LCD Monitor Spare Parts The Best Monitors For 2017

- Jul 06, 2017-

Note: Some of the monitors in this list were reviewed over two years ago. Don't let this put you off: they're still available to buy today, and not a great deal has happened in the last 24 months in terms of PC screen technology so they're not out-of-date. Some are cheaper than when they launched, so are even better value now.

Screen size and design

The first decision is what size you want. Even 23-24in screens are cheap, or can be, these days, so there's no point in going smaller unless you have to because of space limitations. We've reviewed 23in and larger screens here.

With the size nailed down, you’ll then need to think about what you really want from your monitor. It may be that all you care about is looks. Thankfully, most modern displays are a great deal better looking than older models, with a greater design emphasis on lifestyle and fitting in with your home décor.

In many cases, that thick surrounding bezel has been removed in favour of a tidy, nearly frameless design and modern backlight technology allows for much slimmer, neater displays. This is also handy if you want a multi-monitor setup, where the gaps between the displays will be as thin as possible.

Some models, such as those reviewed here from Asus and Philips, are available in different colours, which can make a dramatic difference to the look of your worktop.

The panel should be supportable at a comfortable height, which means a fully adjustable stand that can centre it precisely at your own eye level; bending the neck downward at all to view is a recipe for skeletal strain and stress after long-term use.

Price

Price is usually the next consideration. While you can go lower that £99 we wouldn't necessarily recommend it, and that's the price of the cheapest monitor here - BenQ's GL2450. You can spend a whole lot more and - usually - you get what you pay for. If you want a bigger screen with a higher resolution, great colour accuracy and extras such as a fully adjustable stand and a USB hub, plus lots of inputs, expect to pay top dollar. 

There are bargains to be had, so it's well worth reading our full reviews of the monitors in which you're interested before making the final decision.

4K and Ultra HD monitors

4K TVs have come down in price a lot, but they're still commanding a decent premium if you want a 4K monitor for your PC. 4K is the same as Ultra HD, as explained here. They pack in 3840x2160 pixels, which is four times more than a Full HD 1920x1080 screen.

Having this many pixels means you see more detail in photos (without zooming in) and you can watch 4K video on Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. If your PC is up to it, you can even run your games at this resolution, which makes for very sharp and realistic graphics.

In Windows, you'll need to set the interface resolution to 150- or 200 percent to view these UHD displays with sensible size fonts and folders. The result is a very sharp desktop with jag-free fonts. But be warned that some Windows programs will not respect these settings and you may still need to arm yourself with a magnifying glass to read the screen. 

Alternatively, you can keep the screen’s native 2160p setting and 100 percent scaling from the PC, which works better with the largest 32- and 40in screens. Be prepared to squint a little to see, but enjoy the acres of desktop real estate now available.

Remember, you need a good graphics processor to push all those pixels in a timely fashion on to the screen. To find out which graphics cards are capable enough see our guide to the best graphics cards.

Screen type

Even if you're going for a budget screen, the performance of the display itself will be important. Perhaps the biggest deciding factor here will be your choice of panel technology – and it boils down to twisted-nematic (TN) panels versus everything else.

A TN panel costs less to make and can produce some decent performance results in terms of contrast ratio and the super-fast response times craved by serious gamers. They are, however, let down by restricted viewing angles, which means the brightness and colour of the picture can appear to shift if not viewed straight on. Any movement of your head is likely to make this apparent.

All the non-TN panels in this round-up use in-plane switching (IPS) or plane-line switching (PLS) panels, which typically offer a vastly superior viewing experience and are better suited for general-purpose use. An IPS/PLS screen is often favoured by photo- or video-editors, as they offer better colour accuracy.


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