Best monitor: 10 top displays reviewed and rated

We round up the best PC monitors and help you pick one that's right for you

1. AOC E2462VWH

Price: £131
Manufacturer: AOC
Web: www.aocdisplay.com
Size: 24-inch
Panel type: TN
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pixel response: 5ms

AOC E2462VWH

Props to AOC for making an effort. It wasn't that long ago that pretty much every AOC panel out there looked like it was hewn from pressed plastic sweepings taken from the Airfix factory floor. They certainly looked cheap. The cheerful bit? Not so much.

But now there's this new 24-inch effort. Okay, on close inspection you're not going to confuse it with a premium panel. The plastics are pretty coarse and the snap-in panel that curls around the rear of the stand will make your teeth itch if slightly mismatched panel gaps and a broader sense of tactility are things that bother you.

But the look is certainly pleasantly contemporary. It's pretty snazzy for a monitor costing £131, that's for sure. The main downside of the styling-led design is that it restricts you to height and tilt adjustment. Then again, at this end of the market, tilt-only is usually your lot. If anything, AOC is a little ahead of the game by that metric.

Read the full AOC E2462VWH review

2. AOC i2757Fm

Price: £229
Manufacturer: AOC
Web: www.aocdisplay.com
Size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pixel response: 5ms

AOC i2757Fm

Funny how things work out. Sometimes a simple feature that really ought to be nothing more than a gimmick turns out to work really well, while another that required some heavy lifting in terms of technical development winds up worthless.

Polarised 3D technology, as seen in the Philips Brilliance Gioco 278G4DHSD, is pretty much a textbook example of the latter. No doubt the engineers at Philips slaved for many months - maybe even years - to develop it, but they needn't have bothered their pretty little heads. It's a useless distraction.

Then there's the pseudo zero-bezel design of this AOC monitor. It's a styling flourish that's become increasingly common, but doesn't actually give you a monitor without a bezel. Although the surface of the screen extends very nearly right the edge of the enclosure, the pixel grids stops about a centimetre short.

Read the full AOC i2757Fm review

3. BenQ XL2411T

Price: £235
Manufacturer: BenQ
Web: www.benq.co.uk
Size: 24-inch
Panel type: TN
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pixel response: 2ms

BenQ XL2411T

Dead and finished. That's 3D technology, right? We've certainly never been big fans of any form of technology that necessitates the wearing of silly glasses. Factor in the discomfort that many experience when viewing 3D content and the whole idea kind of blows, frankly. We can't see that changing any time soon.

Even if you could somehow ditch the glasses, viewing issues in terms of discomfort would remain. That's because 3D tech is effectively tricking your brain into thinking there's depth where there isn't, so your eyes are fighting to focus on objects at different depths when really it's a single image produced at a fixed distance.

With all that in mind, should we disregard the BenQ XL2411T out of hand? After all, it's a TN panel costing over £200, and that's not easy to justify if you don't buy into its 3D capabilities.

Read the full BenQ XL2411T review

4. Iiyama ProLite XB2776QS

Price: £458
Manufacturer: Iiyama
Web: www.iiyama.com
Size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Pixel response: 5ms

Prolite XB2776QS

When you're putting together this kind of group test, you have to fight against the influence of expectations. Luckily for Iiyama's latest 27-incher we weren't expecting anything terribly special, so its awesome image quality adds an extra dimension.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Just what are we dealing with, here? On paper, it's all very familiar. 27 inches. IPS technology. 16:9 ratio. 2,560 by 1,440 pixels. And an LED backlight. Nothing out of the ordinary. At least, not for a premium 27-inch panel.

Except this 27-inch high-res segment has been given a makeover with a new generation of panels. That's not to say that the old gen was bad - they were among the best looking monitors vaguely sensible money could buy - but this Iiyama is one of a new batch of 27-inch panels that directly addresses two of the worst shortcomings of previous models.

Read the full Iiyama ProLite XB2776QS review

5. NEC EA244WMi

Price: £282
Manufacturer: NEC
Web: www.necdisplay.com
Size: 24-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,200
Pixel response: 5ms

NEC EA244WMi

Why can't we have more 16:10 action? Obviously we don't get out much, but there's a serious point to be made. 16:9 has taken over the PC monitor market not because it's better, but because it's cheaper.

The result is that 1,920 x 1,080 or Full HD has become the default resolution for anything up to 24 inches. That's fine for smaller displays where it represents a step up from, say, 1,680 by 1,050 on a 16:10 22-incher. But for larger 23 and 24-inch panels, 1,920 x 1,200 used to be the norm.

The extra 120 vertical pixels don't sound like very much, but they give you vital additional breathing space for things like web pages and Word documents. You spend less time scrolling about the place and there are no discernible drawbacks to worry about.

Read the full NEC EA244WMi review

6. Philips Brilliance 298X4QJAB

Price: £387
Manufacturer: Philips
Web: www.philips.co.uk
Size: 29-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,080
Pixel response: 14ms

Philips Brilliance 298X4QJAB

Stop that, it's silly. That's our first reaction to Philips' new 29-incher, the Brilliance 298X4QJAB, and we're not talking about the ridiculous product name. A thick alphanumeric naming soup is unfortunately par for the course for PC monitors.

No, what'll have you almost giggling on first acquaintance is the Philip's ridiculous 21:9 aspect ratio. That's normal for, say, a feature film, but it's outrageously wide for a PC display. In terms of pixel grid, we're talking 2,560 by 1,080. In other words, you get the horizontal pixels of a high-res 27-inch or 30-inch panel combined with the vertical resolution of a standard 1080p screen. Weird.

Anyway, this is the first 21:9 monitor we've reviewed, but most major manufacturers have announced similar screens, so there must be something in it, right? No question, this monitor is great for movies. There's something exceptionally satisfying about having a screen this wide filled corner-to-corner with feature film goodness.

Read the full Philips Brilliance 298X4QJAB review

7. Philips Brilliance 278G4DHSD

Price: £253
Manufacturer: Philips
Web: www.philips.co.uk
Size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pixel response: 14ms

Philips Brilliance 278G4DHSD

What did you say? A 27-inch IPS panel with 3D support? What devilry is this? Sadly, all is not quite what it seems. At least it's not if the presence of 3D support had you thinking Philips had cracked the 120Hz refresh problem with IPS panels.

Instead, what we have here is not the high-refresh active shutter flavour of 3D screen tech, but the passive and polarised sort. Instead of switching the entire screen 120 times a second and sending alternate images to each eye, the Philips splits the image line by line. So each eye receives half the lines. That's achieved by fitting polarising filters to the screen and then having the user wear a corresponding pair of polarised glasses.

The problem is that you can tell that's how it works. In other words, in 3D mode it feels as though you're looking through some kind of fine grating. Think very thin Venetian blinds and you'll get the general idea.

Read the full Philips Brilliance 278G4DHSD review

8. Samsung 9 Series S27B970D

Price: £677
Manufacturer: Samsung
Web: www.samsung.com
Size: 27-inch
Panel type: PLS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Pixel response: 5ms

Samsung 9 Series S27B970D

This is it, boys and girls. The premium 27-inch panel from perhaps the biggest noise in tech, Samsung. Unlike most monitor makers, which can't afford the billion-dollar factories required to manufacture LCD substrates, Samsung is big enough and ugly enough to punch out its own panels. That means this puppy is pure Samsung and technologically cutting edge.

For starters, that means PLS panel tech. For the uninitiated, this boils down to Samsung's take on the increasingly popular IPS option. In the past, we've characterised it as offering the usual upsides of IPS, including excellent viewing angles and exceptional colour accuracy along with better blacks and contrast and little to no evidence of the dreaded 'IPS glow'.

Read the full Samsung 9 Series S27B970D review

9. Viewsonic VP2770-LED

Price: £429
Manufacturer: Viewsonic
Web: www.viewsonic.com
Size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Pixel response: 12ms

Viewsonic VP2770 LED

The Iiyama ProLite XB2776QS popped our pupils by introducing us to the brilliance of the latest 27-inch high resolution panel tech, so pity the Viewsonic VP2770-LED, which finds itself saddled with the burden of expectation. Can it possibly be as good as the Iiyama?

Hold that thought for a moment - let's tick off some of the specifications first. We're talking 27 inches of premium IPS panel with a native resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels. For clarity, that's around double the number of pixels you get with a standard full-HD 1080p panel, including the likes of Viewsonic's own VX2770Smh-LED, itself a 27-inch screen.

As with every other screen here, there's an LED backlight powering the whole shebang. What's more, it doesn't exactly distinguish itself with fancy features. Dayglo LEDs, 3D tech, motion sensors - you don't get any of that frippery.

Read the full Viewsonic VP2770-LED review

10. Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED

Price: £229
Manufacturer: Viewsonic
Web: www.viewsonic.com
Size: 27-inch
Panel type: IPS
Backlight: LED
Native resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pixel response: 7ms

Viewsonic VX2770Smh LED

The AOC i2757Fm and this Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED are two peas in a pod. Both are budget-orientated 27-inch models with 1,920 by 1,080 full-HD resolutions and sporting IPS panels.

Indeed, they both have the same slim-going-on-non-existent bezel design. If you were feeling particularly cynical, you might guess that they were based on some kind of shared monitor kit knocked up by some faceless mass-manufacturer, to which various monitor brands add a few distinguishing flourishes.

Whether or not there's an element of truth in that, the suspicious whiff of familiarity fades as you get to know this pair of screens. On the downside, the shiny Viewsonic looks a bit dowdy next to the spangly brushed-metal sleekness of the AOC. Somehow the pseudo-nobezel design doesn't work quite as well whhen paired with black plastic.

Read the full Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED review