10 best computer monitors for working from home or gaming

Treat your eyes to one of these smart PC accessories, from superb-value FHD options to detail-rich UHD

Pete Wise@PeteWilliamWise
Tuesday 22 September 2020 18:08
Sit these on your desk for better resolution and viewing experience
Sit these on your desk for better resolution and viewing experience

Whether you’re working from home or you’re simply seeking to get a little more richness out of video and images, there’s never been a better time to buy a new monitor.

Very good monitors can now be bought for little more than the cost of a new video game. Meanwhile, if you want something extraordinary, it’s available for a little bit more.

When choosing a monitor, there are a few key specifications you should look at. The most fundamental is connectivity. Does the monitor have the right connection ports to connect to your computer, games console, or whatever else you wish to use it with? Common display interfaces include HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort and USB Type-C.

Another important point to address is the monitor’s resolution. The vast majority of monitors being made today have at least a Full HD (1920 x 1080px) resolution. 

At the higher end of the market, detail-rich 4k displays are common. Higher resolution models are most relevant to people who intend to use their monitor for gaming or streaming 4k media.

Speaking of gaming, there are a few specs to look out for if you need a monitor that’ll do justice to your favourite games. In particular, look at the refresh rate and response time. The refresh rate is the number of times per minute the image is refreshed, so the higher that figure is, the more dynamic the game can be. 

The response time refers to how long it takes for the pixels on the screen to change colour in response to the input. A response time of five milliseconds or less is what you’re looking for.

Finally, think carefully about the width of the monitor you require. In our view, the most suitable monitor sizes for home use are within the range of about 21" to 27". 

This measurement describes the length of the diagonal between the bottom-left and top-right corners of the screen.

A larger screen is generally construed as providing a better video viewing experience, while smaller screens can be more convenient to keep around the home.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. 

LG 27QN880 27" QHD ergo IPS monitor

Elegant, convenient and beautifully sharp, this is our favourite monitor for home working. We found it a joy to set up and use, with the eight default picture modes catering excellently for a range of uses, from gaming to writing this very review.

The ergonomic stand of the 27QN880 is a bit of a marvel. Once safely clamped onto your desk, it enables you to swivel, extend, retract, pivot or tilt the screen, pretty much as you please. This makes it remarkably easy to position the monitor on your desk, where other screens of the same size might take up too much space.

ViewSonic VX2776-4K-MHD 27 inch IPS monitor

Beautiful, crystal clear viewing is the order of the day with this powerful monitor. It is an aesthete’s dream, combining 4k Ultra HD resolution with a chic silver design that’s distinctly snazzier than the average monitor.

One minor downside is that assembling it can be a little fiddly. The screws used to put the stand together with the screen doesn’t fit into place quite as easily as we’d have liked. However, this minor inconvenience will soon be forgotten, once you’ve hooked up your computer or console and feasted your eyes on the phenomenal screen.

BenQ GW2480 24 Inch 1080p eye care LED IPS Monitor

This is the best affordable monitor we’ve tested, offering excellent performance and quality at a very fair price. The edge-to-edge design of the screen is particularly slick, placing whatever’s on-screen firmly in the spotlight. Its stand feels robust and nicely finished, well beyond our expectations.

A particularly interesting feature of this monitor is its “brightness intelligence technology”, which dims excessively bright areas of the screen whilst boosting the visibility of dark areas. In our testing, this clever tech delivered a wonderfully watchable viewing experience, combining comfort and clarity.

Acer EK240YAbi 23.8" FHD monitor

Super-simple to set up, easy to configure and HD capable, this is a solid affordable option for your home office.

The monitor’s 1920 x 1080px FHD resolution is more than sharp enough for most home use, although gamers and professionals who work with images and videos might be better served with a 4k screen instead. Its VGA and HDMI video inputs cover most of the devices you could likely wish to use with it, including some laptops of a pre-HDMI vintage.

Some of the EK240YAbi’s components are relatively lightweight, so do take care with them when moving the monitor around.

Dell U2719D 27 inch ultrasharp QHD monitor

The Dell ultrasharp QHD monitor is simply glorious to view media with. This should come as little surprise given the monitor’s spec sheet. 1080p resolution, “comfortview” blue light reduction and top-drawer colour calibrations are just a few of the many strings to the U2719D’s bow.

In terms of design, this monitor is eminently practical, from the capability to stow away dangling cables using its cable management system, to the solid, straightforward style of the stand and screen. If we’re going to split hairs, we’d say the headphone jack could do to be slightly easier to locate. It’s quite hard to get to it behind the monitor stand, and you’ll need it to hear the audio from your connected device.

AOC E2270SWHN 21.5" LED FHD monitor

This screen gives you HD resolution in a remarkably affordable package. The monitor’s brushed finish and pleasingly simple design give it an appearance that’s a cut above most of its peers.

At 21.5",  it is a suitable size to work with in a fairly compact space. If you want to use the monitor for gaming or watching films, you may want to find something a little larger.

Interestingly, this monitor can be wall mounted – a capability that opens up the potential to save lots of space on your desk.

Samsung LC32R500FHUXEN 32" curved monitor

Here’s a monitor so immersive, you can pretty well live inside it. The curved, 32" screen looks cinematic, and it does indeed lend itself well to viewing films. But that flamboyant curvature can be beneficial in day-to-day office use, too. A curved screen can help the user take in all the information on a wide screen more easily than they could if the screen were flat – a claim we found to be accurate during our testing.

Curved screen aside, this is a fairly simple and effective HD monitor. One minor downside is that it is not especially connectable, with only HDMI, VGA and headphone inputs/outputs to play with.

ASUS VX279C 27 inch FHD monitor

This powerful monitor would be our recommendation to those of you who are looking to spend about £200. It ticks all the basics perfectly, with robust-feeling construction, excellent quality on the screen, and a neat footprint that takes up only a small circle of space on the desk.

Looking more in-depth, it has some clever tricks up its sleeve that help deliver an excellent viewing experience. The monitor uses dynamic backlighting to enhance the light and the dark on the screen, delivering the sort of colour contrast Caravaggio might well have enjoyed. It also enhances the outlines of objects on-screen to increase their sharpness. This is a monitor that’s very well attuned to how we see things – and what higher praise could we give it than that?

Philips e-line 245E1S 24" LED monitor

This natty Philips monitor stands out from the crowd, with a smart, angular design and attractive brushed finish.

Of course, what really matters is what’s on screen – and in this monitor’s case, that’s something rather impressive. It uses an ultra-wide colour spectrum to deliver especially vivid images. From screensavers to streaming videos, this can make for excellent viewing.

One group of users to whom this monitor comes especially highly recommended is casual gamers. It represents a great compromise between the needs of home office use – a neat footprint, a restrained design – with impressive specs such as a response time of four milliseconds.

Lenovo Q27q-10 27 inch QHD monitor

Let’s finish our monitor reviews roundup with a really strong option. This is that rarest of things: a monitor with a really distinctive design. Borderless on three sides and with a sleek lateral stand, this is one of the most striking monitors we’ve tested.

We also found this a particularly fine monitor to work with. The monitor’s 2560 x 1440px resolution gave us all the detail our eyes could desire. The viewing experience was comfortable, too, which presumably owes something to the Q27q-10’s flicker-free and blue light reduction technologies.

The verdict: Computer monitors

Thanks to its eye-catching combination of beautiful visuals and extreme flexibility, we’re naming the LG 27QN880 our Best Buy. Not only will this monitor make whatever you’re viewing or watching look its best, it’ll also help keep your desk tidy by virtue of its clever clamp-based stand.

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