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Best monitor 2021: The best 1080p, 1440p, 4K and ultrawide monitors you can buy

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These are the best ultrawide, 4K, WQHD and 1080p PC monitors money can buy in 2021

Choosing the best monitor to buy isn’t easy at the best of times, especially now so many people are working from home. There’s a huge range of different monitor models out there, and no two are quite alike in image quality, specifications, features or price. To help you decide which monitor is best for you, we’ve scoured through our extensive repertoire of reviews to select the best budget, Full HD, WQHD and 4K monitors you can buy.

If you’re looking for the best gaming monitors, see our dedicated article here. There, you’ll find our top picks of 2021, from budget to ultrawide gaming monitors.

As you scroll down this page, you’ll find the best monitors split into clear, straightforward categories. Each monitor is accompanied by an at-a-glance summary and specifications.

Our favourite gaming monitor is selling for INSANELY cheap

The Samsung Odyssey G7 has been our favourite gaming monitor since we reviewed it last year. This 240Hz, 1440p QLED monitor is currently sitting at a beautifully low price at Amazon - snap it up while you can.
Amazon
Was £510
Now £449

Best monitor: At a glance

  • Best 1080p monitor: Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1 | Buy now
  • Best 1440p monitor: Iiyama ProLite XUB2792QSU-B1 | Buy now
  • Best 4K monitor: Dell UltraSharp U2720Q | Buy now
  • Best ultrawide monitor: LG UltraWide 38WN95C | Buy now

How to buy the best monitor for you

What resolution and aspect ratio do I need?

There are two main specs to look at when buying a monitor: resolution and aspect ratio. The resolution is simply the dimensions of the display in pixels; the aspect ratio is the relationship between width and height.

The most common monitors are Full HD and have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. Monitors with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 (known as WQHD monitors) occupy the middle ground between Full HD and 4K, or Ultra HD. 4K monitors are fast becoming the most popular top-end hardware, offering a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. All of these monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Put simply, more pixels equates to more room onscreen. The higher the resolution of a display, the more detail you’ll be able to see, although monitors with high resolutions will often require powerful graphics cards to function as intended.

If you need more vertical space, there are monitors with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. If you like the idea of an even wider display for films or side-by-side documents, there are also plenty of 2,560 x 1,080 or even 3,440 x 1,440 displays (a 21:9 aspect ratio) on the market.

What refresh rate do I need?

The refresh rate is described as a number in hertz (Hz), where the number is how many times your monitor refreshes per second. In other words, it’s the frame rate of the monitor: the higher the number, the smoother things will look.

You should expect any monitor you buy to have at least a 60Hz refresh rate. However, some screens have even faster refresh rates such as 120Hz, 144Hz and even up to 360Hz. These will give you noticeably smoother performance in Windows applications but are chiefly aimed at gamers, and you’ll need a powerful graphics card for your gaming PC to cope.

READ NEXT: The best budget monitors to buy

Is the response time important?

The short answer is no. It used to be the case that slow response times could create “ghosting” effects as pixels tried to keep up with the movement of the image. These days, however, monitors boast response times of less than 4ms, which is barely perceivable to the human eye; check the specs sheet in case the monitor you’re after is slower than that.

Input lag is another thing to look out for and isn’t to be confused with response time. It should be noted that this is never listed by manufacturers; input lag is the time it takes for your monitor to respond to an input, often being a mouse click or swipe.

How can I judge image quality?

There are a few things we look out for when testing a monitor’s image quality: colour accuracy, contrast and black levels. We’ve outlined below how we test each one, and the sorts of promising statistics to look out for.

Colour accuracy: By measuring what percentage of the sRGB standard colour gamut (and, in some cases, the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB gamut) a monitor can cover, we can work out how accurately it will depict colours. The higher the percentage, the better the colours will look; expect to see a minimum of 95% coverage.

Contrast: We measure contrast as a ratio of X:1, where “X” is hopefully as high a number as possible. VA and OLED monitors will always offer better contrast than their IPS and TN counterparts but will cost a fair amount more. Expect modern displays to have contrast ratios of at least 500:1 and above.

Black level: Not to be confused with contrast, the black level is measured in cd/m². In this case, you’re looking for a number as close to zero as possible – anything below 1.0cd/m² is broadly acceptable. The lower the number, the inkier the black.

What extras should I look for?

If you’re making a long-term investment in a monitor, it’s advisable to spend extra money to get an all-round good product, not just a good screen. This means taking extras into account.

Monitor stand: Investing in a monitor with a sturdy, adjustable stand is usually well worth the extra cash. Having said that, make sure you have the space for the monitor and stand you plan on buying.

USB hub: A USB hub will potentially decrease clutter beneath your desk by allowing you to plug peripherals such as mice or keyboards straight into your monitor. Some models even have USB 3 hubs so you can transfer large files without using a port on your PC.

Speakers: Music, movies and games will sound less than satisfactory through built-in monitor speakers, so don’t let their presence sway your buying decision – unless, of course, you’re strapped for cash or space.

READ NEXT: The best cheap gaming monitors to buy

The best monitors to buy: 1080p

1. Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1: The best 1080p monitor

Price: £139 | Buy now from Currys

If you’re on a tight budget, we can cut to the quick: the Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1 offers unmatched value without making any obvious sacrifices. This is a well-rounded 1080p monitor with more features than you can shake a stick at – and image quality that puts more expensive competitors to shame.

The XUB2493HSU-B1 employs slim bezels to give an edge-to-edge appearance. It can be flipped into portrait mode, courtesy of a pleasingly versatile stand that also supports 130mm of height adjustment. And better still, it comes with a healthy selection of ports, with VGA, DisplayPort and HDMI inputs plus two side-mounted USB 3 slots.

Thanks to IPS panel technology, the Iiyama has strong colour space coverage, a remarkable contrast ratio of 1,192:1 and a good peak brightness of 278cd/m² (higher is better in both cases). Even the on-screen display is a dream, with context-sensitive controls telling you what each button does before you press it. If there are signs of cost-cutting here, we struggled to find any; this is a phenomenally good value monitor.

Key specs – Screen size: 24in; Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI; Speakers: Yes; Refresh rate: 75Hz

2. BenQ GL2780: The best big 1080p monitor

Price: £144 | Buy now from Amazon

Buying a cheap monitor can be a minefield but there’s no problem whatsoever with the BenQ GL2780. Despite the fact it uses a TN panel, the image quality is second to none at this price. Colour accuracy and contrast are spot on and, although the resolution isn’t the sharpest, 1080p is still fine for most purposes as long as you don’t sit too close.

The GL2780 also has some seriously handy extra features, including an automatic brightness mode, blue light reduction for those who experience eye strain and it has lots and lots of inputs: HDMI, DVI-D, D-SUB and DisplayPort; the only thing missing is USB-C. With a refresh rate up to 75Hz it also makes for a decent budget gaming monitor.

Add built-in speakers and sturdy build quality and you have a product that’s simply stunningly good value for money. If you’re after a big monitor for working at home, look no further than the BenQ GL2780. It’s brilliant.

Read our full BenQ GL2780 review for more details

Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Screen technology: TN; Video inputs: VGA, DVI, HDMI, DVI-D; Speakers: Yes; Refresh rate: 75Hz

3. Asus ZenScreen MB16ACE: The best portable 1080p monitor

Price: £219 | Buy now from Amazon

Here’s something you might not have considered before as an alternative to a regular desktop monitor: a portable display like this Asus MB16AMT. It attaches to your laptop via USB-C or HDMI (both cables and a mains adapter are supplied in the box) and comes with a case that props it up at various angles, a bit like an iPad case.

It’s available in a number of different configurations: the one with a battery and touchscreen is the most expensive (MB16AMT) but you can also buy a basic version that sacrifices touch and the battery for a saving of over £100.

All the models use the same 15.6in 60Hz 1080p IPS panel, too, so you're not missing out on image quality. Peak brightness isn’t amazing, but you don’t really need a lot of brightness on an office screen. It has excellent viewing angles and the anti-glare coating means reflections are kept to an absolute minimum. It even comes with an orientation sensor so you can use it in portrait mode as well as landscape.

Colour reproduction is disappointing with sRGB coverage of 57.5% but, otherwise, this is a fantastic solution for those who don’t have space for a full-size desktop monitor.

Key specs – Screen size: 15.6in; Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: Mini HDMI, USB-C (DisplayPort); Refresh rate: 60Hz

4. Philips 243B9H: Best 1080p monitor with a webcam

Price: £305 | Buy now from Ebuyer

The Philips 243B9H is a cracking productivity monitor with a small 1080p panel, a flexible stand, a built-in webcam and an appealing price. It also has a USB-C port that supports file transfers, video transmission and charging, which means the 243B9H is one of the more affordable ways to enjoy the benefits of USB-C. 

The panel is great for the price, producing 90% of the sRGB colour gamut with low colour variance and an impressive contrast ratio of 1,230:1 when tested in default mode. The peak luminance is decent, too, and the colour temperature in default mode hit 6600K, which means virtually no red/blue tint. It uses IPS technology, so viewing angles are strong, and response times are decent at 4ms G2G. Pair that with a 75Hz refresh rate and you’ve got a halfway decent budget gaming monitor.

The stand pivots, swivels and tilts, and it also offers 150mm of height adjustment, so you’re well equipped to deal with posture problems. And the pop-up 2MP Windows Hello webcam is a lovely bonus in this remote-working age. The webcam won’t win any awards, and the speakers aren’t much to shout about either, but at this price it’s very hard to find any other faults.

Read our full Philips 243B9H review for details

Key specs – Screen size: 23.8in; Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C; Speakers: Yes; Refresh rate: 75Hz


The best monitors to buy: 1440p

5. Iiyama ProLite XUB2792QSU-B1: The best 1440p monitor

Price: £260 (stock low) | Buy now from Amazon

Thanks to Iiyama’s baffling naming conventions, it looks as though we’re repeating ourselves here, and in many ways we are: this 27in 1440p monitor is equally as impressive as its 1080p sibling above.

The Iiyama ProLite XUB2792QSU-B1 is mounted on a versatile stand, with 130mm of height adjustment, 90 degrees of swivel adjustment and support for portrait mode. Like most Iiyama monitors, this model has a very stylish three-sided bezel-less design, with a brushed metal effect very much completing the look.

With support for AMD FreeSync and a 5ms response time, this is an acceptable choice for casual gamers, but it’s as a workday monitor that the Iiyama excels. Particularly if you head to Iiyama’s i-Style Standard colour profile: this locks brightness to 335cd/m² and makes the most of the natural whites of the IPS panel. In testing, it covered 99.3% of the sRGB profile with an average Delta E of 0.28. While we would recommend wider gamut panels to anyone doing colour-sensitive work, this is a great panel for the daily grind.

We mourn the absence of USB-C and wish the speakers had a little more quality, but when you marry the image quality on offer with the low price, it becomes obvious why the XUB2792QSU-B1 takes the crown in the 1440p bracket.

Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI; Speakers: Yes; Refresh rate: 75Hz

6. Eizo FlexScan EV2795: The best for dual-monitor setups

Price: £757 | Buy now from Amazon

For a dual-monitor setup, Eizo’s FlexScan EV2795 is pretty much the best you can get. The Eizo offers daisy-chaining via USB-C, allowing you to power your laptop through the USB-C input, and connect a second screen with the output, keeping the tangle of cables to a minimum. While this will work fine with screens from other manufacturers, for the best colour-matching, you’re going to want to stick with Eizo.

The stand is remarkably flexible, with an array of adjustment options, including 176mm of height adjustment, and 35° of backwards tilt - ideal for quickly showing your screen to someone standing behind you.

While the Eizo does come with a pair of speakers, they’re not much to brag about, with even your standard video meeting coming through very quietly. And of course, being a professional monitor, this isn’t completely optimised for gaming: while the 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time are sufficient, there’s no support for adaptive sync technologies. While casual gamers may want to browse elsewhere on this list, for a professional dual-monitor setup, the Eizo is the absolute best.

Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI; Refresh rate: 60Hz; Response time: 5ms

7. Samsung Odyssey G7: The best 1440p gaming monitor

Price: £550 | Buy now from Amazon

The Samsung Odyssey G7 breaks new ground for gaming monitors. It's the first to feature a dramatic 1000R curvature, which pulls you right into the action when gaming, and it's the first VA panelled screen to have a 1ms GTG response time, ensuring fast, largely blur-free gaming. With a high refresh rate of 240Hz and support for the HDR600 standard it's among the best monitors you can buy from a colour performance perspective as well.

We tested the 32in Odyssey G7 but it's also available in 27in for £550 and that's the model that offers most bang for your buck. The resolution isn't 4K, but at 2,560 x 1,440 it strikes a good balance between sharpness and mitigating the performance impact higher resolution displays inevitably have on gaming performance.

Overall, the Odyssey G7 does just enough to knock our previous favourite, the Acer XF270HUA, from first place. It's a classy gaming monitor with brilliant image quality and incredibly slick gaming credentials.

Read our full Samsung Odyssey G7 review for details

Key specs – Screen size: 27/32in; Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440; Screen technology: VA; Video inputs: 2 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0; Refresh rate: 240Hz; Response time: 1ms


The best monitors to buy: 4K

8. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q: The best 4K monitor

Price: £655 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a practical screen that will reduce cable clutter and reproduce accurate colours, this 27in 4K screen fits the bill – and unlike many competitors, it ordinarily does so for a competitive price. It’s not the most exciting monitor on the planet, but with a vast number of useful features and a gorgeous IPS panel, it’s quietly impressive.

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is packed with all the ports most people will need, with DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 inputs keeping the USB-C port company. It also sports three USB-A ports for peripherals, one of which is powered. The OSD is easy to use and responsive, relying on four small buttons mounted at the bottom of the screen. They change function depending on context – for example, up, down, select and back if changing a value – and the sensible icons make it easy to understand what’s going on.

This is also one seriously adjustable monitor. On top of the usual 130mm of height adjustment and 90 degrees of rotation, the UltraSharp can also pivot 45 degrees from left to right, making it easier to adjust for odd viewing angles.

Top all of this off with some stellar results in our various benchmarking tests and you’ve got yourself a great all-rounder at a very, very reasonable price.

Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C; Speakers: No; Refresh rate: 75Hz

9. AOC U2790PQU: The best budget 4K monitor

Price: £321 | Buy now from Ebuyer

If you’re looking for a 4K 27in IPS screen, and have a budget of around £300, we’re happy to recommend the AOC U2790PQU. In spite of the low price, it manages to hold onto a few crucial features for heavy users, lessening the number of sacrifices you’ll make in the process of saving money.

For example: the AOC U2790PQU offers just as many adjustment options as its more expensive rivals. The three key benefits here are 130mm of height adjustment, 90 degrees of swivel and support for portrait mode – that’s more than you’ll find on most budget monitors. Anecdotally, the stand is sturdy enough to prevent wobble when accessing the on-screen display, something that’s also a rarity among budget panels.

Provided you switch the AOC from default to sRGB mode, you can expect good image quality, with strong colour reproduction and a low Delta E. Contrast is less impressive at 869:1, but peak brightness is more so at 465cd/m². In other words, this is a fine monitor for office use but perhaps not for professionals.

At its core, though, the AOC U2790PQU is impressive simply because it packs 3,840 x 2,160 pixels into a remarkably classy 27in frame at a price that cannot be ignored. There are compromises, but they have been thoughtfully picked so as to not detract from the overall user experience.

Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI; Speakers: Yes; Refresh rate: 75Hz

Buy now from Ebuyer


The best monitors to buy: Ultrawide

10. LG UltraWide 38WN95C: The best ultrawide monitor

Price: £1,325 | Buy now from Laptops Direct

If money is no object, or if you value productivity above all else, this is the monitor to buy. With 37.5in of IPS panel to play with, the LG UltraWide 38WN95C is an astonishingly large monitor; we found that we could easily place three separate windows side-by-side without overlap.

That enormous curved panel refreshes at 144Hz, offers a boosted resolution of 3,840 x 1,600 and supports both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. If you have a rig that can handle it, this is also a seriously good gaming monitor.

But the 38WN95C is an office monitor first and foremost, and that much is evident in the pleasing number of ports in play. Alongside the standard HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports, you’ll also find two USB-A ports and a Thunderbolt USB-C port capable of delivering 90W of power to a connected device. Being a hefty monitor, adjustment options are a tad more limited, but you’re still getting 110mm of height adjustment and 30 degrees of swivel, which is more than enough to ensure that you maintain good posture.

As you’d expect, the 37.5in IPS panel performed exceptionally well in testing, with fantastic gamut coverage backed by an average Delta E of 0.91 (below 1 is excellent) and a measured peak brightness that far exceeded LG’s stated 450cd/m².

We’re even fans of the OSD, which is so quick and easy to understand that you’ll be navigating through its options in no time at all (once you find it, as the mini joystick control is tucked beneath the LG logo).

Key specs – Screen size: 37.5in; Resolution: 3,840 x 1,600; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C; Speakers: Yes; Refresh rate: 144Hz

11. LG UltraWide Ergo 34WN780: The best affordable ultrawide monitor

Price: £450 | Buy now from Laptops Direct

LG comes up trumps in this section and for good reason. With a shedload of features and top-notch performance at a price that will make you double-take, the LG UltraWide QHD IPS HDR Monitor Ergo (LG UltraWide Ergo to you and me) is one seriously appealing ultrawide monitor. 

Chief among these appealing features is the ergonomic arm mount that comes in lieu of a normal stand. This obviously means you can swivel, pivot, tilt, extend, retract, raise and lower the monitor in a superlatively flexible manner. If you lack desk space but still want a 3,440 x 1,440 monitor for office duties, the UltraWide Ergo is your best option.

Office duties are probably the only thing you’ll be using the Ergo for, but that’s not to say it isn’t a strong performer. We measured 98% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut with a Delta E colour variance score of just 0.8, meaning any inaccuracies are imperceptible. A 5ms response time and max refresh rate of just 75Hz don’t bode well for gamers, but the Ergo does at least support AMD FreeSync. 

Connectivity is standard for the price, with two HDMI 2 ports, 1 DP 1.4 port and a two-port USB-A 3 hub for your peripherals. The lack of USB-C is the only truly glaring omission here: otherwise, the UltraWide Ergo is a phenomenal monitor for anyone in need of a flexible monitor for heavy-duty workloads.

Read our full LG UltraWide Ergo review for details

Key specs – Screen size: 34in; Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440; Screen technology: IPS; Video inputs: 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2; Refresh rate: 75Hz

Buy now from Laptops Direct


12. Samsung Odyssey Neo G9: The best monitor... full stop

Price: £1,849 | Buy now from Selfridges

Make no mistake: the Odyssey Neo G9 is the most astonishing monitor on the market today. This 49in behemoth has plenty going for it on paper, but witnessing the eye-searing peak HDR performance in person is something else entirely. This is the first gaming monitor to use a MiniLED backlight: that’s a staggering peak luminance of 2,000cd/m², a near-perfect contrast ratio and 2,048 individual backlight zones working tirelessly to produce breathtaking colours and inky shadows. In short, HDR-compatible content is breathtaking to behold.

Even in standard mode, however, the Neo G9 performs impeccably. Your PC might not be able to fully leverage the monitor’s DQHD (5,120 x 1,440) resolution and 240Hz refresh rate – ours certainly struggled – but even at lower resolutions/frame rates, your games will benefit. This is a fluid, accurate panel with phenomenal colours (we measured 99.6% sRGB and 91% DCI-P3 coverage) whether you choose SDR and HDR. 

The Neo G9 is a gaming monitor first and foremost, but if you need a more versatile product you won’t be disappointed. Sure, the 1000R curve and super ultrawide 32:9 aspect ratio suck you into the driver’s seat of your favourite racing simulator, but the vast amount of screen real estate is also ideal for keeping a luxurious number of Chrome windows open simultaneously. 

It’s not all good news: with just two HDMI 2.1 ports and a single DP 1.4 port on the rear, plus two USB-A 3.0 ports for peripherals, the Neo G9 is surprisingly underequipped. It’s also vast, although the stand is at least balanced on two narrow legs to avoid consuming too much room on your desk. Having said that, we feel that the sheer magnificence of the panel pretty well eclipses any small misgivings: if you have the money, the setup and the desk space, buy this monitor.

Read our full Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 review for details

Key specs – Screen size: 49in; Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440; Screen technology: VA; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x DP 1.4; Refresh rate: 240Hz

Buy now from Selfridges