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Best monitor under $200 you can get for 2022
A second monitor can greatly increase your work or school productivity and you don’t have to pay a lot to get a decent model from Dell, Samsung, LG or others.
If you need a new monitor but are on a tight budget, finding one isn’t as easy as it used to be. While we have already passed the shortages caused by the initial spike in demand at the start of the pandemic, when huge numbers of people started working from home, I am beginning to see rising prices possibly due to pandemic delays in shipping and component shortages. Now even a “meh” 24-inch monitor that meets your work or school needs can get you over $ 150.
Before you delve, there are a few things to keep in mind: When purchasing a budget monitor, be sure to read the box’s contents listing. Make sure there are no missing items that would raise the price above the “low cost monitor” threshold, such as a stand or appropriate cables. The stand may not be a problem if you plan to use a VESA mount to place it on a wall or arm. But in that case, you should make sure that the mounting screws on the back of the monitor match yours: most of them have 100 by 100mm mounts, although in some cases they are 200×200, 75×75 or don’t support VESA mount at all.
Do you have a Mac? If it’s an old MacBook Pro with an HDMI port, or an iMac or Mac Mini computer, you won’t have a problem. MacBooks with USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 connectors will require an adapter or cable with built-in conversion as they won’t have a dedicated display port. You may also have to play around with the resolution and scaling settings in Mac OS as it natively prefers the 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the 16: 9 aspect ratio which is much more popular on Windows.
Unless you’re a die-hard gamer or creative pro, many of the most technical specs – such as latency and color gamut – won’t really matter to you (although many can serve as a budget gaming monitor). And so you should always take them with a grain of salt.
For this money, you can generally expect:
- Maximum screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (called by marketers “Full HD resolution” and also referred to as 1080p or 2K due to about 2000 pixels across). Under 27 inches, that’s okay. At 27 inches or more, it’s not great except for one important case. Basically the reason you buy a 27 inch monitor versus a 24 inch monitor is usually because you want to fit more on it. But if it uses the same number of pixels, it just magnifies everything – it doesn’t display more to the screen. And because it spreads them out across a larger screen, some people (like me) may get frustrated seeing the pixel grid. I find a pixel density (pixels per inch or ppi) of at least 90 is a good balance, but YMMV. Exception? If you really need larger text sizes.
- A stand that allows the computer monitor to be tilted rather than raised or lowered. Whenever possible, we want to reduce eye strain and optimize ergonomics.
- While there may be one or two larger monitors, they mainly range up to 27 inches.
- Between 250 and 350 nits of brightness. This should be sufficient for most applications.
- Up to 75Hz refresh rate for IPS monitor (which means in-plane switching) or 144Hz refresh rate for TN (twisted nematics). High refresh rate matters if you plan on playing a lot of FPS, racing, fighting, or other motion sensitive games. An IPS monitor is better for general use as it is better suited to viewing at an angle and usually has better colors. But the fastest IPS monitor you’ll find for the money is 75Hz. TN monitor is better for fast game and better game experience; has a higher contrast ratio but a poorer viewing angle – the color accuracy and contrast will change the farther you go from looking straight ahead.
- If it has built-in speakers, do not assume that they are replacing the real standalone versions. Sometimes they are better than expected, but think of the speakers as a nice addition to basic system sounds or videoconferencing and consider it a treat if they are satisfying for your entertainment. (I’m very impressed with BenQ’s EW Series speakers.)
- Many of these low-cost monitors support AMD’s Adaptive Refresh FreeSync technology, which works with AMD GPUs to synchronize game frames per second with the display.
- A curved monitor that can fit a wide display to your field of view without having to sit too far back is not worth paying more for monitors of 27 ” or smaller; then the frames are too far in your field of view. One of the potential exceptions is when you plan to play on three identical monitors. Then they wrap around you better than three flat screens.
Samsung T35F 27-inch FHD IPS monitor
If you’re looking for inexpensive gaming monitors, this 75Hz budget FHD monitor gives you a bit of gaming freedom and has an in-plane switching panel for better colors and viewing angles in a sea of VA competitors; plus, this cheap gaming monitor option is quite attractive with slim bezels and a stand that looks less clunky than some. In the box you will find an HDMI cable that has a 100×100 VESA mount. There are some downsides, such as the drop in backlight noticed by buyers, plus it has an HDMI 1.4 connector instead of a 2.0 (if you care), and the stand only allows you to tilt the screen rather than raise or lower.
It is well-made and looks good, and provides accurate color reproduction coupled with clear resolution. Most quests will look great on it, but it’s not perfect.
Choosing a monitor
If you have a newer PC and do a lot of visual work, 4K monitors are for you.
27 inch monitors typically offer the right balance between size and price for most people.
Ultrawide monitors are a good alternative to two displays for gamers or people multitasking.
If you have little desk space or just don’t want to spend a ton, 24-inch monitors will do the job.
The P2721Q combines a sleek design and multiple ports with excellent contrast, color accuracy and color gamut support.
* The price was $ 570 at the time of publication .
Who it’s for: Anyone who has bought a new computer in the last three or four years and does a lot of photo or video editing work. Great 4K monitors make text sharper and more detail in images, and can also provide more useful space on the desk, allowing you to fit more things on the screen at once.
Why we like it: The Dell P2721Q is the best 4K monitor for most people because of its faithful color reproduction, adjustable stand and excellent port selection, as well as Dell’s three-year warranty and Premium panel warranty. In addition to the usual HDMI and DisplayPort connections, it provides one USB-A port and two USB-A 3.0 ports on the bottom edge. It also has a USB-C port that can provide up to 65W of power to a laptop with a single cable, reducing the number of cables on your desk and providing enough power to charge most 13 inch laptops. Thanks to the sRGB color setting, its color accuracy is good enough for most people right out of the box.
Cons, but not deal breakers: The P2721Q has a slightly thicker bottom bezel that hides some of the monitor’s internal electronics, unlike other monitors that are consistently thin around the perimeter. This will likely only be a problem for those who set their monitor into portrait mode and wish to minimize the amount of space between the P2721Q’s screen and another monitor.
This monitor not only provides a smooth picture – the display provides excellent visuals thanks to HDR 10 support and 99% sRGB color gamut. If you do any photo editing in addition to gaming, this is the perfect choice for you. Great ergonomics is ensured by a fully adjustable base in terms of height and tilt.
Acer Predator XB272
Why You Should Buy It: If you want a fantastic PC game at an affordable price.
Who is it for: Gamers looking for smooth gameplay to match their powerful computer.
What we thought about the Acer Predator XB272:
Among the best gaming monitors, you can find many that strive for higher refresh rates and higher resolutions. However, as with our Dell selection above, the Predator XB272 is the perfect blend of value, quality and features.
Most PC gamers still play at 1080p, so not having a higher resolution isn’t very important. Instead, features like G-Sync monitor support and a 240Hz refresh rate are much more important to avoid screen tearing and stuttering. This may sound like overkill, but it’s a must-have if you’re playing a lot of competitive online games. The Acer Predator XB272 includes all these essentials.
Samsung 27-inch SF354
Why you should buy it: It’s a great, spacious monitor if you need a big screen, but at a low price.
Who is it for: People working at home, families, people looking for an efficient budget monitor.
Why we chose the Samsung 27 SF354:
Most people looking for a new monitor don’t need anything fancy. No matter how cheap you are, 27 inches and 1080p are some good standards to keep. The Samsung SF354 hits both of these models at a fantastic $ 170 price point. In addition, it has a slim design with relatively thin frames around the frame.
The SF354 also uses PLS panel technology, which is Samsung’s IPS version. In other words, you’ll get decent viewing angles and realistic-looking colors. It’s not for gaming or authoring intensive content, but this Samsung entry-level monitor is all the average person needs in a monitor for work.
If you’re looking for something even cheaper than the 27-inch Samsung SF354, check out our list of the best monitors under $ 100.
The VA panel has some advantages over IPS, despite the reduced viewing angle. VA provides a much higher contrast ratio than the IPS panel, with darker blacks. Connections include two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, and one USB-C port, which allows you to easily connect your laptop for display and charging with just one cable.
How to choose a monitor
Size will likely be your first concern. It used to be that small meant cheap, but nowadays even 24-inch panels can be considered inexpensive. Our general rule is to only limit yourself when space is at a premium.
Most modern monitors have a slim design, virtually bezel-less bezel, and decent backlight technology. This makes experimenting with a multi-monitor setup easier than ever, with minimal spacing between individual screens – perfect if you’re working from home and struggling with large spreadsheets and many open windows.
We advise you to look for a fully adjustable stand so that you can easily place the display at a comfortable height. If you are going to spend hours staring at an object, your body will thank you for maintaining a decent posture.
There is no comparison between 4K and Ultra HD, it’s the same – two different fancy marketing terms for the same resolution measurement.
The images on the screen are made up of thousands of tiny dots, called pixels, and the resolution is simply a measure of how many dots make up an image. So resolution is about how crisp text and images on your screen are.
The cheapest monitors will have a Full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. Ultra HD or 4K displays quadruple this resolution to 3840×2160 pixels, so they are able to provide a much clearer image. You can also choose something in between with Quad HD in 2560×1440 resolution.
Note that there are many more resolutions due to the different aspect ratios beyond the typical 16: 9, including ultrawide monitors.
While 4K TVs have become much cheaper in recent years, 4K computer monitors can still be expensive. But if there’s room in your budget to get the most out of your resolution, you won’t be disappointed: you’ll be able to see more detail in your photos, stream 4K video in super-high quality, and get more realistic in-game graphics.
If you’re looking at older monitors, you may still come across TN (twisted nematics) instead of the more modern IPS (In-Plane Switching), PLS (Plane Line Switching), and AMOLED (Organic Active Matrix Light Emitting Diode) options.
TN panels tend to be cheaper and offer very fast response times required by players, but can also have limited viewing angles, reduced brightness, and less vivid colors.
Creators much prefer the much better color accuracy of IPS and PLS, while AMOLED is a great choice for entertainment thanks to its rich contrast and strong color palette.
The refresh rate is also something to consider if you want to use it for gaming as well – aim for 120Hz if you can. We have a dedicated gaming monitor table, but some monitors here may also be fine for gaming.
Brightness, Contrast & Colour
Display manufacturers tend to overdo some specs, so brightness and contrast measurements are often more reliable when obtained from independent reviews and combined with real-world performance analysis.
Low brightness (anything below 200 nits) is mostly a problem in rooms that are too bright or dark, and when the contrast is also very weak. As long as the contrast is above 500: 1, you should be able to easily distinguish between the lightest and darkest images that the screen can display.
If you want to use it to edit video, watch HDR movies, or just want the best, you’ll want to see good coverage of Adobe RGB and Rec. 2020 color spaces.
Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz
The best 4K monitor is the Eve Spectrum 4K 144 Hz.
Over the years, 4K resolution has either been burdened with a lower refresh rate or has been stuck with costs that will make your bank account cry. Eve has funded the development of the Eve Spectrum to change all that by introducing a monitor that is ready and willing to show you all the frames your system is capable of at a more affordable price.
One of three models to choose from, the Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz is packed to the brim with features including HDMI 2.1 support, VESA HDR600 700 nits display, and FreeSync Premium Pro with G-Sync certified compatibility; all hidden behind a 27-inch IPS panel. It may seem small, but we also need to pay close attention to the stand, which has the smallest footprint we’ve seen so far, and is completely optional – saving you money if you just want to attach it.
What do we like…
4K resolution with high refresh rate
|Eve Spectrum 4K 144 Hz specification|
|Panel size||27 inch|
|Native resolution||3840 × 2160|
|Maximum refresh rate||144 Hz|
|Panel technology||Nano IPS|
Read the PCGamesN Eve Spectrum 4K 144Hz review for the full verdict and rating.
Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX
The best HDR monitor is the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX.
There is nothing better than a high dynamic range (HDR) to brighten your image and make the colors more vivid. If bright, lively lifestyle is your proverbial cup, the 32-inch Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX could be your gaming monitor, with HDR destroying the boredom of the picture and exposing details that would otherwise be lost in the dark. It’s rated at DisplayHDR 1400, meaning it’s much brighter than many alternatives on the market, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another in this price range.
Elsewhere, the name of the game is Immersion, with 2160p crystal clear resolution, a nice 144Hz refresh rate for smooth image movement, and an IPS panel for more vivid and accurate colors. It also doesn’t matter which brand of graphics card you use, as FreeSync and G-Sync Compatible support means your image won’t crash due to screen tearing.
What do we like…
DisplayHDR 1400 captivating rating
4K resolution, 144 Hz combination
A display without a frame nearby
|Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX specification|
|Panel size||32 inch|
|Native resolution||3840 × 2160|
|Maximum refresh rate||144 Hz|
|Panel technology||Nano IPS|
Read PCGamesN Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX review for full verdict and score.
The advanced features of the Dell Ultrasharp U2720Q come at a price that is not out of this world, so you don’t need to break the bank just to get a great 4K display.
Other computer monitors we tested
24-inch Dell UltraSharp ($ 449.99, originally $ 549.99; dell.com)
At $ 449.99, this 24-inch UltraSharp isn’t far behind our two high-end choices. It has a similar design and build to the 27-inch UltraSharp, our choice of the best 4K monitor. This 24-inch variant has slim bezels and plenty of ports, but drops the resolution down to HD at just 1920 x 1200. At this price point, it should really pack a 4K display.
Lenovo L22e-20 21.5-inch monitor (currently unavailable)
This 21.5-inch Lenovo monitor was the cheapest in our group for only $ 99.99, but it only provides HD experience with a cheaper design. It also doesn’t give you a lot of space above your laptop, and for just $ 70 more, you can get the Lenovo L24q-30 with thinner bezels and better resolution.
LG Ultrafine 4K 21.5-inch ($ 799; bhphotovideo.com)
If you are exclusively in the Apple ecosystem, you can prepare a 21.5-inch 4K UltraFine case from LG. It’s an all-in-one solution for expanding your Mac with a USB-C port while providing power and an additional set of USB-C ports on the rear. However, you can’t tweak too much to the actual monitor – no physical buttons to control or even a power button. It’s also quite expensive at $ 799 for such a small screen.
Samsung G9 (400,479.99; samsung.com)
The G9 is truly designed and built for gaming, with a price tag to match an expensive gaming PC. It has a more pronounced curvature from the CJ791 and stretches the display to almost 50 inches by 49 inches. It’s very addictive, giving you an amazing gaming experience at a refresh rate of 240Hz with a response time of just 1 millisecond. It just locks on a higher level because of its price.
Read more of the CNN Underscored practice tests:
Note: Prices above reflect retail prices at time of publication.
The main priorities should be HDMI and DisplayPort, which are capable of carrying both digital image and audio information over a single cable. DisplayPort is a better choice for 4K monitors or those with high refresh rates, and is increasingly found on Macs and Windows PCs, but less often on home AV equipment.
This should seem relatively simple; luckily computers have so many standards! That’s good in this case, as it seems like we’re moving towards a few specific standards that are objectively better these days. These are DisplayPort, HDMI and USB Type C / Thunderbolt ™ 3. The tough part is that they all have multiple versions and the latest are what you need.
Starting with the most popular monitor inputs, we have HDMI and DisplayPort. Virtually everyone has seen HDMI – it’s everywhere these days – although DisplayPort is a very close neighbor. In the past, DisplayPort was more efficient because it provided better refresh rates and resolutions. The latest versions of HDMI have caught up, although DisplayPort has the advantage that the locking connector prevents accidental disconnection. In any case, most monitors have both.
What you will likely find today are DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. Both are reliable and have enough bandwidth for high 4K resolutions and a refresh rate of 60Hz, and even more if you use lower resolutions. In the future, we will start to see DisplayPort 2.0 and HDMI 2.1, bringing even higher resolutions and frame rates, such as 4K @ 120Hz or even 8K images. Today, you only need HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4, which are the recommended connections.
The new alternative is USB Type-C / Thunderbolt ™ 3. Technically, they are different connections, but they look the same. By using adapters, both can transfer essentially the same formats as DisplayPort and HDMI. With the right computer, you can use USB and / or Thunderbolt ™ to transfer data, video and power with a single cable.
Other considerations include things like audio output, general-use USB ports, and number of connections. If you only plan on using the monitor with one computer, you probably won’t be too worried. But if you want one display to connect a desktop computer, an occasional laptop, and then have a game console to the side, you’ll want to think ahead.
- HDMI and DisplayPort are common standards and safe bet.
- HDMI 2.0 is up to date and solid, but 2.1 is the best if you want to future proof it.
- DisplayPort 1.4 is up to date, but 2.0 is coming soon and will help you protect yourself for the future.
- USB Type-C and Thunderbolt ™ can offer DisplayPort and HDMI support via adapters.
- Think about how many connections you need.
- Don’t forget about USB and audio connections.
- Cables matter here; you will need compatible cables that match the versions of your connectors.
Honestly, some people will place a lot of emphasis on the panel type, but as long as you get to the other specs you want / need, you don’t have to worry too much. Here is the summary.
- IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels generally offer good color reproduction with solid contrast and fast response times, but can be expensive for advanced features.
- TN (Twisted Nematic) panels are better priced for faster response times and refresh rates, but not so good when it comes to color rendering and viewing angles.
- VA (Vertical Alignment) panels offer great contrast, but often lose out on gaming-critical performance compared to TN and IPS, and are not highly recommended.
Most likely, you will be pushed to one or the other, based on your own requirements and budget. There’s no problem with either of them, but if you’re deciding between two different types of panels you’ll want to know which one you personally prefer – and then you should know the above.
This should be a solid guide to help you move from ignorance of gaming monitors to finding the one that works best for you. If you need additional help or specific recommendations, please get in touch with our sales team or stop by the Comments section below.