Five Best Computer Monitors

Five Best Computer Monitors

Upgrading your computer's hardware isn't the only way to feel like you have a new machine. A new monitor can go a long way towards making your computer more fun to use and more functional. At the same time, there are hundreds of displays out there by dozens of companies at all different price points. Still, we're only interested in the best, and here's a look at the top five, based on your nominations. P

Earlier in the week we asked you to nominate the computer monitors you thought were the best. You came up with dozens of great monitor suggestions, but we only have room for the top five.P

The polls are closed and the votes are counted! To see which of the top five you crowned as the winner, head over to our weekly hive-five followup post to see and discuss the champion!P

Five Best Computer MonitorsSExpand

Dell UltraSharp U3011 30" Display ($1049)P

Dell's flagship 30" U3011 display is a gorgeous IPS panel that leads Dell's UltraSharp performance line if monitors. It sports a 2560px by 1600px 16:10 display, and comes packed with inputs, including 2 HDMI, 2 DVI-D (with HDCP), 1 DisplayPort, 1 VGA port, and Component connectors, making it ideal for use with multiple devices at the same time. Dell's UltraSharp displays have always been popular with people looking to connect multiple computers or game consoles to one or two large monitors at a workspace, and the U3011 is no different. It also packs a USB hub and a 7-in-1 card reader mounted on the side, just as an added bonus. It's a pricey panel, but Dell is well known for giving out coupon codes like candy and hosting online sales and discounts that would bring the cost well under the $1000 mark, so keep your eyes peeled if this is on your wishlist.P

Five Best Computer MonitorsSExpand

Yamakasi Catleap (and Variants, approx $400)P

Yamakasi is a Korean company, and the Catleap is a display that's earned the love and devotion of many monitor enthusiasts, mostly because they're the same LG IPS panels that Apple uses in the 27" iMac. They're $700-$1000 displays that are easily available for half the price, and to get them all you have to do is be patient and give up some of the features you may get from other monitor manufacturers. Yamakasi's displays don't come with bells and whistles, but they do come with stellar panels. The Catleap is a 2560px x 1440px 16:9 display, and you get a single DVI-D (with HDCP) input (Some models have a VGA input as well.) It's not available through traditional retail channels in the US, it is available easily via eBay, and the people who have taken the jump and ordered one absolutely love them. If you have trouble finding one of these, there are plenty of variants to look for, including the Achieva Shimian 27" (which earned high marks from PC Perspective) and the Auria EQ276W 27". They're all variants and use similar (if not the exact same) glass, all at amazing prices.P

Five Best Computer MonitorsSExpand

Apple Thunderbolt 27" Display ($999)P

Apple's 27" Thunderbolt Display is a stellar IPS panel, boasting a 2560px by 1440px 16:9 LED backlit display, a built-in Facetime camera, and a ton of built-in ports (audio inputs and built-in speakers, Firewire 800, Thunderbolt, and 3 USB ports) to connect any device you choose to it. The Thunderbolt port can also be daisy-chained to other Thunderbolt devices, like external hard drives and NAS enclosures. The display is clearly designed for use with Mac OS desktops and laptops, and even has a built-in MagSafe charging port to keep your laptop juiced up when you connect it for a little added real estate. The limiting factors? Price, for one, and it's only fully compatible with Thunderbolt-enabled Mac desktops and laptops. Still, Apple is known for buying some of the best glass in the industry and for amazing colors and calibration in their displays. For many, it's worth the cash.P

Five Best Computer MonitorsSExpand

Dell UltraSharp U2410 24" Display ($450)P

The 24" Dell U2410 is a great IPS display for people looking to add a nicely sized screen to their laptop, or for someone who wants more real estate but thinks that 27 or 30-inch monitors are a little much. It sports a 1920px by 1200px 16:10 display, and comes with a wealth of inputs for connecting multiple devices, including a DVI-D (with HDCP) input, a VGA input, a DisplayPort input, as well as component and composite inputs. It also has the UltraSharp line's trademark USB hub and card reader mounted into the side. Again, it retails for about $450, but Dell's display line is often on sale, so with some research you can do better before pulling the trigger.P

Five Best Computer MonitorsSExpand

ASUS PB278Q 27" Display ($699)P

ASUS has earned a place in the hearts of many monitor shoppers for being a budget-friendly brand, especially compared to some of the other bigger display names out there, and even though the PB278Q is ASUS's flagship 27" panel, it still comes at a price that many other displays can't match. It's a 2560px x 1440px 16:9 PLS (a Samsung-developed update on IPS) display with Samsung glass, has a pair of built-in speakers, and sports a dual-link DVI (with HDCP) input, a VGA input, a DisplayPort input, and an HDMI input, along with a pair of audio ports (headphone/microphone.) The display is a bit spartan in design, and less flashy than some other models, but it gets the job done and function reigns over form in this case. If you're looking for warranties and support, it's an affordable and highly functional 27" display.P

Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to a vote to decide the winner.P

What's The Best Computer Monitor? (Poll Closed)
Total Votes: 7,371

This week's honorable mention goes out to Dell UltraSharp U2711 27" Display, which runs about $999 retail and sits nicely between the U2410 and the U3011, for people who want a 27" panel. It's a 2560px by 1440px IPS display that comes packed with inputs and a USB hub and card reader, all like you would expect from Dell. Here's a secret: it also uses the same (a slightly later model, the LM270WQ2 compared to the LM270WQ1) glass that's used in the Korean panels we mentioned earlier.P

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Make your case for your favorite—or alternative—in the discussions below.P

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it's not because we hate it—it's because it didn't get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it's a bit of a popularity contest, but if you have a favorite, we want to hear about it. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at!P

Title photo by William Hook.P

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Penguindigo started this thread
12/09/12 8:08am 12/09/12 8:08am

I've been using this monitor for about a year now. It's awesome, the colors come out looking great!

Agreed! I picked up the ASUS VS239H-P 23-Inch Full-HD LED IPS Monitor from Amazon about a month ago. $174.99 on Prime. I couldn't be happier. I don't have the room for a 27"-30" let alone the budget.

Someone, Asus(?) I think, just announced/released a couple of ~$250 24" IPS panels here a few weeks ago. Maybe take a look at those? Also, keep an eye out on Craigslist for used ones. That's where I picked up both of the 26" (1920x1200) monitors I have now. I got a KDC almost four years ago now for $200, and a Samsung a little over a year after that for $150. Both are still working wonderfully, and I paid maybe half what each was going for brand new at the time.

TWW started this thread
12/09/12 9:54am 12/09/12 9:54am

These monitors are great values and they're certainly the best in class for their respective price ranges.

I'm curious though - shouldn't we distinguish between gaming and non-gaming monitors?

For non-gaming I agree, these are the best, and when frames matter, they really matter.


7ms Response time

Yamasaki Kaetrip terminator Q270 LED WHITE

6ms Response time

Apple 27" Thunderbolt Display

12 ms Response time


6ms Response Time


5ms Response Time

I'm not hating on these monitors by any means. They are the best for non-gaming usage and clearly the highest value for all other computing applications. I just want to inform the burgeoning hardcore gamers out there that these displays will give a choppy feel in-game.

My shout out goes to the Asus VH236H (also known as an "Evo" monitor) for it's 2ms response time, fantastic color richness, and roomy 1920x1080 native resolution.

Thank you LH for striving to make the world a better place, and happy hacking everyone!

You know that response time is all a lie.

There is no standard way to measure. The manufacture picks 2 gray colors (even the same one, hence, why some monitors report 1-2ms), and switches between them, and measure the time the monitor takes to do the switch, and they give you the best value they were able to get after several tries. The manufacture doesn't technically lie to you, it says on the box "g-t-g" or "gray to gray".

As an example, if you check reviews the Dell U2410 beats most "2ms response time" monitors.

You don't know your monitors at all. How do I know this? You're mentioning the "ms" of gray to gray on monitors for gaming.

The Dell U2412 has beaten TN monitors on actual refresh AND input lag. Yes, you forgot about input lag.

The only monitors with low response times (2ms) are crappy TN panels. So no thank you. On a sidenote, I've got a Samsung S-PVA panel with 8ms response time and never ever did I experience choppy playback on movies or games.

William Ventura started this thread
12/09/12 8:32am 12/09/12 8:32am

should point out that the catleap can be overclocked to 120hz providing the most surreal quality in gaming. 120hz + 1440p is something no other oem can provide. when you see BF3 running on a catleap you will think you jumped 10 years into the future

dblasphemy started this thread
12/09/12 8:09am 12/09/12 8:09am

StarCraft2 is best played at 16:9...I would like a higher resolution than 1920x1080 but I have not yet found a monitor with these resolutions (2048×1152, 2560×1440, 3840×2160 and 4096×2304) Any tips?