Best monitors 2021: Upgrade to a proper screen

The top external displays for photo editing, office work and more

Abstract image of a blue monitor on a white background

Many businesses provide their staff with basic, cheap monitors – but a screen upgrade can be a smart investment. A display with plenty of working space helps staff to be more productive, while strong brightness and contrast will keep them from squinting and struggling in bright sunlight. A sharper, clearer and more colourful screen is even likely to make them more enthused and motivated.

There are other considerations, too. While colour reproduction may not be crucial to all departments, if you’re putting together materials to be shared online or professionally printed, you’ll want a screen that gives an accurate impression of how the finished product will look – otherwise you’re putting your company’s reputation on the line.

Here’s our selection of the best displays on the market, to help you choose the perfect screens for your business. 

Eizo ColorEdge CS2410

Eizo ColorEdge CS2410

Professional displays tend to come with wince-worthy price tags, but this 24in beauty is a real bargain at just £358. It’s almost embarrassingly easy to calibrate (though you’ll need your own colourimeter), and can reproduce 98% of the sRGB gamut with effectively perfect colour accuracy. The 1,920 x 1,200 resolution isn’t as sharp as you might be used to, and the wide Adobe RGB or DCI-P3 colour spaces aren’t well covered, but if you can live with those limitations then the CS2410 is a steal.

Size24.1in
Resolution1,920 x 1m200 
Brightness266cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D

Price when reviewed: £358 exc VAT

Read our full Eizo ColorEdge CS2410 review for more information.

Eizo FlexScan EV2795

Eizo FlexScan EV2795 front view

All cards appear to be against this 27in Eizo monitor. After all, it has a mere 1440p resolution while still costing a fair whack. Nevertheless, it's well worth spending this extra for several reasons, including daisy-chaining via USB-C which could, for instance, allow you to connect a second screen and power your laptop with fewer cables. Performance is also top-tier, Switch to sRGB and you'll be confident the monitor will cover that colour space without leaking into others, reflected by its 95% coverage of the sRGB gamut tut of 97% volume. Accuracy is excellent too, with a stunningly low 0.58 Elta E average and a maximum of 1.88.

Size27in
Resolution2,560 x 1,440 
Brightness337cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C

Price when reviewed: £654 exc VAT

Read our full Eizo Flexscan EV2795 review for more information.

Eizo FlexScan EV2785

EV2785

This Eizo is perfect for anyone looking for versatility, build quality and reliability. The EV2785’s stand offers an unmatched 178mm of height adjustment, while the screen swivels 344°, pivots 90° and tilts back a full 35°. This monitor also comes with a generous warranty, with five years of on-site cover and a six-month guarantee that promises replacement if any sub-pixels are fully lit. Eizo invests in a brilliant OSD, too, with touch-sensitive buttons on the bottom bezel that allow you to flick between its numerous settings with ease. It offers a huge spectrum of colour temperatures, ranging from 4000K to 10000K in (largely) 500K increments and, unlike other manufacturers, it’s very close at matching those temperatures.

Size27in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
Brightness333cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 1.4, 60W USB-C

Price when reviewed: £773 exc VAT

Read our full Eizo FlexScan EV2785 review for more information

Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1

Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1

The Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1 offers unmatched value without making any obvious sacrifices – in fact, it's considerably cheaper than the Iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU. The B1 covers 93.6% of the sRGB gamut with an outstanding average Delta E of 0.81, while its measured contrast ratio of 1,192:1 is great too. All of those results came in the monitor’s preset sRGB mode, which bizarrely locks you into 100% brightness – and it’s bright at 278cd/m2.

Size23.8in
Resolution1,920 x 1,080
Brightness278cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort, HDMI, VGA

Price when reviewed: £108 exc VAT

Read our full Iiyama ProLite XUB2493HSU-B1 for more information

Samsung LC34J791

Samsung LC34J791
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Samsung is best known in the UK for its phones and tablets, but it also sells numerous “professional” monitors. Its consumer pizzazz is evident in a glossy white finish on the rear of this 34in curved monitor, which minimises clutter thanks to two Thunderbolt connections alongside two USB-A ports. There’s nothing special about the panel itself, using VA technology with its inherently excellent response times and contrast. This makes it well suited to games, and you can even push it up to 100Hz at its native 3,440 x 1,440 resolution. The panel proved a solid performer in our tests, with its standard setting delivering an average Delta E of 0.69 and 99.9% coverage of the sRGB gamut with 131.8% volume. It covers almost all the DCI-P3 gamut as well. Where it proved less exceptional was brightness uniformity, but excellent viewing angles make up for this in practice - it doesn’t look obviously less bright in any particular areas.

Size34in
Resolution3,440 x 1,440 
Brightnessn/a
Video InputsDisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C

Price when reviewed: £438 exc VAT

Read our full Samsung LC34J791 review for more information.

Iiyama ProLite XUB3493WQSU-B1

Iiyama ProLite XUB3493WQSU-B1

With a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 you aren’t getting the same amount of area as two 27in 1440p screens; it’s much closer to two 21in monitors. Still, no one will want for desktop space, with the panel a gift to any spreadsheet devotee or those who like to have two or three windows in view simultaneously. Iiyama chooses an IPS panel, so you immediately benefit from excellent viewing angles. It’s also strong when it comes to brightness uniformity. This wasn’t the best performer in our other technical tests, however, especially in its default mode. Its sRGB coverage of 88.6% (96.2% volume) is okay, but this panel struggles to go beyond this space. After some tweaks, we pushed those figures up to 92.6% coverage and 100.9% volume, but other panels have far wider gamuts. 

Size34in
Resolution3,440 x 1,440 
Brightness425cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort, HDMI

Price when reviewed: £286 exc VAT

Read our full Iiyama ProLite XUB3493WQSU-B1 review for more information.

BenQ PD2705Q

BenQ PD2705Q

We don’t recommend this screen for everyone, but we must say that it’s terrific value for its target audience, and if your work is within the sRGB or Rec.709 gamuts, you’ll be happy. The PD2705Q achieved stellar scores of 96.2% coverage/98% volume with a 0.47 average Delta E, while you can widen its gamut by switching to Standard mode where it reached figures of 99.2%, 114.4% and 0.28. Moreover, if you connect over USB-C or USB-B, you can take advantage of BenQ’s Display Pilot software, which gives control over simple things such as brightness, instead of going through the clunky OSD.

Size27in
Resolution2,560 x 1,440
Brightness327cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2, USB Type-C

Price when reviewed: £316 exc VAT

Read our full BenQ PD2705Q review for more information.

ViewSonic VP2785-2K

VP2785-2K

Although at first sight the VP2785-2K appears to be overpriced, it's actually a steal for creative professional on a budget, especially those who work in both print and video. This monitor comes with the promise of 100% coverage of the Adobe RGB gamut and 96% of DCI-P3, and it also supports hardware calibration, for which you can set a regular reminder in the OSD. All the features are here, whether that’s pivoting, 130mm of height adjustment or the inclusion of a three-port USB-A hub.

Size27in
Resolution2,560 x 1,440
Brightness340cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, USB Type-C

Price when reviewed: £493 exc VAT

Read our full ViewSonic VP2785-2K review for more information.

Philips Brilliance 328P6

Phillips Brilliance 328P6

It may not be as beautiful, or as tweakable, but Philips has invested its budget in all the areas that matter to create yet another brilliant monitor for a great price. The Brilliance does live up to its name: while a peak brightness of 460cd/m2 in general use is more than enough, this monitor’s VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification means that it can hit 600cd/m2 highs when playing suitable material. In fact, you can even make the argument for this screen to act as a TV.

Size31.5in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
Brightnessup to 600cd/m2
Video Inputs1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-C, RJ-45 Ethernet port

Price when reviewed: £458 exc VAT

Philips 243B9

Philips 243B9 on desk

The Philips 243B9 is a simple yet functional 24in 1080p monitor that fills this particular niche with aplomb. While its understated design isn't necessarily ugly, it does feel decidedly cheap in comparison to some of Philips' more premium models. That said, the Philips 243B9 is an affordable gem: it offers great colour accuracy, a solid maximum brightness and lots of handy extra features all for less than £200. There are very few monitors in this price bracket that can offer the same level of quality. 

Size23.8in
Resolution1920 x 1080
Brightness285.62cd/m2
Video InputsVGA, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, USB-C 3.2 Gen 1

Price when reviewed: £180 exc VAT

Read our full Philips 243B9 review for more information

Philips Brilliance 346P1CRH

Philips Brilliance monitor

The Philips Brilliance 346P1CRH is one of the best all-round productivity powerhouses IT Pro has ever seen. Thanks to its 3,440x1,440 resolution, there's room for three documents side by side, which surely ends the debate on whether two screens are better than one. While it's not as expansive as Philips' colossal 49in Brilliance 499P9H, it's also much more manageable and reasonably-priced. If you're looking for an all-purpose, future-proof monitor, you won't get much better than this.

Size34in curved panel (1500R)
Resolution3,440 x 1,440
Brightness500cd/m2
Video InputsDisplayPort 1.4 (HDCP 2.2), HDMI 2 (HDCP 2.2), USB-C (power delivery up to 90W)

Price when reviewed: £458 exc VAT

Read our full Philips Brilliance 346P1CRH for more information

Eizo Foris Nova

The Eizo Foris Nova monitor

The Eizo Foris Nova isn't any old monitor - it's the McLaren of monitors, according to our review, and it defies all notion of what a monitor is. It's so special that there are only 500 units of it in existence and it costs a whopping £2,416. You do get quite a lot for that though; a 4K OLED panel, a stylish build, HDR video and perfect colour accuracy. We can't quite say that is worth over two thousand pounds, but it sure looks good.

Size21.6in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
Brightness330cd/m2
Video Inputs2 x HDMI (v1.4)

Price when reviewed: £2,416 exc VAT

Read our full Eizo Foris Nova review for more information

AOC U2790PQU

The AOC U2790PQU packs a number of valuable features including a snazzy design and a highly adjustable screen. and it's a bargain at just £234. It may have been built to a budget but it both looks and feels more classy than its closest rival, the Iiyama. For day-to-day duties, its panel is fine, and it also packs an impressivr 3,840x2,160 pixels into its 27in frame.

Size27in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
Brightness465cd/m2
Video Inputs1x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0

Price when reviewed: £234 exc VAT

Read our full AOC U2790PQU review for more information

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

Dell's UltraSharp monitor

If you're looking for a 27in monitor to upgrade your home office, we can't think of many that would do the job better than the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q. You can buy a 27in 4K monitor for less, but they lack the all-round quality of the Dell and the versatility provided by its USB-C connector. If you're looking for 4K, want USB-C and can't afford more expensive rivals, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is the monitor for you.

Size27in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
Brightnessn/a
Video Inputs1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB Type-C

Price when reviewed: £445 exc VAT

Read our full Dell UltraSharpU2720Q review for more information

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