Screen diagonal, resolution, panel, connections – GIGA shows you what to look out for when buying a monitor in 2021 and names test winners and best-selling screens that are particularly recommended.

Already knew? The first computers (predecessors) had to do without a monitor – instead Hollerith punch cards and light bulbs were used. Later, monochrome monitors were used that could only display a single color. Screen technology made the last giant leap when the tube monitors widespread at the time were replaced by flat screens with LCD. Today we look at high-resolution screens with a large screen area: screen diagonals of 24 inches (60.96 cm) and more are now common.

Table of contents: Monitor Test 2021

PC monitors 2021: an overview of all test winners and bestsellers

Amazon bestseller Price-performance tip for the home office Home office tip with integrated webcam Gaming monitor tip 34 inch curved recommendation Test winner at Stiftung Warentest with 24 inches Test winner at Stiftung Warentest with 27 inches
model Samsung U28E590D Asus VA24DQLB Viewsonic VG2440V LG 27GL850-B MSI Optix MPG341CQR Dell UltraSharp U2419HC iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU-B1
Price (approx.) 250 euro 320 euros 200 euros 400 euros 900 euros 400 euros
advantage big and cheap ergonomic integrated webcam excellent price-performance ratio good image quality Numerous connections High image quality
disadvantage only tiltable simple processing quality only 24 inches diagonal Operating in the fastest mode will result in ghosting Requires a powerful gaming PC Hardly to be found in the trade no HDCP 2.2
offer Cyberport NBB Amazon Saturn MediaMarkt Amazon (successor model) NBB
price comparison idealo idealo idealo idealo idealo idealo (successor model) idealo

Amazon bestseller: Samsung U28E590D

Technical data: Samsung U28E590D

  • Screen diagonal: 28 inches
  • Native resolution: 3,840 × 2,160 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9
  • Panel: TN

Benefits:

  • Attractive price for a large screen
  • Good image quality for the price range
  • Matt display

Disadvantage:

  • poor ergonomics: only tiltable, height not adjustable, no pivot function

In the list of monitor bestsellers on Amazon is the Samsung U28E590D to be found in the top 5 (as of March 19, 2021). With an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars and over 6,000 submitted reviews, it is definitely one of the PC screens that should be considered – especially when it comes to a fair price-performance ratio with a large screen size. A “solid and well-balanced 4K Ultra HD monitor that causes a stir with its properties in the low price range”, according to the blog “4KMonitor.net”.

Only a TN panel (low viewing angle stability) with 60 Hz is installed, but it does not reflect (matt surface), has a fast response time of 1 ms and offers comparatively good contrast. The Samsung U28E590D can only be tilted, has no integrated speakers and does not support HDCP 2.2 – these are minor compromises that clearly position the model as a savings tip. Anyone who expects a fully equipped technological miracle has to look around for one or two price ranges.

Price-performance tip for the home office: Asus VA24DQLB

Technical data: Asus VA24DQLB

  • Screen diagonal: 24 inches
  • Native resolution: 1,920 × 1,080 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9
  • Panel: IPS

Benefits:

  • Ergonomic
  • Very good value for money

Disadvantage:

  • simple processing quality
  • Hub with USB 2.0 only

If a screen diagonal of 60.45 cm (approx. 24 inches) is sufficient and the budget is tight, then it could Asus VA24DQLB the right choice. The office monitor is surprisingly well equipped and still remains affordable. An IPS panel with stable viewing angles, combined with tilt, swivel, swivel and height adjustment – ergonomics are taken care of. On the connection side, you can choose between D-Sub, DisplayPort (1.2) and HDMI (1.4). A USB hub is also integrated (2 ports) – but only with USB 2.0, which is easily sufficient for many accessory devices (e.g. external microphone).

The screen specialists at Prad.de certify good image quality: “The very good ratings for illumination and color purity are particularly impressive in this price range.” This also fits in with the customer reviews on Amazon (average: 4.6 out of 5 stars). A US customer uses the Asus VA24DQLB as a second monitor and is satisfied: “So far, the monitor has been great for work. I have a Macbook Pro and it works wonderfully with it. "

Before you buy, you should be aware that you shouldn't expect top-of-the-range features like USB-C and that the model is not intended for professional gamers either. The Asus VA24DQLB is a full HD monitor for the price-conscious – and in this category it doesn't have to hide from the competition.

Home office tip with integrated webcam: Viewsonic VG2440V

Technical data: Viewsonic VG2440V

  • Screen diagonal: 24 inches
  • Native resolution: 1,920 × 1,080 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9
  • Panel: IPS

Benefits:

  • integrated webcam (tiltable) + microphone + loudspeaker
  • Ergonomic

Disadvantage:

  • 24 inch screen diagonal is already "small" these days

Of the Viewsonic VG2440V is referred to by the manufacturer as a "video conference monitor". The decisive factor is the special equipment: One Full HD webcam, a microphone and two loudspeakers are integrated in the screen – very practical in the home office and virtual meetings in Zoom, Slack, Teams and Google Meet. Instead of several accessories including tangled cables, you have everything in front of you in a compact format (diagonal: 24 inches). The camera can be covered with a sliding cover – a small detail that we consider a plus point.

Viewsonic VG2440V: A tiltable webcam is integrated in the top of the housing frame (picture: manufacturer)

Rotatable, tiltable, pivotable and height-adjustable – the Viewsonic VG2440V is ideally equipped from an ergonomic point of view. A blue light filter should protect the eyes when working in the office. The rest of the technical data is solid but unspectacular: the resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) is standard in the size class, the response time of 5 ms is sufficient for casual gamers. Old-fashioned, but quite advantageous for some users: Operation is via physical buttons and not via a touch bar.

If you prefer to have a separate webcam, take a look at our detailed purchase advice beforehand:

Reading tip

Biagio Spatola01/21/2021

Gaming monitor tip: LG 27GL850-B

Technical data: LG 27GL850-B

  • Screen diagonal: 27 inches
  • Native resolution: 2,560 × 1,440 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9
  • Panel: IPS

benefits

  • Excellent value for money
  • Adaptive Sync support (up to 144 Hz)
  • Low response time
  • Integrated USB hub

disadvantage

  • Operating in the fastest mode will result in ghosting
  • Weak HDR effect despite HDR10 certification

For GIGA editor Daniel is the gaming monitor LG 27GL850-B a "true all-rounder". Some of the most important features are available: A maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz, "AMD Freesync" support (must also be supported by the graphics card; response time 1 ms, overdrive activated). Conclusion: Good basic equipment for a QHD gaming monitor that costs less than 500 euros (street price).

The product category “gaming monitors” is extensive. We introduce you to more screen models for gamers in our detailed purchase advice:

Reading tip

Daniel Nawrat02/04/2021

34-inch curved recommendation: MSI Optix MPG341CQR

Technical data: MSI Optix MPG341CQR

  • Screen diagonal: 34 inches
  • Native resolution: 3,440 × 1,440 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 21: 9
  • Panel: VA (Curved / 1800R)

Benefits:

  • Stable viewing angles, decent subjective image quality
  • Relatively slim housing design – although the manufacturer's description “frameless design” is not applicable

Disadvantage:

  • Ghosting in darker scenes in fast games
  • Requires a strong gaming PC to take advantage of its potential

Whether at DisplayNinja, Techradar or Gameswelt: The MSI Optix MPG341CQR performs extremely well in tests. The high price (899 euros RRP) discourages average consumers, it is clearly a UWQHD multimedia monitor for high demands. The RGB lighting ("MSI Mystic Light") on the front addresses the gamer scene, which can be used to display game notifications. "Its 34-inch size in conjunction with the 21: 9 aspect ratio and the 1,440p resolution make for a pretty fantastic gaming experience," writes Whitson Gordon at IGN.

The high resolution of the MSI Optix MPG341CQR requires a powerful graphics card (Image: manufacturer)

Unlike many cheaper gaming monitors, the stable MSI Optix MPG341CQR can also be adjusted in height. The image quality of the 144 Hz ultrawide monitor is very good overall – there is only criticism in details, such as the brightness distribution or particularly fast-paced game scenes. All testers agree on one thing: the price is absolutely justified in view of the performance, ergonomics and adjustment options. If you get the dream monitor, you should also have a correspondingly powerful gaming PC whose GPU can smoothly calculate the high resolution. Note: Only AMD FreeSync is officially supported, but G-Sync still works like this Gordon.

The best graphics cards in our buying guide:

Reading tip

Daniel Nawrat09/11/2020

The office monitor test winner at Stiftung Warentest (2019): Dell UltraSharp U2419HC

Technical data: Dell UltraSharp U2419HC

  • Screen diagonal: 24 inches
  • Native resolution: 1,920 × 1,080 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9
  • Panel: IPS

Benefits:

  • Numerous connections, including USB-C (charges laptops with up to 65 watts)
  • Low power consumption (13 watts in operation according to Stiftung Warentest)

Disadvantage:

Proven for years: The "UltraSharp" series has already produced many PC monitors that are worth recommending. One of the many successes is the win at Stiftung Warentest (edition 08/2019) for the Dell UltraSharp U2419HC, which was able to secure the judgment “good” (2.2) in the size class up to 24 inches. The U2419HC convinced the testers in the most important categories: image quality, versatility and handling are good, the environmental properties (power consumption) are even very good. This monitor is suitable for a wide range of applications. The 8 ms response time of the Full HD IPS panel is too slow for demanding gamers, however, and blurring of fast game scenes could result. Dell's office model shares the throne with the Eizo EV2457, which scores among other things with 16:10 format and greater brightness.

Note: The Dell UltraSharp U2419HC is now a discontinued model that is rarely found in stores. We at Dell after the official successor asked and received an answer: It is that Dell UltraSharp U2421HE, which can be found in stores for less than 300 euros.

Alternative to the Stiftung Warentest winner with 27 inches: iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU-B1

Technical data: iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU-B1

  • Screen diagonal: 27 inches
  • Native resolution: 3,840 × 2,160 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 16: 9
  • Panel: IPS

Benefits:

  • Convincing image quality, sharp presentation
  • Fast enough for the casual gamer
  • Ergonomics: Versatile adjustable and therefore suitable for the office

Disadvantage:

  • takes a long time to wake up from standby
  • Restriction for UHD films: Monitor does not support HDCP 2.2 (copy protection)

The model name "iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU-B1“You can hardly remember it, but you should try it anyway, because this 27-inch device with 3840 × 2160 pixels is worth a look. At Stiftung Warentest (edition 08/2019) it was only enough for the Japanese for the grade “satisfactory” (2.8), the absurdly long wake-up time from standby (9 seconds) was particularly criticized.

Connections of the iiyama ProLite XUB2792UHSU-B1 (picture: manufacturer)

The office monitor, on the other hand, was rated significantly better by the Prad internet portal, where the “excellent all-rounder” earned the test rating “very good”. The tester Damian Köb praises the ergonomic functions, because the XUB2792UHSU-B1 can be adjusted in height, turned upright (Pivot), turned to the side (Swivel) and tilted (Tilt). The image quality is convincing and, after calibration, is sufficient for image processing tasks in the sRGB color space. The monitor's response times (latency) are good enough that it is sufficient for casual gamers. Interesting detail: a DVI input that was out of fashion was still installed, which is not seen often these days.

The best monitors in 2021: This is how we chose

GIGA editor Stefan has incorporated his own experience and research in specialist journals into this summary. Monitors will be presented that have received special praise from the press and customers and are therefore recommended for purchase. The test procedure for monitors used by Stiftung Warentest is also used on the corresponding website explained. Sources used: 4KMonitor.net, Stiftung Warentest (Edition 08/2019), Prad.de (05/2019; 11/2020), DisplayNinja, Techradar, Gamesworld, IGN

Monitor purchase in 2021: you should know that

The specialization of the models for a certain purpose has long been a matter of course. A high refresh rate counts for gaming monitors for ambitious gamers, while maximum ergonomics is more important for an office monitor. Of the average price for PC monitors in Germany is around 226 euros (2020) – you can get a good all-round model for that. If you have higher demands, you can also spend tens of times the sum, for example for a calibrated professional model for image processing or a giant screen with 8K resolution. For the temporary use of expensive models, it is also possible to rent a monitor from time to time, for example from Grover.

Monitor properties: resolution, HDR, response time, HDCP and more

Monitor data sheets are important, but difficult to understand for those with no technical knowledge. With a little basic knowledge, however, the many abbreviations can be better interpreted and classified. Here are some of the most important terms at a glance:

Resolution: Total number of image points (pixels) that the monitor has. This is specified as width × height, for example 1,920 × 1,080 pixels (also: "Full HD", "FHD", "1,080p") or 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (also: "UHD", "4K"). The resolution should not be confused with the pixel density, which is specified in pixels per inch (ppi) and describes how closely the pixels of the monitor are packed together. The following applies to both values: the higher the better – but at the same time the demands on the hardware (graphics card), especially when playing games, also increase. For Microsoft Office or similar, Full HD is sufficient with a screen diagonal of 24 or 27 inches.

Energy labels: Large monitors in particular consume a lot of electricity, so this point should be taken into account when buying. The power consumption (in watts) is specified in the manufacturer's respective product data sheet. The energy labels should provide a quick overview – however, new rules will apply here from March 1, 2021. The information there is formulated in "kWh / 1000h" and with a letter (class).

G-Sync and FreeSync: Technologies that synchronize the signal from the graphics card with the refresh rate of the monitor and ensure smooth and smooth display of games. Requires a powerful graphics card for newer games. Office monitors can usually only display 60 frames per second (60 Hertz), gaming monitors show significantly more frames per second (FPS).

More on the subject:

Reading tip

Daniel Nawrat05/05/2020

HDCP: "High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection" is an encryption system ("copy protection") that is used for films and series and is intended to prevent recording. Most monitors support HDCP 1.4, which is sufficient for HD content. If you want to play back encrypted 4K content (UHD) on a 4K monitor, you must ensure that HDCP 2.2 is supported (example: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K or Apple TV 4K on a 4K monitor).

HDR: "High Dynamic Range" means a high dynamic range, which leads to a more lifelike display of light and shadow. HDR technologies such as HDR10 are particularly interesting for games and films, as they can improve the subjective image impression. The chip manufacturer AMD has introduced the “FreeSync Premium Pro” quality class, which includes the HDR capability of monitors. The “DisplayHDR” logo from VESA or “G-Sync Ultimate” from Nvidia are also useful tips. A current graphics card that supports HDR is required (e.g. AMD Radeon RX 560).

Panel: Describes the screen type, i.e. which technology was used here to generate images. Budget and gaming monitors often rely on TN panels (twisted nematic panels), which are inexpensive to manufacture and have fast response times. PVA and MVA panels (Patterned Vertical Alignment / Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment) have better contrast values ​​and a higher viewing angle stability than TN panels, but have higher response times and are usually a little more expensive. IPS panels (in-plane switching panels) display colors precisely and have stable viewing angles – they too are a bit more expensive and usually not as responsive as TN panels. Put simply, you can use a monitor with a TN panel for games and office work. Anyone who wants to do graphic work and places great value on color representation will be more likely to be happy with PVA, MVA or IPS. Depending on the monitor model, there can be exceptions, for example a TN panel can have surprisingly stable viewing angles.

Pivot: Swivel function in which the monitor can be rotated into portrait mode. Useful for spreadsheets or layout tasks (e.g. displaying documents in portrait format).

Reaction time: Switching time in milliseconds that a pixel needs to change its state. The lower the better for moving images in general and fast game scenes in particular. Gaming monitors have response times of 5 ms or less, while office monitors are slower and can tend to streak in fast-paced games.

Connect a monitor: HDMI, DisplayPort or DVI?

GIGA editor Robert shows the differences between the most common connection types:

Also interesting:

Reading tip

Robert Schanze04/06/2020

Or is it USB-C?

Monitors with a USB-C connection are becoming more and more common. The USB-C cable between PC and monitor ideally fulfills three functions: image and sound transmission, data transmission and power supply. That tidies up the desk, as everything takes place with just one cable. And: the monitor becomes a central hub to which additional peripheral devices for the computer can be connected. Here using the Eizo EV2795-BK as an example:

Eizo EV2795-BK FlexScan: video and audio playback, fast data transfer including network signal and power supply for connected devices – all with just one USB_C cable (image: manufacturer)

In the Apple world, Thunderbolt 3 is also used, which is directly compatible with USB C (USB 3.1). One example of this is the LG 24MD4KL-B, which is touted by the manufacturer as "the perfect companion for the Mac". If USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 is available, so-called daisy-chaining is also possible: Several monitors are chained together using a USB-C cable (several monitors are connected in series).

Tube monitor: Hardcore gamers swear by the picture quality

The era of tube monitors is long gone. Still, you shouldn't think that the thick boxes are out of date in every way. The hardware fans from Digital Foundry have made an hymn of praise for the Sony FW 900 (16:10 Flat CRT), which hardcore gamers should definitely check out. Conclusion: Surprisingly good image quality in first-person shooters, which does not have to hide from modern 4K LCDs when it comes to sharpness.

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Portable mini monitor: the mobile companion for the laptop

Anyone who lives in the smallest of spaces or is on the move a lot should take a look at the portable mini-monitor category (e.g. Viewsonic VG1655 with 16 inches). They are intended as a companion for laptops and are connected, for example, via USB Type-C cable for power supply and data transfer. Some models also offer an HDMI input so that you can connect a Nintendo Switch, for example.

Using the television as a monitor: is that possible?

That's fine. TV sets and PC monitors are technically fundamentally closely related and mostly rely on LCD and an HDMI connection. The PC monitor usually lacks a TV tuner and is designed for a shorter viewing distance. In addition, monitors can often be better adapted to the usage situation at the desk (ergonomics). However, televisions are temptingly inexpensive with very large screen diagonals, which leads some PC users to not buy a monitor, but simply to use a television.

Reading tip

Marco Kratzenberg08/07/2020

This can be an option for multimedia purposes (films, casual games), but for demanding gaming (high refresh rates) it is better to use a suitable PC monitor or at least a gaming television. For hours of office work (MS Office), however, an ergonomic office monitor remains the first choice.