If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
One of the easiest ways to boost your productivity is hooking up an external monitor to your computer.
You can use the extra (digital) space to work with more apps at once, or dedicate one entire screen to a more complicated program, like a professional photo or video editor.
We’ve been big advocates of two-screen setups for a while now, but understand that an external display can eat up a big chunk of your home office renovation budget. That’s why we’ve dedicated this guide to the best HD options you can get for less than $200.
Our picks offer similar performance to the more premium priced models we recommend at a far lower price. If you’ve wanted to use your computer with an external monitor, and don’t need a lot of extra bells and whistles, these are the best ones you can get right now.
What Are The Best HD External Monitors Under $200?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right HD external monitor under $200 for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Screen size: The first thing to think about when buying an external monitor is deciding how large you’d like it to be. Whether that’s because of physical space constraints, or personal preference, our guide includes options from 15.6 to 27 inches, so you’ll definitely find one that fits your needs. You want a screen that fits your desk without overwhelming it. And you want enough distance between you and your new (bigger) screen, so your eyes don’t feel fatigued.
Resolution: A monitor’s resolution (measured in pixels), determines how clear its display looks, and how much information can be on it at one time. The monitors in this guide have a 1080P resolution (full HD), which is good enough for everything from general tasks like watching YouTube videos and surfing the web, to photo editing.
Ports: These are a monitor’s inputs, which allow you to connect your computer to them. Our picks generally have an HDMI and VGA port, so you should be able to plug your computer into them without an adapter. For Mac users, we’ve chosen monitors that have USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, which serve the same purpose.
Ergonomics: You’re going to be looking at your external monitors for several hours a day, so it’s important that it’s comfortable to use. Most of the monitors in this guide can be tilted forward or backward, and some allow you raise and lower them, or turn them up to 90 degrees. Consider getting a monitor stand if you need a little more lift (or to clear some room on your desk).
1. HP 24mh
HP’s 24mh has a surprising amount of high-end features for a monitor in this price class, allowing it to edge out the competition.
It has a 23.8 inch full HD display, which is big enough to comfortably fit two apps side by side, but small enough to fit on most desks. HP equipped the monitor with a DisplayPort, HDMI port, and VGA port, so you have a lot of ways to connect your computer.
One of the HP 24mh’s standout features is its built-in stereo speakers. You shouldn’t expect audiophile sound, but the speakers are nice to use in a pinch. The monitor also has an audio output, so you can connect a pair of more powerful computer speakers to your computer through the display.
Another great feature is the HP 24mh’s blue light reduction mode, which changes the color temperature of the monitor to be easier on your eyes. Some studies have linked blue light exposure and to trouble sleeping.
In terms of ergonomics the HP 24mh fairs pretty well. You can tilt the display backward and forward to find a comfortable position, and can raise and lower it. This makes the monitor a great choice for any home work area.
The HP 24mh is a solid external monitor in general, but it’s an especially good choice at its price.
2. ASUS VP229HE
If you don’t have a lot of space, ASUS’ VP229HE is the right external monitor for your setup.
It has a 21.5 inch screen, which is still large enough to get work done, but a little more desk friendly. It has an HDMI and VGA port, so connecting your desktop or laptop to it shouldn’t be difficult. ASUS crammed a lot of advanced display technology into the VP229HE that you don’t generally see in a monitor at this price.
It has a reduced blue light mode, and will display a reminder to limit your screen time if you’ve been using the monitor for too long. It supports both Adaptive-Sync and FreeSync, which allow the screen to properly display games without latency (lag).
The only downside to the VP229HE is its lack of ergonomics. You can’t tilt or adjust the screen in any way. This won’t matter if your desk is at a comfortable height, but may get annoying over time. If you want to add some flexibility, we recommend attaching it to Mount It!’s monitor stand.
If you want a smaller external monitor, and like to play games, ASUS’ VP229HE is our top pick.
3. Lepow Z1-Gamut
Lepow’s Z1 is an ultra-thin HD monitor you can take with you anywhere.
The 15.6-inch display has two USB-C ports and a mini HDMI port. It can be powered by any computer with a USB-C port. If your computer doesn’t have one, you’ll need to connect the monitor to a power adapter, and connect it using an HDMI to Mini-HDMI cable.
We’ve tried an earlier revision of this monitor and were very impressed at how well it worked. The screen produced a clear image without any flickering or lag all through a single cable. This monitor even has a pair of stereo speakers despite being just .3 inches thin. The monitor comes with a magnetic stand that lets you switch between a few viewing angles, you’re definitely giving up ergonomics for convenience.
The monitor’s portability is slightly hampered if your computer doesn’t have a USB-C port on it, but this is still well worth considering if you want a monitor you can travel with. It’s small enough to fit comfortably in the laptop pocket of a backpack. HD portable monitors may seem like a technology that won’t be ready for several years, but Lepow’s Z1 proves you can have it today.
Note: While the price of the monitor is $199.99, Lepow is currently offering a $40 off coupon on Amazon that drops the price down to $159.99.
4. Dell SE2719HR
If you’d like a huge screen for work and play, Dell’s SE2719 HR checks all the boxes.
The display’s marquee feature is its 27-inch size, which offers a lot more space to work with. You can connect your computer to its VGA or HDMI port, and Dell even includes an HDMI cable in the box.
This display doesn’t have a blue light mode, but does support FreeSync, which makes it a good pick for gamers. You can tilt the monitor, but can’t adjust its height, so we definitely recommend using this external display with Mount It!’s stand.
It may not have a lot of extras, but the SE2719HR’s screen size is the reason we’re recommending it. Dell’s monitor offers enough extra digital real estate that any of its downsides look small in comparison.