The perfect monitor is expensive. Really expensive. Fortunately, there are great models out there for a few hundred quid. Spending a little over £100 gets you a decent 24” screen, that will do most things well.
Clearly, size is important, but it’s also worth considering what will be the primary use. The right screen technology for games isn’t the best choice for watching films, reading documents or editing photographs.
Computer monitors use three different types of screen panel (IPS, VA & TN – see below for the technical details). Each technology has its own advantages. But while a monitor may be awarded five stars from a gamer, this screen is not going to give you the best clarity for home working.
Best home office monitor
Choose IPS screen technology for the best all-round monitor. This type of screen is perfect for office work & pretty good for everything else.
To give you the complete picture, VA screens are best for watching Netflix and alike. They deliver an excellent contrast ratio (deeper blacks) and generally have a wide viewing angle. TN displays are the right choice for gamers, as they have the highest refresh rate (less motion blur). If the primary use is working from home, an IPS device is the best choice.
Choosing the best IPS monitor
The screens detailed below are recommendations for most households. If you only need a screen for fast action games, there are better options. However, if you’re after the best all-round monitor, keep reading…
What size & specification screen to choose
A large screen is preferable. But this does depend on the size of your desk & where you’ll be using it. Most of us sit close to the screen and with this in mind, a 27″ screen is awesome to work on. That said, if you have limited space, take a look at the 24″ model below. Choosing a big screen means you need more pixels for a sharp display. For a 27″ screen opt for QHD. Anything smaller, the FHD is good (more on this later).
Monitor position & avoiding a sore back
Do consider the stand type or even a wall mounting for the display. Having a screen that’s correctly positioned really does help avoid a sore neck and back. This is especially true if you spend hours in front of your computer.
The top of the screen should be just below eye level & at a distance of 0.5m or an arm’s length.
Value for money
There’s little benefit in comparing a £200 monitor to one costing £2000, so we don’t do that! Instead, Verum compares 100s of models ranging from the super cheap to £500. We scrutinise specifications, cross-reference data and take on owner feedback to give you a shortlist of the best all-round monitors to buy, right now…
Best Budget Monitor:
21.5 inch HP 22f
If you’re currently hunched over a laptop and would love a bigger screen, this may be the monitor for you. Yes, there are bigger screens out there, but they take up additional space and are more expensive. While this screen may be smaller than your TV, the viewing area is four times bigger than the average laptop – that’s a big improvement!
Best Small IPS Monitor
This is an IPS monitor, meaning the colours are accurate, viewing angle wide and the response rate is good enough for everyone apart from the extreme gamer. In terms of negatives, it lacks a VESA mount meaning that it’s near impossible to attach it to the wall. The stand tilts but can’t be adjusted vertically. It needs to be positioned at the right height.
Built to last
Owners have lots of good things to say about this monitor and adding to this, it comes with a two-year warranty. This implies HP has confidence that this display is built to last. Thinking about durability, this monitor has an external power supply. If this develops a fault you can change it for a few quid, rather than bin the whole thing.
This is much more than a budget screen. It’s highly rated, has a great specification and comes with a two-year warranty.
HP 22f | SCREEN TYPE: IPS | DIMENSIONS: 490x381x180 | RESOLUTION: FHD 1920×1080 | CONTRAST RATIO: 1000:1 | RESPONSE TIME: 5ms | REFRESH RATE: 50-60Hz | COLOUR GAMUT: 72% NTSC | INPUTS: VGA & HDMI
HP 22f | Verdict price £100 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Monitor under £200:
24 inch LG 24MK600M
Although it’s only 5cm wider than the monitor above, this model gives you 25% more screen to look at. 24” is the most popular & best value size screen in the UK. LG is one of the few companies that both manufacture panels and sell displays. And this model is a great example of good specification meets good price.
Best 24-inch IPS Monitor
Using IPS technology, this LG monitor has good all-round credentials with accurate colours, ok response time and can be viewed from an angle. Similar to the HP, this device uses an external power supply meaning that if it fails you can replace it rather than needing a whole new monitor. The stand tilts and is considered robust and stable compared to numerous other monitor stands. Plus should you want to attach the monitor to the wall, this screen has the 75mm VESA mount.
The only negative that can be levelled at this monitor is the lack of height adjustment. This obviously isn’t an issue, should you opt for a wall mount. An easy alternative is to place the monitor on a shelf to attain the perfect height.
This LG monitor is the perfect screen for office work & it’s ok for games & Netflix too. There’s every reason to choose the excellent LG 24MK600M.
LG 24MK600M | SCREEN TYPE: IPS | DIMENSIONS: 539x322x67 | RESOLUTION: FHD 1920×1080 | CONTRAST RATIO: 1000:1 | RESPONSE TIME: 5ms | REFRESH RATE: 56-75 Hz | COLOUR GAMUT: 72% NTSC | INPUTS: VGA & HDMIx2
LG 24MK600M | Verdict price £110 | Check best price on Amazon
Best 27-inch IPS Monitor:
If you’re thinking big and sit close to your monitor, opt for a QHD screen. On a 27-inch screen, close-up, the extra pixels will improve the definition and make everything sharper. Fortunately, the price of these screens has dropped in recent years and within this category, the ViewSonic VG2719-2k does everything well. Plus, it’s excellent value for money.
Accurate colours, wide viewing angles and a high resolution make this monitor a joy to use. There are cheaper 27-inches screens, but most are FHD (rather than QHD) and lack sharpness & clarity.
Best QHD 27-inch screen
Full HD (1920×1080) is perfect for a 24-inch screen. However, spread the same number of pixels (or dots) over a bigger area (27-inch screen) and everything starts to look somewhat blurred. QHD (2560×1440) means that you get an extra 1.6million pixels (dots) making everything on a 27-inch QHD monitor super sharp. The ViewSonic QHD does cost more than the equivalent Full HD, but it’s worth the extra cash.
Connectivity is good with two HDMI connectors and a display port. This means less scrambling around the back, to change a connection if the screen is used with multiple devices. Every audio option is taken care of, with input/output sockets plus this device has its own 3W speakers.
Another big positive for this ViewSonic model is the stand. The vertical positioning gives 130mm of adjustment to give you the perfect viewing angle. For anyone who’s ever had a sore neck or bad back, a better viewing position will definitely help. Plus, it will rotate through 90 degrees, meaning you can use it in a portrait position. If none of these options appeals, this monitor also has VESA 100 mount.
There’s everything to like about this IPS Viewsonic monitor. It has a top-notch technical specification, a good stand and best of all, this QHD screen is excellent value.
Viewsonic VG2719-2K | SCREEN TYPE: IPS | DIMENSIONS: 620x392x44 | RESOLUTION: QHD 2560×1440 | CONTRAST RATIO: 1000:1 | RESPONSE TIME: 5ms | REFRESH RATE: 24-75Hz | COLOUR GAMUT: 72% NTSC | INPUTS: Display Port & HDMIx2
Viewsonic VG2719-2K | Verdict price £210 | Check best price on Amazon
Screen Jargon Buster – Specifications Explained
There are three main panel types, IPS, VA and TN. Unfortunately, none of these technologies does everything brilliantly – each having its benefits and negatives.
IPS screens are the best all-round option. Perhaps of interest is that Apple chooses IPS technology for its ProDisplay – This costs over £5000! The three main technologies are detailed below.
The Verum recommended monitors are IPS. Perfect for home working, watching video & general use.
TN Twisted Nematic (best for gamers)
Excellent response time means less blurring in fast-moving games
+ Response time
– Limited viewing angle
– Poor colour accuracy
VA Vertical Alignment (best for video)
+ High contrast ratio (deep blacks) – great for Netflix, iPlayer etc.
+ Excellent viewing angles
– Slow response time compared to TN
– Colour accuracy inferior to IPS
IPS In-Plane Switching (best all-round screen)
+ Excellent colour accuracy & consistency
+ Excellent viewing angles
– Lower contrast ratio than VA
What is the best screen resolution?
The number of pixels or dots on the screen defines how sharp everything appears. The more pixels the better. However, this is only evident on larger screens. Here are the specifications to look out for…
Also described as HD Ready, this resolution is suitable for smaller laptop screens but isn’t recommended for a larger second or primary monitor.
Resolution 1280×720. Pixels 921,600.
Full HD – Best for screens 24″ screens
Sometimes referred to as FHD, this gives more than double the number of pixels compared to an HD Ready screen. Perfect for a monitor up to 24-inch.
Resolution 1920×1080. Pixels 2,073,600.
QuadHD – Best for screens 27″ screens
Often shortened to QHD or 2k. The right choice for 27-inch screens.
Resolution 2560×1440. Pixels 3,686,400.
4K – Best for screens 40″ screens
If you’re thinking of a 40-inch screen or above, then 4k option is worth the extra money. However, at 27-inch you won’t be able to detect the difference between QuadHD & 4k (apart from the cost!)
Resolution 4096×3072. Pixels 12,582,912.
The Best Buy Monitors
Best Budget Buy – 21 inch
HP 22f | Verdict price £100
See price on Amazon
Best Buy – 24 inch
LG 24MK600M | Verdict price £110
See price on Amazon
Best Buy – 27 inch
Viewsonic VG2719-2K | Verdict price £210
See price on Amazon
Avoid the duds
Most of us, spend an average of £160 on a new monitor. Verum recommendations are made with this in mind. You may have seen the numerous reviews on the internet that sing the wonders of monitors costing thousands. Some (not all!) are good, but few people can afford these screens. And for most of us, they’re not worth the premium price.
Each of the above recommendations represents, best in class. Measure the space you have and take a look at the best-sized screen to match.
Back-Up Your Files – Best Hard Drives