1. Expert reviews

Top 17 Best Computer Monitors of 2021

Daniel Hessel

Updated September 20, 2021

We tested computer monitors and name the AOC 27P1 as best computer monitor of 2021. 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.

Top 17 Best Computer Monitors of 2021

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 27P1 - BEST CHOICE COMPUTER MONITOR 2021

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

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 tool-less 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 assemblysurprisingly good soundgood greyscale
Very short power cableslightly tame blackrather yellowish image overall

Price Comparison

Compare all prices

Kagoo

27P1

£174.77

Ejobber

Aoc 27P1 - Led Monitor - 27Inch

£189.60
Transparent Communications Logotype

AOC Pro-line 27P1 computer monitor 68.6 cm (27″”) 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD LED Black

£210.61

2. Lenovo Legion Y27GQ

Lightning fast response time with beautiful and bright colours

Target group: Gamers Size: 27” (16:9) Panel type: IPS Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels Response time: 1 ms Refresh rate: 240 Hz Ports: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB

Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25

When you think of Lenovo, you generally think of reasonable laptops and exceptional keyboards. But of course the Chinese electronics giant produces many other products. For example, they also manufacture really top-class monitors, including the Legion Y27GQ gaming monitor, which offers QHD resolution, a refresh rate of an amazing 240 Hz and an impressive response time of less than a millisecond.

It also supports Nvidia’s G-Sync, which makes this a very interesting choice for gamers prioritising a slightly more classic screen (in other words, not a 38 inch 21:9 type affair) that delivers in terms of specifications.

Industrial style

No, this isn’t a 4K screen, but on the other hand, a much more affordable graphics card can run a new game in QHD resolution without major problems – something that should also appeal to many people with a more limited budget. There aren’t many games that currently support 240 Hz, but there’s definitely a point in being future proofed as well.

The monitor is very easy to assemble. It’s also very attractive, with a neat stand with holes drilled in the feet and a blue underside. The screen has a slightly industrial touch that gives it visual weight. The screen edges are extremely thin, and this, combined with the simple and minimalistic long edge with a few buttons at the bottom, contributes to the sober and ‘heavy’ impression, even if the buttons on the front and the screen menus themselves could have been a bit more attractive and easier to navigate.

The monitor supports both Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s Freesync, giving it a very broad appeal. It also keeps up very well when we try it with more demanding games, even on the highest possible settings. The smoothness is evident, even if you normally use a 120 Hz monitor.

Excellent colours

We’d also like to congratulate Lenovo on excellent colour reproduction. We’re not talking perfect blacks, but overall it’s impressive to say the least. The colours really pop.

Everything works really smoothly and there’s minimal lag. However, in really dark areas, we notice a certain amount of colour banding. How much this will bother you is a very individual thing, but it’s one of the few details that mean we can’t give this monitor full marks.

The other main detail is the sound, and here we’re not talking about the speakers but the fans. If you don’t use full-size headphones, you may well find this constant and rather loud buzzing quite irritating. They seem to run at the same speed the whole time and regardless of load, so if you’d be thinking of doing quieter work on this monitor, it’ll definitely be a problem. In other words, this is a gaming monitor intended for people playing with headphones on.

Otherwise, it’s hard to find any faults with this product. It delivers a magnificent image in all ways, and finding another monitor of this size with these specifications really isn’t easy. It’s ideal for gamers with high demands for quality and who primarily play wearing headphones.

Fantastic colours240 Hzsuper quick response time
Noisy fansrather limited blacks

3. Dell P2720DC

Perfect screen for anyone working with two monitors

Target group: Home user/Workplace Size: 27 (16:9) Panel type: IPS Resolution: 2560x1440 Response time: 5 ms Refresh rate: 60 Hz Ports: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort

Dell P2720DC

This 27-inch screen from Dell is a versatile and very functional model. It has a really good ergonomic viewing angle and can be angled quite a lot no matter which direction you want it to face, and it’s also easily adjusted vertically.

The IPS panel gives the screen really good colour reproduction. Our feeling is that it works just as well for games as for things like editing in Photoshop or Lightroom. The colours are quite strong and the contrast is deep. With a few quick adjustments, it’s easy to get good brightness and a colour temperature that suits your taste.

Ideal as one of two monitors

The Dell P2720DC – like many of their monitors – has a neat and minimalistic design. The edges around the screen are thin and the whole thing feels very slim. If you’re looking for a multi monitor setup, i.e., several screens next to each other, the thin frame makes this screen an ideal choice.

Another thing that will make your life easier is that the P2720DC allows you to connect another monitor directly to the port on this screen, instead of having to plug it into a computer or whatever. This means you save on computer ports, which nowadays are often quite limited in number.

It’s perfect as a work or study monitor where you need to use several screens. And the richness of colour and depth of contrast make it excellent as a work screen. It also works perfectly well for games, but bear in mind that it only has a 60 Hz refresh rate and 5 ms response time, so if you’re looking for a hardcore gaming screen, this is the wrong choice. But other than that, this is a really good and versatile monitor.

Great colour reproductionthin edgesergonomic designgood contrast
Not so good from a gaming point of view

4. Dell P2421D

Versatile monitor with great colour reproduction

Target group: multimedia monitor Size: 23.8 inch (16:9) Panel type: IPS Resolution: 2560 x 1440 Response time: 5 ms Refresh rate: 60 Hz Ports: HDMI, Displayport Miscellaneous: Adjustable vertically/horizontally

Dell P2421D

The Dell P2421D is an amazingly broad monitor. And we’re not talking about the size of the monitor, but the target group it’s suitable for.

The design is stylish. It’s a simple, black construction that exudes minimalism. This means the P2421D fits well into most homes. The thin upper edge and side frames also mean you get a lot of picture for your money.

The P2421D has well balanced colour reproduction. The monitor succeeds at picking out colours in an incredibly natural way, making it particularly suitable for photo editing. Blacks have good weight and create excellent depth. Both in games and during photo editing, the P2421D reproduces colours accurately and gives a soft but contrast-rich experience.

Dell-2421D

On the negative side, the refresh rate isn’t great. The 2421D is a 60 Hz screen, and most people nowadays would probably prefer 144 Hz or even 240 Hz, but there are exceptions. For example, if you play games where you need fast lateral movements or turns, this probably isn’t the monitor for you. But if you’re a single-player gamer, or play games like League of Legends or WoW, this is a screen that will give you a fantastic experience.

The P2421D is also relatively kind on the eyes. We normally reduce the brightness a bit to prevent eye strain, but we didn’t need to do this with the P2421D. It’s comfortable to use even for long periods, and while some screens tend to give you dry eyes or minor headaches after long sessions, we haven’t noticed that at all while testing this one.

This is a really versatile screen and exactly because of that, we’d recommend it to users in most areas – everything from editing photos and video to office work or gamers who don’t need really high refresh rates. You simply get a lot of computer monitor for your money.

Versatilefunctional designgood colour reproduction
Only 60 Hz refresh rateno USB-C outlet

5. Philips 345B1C

Affordable giant with all you need for the home office

Target group: Office Size: 34” (21:9) Panel type: VA Resolution: 3440 x 1440 pixels Response time: 4 ms Refresh rate: 100 Hz Ports: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 x 2, USB-B x 1 (charging), USB 3.2 x 4 (1 x quick charge), headphones, speakers

Philips 345B1c

On paper, the Philips 345B1C seems to have it all: A large, curved screen area with decent resolution, plenty of ports, built-in speakers and a relatively low price. In other words, lots of goodies for those with plenty of space on the desk of their home office.

Dodgy USB

Unpacking the screen does not reveal any major oddities, except for the fact that you need enough connectors on the back to empty your entire spare cable drawer. The screen can switch between image inputs without the need for you to get involved, and one USB port is able to charge a laptop (90W) if required. The USB ports themselves aren't as badly positioned as those on some monitors, but we’d still have liked to see at least one or two of them made more readily accessible to quickly insert a USB stick or similar.

And it's actually USB and sound that are the major downsides of this screen. The speakers don’t give brilliant sound, but you wouldn’t expect that and they work fine for speech. Regardless of whether we connected a Mac or PC to the screen, we never succeeded in getting the volume control to work, but instead had to go into the screen's menu system to adjust it, which is incredibly annoying.

The USB ports do their job most of the time and it's nice to have all the connections hidden behind the screen. From time to time however, USB connections seem to malfunction, either in the form of the mouse lagging or the headphones crackling for no obvious reason. The easiest way to fix this is to pull everything out, turn off the screen and start over, but that’s a pain to do.

VA, for better or worse

The screen itself works really well however. It’s a shame that it’s only a VA panel, but any worries about poor viewing angles are eliminated because the screen is curved. Consequently you never really notice this disadvantage.

In terms of colour, the screen performs really well and you get a fairly natural colour scale across the entire screen. Yet, all forms of HDR and newer technologies are absent. Nor will faster players be happy with the 100 Hz refresh rate, but for less demanding gamers and for office work, it’s good enough.

We’re a bit irritated by the fiddly USB hub, which is otherwise a good reason to choose this screen over one without the same function. But on the whole, you’ll probably be very happy with the Philips 345B1C as a larger office screen, especially in terms of the price tag.

Plenty of functionsgreat screengood adjustment options
Volume control for the speakersUSB hub sometimes throws a wobbly

6. MSI Optix MAG272CQR

Good value curved gaming screen

Target group: Gamers Size: 27” (16:9) Panel type: VA Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels Response time: 1 ms Refresh rate: 165 Hz Ports: DisplayPort, HDMI, 2 USB

MSI Optix MAG272CQR

The MSI Optix MAG272CQR makes the most of its size with a more pronounced curve than average. This monitor is in a really tough category, but it also boasts a slightly higher refresh rate than average – although not the highest available.

Extra curvy

MSI’s screen has a higher-than-average curvature of 1500R. You either love it or you hate it, but given that you can sit closer to the 27 inch screen, it actually gives a really good experience.

MSI’s software has a number of pre-set modes for both office work and gaming, together with plenty of options to set the monitor exactly how you want.

The refresh rate is 165 Hz, slightly higher than the standard 144. It’s not exactly professional level, but combined with the resolution and support for AMD Freesync, you get a good experience even with less than optimal hardware. Although in practice, the difference between 144 and 165 Hz isn’t really noticeable.

USB for accessories

The performance is pretty good overall with really good colour reproduction and HDR support. The former means the screen does well outside games, as more of an office monitor if that’s what you need.

The design also works for the home office, as MSI have let the curve speak for itself when it comes to design. There's an illuminated logo on the back, and the monitor generally has nice clean lines, although the sprawling feet detract slightly from the elegant design.

As well as the display ports, there are two USB ports on the back for accessories – perfect for connecting a mouse and keyboard. However, both ports (and it’d have been nice to have more) are rather poorly positioned, so it’s best to use them for accessories you aren’t going to move often.

The MSI Optix MAG272CQR is a good value choice if you're looking for a high quality curved gaming screen. The greater curvature perhaps won’t suit everyone, but we think it works well in this size.

Stylish screenlots of optionsgood colour reproduction
Inaccessible USB portscurvature can be perceived as aggressiveonly AMD Freesync support

7. Philips 278M1R

Falls at the finish line

Target group: Gaming/Esport Size: 27 (16:9) Panel type: IPS Resolution: 3840x2160 Response time: 4 ms Refresh rate: 60 Hz Ports: VGA, USB upstream (type B), USB 3.2 x 3, HDMI x 2, DisplayPort, Headphone jack Miscellaneous: Built-in speaker

Philips 278M1R

The Philips 278M1R is a 27-inch gaming screen from Philips, and their first screen entirely focused on esports. But does it get to the finishing line?

In terms of appearance, the Philips 278M1R has a really stylish design with a metallic, black look that makes it easy to place almost anywhere in your home. It takes up a fair bit of space depth-wise due to its stand. But the stand also helps a lot in terms of ease of use, as the 278M1R is quite brilliant when it comes to mobility of the screen. You can angle it pretty much just as you want to find a position that suits you.

PHILIPS-278M1R-1

The 278M1R is a 4K screen, so there’s not much to complain about on that end. The colours are full-bodied and rich. Even at sharp viewing angles, the 278M1R still does well, although, as with many other screens, it does lose the richness of colour at more extreme angles. On the whole, however, it does an extremely good job.

As mentioned above, this screen has a focus on esports. Given that, we think it’s totally unacceptable that this screen is only 60 Hz. It does work, of course, as long as you play via last generation's consoles. But if you’re playing with a computer as your game source especially, 60 Hz is much less than you’d expect from an esports screen. If you play fast first-person shooters, where speeds can reach up to 300 FPS, a minimum of 144 Hz would have worked much better in terms of the screen handling fast movement.

PHILIPS-278M1R-2

PHILIPS-278M1R-3

Apart from that low refresh rate, however, this is a great screen. And if it had been at least 144 Hz, the 278M1R would probably have been a test winner.

If you want to play FPS games with fast movements, or esports where sharpness is a priority, you’d probably do better to look for a 144 Hz screen (or more). But if frame rate isn’t crucial for you, then this is a great computer monitor. It’s ergonomic, has great image quality and it’s easy to set up.

Ergonomicgreat colour reproductiongood standhigh build quality
Only 60 Hz

8. 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

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 games. 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 anti-glare coating and lag is limited. Given the price class, the AOC C24G1 is a very good buy for the gamer who has the hardware to back up the specifications - in other words, a sufficiently powerful 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

9. 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

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 pre-settings

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 are saturated and correctly reproduced too.

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 really isn't 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 connectivity options
No speakersno support for AdobeRGV or ProPhotoRGB

10. 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

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 had 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 option.

Thin & elegantUSB-Cframeless designbrightgood colour reproduction
Limited possibilities to adjust the monitorslight problems with dark areas

11. Asus MG248QR

Modern and fast with built-in crosshair

Target group: Gamers Size: 24 inch (16:9) Panel type: TN Response time: 1 ms Refresh rate: 144 Hz Miscellaneous: Support for AMD FreeSync

ASUS MG248QR

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

12. Dell Alienware AW2521HF

Fast monitor with great image quality

Target group: Gaming/Multimedia Size: 24.5” 1920 x 1080 (16:9) Panel type: IPS Resolution: 2560x1440 Response time: 1 ms Refresh rate: 240 Hz Ports: Display port, x2 HDMI Miscellaneous: AMD Freesync, Nvidia G-Sync

Dell Alienware AW2521HF

The Dell Alienware AW2521HF is a gaming monitor with an IPS panel, with a 1 millisecond response time and a full 240 Hz refresh rate, which is exactly what many gamers are looking for today in terms of a monitor. So on paper, this screen seems like it’s on a par with its competitors in the same price class.

And when it comes to image and sound, there’s really nothing to complain about. Blacks are good, and the colour reproduction is really nice. However, the screen is very glossy, so in daylight, if you’re sitting near a window or whatever, it can be difficult to see what’s happening on the screen.

Dell-Alienware-AW2521HF

In terms of appearance, the AW2521HF has thin frames. It also has built-in RGB lighting, which again fits with how the brand usually attracts gamers. It's always fun to have a game room at home with lots of light effects. The RGB light can be set according to personal preferences.

But while the screen itself is both well-built and creative, the stand is the exact opposite. It feels clumsy and unnecessarily large. The feet are so big and spread out so far that it’s difficult to find a really good placement that doesn’t disturb the mouse and keyboard, unless your desk is very deep. Yet because the screen is 24.5 inches, you don’t want it too far away from you. Dell should definitely have thought more about the design.

The Dell Alienware AW2521HF is a decent enough gaming screen if you ignore the problems with the stand. If you don’t mind that, you get a fast monitor with good image quality at a decent price. However, the screen is somewhat glossy, so think about positioning.

Fast with good flowgreat colour reproduction
Clumsy standsensitive to daylight

13. AOC 32” CQ32G2SE

VA panel with a fast response time

Target group: Home users Size: 32” (16:9) Panel type: VA panel Resolution: 2560x1440 Response time: 1 ms Refresh rate: 165 Hz Ports: DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort Miscellaneous: Built-in speakers

AOC CQ32G2SE/BK

The AOC 32” CQ32G2SE is a 32-inch screen with an inviting price tag that simultaneously offers a relatively high image quality. Above all, colour reproduction is really good, and this VA panel excels in this area given its price. Black areas are also good.

Unfortunately, the screen is very sensitive to reflections. So if your desk is close to a window or whatever, the surrounding environment is reflected and you find it difficult to see what you’re doing. The panel also seems to be sensitive to vertical movements – for example it becomes blurred when you scroll through pages.

AOC-32-CQ32G2SE

The build quality is solid. The CQ32G2SE is actually quite attractive with thin red edges at the bottom and also offers a nice stable stand. One big disadvantage, however, is that you can’t raise or lower the stand to adjust the screen to your seat height – which is pretty poor. Overall, given the screen’s target group, this feels like a bit of a problem.

But not only does the CQ32G2SE deliver good colour and black, it also has a 165 Hz refresh rate and 1 millisecond response time, which VA panels have struggled with in the past. Such features really make a noticeable difference if you play games on the screen.

The AOC 32” CQ32G2SE is for people who want a larger screen with both high Hz and low ms and decent colour reproduction. If, on the other hand, you need a screen you can adjust in height and that can withstand window glare, you need to look elsewhere.

High Hz and low msgood colour reproductiongood blacks
Non-adjustable standlight sensitive

14. Philips 55” Momentum 558M1RY5

Gaming monitor in TV format

Target group: Game console gamers Size: 55” Resolution: 4K Connections: WiFi, Ethernet Refresh rate: 120 Hz Ports: 4 x USB (3.2), DVI, 3 x HDMI (2.0), DisplayPort, optical audio output Miscellaneous: Speakers from Bowers & Wilkins

Philips 558M1RY

This 55-inch 4K ULTRA HD screen from Philips is a real beast when it comes to gaming monitors. Philips is targeting gamers with this monster, and we had to test it to see just how good it really was.

The 558M1RY5 is really stylish in terms of design. It has a metallic finish and is quite anonymous despite its large size. So it blends in well even in a more minimalist living room. What does stand out are the speakers from Bowers & Wilkins, but these are really well designed too, and they look just right together with the monitor's super-thin frames.

Philips-Momentum-558M1RY5-2

The sound from Bowers & Wilkins is more than good enough. It has a crisp tone, and the depth of the bass gives your gaming experience that little bit extra. However, if you want to hear where footsteps are coming from, you’ll need a proper surround system.

The colour accuracy of this screen is really good, and the contrast is nicely balanced. The screen gives a great film-like feel, and does incredibly well in single player games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Dark Souls.

Philips-Momentum-558M1RY5-1

However, we do have some questions. For example, why did Philips choose to make a 120 Hz screen when most consoles don’t even go over 60 FPS, and are more often around 30 FPS. A 60 Hz screen would have worked just as well and probably reduced the price a bit.

Console or not, we still decided to put the refresh rate to the test. We connected the screen to a computer instead – via HDMI – and set everything to run at 120 Hz. However, the HDMI ports turned out to be only version 2.0, which means you need a DVI cable to maximize the refresh rate – another hard blow for console players, but also a tiresome detail for what’s marketed as a gaming screen.

If the refresh rate isn’t an issue for you, the Philips Momentum 558M1RY5 is a really good buy, as you get a lot of picture and sound for your money. But if a high refresh rate is important to you – as it is to many gamers – then you should probably look for another screen or wait for Philips to launch this screen with HDMI 2.1

Great screenfantastic speakers
Only supports HDMI 2.0 despite gaming focus!

15. Dell U2720Q

Ideal for photo editing and video

Target group: Premium multimedia monitor Size: 27 inch (16:9) Panel type: VA Resolution: 27” 3840 x 2160 Response time: 5 ms Refresh rate: 60 Hz Ports: HDMI, Displayport, USB-C Miscellaneous: Adjustable vertically/horizontally

Dell U2720Q

With narrow edges and a fantastic and simple design, the Dell U2720Q comes in as a premium monitor. Most reviewers seem to want to put it in the gaming section, but it actually has a broader target group. It’s far from just a gaming monitor.

The U2720Q is an IPS 4K monitor that’s amazingly good at picking out details in both still and moving images. It gives even small objects, such as thumbnails on YouTube, the kind of sharpness and depth of detail that mean even the tiniest element – which you’d otherwise easily miss – is visible.

This makes it a perfect monitor for video and photo editing too. With an excellent resolution and sharpness, it's a pleasure to create images in Photoshop or to edit videos.

The U2720Q also works pretty well for gaming, but because it only has a 60 Hz refresh rate it can feel a bit old fashioned. Today's gaming market is leaning ever more towards 144 Hz, and that’s what we’d expect from a gaming monitor in this price class. In fact, if you’re a dedicated gamer you’re probably even expecting 240 Hz and a low response time. So this monitor definitely wouldn’t be your first choice.

Dell-2720Q

But if you play games that don’t depend on fast movements, the U2720Q is a fantastic monitor and one that will satisfy most people. The colours are natural, and the monitor makes the most of its 27 inch size.

Unfortunately, it can be a bit light sensitive, particularly when it comes to reflections, and shouldn't be positioned opposite a window.

The monitor comes with a USB-C outlet for your computer. If you connect it to a Macbook, you only get a refresh rate of 30 Hz. Then again, PC manufacturers are increasingly moving towards USB-C.

If you have a Mac, this probably isn’t the monitor for you, nor for anyone who plays games with fast movements. But if you have a Windows computer and enjoy photo or video editing, the Dell U2720Q is a monitor with great colours and excellent sharpness.

Incredible sharpnessgreat colour reproductionstylish design
Low refresh ratepoor compatibility with Machigh response timelots of reflections

16. 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

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 doesn'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, 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 gotten 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. You can't fix the problem by changing the settings either, 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 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

17. 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

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.

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 mostly 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 settings available. 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. For instance, you can divide programs 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 monitor 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, it then becomes easier to filter the monitors on offer. But to make it even 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. Resolution is, coarsely speaking, a measure of 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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