Best Budget Monitors 2020: The Most Affordable Computer MonitorsApril 3, 2020
Buying a monitor might seem like a frivolous purchase if you only have a laptop and primarily play your games on a 4K TV, but these desk-bound screens are more helpful than you would think. For one thing, looking at a monitor at a desk is much more ergonomic than hunching over your laptop on the couch. Not only that, you also get a ton more screen real estate to work with, which means you can have more windows open at the same time and you don’t have to squint to see everything on your screen.
The good news is there’s a wide variety of budget monitors you can buy on the cheap and they’ll often fulfill your every need. Whether you’re looking for a basic task monitor or something higher-resolution, HDR-ready or even an ultrawide screen, there’s an affordable display out there for you. Like budget gaming monitors, the chance of running into a complete lemon is high, which is exactly why we’ve done the homework for you and found budget monitors that are guaranteed to be great and all cost under $500.
TL;DR – These are the Best Budget Monitors:
1. Dell UltraSharp U2415
Best Budget Monitor
The Dell UltraSharp U2415 is a staple monitor in offices and homes all around the world. It’s not surprising considering that it’s one of the best all-around monitors with good brightness, contrast, and color. Best of all, every one of these screens are color calibrated at Dell’s factories so you’ll get the same picture if you decide to go for a multi-monitor setup.
The monitor’s Full HD (1,920 x 1,200) resolution looks sharp enough given its 24-inch screen size. That said, the 16:10 aspect ratio gives you just a little more vertical real estate so you can see your webpages, emails, documents or what have you at a glance.
2. Asus EyeCare VZ249HE
Ultra Cheap Monitor
If you’re looking for something truly cheap and still good, look no further than the Asus EyeCare VZ249HE. This $180 monitor features a decently sized 24-inch screen and a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution in a slim, slim-bezel design. Better yet it utilizes an IPS panel so you get wide viewing angles and great color reproduction too.
The EyeCare in this monitor’s name refers to the four levels of blue light reduction it features. Essentially you can set the monitor to produce increasing levels of warm light depending. Level 1 and 2 are good for viewing web pages and media in a well ambient lighting situation. Meanwhile, you’ll want to bump up to level 3 and 4 if you’re looking at documents all day or working in a dimly lit situation.
3. Samsung 27-inch Space Monitor
Best Budget 1440p Monitor
The Samsung 27-inch Space Monitor (SR75) is an incredible display that not only gives you a larger screen for a budget price but also an integrated monitor arm. The coolest thing about it is by far its space-saving design. Rather than utilizing a base with large feet, this display comes on a stand that clips to the back of your desk. Meanwhile, the monitor arm that lets you change how close it sits from you as well as its height.
The monitor itself is no slouch either. For starters, you’re getting a large 27-inch screen and a sharp QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. The IPS panel on this monitor also comes with a surprisingly fast 144Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time, which makes it a little more gaming-capable than the other displays on this list.
4. Philips P-Line 272P7VUBNB
Best Budget 4K Monitor
The Philips 272P7VUBNB is one of the few monitors that let you max out your screen resolution without breaking the bank. This 27-inch monitor features an IPS panel with a 4K resolution and the ability to produce 1.07 billion colors. It’s peak brightness only sits at 350-nits so it’s not a true HDR monitor – but we have an option below if that’s what you’re looking for.
One other thing that’s great about the Philips 272P7VUBNB is it comes with a built-in USB-C docking station. So if you have a laptop equipped with a USB-C port, you can plug in a single cable to carry the video signal, connect any USB peripherals you have connected to the monitor and power your laptop all at the same time. Note that the USB-C port can only supply up to 65W of power, so it can only recharge devices like Ultrabooks and Chromebooks.
5. Monoprice Vivid Monitor
Best Budget HDR Monitor
If you’re looking for an extra splash of color and brightness, then check out the Monoprice Vivid Monitor. This monitor features a 27-inch IPS panel from LG that colors a wide range of colors including 100% of the sRGB and Adobe RGB spectrum as well as coverage for 97% of DCI-P3. With a peak brightness of 400-nits, this display is full HDR-ready.
The monitor’s 4K resolution is just the cherry on top of this affordable display. Just be ready to do a little color calibration as Monoprice usually skips this step to give users an incredible panel for an affordable price.
6. LG UltraWide 34WL750-B
Best Budget Ultrawide Monitor
The LG UltraWide 34WL750-B sits right on the cusp of our self-imposed $500 budget but it’s all so worth it. This 34-inch ultrawide monitor sports a 21:9 monitor for the largest amount of screen real-estate on this list. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the monitor sports a sharp 3440 x 1440 resolution that gives you plenty of room to work and play.
It also happens to meet the HDR10 spec with a color depth of 1.07 billion and a peak brightness of 430-nits. You can also use this monitor as a USB-C hub for any laptops or smartphones you plug into it.
7. Viotek LinQ Touch
Best Budget Portable Monitor
The Viotek LinQ Touch is the perfect portable monitor if you’re looking for a second screen you can tow along with your laptop. It might only weigh 1.7 pounds and measure less than a half-inch thick, but it’s a sizable 15.6-inch touchscreen you can take on the go.
The 15-inch IPS panel sports a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and you’ll be able to use all 10 of your fingers on its capacitive touchscreen. The monitor also comes with a pair of integrated speakers, FreeSync support, and a magnetic folding leather cover that doubles as a stand.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam