Best monitors 2020: Upgrade to a proper screen

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

Many businesses provide their staff with basic, cheap monitors – but a screen upgrade can be a smart investment. A screen 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.

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There are other considerations too: colour reproduction may not be crucial to all departments, but 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. 

Iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU

This 27in screen promises excellent colour performance at an exceptionally low price. That's achieved by shipping the panels direct from the factory without calibration, so you might need to make some adjustments yourself - but we were highly impressed by the XUB2792UHSU's performance in our colorimeter tests. The 4K resolution means it's superbly sharp too, making this an excellent buy for creative professionals on a budget.

Size27in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160 
Brightness355cd/m2
PortsDVI, DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, 2x USB, USB-C

Price when reviewed: £324 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU review for more information.

BenQ DesignVue PD2720U

This 27in 4K screen is comparatively pricey, but it justifies the cost with fantastic image quality and truly exceptional colour performance: BenQ boasts that it offers 100% coverage of the sRGB and Adobe RGB gamuts, and 96% coverage of DCI-P3. There's also a neat split-screen option that lets you compare different colour modes, while a convenient telescoping, rotating stand and a great selection of ports seal the deal.

Size27in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160 
Brightness353cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, 2x HDMI, 2x USB 3.1, 2x Thunderbolt 3

Price when reviewed: £728 (exc VAT)

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Read our full BenQ DesignVue PD2720U review for more information.

NEC MultiSync EA271U

This display is ideal for office workers who find themselves staring at the screen all day: it features an ambient light sensor that lets it automatically adjust the brightness to suit your surroundings, and it also promises a flicker-free image with low blue light levels that won't wear your eyes out.

The basics aren't neglected either: the EA271U has a crisp 4K resolution and excellent colour performance in sRGB. If you value your staff, investing in this top-notch monitor could be a great way to show it.

Size27in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160 
BrightnessDynamic
PortsDisplayPort, 2x HDMI, USB-C, USB 3.1 hub

Price when reviewed: £712 (exc VAT)

Read our full NEC MultiSync EA271U review for more information.

Eizo ColorEdge CG319X 

If your job demands flawless image quality and impeccable colour reproduction, this 31.1in monster is the screen to go for. It supports HLG and PQ gamma curves to ensure HDR video accuracy, as well as phenomenal 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space. There's a built-in colorimeter too, so you can regularly recalibrate to make certain that your settings are spot on.

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Needless to say, not everyone needs these features, and at £3K+ it's a significant investment. For video professionals, though, that's a price worth paying for a true cinema-grade display.

Size31.1in
Resolution4,096 x 2,160 
Brightness394cd/m2
Ports2x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, 3 x USB

Price when reviewed: £3,325 (exc VAT)

Read our full Eizo ColorEdge CG319X review for more information.

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 colorimeter), 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
PortsDisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D

Price when reviewed: £358 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Eizo ColorEdge CS2410 review for more information.

ViewSonic VP3268-4K

Those in the market for a general-purpose display might baulk at the price of this monitor, but for designers and media professionals, the degree of accuracy offered by the ViewSonic VP3268-4K make it an absolute bargain. Colour reproduction is superb, and it comes pre-calibrated for a wide variety of professional colour-spaces.

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Our only gripe is that, while the sRGB mode is amazingly accurate, it's limited to a rather drab 120cd/m2 - but you can always do most of your work in a brighter mode, then flick into true-colour mode for final proofing.

Size31.5in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160 
Brightness357cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, miniDP, 2x HDMI, 4x USB 3

Price when reviewed: £666 (exc VAT)

Read our full ViewSonic VP3268-4K review for more information.

AOC X24P1

If you're fed up with letterbox-shaped displays, the X24P1 is well worth a look: it features a taller 16:10 aspect ratio, allowing you to see more of a document at once, or squeeze in more rows of a spreadsheet. Since image quality and colour accuracy are outstanding, this could also be a good choice for graphic design.

Elsewhere, the design is attractive and practical, with a cool borderless panel and front-facing OSD buttons so you don't have to fiddle around to change the settings. And despite all these strengths, it costs less than £200.

Size24in
Resolution1,920 x 1,200 
Brightness359cd/m2
PortsHDMI, DVI, VGA, 4x USB 3.1

Price when reviewed: £192 (exc VAT)

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Read our full AOC X24P1 review for more information.

Samsung CF791

While the AOC above is taller than the average monitor, Samsung's 34in CF791 goes the other way, with a stretched-out 21:9 aspect ratio and a stylish curved design. It's perfect for surveying wide vistas, or lining up multiple documents and applications next to one another.

Image quality meanwhile is unimpeachable: colour accuracy is amazing, the 3,440 x 1440 resolution is perfectly crisp, and the contrast is superb. An excellent monitor for photo editors and creatives, this sleek display stands out from the crowd for more reasons than just its distinctive shape.

Size34in
Resolution3,440 x 1,440 
Brightness315cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, HDMI, 2x USB

Price when reviewed: £667 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Samsung CF791 review for more information.

Iiyama ProLite XUB2790HS

If you're looking for a good quality everyday screen, Iiyama's XUB2790HS is a very persuasive candidate, packing in a good-quality panel with decent colour accuracy and contrast for less than £200.

It's highly ergonomic too: a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 is spread out across an expansive 27in panel, ensuring you won't be squinting at tiny text. The stand meanwhile supports height adjustment, tilting, rotation and more, to ensure that you can set it at the perfect position to work comfortably and safely.

Size27in
Resolution1,920 x 1080
Brightness245cd/m2
PortsHDMI, DVI, VGA

Price when reviewed: £168 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Iiyama ProLite XUB2790HS review for more information.

Eizo FlexScan EV2450

The Eizo FlexScan EV2450 offers everything you could need from a monitor: image quality is outstanding, it's got heaps of ports and the design is attractive without being flashy. There's also a handful of useful features like automatic brightness, a good range of motion in the stand and a five-year warranty. In short, it's a superb all-rounder that offers all the essentials at an excellent price.

Size23.8in
Resolution1,920 x 1,080
Brightness228cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, 2x USB 3

Price when reviewed: £188 (exc VAT)

Read our full Eizo FlexScan EV2450 review for more information.

Asus VC239H

When it comes to no-frills displays, you can't get much better than the Asus VC239H. £100 is a great price for a 24in 1080p display with an IPS panel - and image quality is far better than you'd expect. There's little in the way of extra features (aside from some modest built-in loudspeakers), and the stand isn't very adjustable, only allowing you to tilt the screen back and forth by a few degrees. If every penny counts, though, this monitor is a strong bargain pick.

Size23.6in
Resolution1,920 x 1,080
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, DVI, VGA

Price when reviewed: £100 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Asus VC239H review for more information.

Asus ProArt PA32U

It may be one of the biggest monitors on our list, but this massive 32in 4K screen has a sleek, contemporary look which we find hugely pleasing. Performance isn't at all bad either: the PA32U isn't quite as colour-accurate as some pricey rivals, and its peak brightness of 290cd/m isn't much to shout about, but it comes with a bundled calibrator that enables you to get near-professional results. 

The price is steep, but if you've got the cash (and the desk space) the ProArt PA32U is a striking display that looks good and makes a real statement.

Size32in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
Brightness290cd/m2
Ports

DisplayPort, 4x HDMI x4, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, USB hub (2 x USB 3, USB-C)

 

Price when reviewed: £1,667 (exc VAT)

Read our full Asus ProArt PA32U review for more information

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