To my eyes and wallet, the sweet spot for monitors in terms of getting the biggest screen with the highest resolution at an affordable price is either a 27-inch QHD display or a 32-inch UHD display. Each option produces a satisfactorily sharp picture for the size of the panel at an acceptable price.
My current monitor is a 27-inch QHD (quad HD or 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution) monitor that I bought for $250, but I did nearly go with a 32-inch UHD (ultra HD or 3,840×2,160-pixel) display that would have offered more room and more pixels for only a bit more money. Between these two different sizes, you can easily find a screen to perfectly fit your desk space, your work needs and, most importantly, your budget. The world’s creatives, hobbyists and professional gamers who worry about color gamut and refresh rates might find that they need a higher-end screen than you’ll find on our list, but these displays are big enough for most needs, and with sufficient pixel density to produce a sharp, quality image.
Be sure to check out CNET’s monitor buying guide for more info, and keep updated on the best deals I currently see among 27-inch QHD and 32-inch UHD displays. I will continue to keep this story updated as pricing fluctuates and I uncover better deals, so check back often.
Best 27-inch monitor deals
These 27-inch models feature QHD resolution and give you more screen real estate than a 24-inch, FHD (full HD or 1,920×1,080 pixels) display, and better resolution, too. And it gives you all of that for not too much more money. You might also come across 27-inch 4K displays in your search. Those displays offer a certain quality worth consideration, but in my experience, a QHD or 2K resolution is more than sufficient when stretched across a 27-inch panel.
This is the model I ended up buying on Amazon after shopping around. I got it for a reasonable $250 — right around where it’s priced right now. 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 height 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. It has one DisplayPort and two HDMI ports, giving 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.
The 32-inch version of this monitor actually costs less than the 27-inch model right now — it’s on sale for only $210.
I’m unfamiliar with the Koorui name but this monitor gets favorable reviews on Amazon and is priced below $200. That’s rare for a 27-inch monitor with a QHD resolution. Most budget monitors are rated for a dull 250 nits of brightness, but this Koorui model is rated for a more adequate 300 nits. In addition to height, swivel and tilt adjustments, it can rotate into portrait mode.
You can get this 27-inch Pixio monitor for a reasonable $240 at Amazon with you apply the $20 coupon that reduces the price at checkout. It features a QHD resolution along with AMD FreeSync and a speedy 144Hz refresh rate if you want to use it for gaming in addition to work. It’s rated for an ample 350 nits of brightness, so it should be a bit brighter than the Acer and Koorui models above.
The highlight of this ViewSonic model is its 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 both HDMI and DisplayPort connections along with AMD FreeSync and is rated for 300 nits of brightness. It’s currently $30 off at Amazon and selling for a very reasonable $300 right now.
Best 32-inch monitor deals
The next step up in size, resolution and price from a 27-inch QHD display is a 32-inch UHD display. Ultra HD is also commonly referred to as 4K.
This Samsung model has a relatively low max brightness of 270 nits, making it a better fit for a basement den or otherwise low-light room than for a sun-drenched office. It features AMD FreeSync, two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort and a headphone jack, but no USB ports. It’s currently $40 off, dropping its price to a very reasonable $300.
This is one of the more affordable 32-inch 4K monitors and features HDMI and DisplayPort connections, a 300-nit brightness rating, and built-in speakers. It also supports HDR10 and AMD FreeSync and comes wrapped in a compact if basic package with thin bezels.
This LG is similar to the above two monitors — 32-inch 4K display with FreeSync and built-in speakers — but is the brightest of the trio with a rating of 350 nits. It’s $50 off at Best Buy, which puts it at the same price as the above Samsung and ViewSonic models.
This AOC model stands out from the 32-inch UHD pack here because it features a USB Type-C port, which means you can connect a MacBook and other laptops with a USB-C port to the monitor without an adapter or special conversion cable. It’s rated for a sufficient 350 nits of brightness and also includes a pair of HDMI ports and a DisplayPort connection along with integrated speakers. It’s rare to find a USB-C monitor at this size and resolution for this low of a price.
At 32 inches, a curved display starts to become an option and not just for gamers. A curved display lets you sit closer without needing to crane your head as much to see the whole screen. This curved Dell display features a gentle 1,800R curvature along with AMD FreeSync and integrated speakers. It also boasts a wealth of adjustability with tilt, swivel and height adjustment. It has a bounty of connectivity with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort connection, two USB-A ports, a USB-B port and headphone jack. And it’s currently $150 off direct from Dell.
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