Best monitor 2018: the top 10 monitors and displays we’ve reviewed

Best monitor

A few years ago, we had pundits screaming that computers were about to die their last death. And, if you ask Apple, that’s still true judging by its ‘what’s a computer?’ ad campaign. Still, if you take a look at the best monitors you can buy today, you’ll see why the naysayers couldn’t be more wrong. In 2018, the best PCs are more powerful than their laptop and tablet brethren with fewer compromises than you might think.

This extends to the best monitors also. And, if your PC is starting to show its age, you can breathe some life into it with one of the best monitors. You won’t increase its performance, but your PC content will look better. You don’t even need to worry about cracking open your piggy bank to buy a high-end display – many of the best monitors on the market are affordable enough for anyone to get in on the action. They can also feature higher resolutions and refresh rates than you might be used to – a win for everybody.

And, now that 2018 has rolled around and manufacturers are showing off their new screens, it might be the best time to pick up one of the best monitors. So, whether you’re looking for a mid-range monitor or one of the best gaming monitors, TechRadar has you covered. We’ve created a list of the best monitors you can buy in 2018 – each tested and reviewed personally by us. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.   

1. BenQ PD3200U

Top for (some of) the gamers and pros

Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg

4K resolution
Large screen
Design may seem dull to some
Some features a bit niche

Now that computers are equipped with the encoding technologies that can natively display at the intended resolution, 4K monitors are in increasingly high demand. That explains why BenQ has added the PD3200U, a massive 32-inch Ultra HD display, to its Designer Monitor range. Intended for worker bees, the company has, seemingly by mistake, crafted a screen that gamers can enjoy wholeheartedly as well, so long as they can fit it on their desks. Then again, given the comparatively sluggish 4ms response time, the PD3200U is best suited for creators. 3D designers, for instance, will be grateful for the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, while everyone else will revel in the factory-calibrated color accuracy and Rec. 709 adherence. 

Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U

2. AOC Agon AG352UCG

A curvy ultrawide that even has G-Sync

Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 172/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds

Curved 21:9 screen
G-Sync compatibility
It really is very big
Pricey

The Agon AG352UCG from AOC is proof that an ultrawide display doesn’t have to be limited in resolution or extended functionality. In fact, this 21:9 IPS panel prides itself on its stately 3,440 x 1,440 resolution and G-Sync capabilities. That’s right, when paired with an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor uses G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing without adding stress to your PC hardware. What’s more, you can expect better response times from the AOC Agon than with its closest competitors, meaning lower latency in games like Overwatch or Lawbreakers that rely on faster pacing. The only downside is that the AOC Agon is rather bulky. Weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total, you’ll want to be sure your desk can support it.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG

Display

3. Acer Predator X34

A gaming monitor with attitude

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms G2G (grey-to-grey) | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100 million:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 9.9kg

Aggressive design
Perfect color accuracy
Limited port selection
Underpowered speakers

When you start to get tired of that classic 16:9 aspect ratio, nothing does the trick like a cinematic, 21:9 screen. It may not be ideal for watching Netflix, or playing one of the few games that still don’t support it but the Acer Predator X34 is a great example of what an ultra-wide monitor can do. Boasting an attractive aluminum bezel and a polygonal stand that resembles a crow’s foot, this massive 34-inch panel is a marvel to behold. What’s more, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync tech, you don’t have to worry about enabling VSync and stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. This is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets. 

Read the full review: Acer Predator X34

4. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

Back to the future

Screen size: 32-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 6ms | Viewing angle: N/A | Contrast ratio: 1,300:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 8.5kg

Stunning 8K resolution
Nice design
Very pricey
Limited 8K content

Every once in a while, we run into technology that is so far ahead of the curve that we’re left dumbfounded. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is the most recent example. There are few monitors in the world that can reach the raw beauty that the UP3218K does. It’s not just the jaw-dropping 8K resolution either: Dell went a long way to make sure that the build quality and color reproduction were as good as possible, and it pulled it off. Unfortunately, because of the very high cost of this monitor, it’s geared towards professionals exclusively – unless you have multiple 1080 Tis lying around, you wouldn’t be able to play games anyways. So, if you are looking for a monitor to edit photos or video, and price isn’t an issue, the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is one of the best monitors for you. 

Read the full review: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the BenQ PD3200U 

best monitor

5. Asus MG248Q

A reasonable price for 144Hz and Adaptive Sync

Screen size: 23.6-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 100000000:1 | Color support: SRGB 100%, Adobe RGB 72% | Weight: 16.98 pounds

144Hz refresh rate
1ms response time
TN panel
Adaptive Sync for AMD, Intel only

If your PC can't swing 1440p or 4K gaming, the Asus MG248Q is the next best thing. Despite exhibiting a mere 1080p twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS, the Asus MG248Q makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync. The latter reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q. 

Read the full review: Asus MG248Q

  • This product is only available in the US at the time of writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Acer S277HK  

Best monitor

6. Acer S277HK

A bezel-less beauty

Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 100,000,000:1 | Colour support: SRGB 100% | Weight: 11.9 pounds

Bezel-less design
Refresh rate
No USB ports
Height not adjustable

You’ll normally shell out an arm and a leg for a 4K display, but that’s not the case with Acer’s S277HK. In terms of pricing, this bezel-less beauty hits the sweet spot. With a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a color gamut of 1.07 billion and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, the Acer S277HK is better seen than heard about. Unfortunately, because of the way Acer designed it, there’s no way to mount it onto a wall for everyone to appreciate, nor is the height adjustable. But, and this is a huge but, if you prioritize high pixel density, reasonable cost and “zero frame” over malleability, this is a monitor to shoot for.

Read the full review: Acer S277HK

7. Alienware 25

A ubiquitous solution to screen tearing

Screen size: 24.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 119% | Weight: 11.7kg

Great design
High refresh rate
Expensive
Only 1080p

Depending on your budget, it might break the bank in classic Alienware style, but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor won’t let your screen tear. Whether you’re siding with Team Red or Team Green for your graphics needs, there’s a configuration designed with specifically you in mind. Taking away some of the heavy lifting away from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate might actually be viable. So, as long as your graphics card can handle it, you can expect to reach 120 frames per second. The 1ms response time is just gravy.  

Read the full review: Alienware 25 

8. BenQ Zowie XL2540

A monitor tailored to the needs of professional gamers

Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: NTSC 72% | Weight: 7.5kg

High refresh rates
Easy setup
Expensive
Limited appeal beyond pro gamers

You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

9. LG 34UC79G-B

A reasonable entryway to ultra wide and FreeSync

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,080 | Brightness: 250 cd/m2 | Response time: 10.3ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: sRGB 92.1% | Weight: 8.6kg

Curved 21:9 screen design
AMD FreeSync
Lesser resolution than rivals 
Ineffective gaming modes

If you’re running games using AMD- or Intel-based graphics and want to get into ultra wide displays without spending a fortune, this is the monitor to look out for. At 34 inches diagonally, the LG 34UC79G-B is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite the resolution being lower than a lot of other widescreen displays on the market, there’s no denying that the LG 34UC79G-B pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the pricier 4K monitors available today.

Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B

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10. Asus ROG Swift PG248Q

Faster than you can say G-Sync

Screen size: 24-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 180Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 170/160 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Colour support: Adobe RGB 74% | Weight: 9.5kg

Cheapest G-Sync display on the market
Amazing 180Hz refresh rate
Just two display inputs
Only 24 inches

If you care more about frame rate more than graphics or resolution, this one's for you. Because of its mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capabilities, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you're equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you're unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don't necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article