You may well be sitting in front of your monitor all day, regardless of whether you've jumped on the laptop bandwagon or not, so making sure that you have the right one is essential for the benefit of your eyes and physical health.
Choosing the correct monitor doesn't only mean getting one that doesn't flicker, or that looks nice. There's also the productivity aspect as well as the total cost of ownership to account for.
Below are the monitors that we have shortlisted for business users (and others), each of them with their own specific strengths which may make them more useful for some audiences than others.
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1. Viewsonic VA2055Sa
Looking for something affordable and compact?
Screen size: 19.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 16ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 3000:1 | Colour support: n/a | Weight: 6.8 pounds
When it comes to monitors, full HD (i.e. a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels) is the minimum we'd advise our readers to buy. Anything below that is, in our opinion, not worth it. In a day and age where a £100 smartphone can be used as a full HD display, there's no reason why the same shouldn't be true for a main monitor. Which brings us to the Viewsonic Value VA2055SA, the cheapest full HD monitor on the market. Not only does it offer a market leading three-year warranty, it is also one of the smallest displays capable of showing full HD content.
2. Asus MB169B Plus
Portable and versatile
Screen size: 15.6-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 200 cd/m2 | Response time: n/a | Viewing angle: 160/160 | Contrast ratio: 700:1 | Colour support: n/a | Weight: 2.1 pounds
When you think about a monitor, you don't just consider the screen, but also the cables and stand. In terms of the latter, the MB169B Plus is different – it is a portable USB-powered monitor which means that you can power it using a single USB 3.0 cable. It stands out thanks to a smart case that is an adjustable stand and a protective sleeve at the same time. With a full HD resolution and a 15.6-inch screen size, it will prove to be an invaluable accessory for those looking for extra real estate to work when away from their desks, or a presentation monitor for a small team. Bear in mind that you should be able to add a few to your PC should you wish.
3. BenQ GW2270H
A good all-rounder with a modern look
Screen size: 21.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 20mM:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 91% | Weight: 7.5 pounds
BenQ offers the most affordable full HD monitor with an HDMI connector and it doesn't look that bad. The company embraced the Bauhaus "less is more" philosophy to deliver "a celebration of minimalist" lifestyle. Those are their words, not ours. It has some standout features though; one that reduces flicker (PWM technology) and a low blue light mode which may help with headaches and sleeping disorders. The stand design gives it a more expensive feel and its three ports (including two HDMI ones) are worthy of a mention, as is the two-year warranty and the VESA wall mounting option.
4. Acer V276HL
Good value and immense
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 1: 6:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: N/A | Weight: 13 pounds
To tackle spreadsheets without having to squint, a large screen is recommended and this Acer monitor will give you acres of space (nearly twice that of the ViewSonic monitor) for not a lot of money. It has a low response time, a VESA bracket, three ports including a DVI one and a three-year warranty. As expected it comes with a number of Acer features like the glare-reducing ComfyView and the Adaptive Contrast Management which modifies contrast in real-time. The stand and the bezel could do with some improvement but overall, it is a keenly priced monitor that will provide businesses with plenty of display area without an enormous outlay.
5. Seiki SE39UA01UK
A massive screen with a huge range of inputs
Screen size: 38.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 6.5ms | Viewing angle: 176/176 | Contrast ratio: 5000:1 | Colour support: N/A | Weight: 16.8 pounds
This Seiki product is actually a television rather than a pure monitor. And nothing comes close to it in this size bracket – it's a massive 38.5-inch display that is capable of 4K resolutions but is best suited for full HD. Because of its target audience and its size, you would need to have a rather large desk in order to make the most out of it. As expected it has far more features than most monitors. Three HDMI ports, a USB one, VGA, plus the whole set of video connectors and a Freeview tuner. Sound-wise, there's two 6W speakers plus four audio connectors. And you get all this for a temptingly cheap price.
6. LG 25UM58-P
A whole host of pixels for a low asking price
Screen size: 25-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,080 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 11.9 pounds
Widescreen monitors have become mainstream, thanks to a gradual decrease in their prices, allowing businesses to fully embrace the concept of having a monitor that is far wider than it is high. The common perception is that gamers are the only ones to benefit from this. In truth even creative professionals and spreadsheet crunchers will appreciate the form factor. With a 21:9 aspect ratio, this affordable LG monitor can display 2560 x 1080 pixels on its 25-inch display. It offers splendid colour reproduction – thanks to the AH-IPS panel – and some cool features like Picture-in-Picture. Uniquely at this price, it offers two HDMI 2.0 ports but no other legacy ports.
7. AOC U2879VF
4K or nothing…
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,860 x 2,160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 80M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 99% | Weight: 13.2 pounds
This 4K monitor from AOC can display more than 8 million pixels at 60Hz, and is proof that ultra-high resolution displays are coming down in price while gaining some very useful features. This one for example comes with AMD's Freesync technology which reduces tearing. It also has a 1ms response time, 60Hz refresh rate and can even do Picture-in-Picture thanks to its four ports (including a DisplayPort and an HDMI 2.0 one). Sadly, it doesn't come with any VESA mount but at least its design and factory certified calibration make up for this.
8. Dell UltraSharp UP2715K
There are 15 million reasons to love this display
Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 5,120 x 2,880 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 8ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 8M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 16.2 pounds
With almost twice the number of pixels on a 4K monitor, this Dell monitor actually looks like a real bargain for professionals, especially those who work in the creative and financial sectors. It has a versatile stand that can pivot into a spectacular portrait mode and Dell also took care of the sound by including two 16W Harman Kardon speakers – probably the loudest on any monitor on the market. Dell's PremierColour technology also promises 99% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB coverage with a colour calibration factory report certifying that colours are true-to-life and accurate with an extremely small deltaE of less than 2. Last but not least, it comes with five USB ports as well as two DisplayPorts and one Mini DisplayPort.
9. Acer XR341CK
Curved and immersive
Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: n/a | Contrast ratio: 100M:1 (DFC) | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 10 pounds
This monitor is almost as expensive as the Dell 5K model but can only display a third of the pixels. Why would anyone buy it? Gamers, or professionals looking for an immersive experience (e.g. when developing VR solutions) might well consider doing so because they'll appreciate the curvature of this Acer monitor as well as its aspect ratio. Get a pair of them and you will cover a jaw-dropping panoramic 160-degree arc. There's plenty of connection options as well (HDMI, MHL and DisplayPort) as well as Freesync, a very thin frame, a USB hub, VESA mount and a pair of speakers.
10. Hannspree HT225HPB
Adding touch capabilities to your workflow
Screen size: 21.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 7ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 (DFC) | Colour support: N/A | Weight: N/A
The ability to touch a screen to do things now feels more natural than typing on a keyboard. So it is logical for businesses to integrate this ability in their workflows. However, good all-rounders are rare but this Hannspree monitor provides an extremely interesting option for interactive digital signage. It offers a full 10-finger touch capability coupled with a hardened, scratch-resistant screen to survive extensive usage, and a stand that makes touch feel more intuitive. It has a multitude of ports including a DisplayPort, a rarity at this price. Add in a pair of speakers and three-year warranty and you get a pretty compelling touch display for most business needs.