The best monitors: 4K, gaming, HDR, and more | PCWorld

2022-07-31 23:32:56 By : Ms. Shen T

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Need a new monitor for your PC? We’ve combed through scores of options to find the best monitors available in 2022. Our picks are the result of hundreds of hours spent testing the latest models from Acer, Asus, BenQ, Dell, LG, Samsung, and other major brands. 

While our favorite monitor overall is an awesome choice for most people, we also have alternative options for budget shoppers, gamers, and those seeking the best HDR performance. After all, not everyone’s monitor needs are identical. You can find out more about how we evaluate monitors and what specs matter most below our list of recommendations.

Dell’s U3223QE is a premium monitor with 4K resolution and gobs of connectivity. 

The U3223QE has a cutting-edge IPS Black panel that roughly doubles the contrast when compared to other 32-inch IPS monitors. It provides a richer experience with a better sense of depth that’s especially noticeable when viewing in a dark room. The monitor also excels in color performance, brightness, and sharpness.

Connectivity is a highlight. This monitor offers USB-C with up to 90 watts of Power Delivery for charging a connected laptop or tablet. The USB-C port can drive a hub with a total of five additional USB-A ports, ethernet, and even DisplayPort-out (meaning you can daisy-chain video to a second monitor).

This monitor has a smaller sibling, the Dell U2723QE, which is less expensive. We did not receive it for testing but expect it to perform similarly, as it uses the same IPS Black panel technology. 

The Asus ProArt PA279CV is a solid choice if you want 4K for under $500. 

The Asus ProArt PA279CV is a 4K professional monitor and, as a result, it has excellent color performance and brightness. Photos, video, and games look crisp, lifelike, and vivid on this monitor. The PA279CV has a modest color gamut but, at this price, it’s a sacrifice worth making. It also has a good contrast ratio for the price.

Connectivity includes a USB-C port with up to 65 watts of Power Delivery for charging a connected laptop or tablet. The monitor functions as a hub for several additional USB-A ports. It has adaptive sync for smooth gaming, though its maximum refresh rate is just 75Hz.

Shoppers should keep an eye on the PA279CV’s price. Though often sold just below $500, it has dipped as low as $455, and tends to fluctuate over time. Sales make it even more tempting.

Need a monitor that works well at an extremely low price? The Acer K242HYL is our go-to pick.

The Acer K242HYL’s specifications are good for a budget display. It has a 24-inch screen with 1080p resolution and a maximum refresh rate of 75Hz. Adaptive sync is supported, so the monitor will function with AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync. Video inputs include HDMI and VGA. Build quality is good thanks to robust plastic panels that feel thick and durable when handled.

This monitor has a bright image with reasonable contrast. Color performance stands out, as the monitor can cover most of the sRGB color gamut and has extremely good color accuracy overall. Photos, videos, and games look close to what their creator intended. 

The K242HYL lacks a height-adjustable stand but offers a VESA mount that is compatible with most third-party monitor stands and arms. 

That aside, the K242HYL is an outstanding budget monitor suited for everyday use, casual gaming, and amateur content creation. This is all the monitor most people will ever need. 

Alienware’s AW3423DW is an outstanding PC gaming monitor. 

It stands out from the crowd thanks to its QD-OLED panel, which is similar to that used in top-tier OLED televisions. It has a nearly infinite contrast ratio, excellent color performance, and respectable brightness. The result is a punchy, vibrant image with an unparalleled sense of dimensionality. The monitor’s ultrawide aspect ratio only heightens the sense of immersion.

Motion clarity is superb. The monitor has a refresh up to 175Hz (though only over DisplayPort) and supports Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate. The OLED panel technology it uses has lower pixel response times than competitors, as well, so there’s minimal added blur and ghosting in motion.

The AW3423DW is expensive, but its performance justifies the price. In fact, it’s a surprisingly good value, as most large OLED monitors are sold for $2,000 to $3,000. Competing 34-inch and 38-inch ultrawides without QD-OLED technology are often just as expensive but have less-impressive image quality.

Okay, folks. Hold onto your butts, because we’re about to take a trip out to the cutting-edge of PC monitors: the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX.

This monitor has a Mini-LED backlight with 1,152 zones that can adjust brightness independently. As a result, it can ramp up brightness to extremely high levels when required, or turn off zones entirely in dark scenes. This results in an excellent contrast ratio and superb brightness. 

These traits make the PG32UQX a standout in HDR games and movies. Bright, high-contrast scenes look amazing. You can almost feel the heat of an explosion and the intense glare of sun reflecting off a window or mirror. 

There’s more to the monitor than HDR, however. It scores extremely well in overall contrast, has class-leading color performance, and provides a crisp 4K image. The monitor supports G-Sync Ultimate for smooth gameplay with Nvidia hardware and has a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. 

The only problem? Price. This monitor sells for around $3,000. Shoppers may want to consider the slightly less exorbitant Viewsonic Elite XG321UG as an alternative. It has a similar Mini-LED backlight.

There are literally hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of monitors to choose from. Choosing one from the crowd can be difficult, but knowing the key traits of a monitor will help you make your decision. 

Most monitors are available in 4K (3,840×2,160), 1440p (2,560×1,440) and 1080p (1,920×1,080) resolution. A higher resolution provides a sharper, more attractive image and is generally preferable. There’s nothing wrong with 1080p, however. It remains the baseline and is by far the most popular resolution sold today. 

Look for a monitor with a connection supported by your computer. HDMI and DisplayPort are the most common. USB-C is rising in popularity because it can charge connected devices, such as a laptop.

Most monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate, but a higher refresh rate (such as 144Hz) will make motion look smooth and crisp. This is most appealing to PC gamers, as improved motion performance is most noticeable when panning the camera in a 3D game. 

This technology also improves motion performance. It does so by keeping a monitor’s refresh rate in sync with the video input from your computer. Our guide to FreeSync and G-Sync provides more detail.

Want to know more before you make a decision? Our monitor buying guide explains the nerdy details of monitor specifications. 

Our monitor guides are based on testing by freelance and staff contributors with decades of combined experience. 

While we rely on our eyes for an initial impression, we thoroughly test each monitor with a SpyderXElite color calibration tool. This specialized hardware can objectively measure a monitor’s brightness, contrast, color gamut, color accuracy, luminance and color uniformity, gamma, and many other aspects of image quality. 

Using this tool helps us detect strengths and weaknesses that don’t stand out at a glance and guarantees that a change in lighting conditions or monitor location won’t skew our impression.