Ready for a monitor upgrade? Need more room than your laptop’s screen offers? I feel you, work-from-home warriors. While I agree that bigger is better when it comes to monitors, how much display space do you really need if you aren’t a PC gamer or creative pro? Further, do you need an HD monitor with 4K resolution and a high refresh rate if you’re mainly sending emails and working on spreadsheets?
I recently bought a 27-inch QHD display now that the dining room has morphed into my wife’s. She has a dual-monitor setup at work and needed a for . And I plan to borrow it when she goes into the office, because my ancient 24-inch FHD monitor now seems puny by comparison.
I arrived at a 27-inch QHD display because it offered enough screen real estate and a sufficiently crisp image for a great price. I was surprised to find that QHD — that is, quad HD or 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution — displays didn’t cost much more than 27-inch models with FHD resolution, i.e., “full HD,” with the same 1,920×1,080 pixels as pre-4K TVs. And QHD pixel density on a 27-inch panel is dense enough that I can’t see individual pixels when seated in front of the display. So far, we don’t have any associated FOMO about not spending more for a 4K display (at least 3,840×2,160 pixels).
Because I scratch my gaming itch with an Xbox One, I don’t require a— 60Hz or 75Hz will suffice. Because I don’t engage in photo editing beyond an occasional crop or touch up with the MacOS Photos app, I don’t need a professional-grade monitor with a wide color gamut or . I simply wanted a display larger than my current display with a bright, crisp image and a modern array of video connections that includes both . Plus, I wanted thin bezels framing the display to make a side-by-side, dual-monitor setup look good should we eventually expand our dining-room operations.
Check out CNET’s monitor buying guide for more, and check out my recommendations for 27-inch QHD monitors that will fit most budgets. I found a great deal on an LG display on Amazon, but its price has jumped by $50 since I bought it. You can, however, get a similar 32-inch LG model on Amazon right now for a very reasonable $250. In addition, there’s a Lenovo model on sale at Amazon for only $200 and another discounted display you can get direct from Lenovo for only $199. So, none of these could be considered a “cheap” monitor, but they aren’t too pricey. I also found a Dell, a ViewSonic and a few more Lenovo displays in the same price range — all under $300 — for your consideration.
I bought the 27-inch version of this monitor on Amazon for $227 after shopping around. The discount has disappeared from Amazon, but there’s a 32-inch model for only $250, which is $29 less than the 27-inch model I bought is currently going for. It’s an IPS panel with a QHD resolution, a rated 350 nits of brightness and thin screen bezels. I like the simple stand, although I wish it offered height support. Most monitors at this price, however, don’t offer such adjustment, so I can live without it. It doesn’t have internal speakers, but those are generally terrible and not something I’d ever use when I have a Bluetooth speaker in my home office. Or laptop audio, in my case of my wife working in the dining room. It offers one DisplayPort and two HDMI ports, giving us the flexibility to connect to a variety of PCs and laptops. I’ve got no complaints about its image, which I find to be sufficiently bright and crisp.
This Lenovo model is on sale for only $200 at Newegg and features both DisplayPort and HDMI connections. It’s an IPS panel that’s rated max brightness of 350 nits and is bordered on three of its four sides by wafer-thin bezels. It offers a 75Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync, an adaptive synchronization technology that matches the refresh rate of a monitor to the frame rate of a compatible AMD graphics card (or a compatible card from Nvidia with some tweaking) for tear-free gaming.
This 27-inch IPS panel from Lenovo sneaks under the $200 mark. It offers one DisplayPort and one HDMI port and thin bezels on three of its sides.
It won’t win any design awards, but this basic, black ViewSonic monitor delivers a QHD resolution across its 27-inch IPS panel that’s framed by thin bezels on all four sides. It’s rated for 300 nits of brightness and includes both HDMI and DisplayPort connections, along with integrated speakers.
This model is the trimmest of the bunch with razor-thin bezels on all four sides of the display. In addition to the standard DisplayPort- and HDMI-in ports, it features a DisplayPort-out port so you can daisy-chain multiple monitors.
You can save $80 on this 27-inch QHD display from Dell. It’s an IPS panel with both HDMI and DisplayPort connections, thin bezels and 350 nits of brightness.
The priciest of this group, this ViewSonic model features a USB 3.2 Type-C port, which means you can connect a MacBook and other laptops with a USB-C port (but not HDMI) to the monitor without an adapter or special conversion cable. It also supplies HDMI and DisplayPort connections, a thin bezel on three sides and AMD FreeSync.