In 2018, using the best monitor you can get your hands on is all but essential, even if you’re not using the best computer in the world. No matter what you use your PC for, you’ll be doing it through the lens of your monitor. No matter if you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, playing the best PC games, or even writing like us, there’s no reason you should expose yourself to the eye strain and headaches that unfortunately go hand in hand with using anything but the best monitors.
No one wants to suffer with a poor monitor, so if your monitor is showing its age, it might be a good time to go out and pick up one of the best monitors you can buy today. The good thing is, these days, you don’t have to worry about cracking open your piggy bank to buy a decent screen – many of the best monitors out there are affordable and accessible to anyone. There are some extremely high end monitors out there with ultra-wide displays and a ton of high end tech, but in our mind the best monitors are the ones that strike a balance between price and performance. And it’s that exact philosophy we approached this list of the best monitors with. Nobody wants to pay for something they don’t really need.
And, now that 2018 has rolled around and manufacturers are showing off their new monitors, it might be the best time to pick up one of the best monitors. So,whether you’re looking for a mid-range monitor or one of the best gaming monitors, TechRadar has you covered. We’ve created a list of the best monitors you can buy in 2018 – each tested and reviewed personally by us. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. BenQ PD3200U
Top for (some of) the gamers and pros
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg
Design may seem dull to some
Some features a bit niche
Now that computers are equipped with the encoding technologies that can natively display at the intended resolution, 4K monitors are in increasingly high demand. That explains why BenQ has added the PD3200U, a massive 32-inch Ultra HD display, to its Designer Monitor range. Intended for worker bees, the company has, seemingly by mistake, crafted a screen that gamers can enjoy wholeheartedly as well, so long as they can fit it on their desks. Then again, given the comparatively sluggish 4ms response time, the PD3200U is best suited for creators. 3D designers, for instance, will be grateful for the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, while everyone else will revel in the factory-calibrated color accuracy and Rec. 709 adherence.
Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U
2. AOC Agon AG352UCG
A curvy ultrawide that even has G-Sync
Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 172/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds
Curved 21:9 screen
It really is very big
The Agon AG352UCG from AOC is proof that an ultrawide display doesn’t have to be limited in resolution or extended functionality. In fact, this 21:9 IPS panel prides itself on its stately 3,440 x 1,440 resolution and G-Sync capabilities. That’s right, when paired with an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor uses G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing without adding stress to your PC hardware. What’s more, you can expect better response times from the AOC Agon than with its closest competitors, meaning lower latency in games like Overwatch or Lawbreakers that rely on faster pacing. The only downside is that the AOC Agon is rather bulky. Weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total, you’ll want to be sure your desk can support it.
3. Acer Predator X34
A gaming monitor with attitude
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms G2G (grey-to-grey) | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100 million:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 9.9kg
Perfect color accuracy
Limited port selection
When the classic 16:9 aspect ratio fails you, nothing does the trick like a cinematic, 21:9 display. Although it’s not ideal for streaming TV shows or playing one of myriad games that don’t support it, the Acer Predator X34 is a model example of what an ultra-wide screen should be. Flaunting an eye-catching aluminum bezel and a polygonal stand that resembles a crow’s foot, this massive 34-inch panel is a spectacle to behold. What’s more, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync frame-smoothing tech, you don’t have to worry about enabling VSync and stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. Save for the ho-hum speakers and missing ports, this is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets.
Read the full review: Acer Predator X34
4. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: N/A | Contrast ratio: 1,300:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg
Stunning 8K resolution
Limited 8K content
Every once in a while we run into technology that is so far ahead of the curve that we’re left dumbfounded. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is the most recent example. There are few monitors in the world that can reach the raw beauty that the UP3218K does. It’s not just the jaw-dropping 8K resolution either: Dell went a long way to make sure that the build quality and color reproduction were as good as possible, and it pulled it off. However, due to the extremely high pricing of this monitor, it is geared almost entirely towards professionals – so if you’re looking to edit photos or video on a monitor that’ll allow you the utmost precision, the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K might just be the best monitor for you.
Read the full review: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
5. Asus MG248Q
A reasonable price for 144Hz and Adaptive Sync
Screen size: 23.6-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 100000000:1 | Color support: SRGB 100%, Adobe RGB 72% | Weight: 16.98 pounds
144Hz refresh rate
1ms response time
Adaptive Sync for AMD, Intel only
If your PC can’t swing 1440p or 4K gaming, the Asus MG248Q is the next best thing. Despite exhibiting a mere 1080p twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS, the Asus MG248Q makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync. The latter reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q.
Read the full review: Asus MG248Q
6. Acer S277HK
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 11.9 pounds
No USB ports
Height not adjustable
You’ll normally shell out an arm and a leg for a 4K display, but that’s not the case with Acer’s S277HK. In terms of pricing, this bezel-less beauty hits the sweet spot. With a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a color gamut of 1.07 billion and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, the Acer S277HK is better seen than heard about. Unfortunately, because of the way Acer designed it, there’s no way to mount it onto a wall for everyone to appreciate, nor is the height adjustable. But, and this is a huge but, if you prioritize high pixel density, reasonable cost and “zero frame” over malleability, this is a monitor to shoot for.
Read the full review: Acer S277HK
- This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out an alternative in the similarly-specced .
7. Alienware 25
A ubiquitous solution to screen tearing
Screen size: 24.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 119% | Weight: 11.7kg
High refresh rate
Depending on your budget, it might break the bank in classic Alienware fashion, but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor won’t let your screen tear. That’s because, whether you’re using an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, there’s a configuration designed with specifically you in mind. Taking away some of the heavy lifting away from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, a software technology that accomplishes a similar thwarting of screen tears, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate might actually be viable. In that case, you can expect the screen to garner up to 120 frames-per-second, so long as your graphics card can handle it and it isn’t being bottlenecked by your CPU. The 1ms response time is merely a bonus.
Read the full review: Alienware 25
8. BenQ Zowie XL2540
A monitor tailored to the needs of professional gamers
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: NTSC 72% | Weight: 7.5kg
High refresh rates
Limited appeal beyond pro gamers
You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.
9. LG 34UC79G-B
A reasonable entryway to ultra wide and FreeSync
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 10.3ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: sRGB 92.1% | Weight: 8.6kg
Curved 21:9 screen design
Lesser resolution than rivals
Ineffective gaming modes
If you’re running games using AMD- or Intel-based graphics and want to get into ultra wide displays without spending a fortune, this is the monitor to look out for. At 34 inches diagonally, the LG 34UC79G-B is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite the resolution being lower than a lot of other widescreen displays on the market, there’s no denying that the LG 34UC79G-B pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the pricier 4K monitors available today.
Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B
10. Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
Faster than you can say G-Sync
Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 180Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: Adobe RGB 74% | Weight: 9.5kg
Cheapest G-Sync display on the market
Amazing 180Hz refresh rate
Just two display inputs
Only 24 inches
If you care more about frame rate more than graphics or resolution, this one’s for you. Because of its mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capabilities, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you’re equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you’re unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don’t necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article