Just a few years ago, there were pundits out there screaming that computers were on their last legs. And, if you ask Apple, that’s still true judging by its “What’s a computer?” ad campaign. However, if you take a look at our selection of the best monitors, you’ll see why the naysayers couldn’t be more wrong. These days, the best PCs are more powerful than their laptop and tablet brethren with fewer drawbacks than you might think.
This trend extends to the best monitors as well. And, if your PC is beginning to look a bit tired, you can refresh it with one of the best monitors. This won’t increase performance, but you’ll still notice the difference. You don’t even have to worry about throwing down your life savings to buy a beautiful display – many of the best monitors you can buy right now are affordable enough for anyone to get in on the action. They can also feature higher resolutions and refresh rates than you may be used to, which is a win for everyone.
And, now that 2018 has rolled around and manufacturers are showing off their new screens, it might be the best time to pick up one of the best monitors. So, whether you’re looking for a mid-range monitor or one of the best gaming monitors, TechRadar has you covered. We’ve created a list of the best monitors you can buy in 2018 – each tested and reviewed personally by us. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. BenQ PD3200U
Top for (some of) the gamers and pros
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg
Now that computers are equipped with the encoding technologies that can natively display at the intended resolution, 4K monitors are in increasingly high demand. That explains why BenQ has added the PD3200U, a massive 32-inch Ultra HD display, to its Designer Monitor range. Intended for worker bees, the company has, seemingly by mistake, crafted a screen that gamers can enjoy wholeheartedly as well, so long as they can fit it on their desks. Then again, given the comparatively sluggish 4ms response time, the PD3200U is best suited for creators. 3D designers, for instance, will be grateful for the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, while everyone else will revel in the factory-calibrated color accuracy and Rec. 709 adherence.
Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U
2. AOC Agon AG352UCG
A curvy ultrawide that even has G-Sync
Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 172/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds
The Agon AG352UCG from AOC is proof that an ultrawide display doesn’t have to be limited in resolution or extended functionality. In fact, this 21:9 IPS panel prides itself on its stately 3,440 x 1,440 resolution and G-Sync capabilities. That’s right, when paired with an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor uses G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing without adding stress to your PC hardware. What’s more, you can expect better response times from the AOC Agon than with its closest competitors, meaning lower latency in games like Overwatch or Lawbreakers that rely on faster pacing. The only downside is that the AOC Agon is rather bulky. Weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total, you’ll want to be sure your desk can support it.
3. Acer Predator X34
A gaming monitor with attitude
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms G2G (grey-to-grey) | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100 million:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 9.9kg
When the classic 16:9 aspect ratio fails you, nothing does the trick like a cinematic, 21:9 display. Although it’s not ideal for streaming TV shows or playing one of myriad games that don’t support it, the Acer Predator X34 is a model example of what an ultra-wide screen should be. Flaunting an eye-catching aluminum bezel and a polygonal stand that resembles a crow’s foot, this massive 34-inch panel is a spectacle to behold. What’s more, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync frame-smoothing tech, you don’t have to worry about enabling VSync and stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. Save for the ho-hum speakers and missing ports, this is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X34
4. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
Back to the future
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: N/A | Contrast ratio: 1,300:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg
Every once in a while, we run into technology that is so far ahead of the curve that we’re left dumbfounded. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is the most recent example. There are few monitors in the world that can reach the raw beauty that the UP3218K does. It’s not just the jaw-dropping 8K resolution either: Dell went a long way to make sure that the build quality and color reproduction were as good as possible, and it pulled it off. Unfortunately, because of the very high cost of this monitor, it’s geared towards professionals exclusively – unless you have multiple 1080 Tis lying around, you wouldn’t be able to play games anyways. So, if you are looking for a monitor to edit photos or video, and price isn’t an issue, the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is one of the best monitors for you.
Read the full review: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the BenQ PD3200U
5. Asus MG248Q
A reasonable price for 144Hz and Adaptive Sync
Screen size: 23.6-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 100000000:1 | Color support: SRGB 100%, Adobe RGB 72% | Weight: 16.98 pounds
If your PC can't swing 1440p or 4K gaming, the Asus MG248Q is the next best thing. Despite exhibiting a mere 1080p twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS, the Asus MG248Q makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync. The latter reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q.
Read the full review: Asus MG248Q
- This product is only available in the US and Australia at the time of writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Acer S277HK
6. Acer S277HK
A bezel-less beauty
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 11.9 pounds
You’ll normally shell out an arm and a leg for a 4K display, but that’s not the case with Acer’s S277HK. In terms of pricing, this bezel-less beauty hits the sweet spot. With a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a color gamut of 1.07 billion and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, the Acer S277HK is better seen than heard about. Unfortunately, because of the way Acer designed it, there’s no way to mount it onto a wall for everyone to appreciate, nor is the height adjustable. But, and this is a huge but, if you prioritize high pixel density, reasonable cost and “zero frame” over malleability, this is a monitor to shoot for.
Read the full review: Acer S277HK
- This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out an alternative in the similarly-specced .
7. Alienware 25
A ubiquitous solution to screen tearing
Screen size: 24.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 119% | Weight: 11.7kg
Depending on your budget, it might break the bank in classic Alienware fashion, but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor won’t let your screen tear. That’s because, whether you’re using an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, there’s a configuration designed with specifically you in mind. Taking away some of the heavy lifting away from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, a software technology that accomplishes a similar thwarting of screen tears, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate might actually be viable. In that case, you can expect the screen to garner up to 120 frames-per-second, so long as your graphics card can handle it and it isn’t being bottlenecked by your CPU. The 1ms response time is merely a bonus.
Read the full review: Alienware 25
8. BenQ Zowie XL2540
A monitor tailored to the needs of professional gamers
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: NTSC 72% | Weight: 7.5kg
You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.
9. LG 34UC79G-B
A reasonable entryway to ultra wide and FreeSync
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 10.3ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: sRGB 92.1% | Weight: 8.6kg
If you’re running games using AMD- or Intel-based graphics and want to get into ultra wide displays without spending a fortune, this is the monitor to look out for. At 34 inches diagonally, the LG 34UC79G-B is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite the resolution being lower than a lot of other widescreen displays on the market, there’s no denying that the LG 34UC79G-B pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the pricier 4K monitors available today.
Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B
10. Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
Faster than you can say G-Sync
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 180Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: Adobe RGB 74% | Weight: 9.5kg
If you care more about frame rate more than graphics or resolution, this one's for you. Because of its mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capabilities, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you're equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you're unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don't necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
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