Ready for a monitor upgrade? Need more room than your laptop’s screen offers? I feel you, work-from-home warriors. While I agree that bigger is better when it comes to monitors, how much display space do you really need if you aren’t a PC gamer or creative professional? Further, do you need an HD monitor with 4K resolution and a high refresh rate if you’re mainly sending emails and working on spreadsheets?
I bought a 27-inch QHD display for our household earlier in the pandemic when the dining room morphed into my wife’s home office. She needed a monitor for working from home. Now that she’s returned to the office, I’ve grabbed it for my home office to replace the ancient 24-inch FHD monitor that seemed puny by comparison.
I arrived at a 27-inch QHD display because it offered enough screen real estate and a sufficiently crisp image for a great price. I was surprised to find that QHD — that is, quad HD or 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution — displays didn’t cost much more than 27-inch models with FHD resolution, also known as full HD, with the same 1,920×1,080 pixels as pre-4K TVs. And QHD pixel density on a 27-inch panel is dense enough that I can’t see individual pixels when seated in front of the display. So far, I don’t have any FOMO about not spending more for a 4K display (which would be at least 3,840×2,160 pixels).
Read more: This is the gear you need to work from home
Because I scratch my gaming itch with an Xbox One, I don’t require a display with a fast refresh rate — 60Hz or 75Hz will suffice. Because I don’t engage in photo editing beyond an occasional crop or touch-up with the MacOS Photos app, I don’t need a professional-grade monitor with a wide color gamut or HDR. I simply wanted a display larger than my current display with a bright, crisp image and a modern array of video connections that includes both HDMI and DisplayPort. Plus, I wanted thin bezels framing the display to make a side-by-side, dual-monitor setup look good should we eventually expand our dining-room operations.
Check out CNET’s monitor buying guide for more, and check out my recommendations for 27-inch QHD monitors that will fit most budgets. I found a great deal on an LG display on Amazon, and it’s still available at the same low price. Looking to spend even less? Check out the Acer and Lenovo models that are each on sale for $210. Want a monitor that can let you email and spreadsheet during the day and do a bit of gaming in the evening? Check out the Pixio model on sale at Newegg. Read on for details and links.
Read more: Best 32-inch monitor deals: Five 4K UHD displays for under $450
This is the model I ended up buying on Amazon after shopping around. I got it near its current price of $230. 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 such 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 offers one DisplayPort and two HDMI ports, giving us 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 is also tempting at its current price of $250.
For less than I paid for the LG above, this Lenovo model adds three-watt stereo speakers to the mix. It also features both HDMI and DisplayPort connections along with AMD FreeSync but is rated for only 250 nits of brightness.
For the same price as the above Lenovo, this Acer model should be brighter with a rating of 350 nits. You also get HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity, AMD FreeSync and integrated speakers.
This 27-inch QHD Lenovo model offers the same specs as the above LG and Acer models — it’s an IPS panel with HDMI and DisplayPort connections and rated for 350 nits of brightness.
You can save $70 on this 27-inch Pixio monitor that delivers a QHD resolution along with AMD FreeSync and a speedy 144Hz refresh rate and 1-millisecond response time if you want to use it for gaming in addition to work. It supplies an HDMI 1.4 port, an HDMI 2.0 port and a DisplayPort 1.2 connection and is rated for 400 nits of brightness.
You can save a sizable $95 on this 27-inch QHD display from Dell. It’s an IPS panel with both HDMI and DisplayPort connections, thin bezels and 350 nits of brightness.
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 HDMI and DisplayPort connections and is an IPS panel rated for 300 nits of brightness. It features AMD FreeSync for smooth, tear-free gaming should you want to dabble in such things when the workday is done.
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Originally published last year. Updated with the lastest deals.