For some people, one screen is all they need. But for some of us, a second or third monitor can make a world of difference for our sanity and our productivity.
Different jobs require different monitors, and buyers have wide-ranging budgets. So we've assembled a list of great monitors that should have something for everyone, from small second screens to large high-end monitors that can handle pretty much anything.
Asus’ ZenScreen Go may not look all that different from the company’s previous MB16AC portable monitor, but it does come with one key addition that justifies its higher price tag: a built-in battery. That’ll let you use the monitor for four hours without draining your laptop’s battery (you can keep using it after that by plugging in your laptop), or even use it with a compatible Android smartphone. Otherwise, it still packs a full HD 15.6-inch IPS display, and both USB-C and regular USB Type-A connectivity to ensure it’ll work with any laptop.
Dell’s Ultrasharp U3417W remains a great choice if you want a big, ultra-wide monitor for general use, but it isn’t a fit for everyone. If you’re more concerned with gaming than productivity, you can save some money and still enjoy the added immersive nature of a curved screen with Samsung’s CHG70 (available in and varieties). It adds features like HDR and FreeSync 2 support that the Dell lacks—not to mention a much higher refresh rate—and, unlike many gamer-minded monitors, it won’t look too out of place if it’s doing double-duty in a home office.
ViewSonic primarily markets its VX2457 monitor as a budget-friendly option for gamers, but Windows Central as a great, affordable monitor for anyone. There’s also a smaller 22-inch model and a larger 27-incher, but the 24-inch at $130 will likely offer the best bang-for-the buck for most folks. Like many less-expensive gaming monitors, however, the VX2457 uses a TN display panel that offers a better response time and refresh rate than IPS panels you’ll find in this price range, albeit at some expense to color accuracy and viewing angles.
A 24-inch monitor will hit the sweet spot of being big enough but not too big for most people, and a 16:10 monitor like Dell’s Ultrasharp U2415 will give you a bit of added screen space compared to one with a 16:9 aspect ratio (which are often less expensive). Dell’s Ultrasharp line has also long been considered to offer some of the best performance for the money, something that remains true for the U241—a favorite of many—as well as for the company’s 27-inch U2717D if you’re looking for something a little bit bigger.
If you’re looking for a sizable monitor with pro-level color accuracy but aren’t looking to spend too much on it, HP’s Z27n is one that’s worth a look. It’s The Wirecutter’s for their favorite 27-inch monitor overall, getting high marks for its ergonomic-minded adjustable stand and ample array of ports in addition to its great image quality. The monitor’s ultra thin bezel also makes it ideal for using two of them side-by-side in a multi-monitor setup.
If you have a USB-C laptop (or are planning to get one in the near future), a USB-C-equipped monitor is an obvious consideration. Something like LG’s 27UD88 will let you use a single cable to both display video and charge your laptop, and also act as a hub to connect other USB 3.0 devices (complete with Quick Charge capabilities). It’s also no slouch as a monitor, with an IPS panel offering a full 3840 x 2160 resolution and a 5ms response time, along with FreeSync and a dedicated gaming mode catering to gamers’ needs.
Curved monitors were something of a pricey novelty just a few years ago, but they’ve now become considerably more affordable and commonplace. Dell’s 34-inch Ultrasharp U3417W is one standout for anyone looking to replace two monitors with one big one instead. It’s an from PCMag, which praised the monitor’s color and grayscale performance, as well as its wide range of features, including dual 9-watt speakers and plenty of inputs. But gamers may find the monitor a bit lacking for their needs.
If even the likes of the ViewSonic VX2457 are more than you’re looking to spend on a monitor, there are still plenty of decent options available for well under the $100 mark. HP’s 21.5-inch 22cwa monitor is one of the better-selling and better-reviewed bargain options on Amazon, getting a four-and-a-half star out of five rating after more than 3,000 customer reviews. Despite its low price, the monitor uses an IPS panel that promises great viewing angles, though its 7ms response time may be a bit slow for more demanding users.