It’s a great time to upgrade your monitor. Here’s what to buy
Upgrading your monitor can be confusing. It shouldn't have to be.
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Is your computer monitor starting to look dull next to the beautiful, crystal-clear image on your smartphone, tablet, and television? If so, it’s a great time to upgrade.
New technologies including OLED panels, mini-LED backlights, and super-fast refresh rates bring outrageously gorgeous image quality to the latest monitors. These advancements are paired with reasonable prices, especially among budget monitors, as competition among brands is intense and won’t let up anytime soon.
Here’s why it’s a great time to buy a new monitor—and what to look for when you do.
4K and high refresh rates hit affordable monitors
Gaming and working at 4K resolution, the new standard for televisions, has finally reached affordable computer monitors. Affordable 4K monitors that cap out at 60Hz, like the Samsung UJ59 and Asus VP28UQG have dipped below $300, and great all-rounders like the Dell S3221QS hover around $320.
The same is true of monitors with higher refresh rates. This is a popular feature among gaming monitors, as it improves motion smoothness and reduces latency. A variety of budget 144Hz monitors are also available at or below $200, but not at 4K. At that price, you can still find good, fast 1080p monitors, like Gigabyte’s G24F 2, or even the 1440p HP X27q.
Affordable 4K and high-refresh monitors pair nicely with recent advancements in computer hardware. Nearly every computer sold today can handle 4K resolution for day-to-day productivity tasks.
4K gaming is obtainable, too, but you’ll need a dedicated GPU. Nvidia’s expensive RTX 4090 graphics card demolishes the most elaborate 4K benchmarks and can hit high refresh rates, and even the budget-friendly RTX 3050 can handle 4K in popular esports titles like CS:GO, Overwatch 2, and League of Legends.
OLED and mini-LED monitors deliver on wow-factor
These advancements are very different, yet achieve similar goals. Both massively boost contrast, which in turn delivers an exceptional illusion of depth. They also pack the brightness needed to make HDR content look its best, and have darker blacks and brighter whites than VA or IPS panels.
OLED and mini-LED monitors also frequently provide top-notch color accuracy and a wide color gamut, with some supporting true 10-bit color. These monitors display a wider range of color than other options and with a better sense of realism.
OLED and mini-LED monitors are still luxury displays, but prices are trending downward. New mini-LED monitors like the Asus ProArt PA32UCR-K and Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 have dipped below $1,500, while Alienware’s excellent QD-OLED monitor retails for $1,300. A trimmed-down version, the AW3423DWF, will on sale later this year for $1,100.
These prices, though high, are good value if you’re shopping for an exceptional monitor that you won’t need to upgrade for a few years. If you’re worried about OLED burn-in, Alienware is so confident in their panels that it offers a 3-year warranty.
Television alternatives are better than ever
Some companies now explicitly sell computer monitors designed as TV replacements, sized at 42 inches and above. They’re excellent if you want a super-sized monitor for a large desk. They also work for cord-cutters who don’t need a TV tuner in their home theater display.
Many of the best OLED televisions are also suitable for use as a monitor, but LG’s 48-inch Ultragear 48GQ900-B is a monitor that can pull double duty as both. It has a great OLED panel and delivers a stunning HDR experience, and includes ample connectivity options.
If the LG Ultragear is too expensive, consider options like the Gigabyte Aorus FO48U, a 48-inch OLED monitor that routinely drops down to $600, or the Asus ROG Strix XG43UQ. It lack LG’s excellent OLED panel but retain 4K resolution, a high refresh rate, and PC-friendly connectivity.
The best deals right now
Budget buyers who want a great entry-level monitor should consider the HP 24mh since it’s affordable and has speakers, or the much faster Gigabyte G24F 2 if it drops to $150 or less. If you’d like a larger screen, the LG 27GL650F-B has good image quality, a healthy selection of video input, and a height adjustable stand.
Those seeking the best bang-for-the-buck should consider 1440p, the resolution between 1080p and 4K. Samsung’s Odyssey G5 is a solid choice for gamers, as is Gigabyte’s slightly cheaper but still excellent M27Q P. Viewsonic’s USB-C compatible VG2755-2K is perfect for a home office.
Want the sharpness of 4K? The Asus ProArt PA279CV is a superb pick for professionals who want great visual quality and accurate colors but want to spend less than $500. Gamers will see great results from the Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A or the Samsung Odyssey G70A; both are 28-inch 4K monitors with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.