Update, 06/23/2022: We’ve updated the best overall, best gaming monitor, and best monitor for Mac recommendations, as the previous recommendations sold out.
There are many things to consider before you buy a monitor. This includes your budget, intended use, available space, and hardware constraints. Someone playing games competitively will have a very different set of criteria to someone who relies on full Adobe RGB coverage for photo editing, for example.
In 2021, you have a lot more options for what you put on your desk than you did even a decade ago. 4K monitors are more popular than ever as people buy new computers capable of driving more than one screen at a time. Opting for a 4K monitor is a great choice as you get a higher pixel density for sharper text and images, plus more screen real estate.
Some options target laptop users, with many monitors now using DisplayPort or Thunderbolt capable USB-C connectors. These can be used as a single connection point to drive the monitor and power the laptop simultaneously. This cuts down on the number of cables you need to carry or hide behind your desk, though be aware that a monitor’s power output has to match your laptop’s power requirements for this to work.
If you need color accuracy (say for photo or video editing), a calibrator is a must-buy since even a monitor that is accurately calibrated out of the box can change over time. It’s also worth keeping in mind that most monitors come with sub-par speakers, so you should look at a small desktop soundbar, a 2.1 system, or a good pair of headphones.
In determining the best picks, we’ve used our discretion to make sure our recommendations are within a reasonable budget and easy to find. By tailoring our choices to the consumer market and picking only widely available models via vendors like Amazon and Best Buy, the choices below should have broad appeal to office workers, creatives, and casual gamers alike.
Best Monitor Overall: Dell P2721Q
- ✓ Great color accuracy
- ✓ Fully adjustable stand
- ✓ A good selection of ports
- ✓ Dell Premium Panel Warranty
- ✗ No internal speakers
- ✗ No variable refresh rate support
The Dell P2721Q is an impressive 4K monitor with a solid feature set. Its 27-inch IPS display is crisp and comes with excellent color accuracy. More importantly, the P2721Q has an almost full coverage of the commonly used sRGB color space.
The monitor’s modern design looks clean and sophisticated. There are slim bezels on the three sides with a thicker bezel on the bottom. Build quality is also good, and the included stand is fully adjustable. You can tilt, swivel, pivot, or adjust the height to get the perfect placement for yourself.
Dell has packed a decent selection of ports, including one DisplayPort 1.2, one HDMI 2.0 port, one USB-C port with DisplayPort (DP) Alt mode, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports. The USB-C port can deliver up to 65W of power to a connected laptop, allowing a single cable operation. Additionally, you can use the USB-A ports to connect peripherals and external storage drives, removing the need for a dedicated USB hub.
The 27-inch Dell P2721Q has a modern design, great color accuracy, and excellent ergonomics. In addition, the monitor can work as a USB hub.
Best Budget Monitor: Dell S2721Q
- ✓ 27-inch 4K monitor with 99% sRGB coverage
- ✓ Excellent image quality and pixel density for the money
- ✓ AMD FreeSync support
- ✓ Flicker-free display technology
- ✗ Uncalibrated out of the box so color accuracy could be poor
- ✗ No VESA mount or height-adjustable stand
- ✗ 60Hz refresh rate is a poor choice for gaming
- ✗ No USB-C connector for power delivery or display connectivity
The Dell S2721Q is a 27-inch budget monitor with a 4K IPS panel, available in both curved and flat designs. You can think of the Dell S2721Q as a budget-friendly alternative to the U2720Q, our best overall pick.
This Dell S series monitor has the same beautiful thin bezels as its more expensive siblings, with the same 99% sRGB coverage. It lacks a USB-C connector capable of delivering power and basic display connectivity in favor of dual HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort 1.2 connector.
Despite being AMD FreeSync capable, this monitor is a poor match for gamers with its 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time. The gaming monitor below will be a better pick. For office use, the S2721Q is a desktop monitor delivers an image that punches well above its price range. Just don’t expect the same premium build quality seen on Dell’s higher-end options.
Dell’s S2721Q is a great choice for those on a budget who don’t need the superior ergonomics, mounting options, and pre-calibrated color accuracy seen on the UltraSharp (or similarly-priced) monitors, but who still value high pixel density and vibrant colors.
Getting a quality monitor doesn't have to be expensive. This Dell S series monitor has a lot of great features for a low price. It's just not a good fit for gamers.
Best Gaming Monitor: LG Ultragear 27GP950-B
- ✓ Fast 144Hz refresh rate, supports overclocking to 160Hz
- ✓ Excellent color gamut and accuracy
- ✓ VRR support
- ✗ No swivel support
- ✗ Poor local dimming
- ✗ No USB-C port
If you are searching for a gaming monitor, it’s hard to beat the LG Ultragear 27GP950-B. It delivers fantastic gaming performance because of its low input lag and fast response time. You also get a high refresh rate of 144GHz, which you can overclock to 160Hz for an even smoother experience. Plus, there is support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and Nvidia G-Sync to stop screen tearing.
Thanks to the 4K resolution, the monitor’s 27-inch screen has a high pixel density for sharp images and text. The Nano IPS panel also ensures excellent color gamut, wide viewing angles, and great color accuracy. The 27GP950-B even supports HDR content and has DisplayHDR 600 certification.
There are two HDMI 2.1 ports and one DisplayPort 1.4 to receive video signals, but no USB-C port exists. However, the monitor supports USB Hub functionality and has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports to connect peripherals and storage drives.
Lastly, the monitor has a decent design with thin bezels and a ring of RGB bias lighting on the back. The stand supports tilt and height adjustments, but there is no swivel support, and you can only pivot in one direction.
LG Ultragear 27GP950-B
Gamers will love the LG 27GP950-B. It has a 4K screen, a fast 144Hz refresh rate, and support for both AMD and Nvidia's variable refresh rate technologies.
Best Ultrawide Monitor: LG 38WN95C-W
- ✓ 21:9 ultrawide aspect ratio with a resolution of 3840x1600
- ✓ Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) connectivity with 94W power delivery
- ✓ 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time
- ✓ FreeSync Premium Pro certfied and G-Sync compatible
- ✗ May be overkill for office use
- ✗ Wider monitors exist at a similar price point, with less bells and whistles
- ✗ Poor contrast ratio compared to similar models
The LG 38WN95C-W is a curved ultrawide monitor with a resolution of 3840×1600, which translates to an aspect ratio of 21:9. Most monitors use a 16:9 or 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio, but an ultrawide is a great option if you want more on-screen at once. An ultrawide of this screen size could replace two monitors (which makes the price a little easier to swallow) and eliminate the bezel that plagues multiple monitor setups.
This particular LG ultrawide is packed with features, including Thunderbolt 3 connectivity via USB-C that can power a laptop with 94W of power delivery. It also hits an impressive refresh rate of 144Hz, making it buttery smooth to use on the desktop and ideal for gaming on the side, assuming your graphics card can handle it.
The 38WN95C-W is Nvidia G-Sync compatible and has FreeSync Premium Pro on-board, which means support for variable refresh rates that eliminate screen tearing in fast-paced games. A DisplayHDR 600 certification means that HDR games and movies will look good, and there’s 98% coverage of DCI-P3, 100% coverage of sRGB, and a response time of 1ms.
In short, this ultrawide monitor is a solid all-rounder. If you want serious horizontal width at the expense of refresh rate (and your wallet), then the Dell U4919DW is an ideal super ultrawide monitor alternative that’s perfect for office use.
Do you want to step into the world of ultrawide monitors? This LG UW model comes with FreeSync and G-Sync compatibilities, making it great for gaming and web browsing alike.
Best 4K Monitor: ViewSonic VP2785-4K
- ✓ Factory calibrated out of the box with 100% sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec. 709
- ✓ 95% DCI-P3 coverage
- ✓ USB-C (DisplayPort) connectivity with 60w of charging power
- ✓ In-built hardware to help calibrate the screen for longterm accuracy
- ✗ 60Hz refresh rate is fine for office use but poor for gaming
- ✗ HDR10 decoding but no true HDR playback
- ✗ More expensive than similar monitors if you don't need color accuracy
4K is here to stay, with most computers now able to handle one or two 4K displays at a time. The ViewSonic VP2785-4K is yet another 27-inch monitor that’s worthy of your desk space, particularly if creative work is your primary pursuit. It’s also a great office monitor with ambient light and presence sensors that adjust screen brightness to your surroundings and save energy when you leave your desk.
ViewSonic sells this monitor as factory calibrated and ready to go, with 100% coverage of Adobe RGB, sRGB, Rec. 709, SMPTE-C, and EBU plus 95% coverage of DCI-P3, also making it a great monitor for creatives. Brightness tops out at a passable 350 nits, and though the monitor can decode HDR10, it won’t pop as it would on a proper HDR television.
The VP2785-4K uses ViewSonic’s Colorbration+ system to make periodically calibrating it with a supported calibrator easier than ever. You can connect your laptop via USB-C (DisplayPort), and the monitor will output up to 60w of power for charging. There’s also a built-in KVM switch that allows you to use this monitor with multiple computers and a single set of peripherals.
Simply, this is a great-looking 4K monitor that won’t disappoint.
It's time to upgrade from your 1080p monitor. If you're looking for a basic monitor that can display in 4K, ViewSonic's VP monitor will be a perfect replacement, with great RGB coverage and HDR10.
Best Monitor for Mac: Dell U2723QE
- ✓ Crisp images and text
- ✓ Ergonomic stand and good built quality
- ✓ Built-in KVM Switch and USB Hub
- ✗ Limited to 60Hz refresh rate
- ✗ Daisy-chaining issues on Macs
The Dell U2723QE is an excellent 4K monitor that works well with Macs. It has a 27-inch IPS Black panel, which offers better contrast than traditional IPS panels, great color accuracy, and a wide color gamut. You also get HDR content support, but the monitor only has the base DisplayHDR 400 certification.
The monitor looks nice and has an office-oriented design with an incredibly ergonomic stand. You can tilt, swivel, pivot, and adjust the height.
On the connectivity front, the Dell monitor has an impressive port selection. It packs one DisplayPort 1.4 port, one HDMI 2.0 port, and one USB-C port with DP Alt mode for video input. The Type-C port can also deliver up to 90W of power to a connected laptop, allowing you to power almost any MacBook. Additionally, the monitor can act as a USB hub and KVM Switch and has five USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, and one RJ45 Ethernet port.
Unfortunately, while the U2723QE has a DisplayPort out for daisy-chaining monitors when connected to a Mac, the monitor just mirrors itself on the second monitor.
All in all, the Dell U2723QE is a solid choice for most Mac users, including content creators. But if you are looking for the absolute best option and have no budget constraints, you should consider the Apple Pro Display XDR.
The Dell U2723QE is a no-frills monitor that works great with Macs. It offers excellent connectivity options, great accuracy, and a wide color gamut.
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