Best monitors 2019: Upgrade to a proper screen

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

Chances are, you're sitting in an office, reading this on a monitor that isn't that great. Organisations tend to stick with whichever monitor comes with a PC, and that's not always the best option.

Having a good monitor can pay dividends in terms of greater productivity: clear, easily readable screens can prevent headaches, brighter displays can cut down on glare from the sun, and larger monitors can increase your desktop real estate and cut down on scrolling. 

To help you decide which monitor is the best one for you, we've put together a list of the top displays that you should consider for your business. 

ViewSonic VP3268-4K

Those in the market for an all-purpose screen might balk at the price of this monitor, but for designers, media editors and graphics professionals, the level of accuracy offered by the ViewSonic VP3268-4K make it an absolute bargain. Colour reproduction is superb, and ViewSonic has calibrated it to a wide variety of professional colour-spaces.

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The only slight gripe we have with it is that the sRGB mode - while amazingly accurate - is locked at 120cd/m2, but it's easy to flick between this setting and other, more luminescent modes whenever you need to.

Size31.5in
Resolution3,840 x 2,160 
Brightness357cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, miniDisplayPort, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 4 x USB 3

Price when reviewed: 666 (exc VAT)

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

AOC X24P1

Although this attractively-designed monitor is a real looker, its business-focused roots are betrayed by its somewhat unusual 16:10 aspect ratio - popular with financial workers and database professionals, as it allows them to fit a few extra spreadsheet rows on-screen. This monitor is a great fit for graphics tasks as well, as the image quality and colour accuracy are both outstanding.

What really elevates this screen, however, is its gorgeous design. The borderless panel looks absolutely excellent, and the front-facing OSD buttons mean you won't have to fiddle around to change the settings. Even better, it's all available for less than 200 excluding VAT.

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

Price when reviewed: 192 (exc VAT)

Read our full AOC X24P1 review for more information.

Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS

On first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that this 27in monitor is in fact an Apple iMac; it's fair to say that Iiyama has taken a substantial amount of design inspiration from Apple's desktop screens. Thankfully though, that's not the only resemblance, and it also features a blazing-bright 5K panel.

It's not quite as colour-accurate as other monitors on this list, which means that graphic designer types will probably want to give it a miss. However, if you want a superb-looking 5K screen without breaking the bank, this is a great buy for the money.

Size27in
Resolution5,120 x 2,880 
Brightness500cd/m2
Ports2 x DisplayPort, 3 x HDMI

Price when reviewed: 608 (exc VAT)

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Read our full Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS review for more information.

Samsung CF791

This monitor is an excellent illustration of why Samsung's displays are so widely-admired. Combining a wide 21:9 aspect ratio with a stylish curved design, this 34in monitor is an absolute treat to behold.

Not only that, it's also up to Samsung's usual unimpeachable levels of quality. Colour accuracy is amazing, the 3,440 x 1440 resolution is perfectly crisp, and contrast is superb. An excellent monitor for photo editors and creatives, this sleek display absolutely justifies its asking price.

Size35in
Resolution3,440 x 1,440 
Brightness315cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, USB x2

Price when reviewed: 667 (exc VAT)

Read our full Samsung CF791 review for more information.

Iiyama ProLite XUB2790HS

This monitor may not be the most eye-catching example on this list, but it's one of the more affordable, packing in a good-quality panel with capable colour accuracy and contrast for less than 200.

The clincher though is its adjustable stand. You may be surprised how many monitors at this price point have no adjustability, but the IiIiyama ProLite XUB2790HS has height adjustment, tilting, rotation and more. The only real problem is a frustrating on-screen display, but it's a minor one.

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

Price when reviewed: 168 (exc VAT)

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 - the image quality of the panel itself is outstanding, it's got heaps of ports and the design is attractive without being as flashy as some more expensive monitors from the likes of Samsung.

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There's also a handful of useful features like automatic brightness, a good range of motion in the stand and a five-year warranty. For under 200, it's a superb all-rounder that offers all the essentials for an excellent price.

Size23.8in
Resolution1,920 x 1,080
Brightness228cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, VGA, USB 3 x2

Price when reviewed: 188 (exc VAT)

Read our full Eizo FlexScan EV2450 review for more information.

Asus VC239H

If it's no-frills basics you're after, you can't get much better than the Asus VC239H. For just 100, you're getting a 24in 1080p display with an IPS panel. That's pretty good value in and of itself, made even better by the fact that display quality is far better than we've got any right to expect at this price.

There's little in the way of extra features, and it's decidedly unassuming in looks, but this monitor is a great pick for those on a budget.

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

Price when reviewed: 100 (exc VAT)

Read our full Asus VC239H review for more information.

AOC Q3279VWF

They say size doesn't matter, but if it does then the AOC Q3279VWF is in an excellent position. This 31.5in behemoth is huge and has a 1440p resolution to match that expansive screen.

Image quality is good, and although the brightness could be better, it's more than capable enough for editing duties. Even more impressively, at less than 200, it's an absolute steal.

Size31.5in
Resolution2,560 x 1,440
Brightness232cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, HDMI 1.4, DVI, VGA

Price when reviewed: 166 (exc VAT)

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Read our full AOC Q3279VWF review for more information.

Acer KG221Q

This one is for the budget-conscious buyer out there and coming in at under 100, it's a really solid choice for anyone looking for a decently performing workplace monitor that's cheap enough to buy many and distribute them throughout the office.

The 21.5in screen is a little on the smaller side and it only supports HDMI and VGA input connections, so no DisplayPort or DVI inputs, but the monitor excels in its contrast ratio is fantastic. The whites are white and the blacks are deep which provides a sense of quality to the display that doesn't necessarily have the best colour accuracy.

If it's for general workplace use and not for anything like video or photo editing, this budget monitor is a top choice for your office.

Size21.5in
Resolution1,920 x 1,080
Brightness287cd/m2
PortsHDMI 1.4, VGA

Price when reviewed: 82.50 (exc VAT)

Read our full Acer KG221Q review for more information

BenQ SW2700PT

On the other end of the spectrum sits this model, a much higher price and quality compared to the above Acer product but this monitor is more geared towards those with a greater need for colour accuracy - the professional photo editors, for example.

Out of the box, we got the display to provide 95.4% of the sRGB colour gamut but with a bit of fine tuning with BenQ's own calibration software, we got the full 100% coverage that's essential for pro-grade image work. This IPS panel continued to shine with extra calibration as we got its Delta E rating down to a fabulous 0.81.

This is a great choice for those looking for a monitor with complete colour accuracy and the extra expense is worth it if your job depends on it. One thing worth mentioning is that the monitor doesn't come fitted with speakers, so if you need audio then you'll need to have some headphones on hand.

Size27in
Resolution2,560 x 1,440
Brightness335cd/m2
PortsDVI, HDMI. DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio, SD card, USB 3

Price when reviewed: 512.20 (exc VAT)

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Read our full BenQ SW2700PT review for more information

Philips 241B7QPJKEB

If you're dead-set on nabbing yourself an IPS monitor, you won't find one carrying much better value than this. The panel isn't as colour accurate or as big as the BenQ SW2700PT but is perfectly capable of delivering colours that will delight the eyes and for under 200 it's a steal.

The design of the monitor is as visually stunning as its picture quality, the top and side bezels are so thin it's nigh-on borderless and the stand is also highly adjustable. Phillips includes its SmertErgoBase which provides the standard height, swivel and tilt adjustment and also pivot it 180 while maintaining stability.

Size23.8in
Resolution1,920 x 1,080
Brightness213cd/m2
PortsDisplayPort, VGA, HDMI, USB 3

Price when reviewed: 167 (exc VAT)

Read our full Philips 241B7QPJKEB review for more information

Asus ProArt PA32U

If you've got acres of space and cash to burn then the Asus ProArt might be for you. This massive 32in 4K panel sports near-perfect colour accuracy with a score of 99.7% on the sRGB gamut, helped in part by the bundled calibrator. The max brightness of 290cd/m isn't anything to shout about but more than enough for the office.

If design is a priority, then the sleek and contemporary metallic look of this monitor is hugely pleasing, as is the sharp angular nature of the design. There's not a lot to hate about this panel, other than the price which is quite steep and that the colour accuracy lags behind some of its rivals.

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

DisplayPort, 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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