch the functions on and off are poorly marked on the front so they're hard to see - you just have to fiddle with them until you've learned which is which. But there's a plus for the small joystick when you browse through the menus, as this is very user-friendly.

The Asus MG248QR has a low response time and a high refresh rate. Unfortunately when you look more closely, the LED panel is edge-lit, because it's lighter along the short sides than over the rest of the monitor surface. This gives a slightly uneven image quality. But the greyscale is otherwise good and the black is acceptable, even though we'd have liked to see it being possible to make it deeper without losing detail. If you use the monitor with the factory settings, the colours are a bit pallid, but if you calibrate it you get good image quality given the price class and panel type. The image is sharp and the viewing angle good. If you're going to exploit the monitor to the maximum, you need a modern gaming computer that can handle the high refresh rate. If you have one of these, the Asus MG248QR is a good buy.

Practical gamer tooleasy to adjusthigh image quality and refresh rate low response timegood greyscale
Slightly thin blackpoorly pre-calibratedslightly uneven illumination

3. AOC 27P1

Large screen for a reasonable price

Target group: Domestic users Size: 27 (16:9) Panel type: IPS Response time: 5 ms Refresh rate: 60 Hz Ports: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort Miscellaneous: Built-in speaker

AOC 27P1 27"

The AOC 27P1 is a large LED monitor that's very easy to assemble and adjust. To raise and lower the monitor, you simply apply a little weight with your hand and push it up or down. Despite this, you can hang headphones and speakers on it without the monitor descending. An interesting and neat solution. The installation is also really easy. The stand consists of two parts that you click in and screw together. The solution to attach the stand to the monitor is also a toolless click-together function. Three graphics cables and a power cable are included, which is generous. The cables are good quality too, but unfortunately the power cable is very short.

The AOC 27P1 has physical buttons on the lower part of the front of the monitor which are easy to distinguish and use quickly when you need them. This is useful if you have the monitor connected to several units at the same time as you can quickly change between ports. But the image quality on the 27P1 leaves a lot to be desired. Straight out of the packaging, the black's a bit tame - even though the greyscale is fine overall. The colour is rich enough, but the entire image is a bit on the yellow side. The combination of not quite black enough and a yellowish image means that all the colours are a bit off, and that also affects the depth of the image. On the other hand, the sharpness is perfectly fine and of course you can also calibrate the image and get a more precise result. The problem when you reduce the black is that you lose detail in the darker parts. The monitor does a good job of not reflecting windows and so on. It also has built-in speakers, and the sound quality of these is amazingly good given the price. You get a nice broad sound with a pleasant treble. The AOC 27P1 is ideal if you're looking for a large, simple computer monitor for the home office.

Very simple assemblyamazingly good soundgood greyscale
Very short power cableslightly tame blackrather yellowish image overall

4. Viewsonic VP2768

Affordable alternative with almost professional level performance

Target group: Everyday users, influencers. Size: 27 inch (16:9) Panel type: IPS. Response time: 14 ms. Refresh rate: 60 Hz. Ports: DisplayPort 1.2, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, DisplayPort Out, HDMI 1.4 x 2, USB 3.0 x 5.

Viewsonic VP2768 27"

The Viewsonic VP2768 is an LED illuminated monitor with an IPS panel from LG Display. What makes it different is that it has QHD resolution. If you’re looking for a 27 inch monitor with QHD resolution, you’ll quickly realise that this can be quite a pricey undertaking, but this monitor is relatively affordable.

The screen is very elegant with its thin edges which are only 8 mm thick. The thin design means that the screen has no ports on the sides. But there are plenty of inputs and outputs on the back.

The stand is both attractive and very easily adjusted in all directions. It can be adjusted in terms of height, angled sideways, tilted and rotated, which means you should easily be able to find an optimal angle.

Excellent presettings

The VP2768 offers many functions for adjusting the image, and the menus are relatively easy to navigate and understand. There are a number of pre-installed calibration modes, and they actually work so well that you generally don't need to adjust anything manually.

The monitor displays blacks that are pretty much average for this price class. The contrast ratio of 1000:1 is also about the same as other similar monitors. As for grey scales, the monitor performs extremely well. The colours too are saturated and correctly reproduced.

Plenty of connections

As we’ve already said, there are a lot of connection options: DisplayPort 1.2, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, DisplayPort output, two HDMI connections and a full five USB 3.0 connections. Unfortunately the monitor has no speakers at all, which was probably necessary to retain the elegant, thin design.

The VP2768 is an example of how a screen with a slightly older panel technology can still qualify to be used in more demanding circumstances. However, a monitor refresh rate of 60 Hz and a response time of 14 ms mean that it isn’t really a gaming monitor, but on the other hand that’s not the idea with this monitor either. And actually, if you're looking for a large monitor with a really good resolution to be used for more everyday tasks, this one can feel a little bit too good. Anyone working with photos, design or video editing is likely to appreciate the Viewsonic VP2768.

Attractive designGreat colour reproductionLots of connections
No speakersNo support for AdobeRGV or ProPhotoRGB

5. Dell Ultrasharp S2719DC

Undoubtedly lives up to the epithet "ultrathin”

Target group: Everyday users, influencers. Size: 27 inch (16:9) Panel type: IPS (LED backlit). Response time: 8 ms (normal); 5 ms (fast). Refresh rate: 60 Hz. Ports: HDMI, USB-C, 2 x USB 3.0

Dell UltraSharp U2719DC 27"

The Dell Ultrasharp S2719DC is a pared-down computer monitor with a minimalist design. With its aluminium finish and other design features, it doesn’t look like a normal monitor. It’s incredibly stylish and impressively thin, which makes it really stand out from the crowd. So if aesthetics are important to you, this may be exactly the monitor you’re looking for.

Even the stand the monitor is mounted on is really elegant. Although it looks a bit fragile, it holds the monitor firmly in place. Unfortunately, there are few adjustment options – you can only tilt it forwards or backwards.

Excellent brightness

When we switch the monitor on, we are immediately struck by how very bright it is. The colour rendering is also impressive, particularly for the price class. However, the contrast leaves a lot to be desired. The dark areas of the picture also tend to be a bit too dark and so a lot of the detail gets lost.

The settings menus seem quite well designed, as they’re straightforward and comprehensive at the same time. The settings options aren’t endless, but definitely sufficient for the majority of users to be able to make the adjustments required for an optimal image.

The panel is of IPS type and has a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. The refresh rate is 60 Hz, which is fine provided you don’t intend to play graphically demanding games.

USB-C is a major plus point.

In terms of connections, in addition to a couple of USB 3.0 ports, you also get a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port. If you’d been planning to use the monitor with a laptop, you’ll find this useful as it means you can charge the computer by connecting it to the monitor. There’s also an HDMI 2.0 port and a 3.5 mm headphone socket.

Unless you’re looking for a monitor that can deliver 4K, the Dell Ultrasharp S2719DC is one of the best 27 inch screens currently on the market. If you also want a monitor that goes really well with an attractive, thin laptop, this is a really great alternative.

Thin & elegantFrameless designUSB-CBrightGood colour reproduction
Limited possibilities to adjust the monitorSlight problems with dark areas

6. Philips 278E8QJAB

Good size for the money

Target group: Domestic users Size: 27 (16:9) Panel type: VA Response time: 4 ms Refresh rate: 75 Hz Ports: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort Miscellaneous: Built-in speaker, AMD FreeSync

Philips 278E8QJA 27"

The Philips 278E8QJAB is a relatively large curved screen with a thin frame that means you don't have to put up with distracting and boring dead space. It comes with AMD FreeSync, which is good for gamers. Unfortunately, Philips don't include any display port cable, which is necessary if you're going to use FreeSync. The monitor only includes HDMI and VGA cables. The monitor could also be sharper during sudden movements. The refresh rate isn't top-quality, and nor is the response time. On the other hand, this isn't a monitor for anyone playing first person shooters, as there are more suitable options available. Instead, this computer monitor has a relatively broad target group. It’s suitable for anyone who plays casual games and for the home office user.

The curved shape isn't a problem when you've got used to it, but in some situations it distorts the image a little. For example, you can see that text documents curve a little towards the edges. However, the distortion doesn't pose any problems when we watch films.

Extremely good colours

The 278E8QJAB has an acceptable image quality, particularly given the price. But it isn't impressive. Unfortunately, the overall score is reduced slightly by the relatively drab black, which means you don't get such good contrast in the image. We'd expected better blacks given that this is a VA panel. Nor can you fix the problem by changing the settings, as that simply means the image loses detail and brightness.

But the 278E8QJAB does shine when it comes to colours. It's finely calibrated and the colours are very rich. This is where the monitor really flexes its muscles. The viewing angle is fine, but the image is slightly diluted at the edges.

Easy to change settings

The Philips 278E8QJAB is very easy to assemble. You simply screw the foot in place, which can be done completely without tools. You can also control all the functions and settings with a single button that doubles as a joystick. The joystick works very well and you quickly learn how to operate it to access the right function. The settings menu and the range of functions are a bit basic, but the most important things are there.

One disadvantage is that you can't set the height of the monitor, only angle it. But apart from this the product feels well designed.

The sound quality is this monitor's Achilles' heel, however. The sound is flat and unbalanced with hardly any bass at all. We recommend that you buy dedicated speakers to go with the monitor.

The Philips 278E8QJAB is suitable for anyone looking for a large and user-friendly computer monitor for a relatively low price, but who doesn't play first person shooters or other applications requiring a fast refresh rate. It suits a broad target group and is quite good value for money given the size.

Very good colour modelGood joystick for monitor settings
Poor blackNo height adjustmentNo display port cable included

7. Samsung CF398

Large, curved and good value for money in its simplicity

Target group: Everyday users, influencers. Size: 27 inch (16:9), curved. Panel type: VA Response time: 4 ms Refresh rate: 60 Hz Ports: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 11.4

Samsung C27F398FWU 27"

The Samsung CF398 is a curved monitor with a relatively minimal specification but also with a low price. You're above all paying to get good image quality. It’s perhaps not the most impressive monitor, but we give it extra marks for the contrast and the great colour spectrum.

If you get the viewing angle right, the monitor is nice to look at, even if it’s not particularly bright. It does a particularly good job if the image content is dark. Thanks to a good response time, it also keeps up well with moving images.

However, the image refresh rate is a moderate 60 Hz, which means that if you're going to play games from time to time you’re going to run into problems.

The resolution is full HD, or 1080p if you prefer, which today feels like it’s a bit stingy for this size class. This means it isn’t easy to handle several windows simultaneously, despite the large screen area.

Good at dark images

The build quality is a bit shaky. The monitor feels plasticky rather than solid. Once in place, there are no particular problems, though – it’s most obvious when you're moving it.

The stand feels spindly and weak, and you can only tilt the screen upwards or downwards, which makes it tricky to find the right viewing angle.

Few inputs

There aren’t many inputs on the CF398, only on HDMI input and one DisplayPort connection. If you want to connect several different units, you need to look at another alternative.

The only way to output sound is through a 3.5 mm headphone jack, because the monitor has no built-in speaker.

Another disappointing aspect when it comes to the inputs and outputs is that they are placed straight out from the back of the monitor, rather than downwards, which is a pain if you're going to install it on a VESA bracket (which would make it easier to get a good viewing angle).

Nothing beyond the ordinary

The Samsung CF398 is primarily a monitor for those seeking the enclosing experience delivered by a curved screen, but who don’t have any greater demands in general. The image quality is good and the monitor is very easy to set up, although there are relatively few setting options. The computer monitor does its job and delivers a good image for the price. But it isn’t a monitor that's anything out of the ordinary.

Very good for dark imagesGood contrast
Not particularly brightFew adjustment optionsPlasticky build quality

Computer monitors

You often buy a computer monitor when you buy a stationary computer. But lots of people also choose to buy a bigger monitor for their laptop, which they can connect when they're sitting at a desk. There are several advantages of having two monitors. You can divide programs etc. over the two surfaces, giving you more space and bigger windows to work in. And if you have a small laptop you can also get a bigger screen to help you work on tasks requiring more accuracy. Ergonomically, it's also better to look straight ahead at a computer monitor than on a downward angle at a laptop screen.

Buying a computer monitor

When choosing a computer monitor, you should start from your needs and your wallet. Different computer monitors have different specifications to suit different target groups. For example, a computer monitor intended for gaming will have a high refresh rate and low response time. Meanwhile, a computer monitor intended for graphics editing or office work will instead prioritise aspects such as a wide viewing angle, perfect colour reproduction and good contrast.

What ultimately controls these factors is the type of panel the monitor is based on:

  • TN panel: This type of panel is suitable if you're a gamer – above all if you play games that require fast reactions or quick movements – because it has a short response time. A short response time means better processing of movements in the image, making them sharper. But this type of panel is less suitable if you work with any kind of still image as the viewing angle is narrow and the image quality worse than in other panel types. TN panels are often a little cheaper.
  • VA panel: If you're looking for a monitor with good image quality, a VA panel is a good choice. This is ideal if you retouch images or do other graphic work. But it's less suitable for gamers because it often has a poorer response time than a TN panel, which means you can end up with blurry images during intense combat, for example. However, VA panels are increasingly being made with a good balance between quick response time, high refresh rate and good image quality.
  • IPS panel: A middle ground between a TN and VA panel. This type of monitor has good image quality but rarely as good as a VA panel, and a good response time – but normally worse than a TN panel. It has a good balance between these factors, which means it's suitable for a relatively broad target group.

Understanding monitor specifications

When you know what type of monitor you're looking for and what your budget is, that makes it easy to filter the monitors on offer. But to make it still easier, we're going to look at a few more specifications.

Size

Of course monitor size is often a crucial factor when you're choosing a computer monitor. How big a monitor do you need? Once again, it's all about your needs. If you're going to be doing a lot of image processing or watching films, a big screen is best. But it also depends on how far away from it you're going to sit. For example, if you're going to be playing games you don't want to have to move your head sideways to see the entire screen. Computer monitors between 21-27 inches are usually a reasonable range for most people. The size is measured diagonally. 1 inch corresponds to 2.54 cm.

Resolution

It isn't enough to have a big monitor if you want a high quality image. You also need high resolution. Particularly if you're going to watch a lot of films. The resolution means how many pixels there are on the screen. Graphics on the monitor are all based on pixels, so the more your monitor can support, the more detailed the image will be. But it's also more demanding on your computer. If you want a large screen with high pixel density, you also need a computer that can cope with displaying the content.

Most computers today can cope with 1080p (full HD) resolution. This can now be regarded as the standard resolution. But if you're a big film nerd – or you recently bought a TV – you probably know that 4K is approaching fast. If you want a monitor bigger than 27 inches, and have a powerful computer, 4K (in other words, 2160p) is the toughest standard you can buy. You can also get 1440p as a middle ground.

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