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The best monitors for 2019

If you’re in the market for a fantastic all-round display, there’s nothing quite like Dell’s Ultrathin USB-C monitor. It’s super-thin and looks fantastic for a great price. Even our reviewers who’ve tested more than 100 displays over the years can’t find much fault in it.

But if you have something more specific in mind, like a great 4K display, or something more suited for gaming, we’ve got you covered. Read on below to find the best monitor for you.

At a glance

Product Category Rating
Dell Ultrathin USB-C Best monitor overall 4 out of 5
Asus ROG Swift PG279Q Best gaming monitor 4 out of 5
Samsung CF791 Best ultrawide monitor 4.5 out of 5
Dell S2418H Best budget monitor 4 out of 5
Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q Best 4K monitor In progress

Dell Ultrathin USB-C

Best monitor overall

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s a gorgeous screen with a super thin frame and bezels, at an extremely attractive price.

Who it’s for: Just about anyone, but it’d be perfect in a home or work office.

Why we picked the Dell Ultrathin USB-C:

When you break a mold, it doesn’t mean you can’t borrow from others. Dell’s Ultrathin USB-C monitor (otherwise known as the S2719DC) borrowed from its design choices in the laptop space and made something truly special. Resembling an expansive XPS 13, the 27 Ultrathin lives up to its name with miniature bezels and a slimline frame that lets this screen sit on any desk no matter how much space you have.

Although there are some USB-A ports and an HDMI alternative, this display draws on modern laptops for its connector focus too: USB-C. That single cable can charge and draw video from a connected laptop, making this a great accessory for frequent notebook users.

It’s only 1440p, but that’s hardly a problem for the professional focus of such a screen and it helps keep the cost as low as it is. There is HDR support, which makes watching films and shows with support for that color standard a real treat. That’s backed up by fantastic color accuracy and wide support for various color gamuts, including 100 percent of the sRGB spectrum.

Read our full Dell Ultrathin USB-C review

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Best gaming monitor

The best monitors for 2019

Why you should buy this: It hits the specification sweet spot: 1440p, 165Hz refresh rate, and Nvidia’s G-Sync.

Who it’s for: Gamers with Nvidia graphics cards.

What we thought of the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q:

For gamers, once you get above 1080p resolution, we believe the best investment is in a faster display and the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is fast by anyone’s measure. With a refresh rate of 165Hz, it can handle whatever your high-powered graphics card can put out. While there are some displays out there that hit 240Hz, this 1440p, 165Hz monitor is right in the sweet spot of being affordable and fantastically competitive with the best gaming screens in the world — and we think it comes out on top.

This makes it perfect for high-speed esports games where a high refresh rate can reduce input lag and make you that little bit faster than your opponents. You’re unlikely to hit such high frame rates in AAA games, but you might do in the future if you upgrade your GPU, so there is some future proofing in a screen like this. It will look smooth and vibrant for years.

Those individual frames look great too, with solid image quality and crisp visuals thanks to the decent resolution and contrast ratio. G-Sync helps keep screen tears at bay, but if you’re an AMD GPU user you could always opt for the cheaper and identically specced MG279Q. While there are better displays out there for watching movies or working, there’s few that can hold a candle to this screen and none that can match its value for money with this feature set.

Read Our full Asus ROG Swift PG279Q review

Samsung CF791

Best ultrawide monitor

The best monitors for 2019Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s huge, immersive whether gaming or working, and the picture quality is fantastic.

Who it’s for: Those who want a fantastic multi-monitor experience without dividing bezels.

Why we picked the Samsung CF791:

At 34-inches wide, the Samsung CF791 isn’t the largest ultrawide in the world, but it’s easily our favorite. With fantastic picture quality, pro-gaming features like a high-refresh rate (100Hz) and AMD Freesync support, it’s great whether you’re blasting enemies or just working on a few spreadsheets at once. At 3,440 x 1,440 resolution it’s not quite 4K, but it’s more than detailed enough for a gorgeous, crisp look and feel no matter what you’re using it for.

Right out of the box, the colors and contrast are nearly pitch-perfect. Hitting a 940:1 contrast ratio without any calibration, and delivering nearly perfect color accuracy after calibration, the CF791 was full of surprises during our review. It consistently outperformed the competition and our expectations. Games look great, movies look great, and it enhance even day-to-day productivity.

Samsung’s Quantum Dot technology helps a lot in all cases, delivering fantastic contrast ratio and color depth that is hard to beat on even far more expensive displays. You may run into a few issues finding compatible media content on platforms like Netflix or Amazon video, but for just about everything else, this ultrawide steals the show. It’s been a head turner in our offices since it arrived.

It’s a little pricey, but you get what you pay for, which in this case is a hell of a lot of screen that looks fantastic.

Read our full Samsung CF791 review

Dell S2418H

The best budget monitor

The best monitors for 2019 Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It’s a great 24-inch screen that looks great at 1080p, for an even more attractive price.

Who it’s for: Anyone on a tight budget who doesn’t need more than 1080p.

Why we picked the Dell S2418H:

The 1080p resolution isn’t the holy grail of PC usage as it once was, but it can still look good on the right screen and the Dell S2418 is such a display. It’s incredibly affordable, often priced below $200 in sales, which for a 24-inch screen, even in 2019, is a steal. It’s a reliable all-around choice for a home office or a dorm-room desktop. If you just want a monitor that will work well — but more importantly won’t cost you an arm and a leg — look no further.

But the Dell S2418H isn’t just a good budget monitor, it’s a good monitor overall. The color accuracy is fantastic, and the contrast ratio is still extremely competitive, coming in at 1000:1 at full brightness. If you’re looking for a good all-around monitor, but you don’t want to make the jump to 4K or invest in an ultrawide, this is a great pick.

If you need a little more screen space, there’s also a 27-inch version that doesn’t cost too much more.

Our full of the Dell S2418H review

Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q

Best 4K monitor

The best monitors for 2019

Why you should buy this: It’s a beautiful display with great clarity and contrast in a lean frame with great features.

Who it’s for: Media viewers who want that 4K, HDR pop and detail.

Why we picked the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q:

One of our favorite 4K displays for some time, the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q might not be the largest screen out there, but at 27-inches and 4K resolution, it packs an enormous range of pixels inside a compact frame making for an exceptionally crisp picture. When combined with great HDR support and a huge 1,300:1 contrast ratio, this monitor looks stunning no matter what you’re doing on it.

It’s not designed specifically with gaming in mind and lacks a high refresh-rate, but the 60Hz is enough for gamers playing slower games who want the added detail of 4K. You won’t need the world’s most powerful graphics card to run it maxed out either.

All of its strong features are available at a price that’s not out of this world, so you needn’t break the bank just to get yourself a great 4K screen.

How to decipher monitor specs

You might be wondering what some of the specifications you read above mean. You can read our full guide to buying a computer monitor, which details every important aspect when considering your options. For now, here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Aspect Ratio: It’s the relation of the monitor’s width to its height. Most monitors are 16:9 — the same as an HDTV. But some are 21:9, which means they’re much wider than a typical display.

FreeSync and G-Sync: These are two, separate frame refresh technologies. the former promoted by AMD, the latter proprietary to Nvidia. Read our comparison of FreeSync and G-Sync to learn more.

Resolution: How many pixels the monitor has. More tends to provide a sharper, more realistic image. The most common options are 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.

Refresh Rate: Expressed in hertz, abbreviated “Hz,” this is the number of times the monitor image refreshes each second.  A standard monitor has a 60Hz display, but a higher refresh rate can make the monitor look smoother in motion. A refresh rate of 144Hz is a sweet spot for high-performance gaming, though some reach up to 240Hz.

How we test

We test monitors by putting them through a comprehensive series of test that includes color accuracy, color gamut, gamma, brightness, contrast, and black levels. Our testing is complimented with real-world use, so we know how the monitor will look to you every morning.

Our testing is conducted with both out-the-box and calibrated settings. By doing this, we can tell you whether or not the monitor will look good from the moment you turn it on, and if you’ll see much benefit from tweaking its settings.

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