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Whether you’re a hardcore or casual gamer, e-sports champion, or just need a better monitor for work and Zoom meetings, there are several new flatscreen computer monitors to choose from these days. If you’re building a station with multiple monitors, or just upgrading an old setup, check out our buying guide for the best flat computer monitors below.
How to Pick the Best Flatscreen Computer Monitor: Buying Guide
Whether you’re using the monitor with a PC or a gaming console, here’s everything to keep in mind when looking for the best flatscreen monitor.
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Refresh Rate: For gamers especially, this one’s vitally important. Refresh rate is the number of times per second that your monitor’s screen will refresh the image, and is measured in Hertz. Most commonly, you’ll find refresh rates to be between 60Hz and 144Hz, with the newer and pricier models reaching up into the ranges of 360Hz or more. You’ll always be able to adjust the resolution in your game’s settings to up your FPS (frames per second), but a monitor can never output more FPS than its refresh rate.
Response Time: Another attribute that’s important for the gamers out there is response time. This is measured in milliseconds, and represents the time taken for an onscreen pixel to turn from one state of color to another. As a general rule, the lower the better. This will help cut down on the annoyances gamers can often run into, like slowdowns.
Panel Type: With panels, you’ll run into three main types when searching: TN, VA, and IPS. If budget is what you’re after, TN is your best bet. It may be showing signs of age, but can still deliver 1080p and is a solid option for people who aren’t looking for the latest and greatest.
VA and IPS, however, are the most modern, both boasting some seriously awesome features, with some minor advantages and disadvantages between the two.
IPS, on average, may give you a better and clearer picture when viewing it from odd angles, along with a popping color display, but VA panels often shine brighter with things like color contrast, especially differentiating darker shades. There’s also OLED, which are amazing and getting better with each generation, though be prepared to drop some major cash if that’s what you’re after.
Resolution: When it comes to resolution, you’ve got three major types to choose from: 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p. The higher you go, the crisper the quality. But for things like office work video conferencing, you won’t necessarily need to go all-out. However, higher rates are highly recommended for gamers, along with work such as photo and video editing.
Aspect Ratio: This goes hand-in-hand with resolution, and also has three typical formats to pick from. For the most common widescreen monitors, you’ll find that they’re 16:9, meaning 16 pixels wide for every 9 inches high. The next step up is 21:9, and then for Super Ultrawide, a gigantic 32:9.
Consoles vs. PCs: What you’ll be using your monitor with matters too. For example, think about if you’re, say, needing a monitor that can support your PS5 or XBox Series S. A powerful graphics card is what’s doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting here, so if you’re looking to play AAA titles with 4K or even 1440p monitors on your PC, make sure you go with one that can deliver. Also check the requirements for the games you’re looking to play, and avoid the disappointment of shelling out cash for a monitor only to find out it doesn’t work with your system. Plus, most, if not all, monitors these days have an HDMI port, but they’re not all the same. If you’re using this with an external gaming console, go for one that has HDMI 2.0 or 2.1.
1. Samsung 24″ FHD Monitor
Samsung’s full HD 24-inch monitor leaves out the bezels on three sides, making it ideal when lining it up next to a second or even a third screen, eliminating annoying gaps. AMD’s Radeon FreeSync makes sure the monitor’s 75Hz refresh rate is in step with the graphics card, significantly knocking out slowdowns and screen-tearing for seamless gameplay and streaming. The optimal color settings look bright and lifelike, while Eye Saver Mode cuts down on emitted blue light, so you can keep working, gaming, and watching without vision fatigue.
2. LG 34″ UltraWide Computer Monitor
If a wider screen is what you’re after, LG’s 34-inch monitor lets you view everything from a larger perspective without being overwhelmed: 21:9 to be exact. Gaming may be the most obvious benefit here, as your peripheral vision scope instantly increases, but this can just as easily work well for office tasks like large spreadsheets. Plus, there’s a ton of on-screen controls, including split-screen mode, along with auto-adjusting to cut down on flickering and eye-strain when reading documents and PDFs.
3. Alienware 25″ HDMI Computer Monitor
This computer monitor was made for gaming, with a 240Hz refresh rate and super-fast 1ms response time. NVIDIA’s GSync tech helps cut way down on blur and lag, and the thin bezels make it possible for a multi-monitor setup. Plus the on-screen display options let you find your favorite settings without having to adjust them each time.
4. Poly Studio P21 Computer Monitor
This is the ultimate all-in-one setup for anyone that’s frequently on video calls, whether for work, school, and even streaming and filming. The display itself is 21 inches, with 1080p resolution, connecting to your computer via a USB-C or USB-A port and freeing up your HDMIs for other devices.
But the camera is only the beginning — consider this the ultimate station fit for camera-based calls. Stereo speakers and a quality mic are built-in, and the warm, dynamic lighting on each side can be adjusted up and down simply by raising or lowering your hand. The base has a wireless Qi charger that’s easy to use while on a meeting, and it works well with both PC and Mac on every video conferencing service we tested.