Best monitors of 2017: The very best from £200 to £4,000
Whether you’re a professional photographer or working to a strict budget, upgrading your monitor can make the biggest impact to your everyday computing – make the right choice and you’ll be able to get more out of your PC or laptop than ever before.
Whatever you’re after, you’ll find something that fits the bill in the following line-up. If you’re not sure what to look for, click the dropdown menu above and our Buyer’s Guide will walk you through the basics.
Already know exactly what you’re after? Scroll down and get stuck in. With screen sizes ranging from 24in to 32in, and prices starting at £200 and soaring to £4,000, there’s something for everyone. We update the prices on a regular basis, so the prices you see below are a rough indication of how much the monitors are selling for now – if you see a different price on the review, that’s why.
The best monitors under £400
Price: around £190 inc VAT
The U2412M is one of a dying breed. With most PC monitors adopting the 16:9 aspect ratio and Full HD resolution, this Dell’s 24in IPS panel perseveres with the old-school 16:10 ratio to give an extra 120 pixels of vertical resolution. It’s a little pricier than some, and it’s getting on a bit (it was reviewed way back in 2012 – yes, 2012!), but, with great build and image quality, it’s still a monitor worthy of a place on your desk in 2017.
Price: around £190 inc VAT
The Dell UltraSharp U2414H is a great monitor for sensible money. Ultimately, we prefer the larger resolution of its predecessor, the UltraSharp U2412M, which is still on sale, but it’s a close-run thing. If Full HD resolution suits your needs, the UltraSharp U2414H’s generous feature set, great build and fine image quality are a steal at this price.
Price: around £310 inc VAT
Not content with serving up a 27in, 2,560 x 1,440 panel for less than £400, AOC has defied expectations by throwing in a fully adjustable stand and a three-year warranty as well. The combination of features and image quality is positively brilliant for the money, and only Acer’s K272HUL (see below), with ever-so-slightly superior colour accuracy, comes close at this price.
Price: around £250 inc VAT
It’s amazing how little you need to spend to get a good-quality monitor these days, and the Acer K272HUL is a prime example. Squeezing in a 27in, 2,560 x 1,440 panel for less than £400 was quite the feat back when we first reviewed it – now it’s available for as little as £250. There’s only one thing standing in the way of the Acer’s success, and that’s the equally affordable AOC q2770Pqu. Acer takes the lead with marginally better colour accuracy, but the AOC is the better all-rounder.
The best mid-range monitors
Price: around £380 inc VAT
Asus was among the first manufacturers to jump on the 4K monitor bandwagon, and it led the charge way back in 2013 with the wallet-crushing £3,000 Asus PQ321QE. That encounter left us hankering for an affordable version, which is exactly what Asus has delivered with the PB287Q – a 28in 4K monitor which now retails for under £400. Bear in mind, however, that the PB287Q uses TN panel technology: if you’re after a big-screen display with great colour fidelity, it’d be wise to buy a 2,560 x 1,440 monitor with an IPS panel, such as the ViewSonic below, instead.
Price: around £600 inc VAT
ViewSonic’s VP2772 promises high-end, high-resolution performance, and since our review the price has dropped to around the £600 mark. The huge, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS panel is lit by a wide-gamut GB-r LED backlight, and ViewSonic colour-calibrates each display to guarantee an average Delta E of 3. Backlighting could be better, and the sRGB mode is flawed, but this monitor delivers a taste of the high-end for a little less than most.
The best professional monitors under £1,500
Price: around £450 inc VAT
Eizo’s monitors have developed something of a reputation in professional circles, but that quality has traditionally come at a hefty price. Now, the ColorEdge CS240 delivers the quality we’ve come to expect for much less cash. It might lack the high-resolution 27in panel and self-calibrating magic of the CG277, but the CS240 packs in a 1,920 x 1,200 IPS panel which boasts 99% Adobe RGB coverage, staggeringly fine colour accuracy and even backlighting from corner to corner. Shell out an extra £160 on an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and the CS240 makes it possible to put together a professional-class, colour-accurate display for just over £600.
Price: around £850 inc VAT
The EA244UHD justifies its high price by delivering the finest 4K images we’ve laid our eyes on. Those looking for an affordable high-end display should opt for the 27in MultiSync PA272W instead, but, if the huge pixel density and compact figure appeals, the EA244UHD is a fine choice.
Price: around £750 inc VAT
Eizo’s ColorEdge CX24 is frightfully pricey for a 24in monitor, but it subtly improves upon Eizo’s previous 24in monitors – and right across the board. It’s certainly a cracking performer, but with 27in rivals – such as the NEC MultiSync PA272W – costing a similar sum, we’d hesitate before splashing out.
Price: around £1,000 inc VAT
The PA328Q uses a huge 32in IPS panel; it has a factory-calibrated sRGB mode that’s fairly colour accurate; and the built uniformity compensation circuitry aims to ensure that the panel is evenly lit from corner to corner. It’s not up to the standards of professional monitors, though: the backlighting is rather patchy, even with uniformity compensation enabled, and, although the onscreen display provides a reasonable amount of scope for tweaking the colour response, hardware calibration isn’t on the cards. Professionals should look elsewhere, then, but less demanding users (and aspiring 4K gamers) may still find that the combination of price, pixel count and image quality ticks the right boxes.
The best professional monitors over £1,500
Price: around £1,450 inc VAT
This is a frighteningly expensive monitor; in truth, for most people, it’s overkill. But, for anyone who requires absolutely reliable colour reproduction day in, day out with zero faff, the CG277’s combination of refined image quality, integrated colour calibration and peerless features is impossible to beat. If we had our way, every monitor would be as good as the CG277.
Price: around £4,000 inc VAT
We had high hopes for the first 4K display to join the hallowed ranks of Eizo’s ColorEdge range, and it’s fair to say the ColorEdge CG318-4K lives up to expectations. While we were contentedly dreaming of a colour-perfect 4K monitor, the CG318-4K actually goes beyond Ultra HD to reach the 4,096 x 2,160 resolution stipulated by the Digital Cinema (DCI) 4K standard. This means the ColorEdge CG318-4K is ready for the most demanding colour-grading and post-production video work that you can throw at it. As ever, in-built calibration allows the CG318-4K to deliver colour-accurate images with minimal hassle, and the wide-gamut IPS panel serves up colour fidelity, contrast and backlighting a mere whisker from perfection. Such a high calibre of performance comes with a daunting suggested retail price of £4,000, but this is a monitor purpose-built to please the mostn exacting of professionals – the rest of us can but dream.
Price: around £2,200 inc VAT
If the very prospect of a 32in 4K monitor is enough to turn you into a overexcitable, gibbering wreck, then it’s probably best you stop reading now: the NEC MultiSync PA322UHD is a glorious example of the big-screened 4K breed. The 32in, wide-gamut IPS panel delivers sterling image quality from corner to corner, and hardware calibration means that – with the help of a third-party colorimeter – the NEC will continue to deliver top-quality imagery for years to come. Connectivity is superb, too, and, in addition to a comprehensive selection of picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture options that take advantage of the myriad inputs, it’s possible to add extra connections such as HD-SDI for professional video-production duties. For around £2,000, this is the best-value professional 4K monitor out there. One word of warning, though: at 20kg, it’s desk-crushingly heavy. If you buy one, make sure there’s a friend around to help you get it out of the box.