Ten years ago, monitors were nothing more than necessary accessories. Today, they can be luxury items that dramatically improve all aspects of computing and content consumption. There are so many types of monitors that suit so many different needs.
Screen resolution, response time, panel weight: everything should be considered when choosing a personal device or an enterprise fleet. Unfortunately, all of these specs can be confusing. We've compiled this roundup to help you sort through the abundance of options available.
Update: As part of its 2015 back-to-school lineup, HP is debuting a new 32-inch 4K UHD Spectre Studio Display ($999, £661, AU$1,275). The display supports upscaling to make 1080p content look great on a 4K screen, and HP also allows support for simultaneous inputs to be displayed side-by-side on the Spectre Studio Display.
With a 178-degree viewing angle, support for HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 and built-in speakers, the Spectre Studio Display should be a great option for content creation and consumption. We'll have to get one in for review before we can rank the Spectre Studio Display.
LG UltraWide 34UC97
Great for work, games, and movies – but it's costly
Monitors like the LG UltraWide 34UC97 have found favour with anyone from movie fans to gamers and office workers due the versatility of the "cinematic" 21:9 aspect ratio. At £730 (US$1,086, around AUS$1,4200), the 34UC97 doesn't come cheap but it provides bags of screen space and provides a sharper image than 1080p screens without making everything on it look tiny - as 4K monitors often do.
And because it's curved, the 34UC97 also makes it easier to see items at each end of its long screen - whether that's spreadsheet columns or tiny details in a film scene. Its picture is brilliant thanks to ample brightness, deep blacks, reasonably accurate colour accuracy and superb viewing angles.
A bezel-less beauty
There is a lot to like about Acer's 27-inch 4K display. The S277HK ($699, £452, AU$892) offers uncompromised performance in an elegant package. Although rear port placement and cable clutter may prevent the S227HK from making the cut in a minimalist front office, its good looks will make Acer's offering an excellent companion in many workspaces.
With a 60 Hz, 4ms refresh rate at maximum resolution, the S277HK is a versatile monitor that could be used for productivity and play. Picture-in-picture mode, side-by-side screen mode, and a bezel-less design give users plenty of multitasking options with a single-display setup or with multiple S277HKs.
Read: Acer S277HK
What this professional monitor lacks in style it makes up with exceptional picture quality
The Viewsonic VP2772 ($1,019, £599, AUS$1096) is a 27-inch SuperClear IPS panel that boasts a 2560x1440 QHD resolution that covers 99% of the Adobe RGB color space. Viewsonic created the perfect monitor for working professionals in the creative space, for video editors, design professionals, and print departments.
The size of this monitor is perfect for those who want a bigger screen, comparable to the Apple Thunderbolt Display, but without paying a high price. The VP2772 weighs 19.84 lbs (9Kg) without its base, and its dimensions are: 25.3" x 18.5" x 13.7" (64.26cm x 46.99cm x 34.80cm). Viewsonic put multiple ports into the VP2772 including a Dual-Link DVI port, an HDMI 1.4 port, a mini-DisplayPort, and four USB 3.0 ports.
Read: Viewsonic VP2772 review
Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q
A superb display, but you're paying through the nose for a mere 24-inches
Although it's only a 24-inch monitor, the Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q ($830, £545, AUS$1062) has a beautiful Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolution that packs in four times the resolution of Full HD. This IPS UltraSharp panel provides true color accuracy as well as 99% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB coverage.
The Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q dimensions are as follows: 13.33" (338.5 mm) x 22.40" (569.0 mm) x 2.22" (56.3 mm) and weighs 4.8 kg (10.58 lbs). The UP2414Q has an HDMI connector, one Mini DisplayPort, one DisplayPort (version 1.2), four USB 3.0 ports, and a card reader.
The UP2414Q has a PPI of 185 and the contrast ratio has the capability of achieving 2 million:1, which is awesome. Viewing content on the Dell UltraSharp UP2414Q is incredible, and the built-in card reader will allow professionals in the digital field the ability to work efficiently.
The first Thunderbolt 2-equipped 21:9 display is a cinematic sight to behold
LG hits the ball out of the park with this 34-inch monitor. The LG34UM95 ($1,289, £800, AUS$1,389) boasts a 3440x1440 (21:9) resolution screen. This larger working area is the equivalent of running two 20-inch monitors side-by-side with resolutions of 1720x1440 (6:5). The LG 34UM95 is not just about size, as it has multiple reasons to invest in a bigger working monitor.
For starters the LG 34UM95 is a wonderful option for those who do not want to buy an Apple Thunderbolt Display. LG put two Thunderbolt connections into this monitor, along with two HDMI and one DisplayPort which allows this monitor to be used by both Apple and PC users.
The 34UM95 has a viewability of 23.8" (60.47 cm), it weighs 16.98 lbs (7.7Kg), and the full product dimensions are 33.7" x 18.5" x 6.8" (85.60cm x 47cm x 17.27cm).
Read: LG 34UM95 review
Aimed at CAD/CAM professionals, this feature-packed 27-inch monitor delivers
BenQ took a 27" monitor, gave it a 2560x1440 Wide Quad HD (WQHD) resolution, which allows the BL2710PT to deliver four times the number of pixels of HD resolution screens, which ensure you a crisper image than your traditional 1080p resolution.
BenQ's BL2710PT ($642, £390, AU$688) dimensions are 20.67" x 25.16" x 10.2" (52.50cm x 63.9cm x 25.91cm) and it weighs 18.0lbs (8.2Kg). The BL2710 has a ton of connectivity ports with two USB 3.0 ports sitting on the left-hand side of the monitor and two USB 2.0 ports on the backside, it has an HDMI port, DVI-D port, VGA port, and an audio-in port.
Big, bold and accurate colours from a TV-sized monitor
The Acer B326HUL ($777, £462, AU$836) is ideal for use in office environments or computer labs. It delivers dynamic visuals due to the high display resolution and vibrant colors. But, the Acer B326HUL is more than just that.
The 32-inch B326HUL has a 2560x1440 pixel resolution, a refresh rate of 6ms, a 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and 16:9 aspect ratio. Acer put one DVI connection, one DisplayPort connection, one HDMI Cable connection, and one USB 3.0 Cable into the B326HUL monitor.
The B326HUL is a wonderful monitor. It has all the things a basic user needs but comes with a high quality image that anyone in a design or digital background will be happy as well.
Read: Acer B326HUL review
An attractive, gaming-focused 4K monitor that's well-suited for general tasks
Gamers, media and digital consumers, and the productive-worker have a monitor built for them. Samsung, with the aforementioned in mind, built the UD590 ($679, £429, AUS$782) monitor with a 3,840 x 2,160 pixel resolution, which is four times greater than a 1080p monitor. The UD590 has a 28inch 4K display that includes two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and a headphone jack.
The UD590 can tilt 15 degrees up and down but can not swivel horizontally, the UD590 stand is not height-adjustable, nor does the monitor have vesa mount holes on the back, lending it to a basic monitor with beautiful color
The UD590 has a TN Panel, so it has noticeable difference if right next to a monitor with an IPS panel. Upon opening, the UD590 may need to be calibrated but Samsung placed a wonderful joystick menu button on the panel that makes changing monitor settings easy as pie. If you're looking for something a little more stylish, but a lot less powerful, we also recommend the Samsung SD590CS.
Read: Samsung UD590 review
Get ready for ultra high-def on your desktop
Samsung's UD970 ($1,999.99, £1,200 or AU$2,150) was built with the professional in mind as each monitor is individually calibrated at the factory with incredible accuracy to ensure unified color across the entire screen, and accurate greyscale color gradation. Samsung exclusively developed an embedded chipset and a 16-bit look-up table into the UD970 to allow more precise colors across the entirety of the screen than other monitors.
The UD970 is a 31.5-inch monitor, it supports a 3840x2160 resolution, and comes with the following ports: a Dual Link DVI, two DisplayPort 1.2 ports, an HDMI 1.4 port, four USB 3.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort connector, and a headphone jack.
This monitor, by factory calibration, offers a 10-bit color depth screen that is capable of displaying more than one billion colors, 100% of the sRGB color spectrum and 99.5% of Adobe RGB. Work in CAD or Design? Think about this monitor for color precision in the market. As a basic gamer who wants to go into the 4K world, this monitor might be of interest though note that the 8ms refresh rate is not as fast as a hardcore gamer may be looking for.
Read: Samsung UD970 review
An affordable, powerful 4K monitor
With the Asus PB287Q ($649, £599, AU$799) you can see every detail in its 28-inch true 4K display that has a resolution power of 3840 x 2160 UHD, 157 pixels per inch, and real 10-bit color. This is a monitor for the designer, the photographer, and possibly even the gamer.
Asus provides you with the fastest 4K experience possible with 1ms GTG response time and 60Hz refresh rate in the PB287Q monitor. Amazing. The PB287Q has a natural 16:9 aspect ratio that allows eight million pixels and more than one billion colors to come out of this vivid beautiful monitor.
Connect what you want when you want as Asus put almost every type of connection into this monitor: HDMI, HDMI/MHL, DisplayPort, and two audio ports (in and out).
The video quality is high with this monitor. Have a good Vid card? Then this monitor is for you.
Read: Asus PB287Q review