Our Picks

Best Monitor Overall for Programming   
LG 27UK650    

Best Monitor for Game Development   
Samsung C49RG9   

Best 5K Monitor for Programming   
LG 27MD5KB   

Programmers spend most of the day in front of a computer, their fingers pounding the keyboard, their eyes laser-focused on the monitor. It can be taxing—especially on the eyes! We’ve already rounded up the best keyboards for programmers. In this review, we’ll recommend monitors as well.

To avoid eye strain, you need a screen that’s sharp and easy to read with good contrast. It should be large enough to display lots of code, but also fit on your desk. If you’re into game development, you’ll have to consider how well the monitor handles movement and responds to user input. Then there are matters of taste: whether you prefer a multiple monitor setup or UltraWide, whether you like landscape or portrait mode.

Because one monitor won’t suit everyone, we’ve chosen several winners:

  • The LG 27UK650 is best overall. It’s a quality 27-inch Retina display with 4K resolution. It has acceptable brightness and resolution and is flicker-free.
  • Game developers may prefer the Samsung C49RG9. While it has fewer pixels, they’re more responsive, especially where user input is concerned. It’s wide—basically two 1440p monitors side by side—so it’s a terrific alternative to a two-monitor setup. The downside? It’s almost triple the cost of our overall winner.
  • An even sharper monitor is our 5K pick, the LG 27MD5KB. Its 27-inch display has almost eighty percent more pixels than our overall winner. If you love the display on the 27-inch iMac, this is as close as you can get—but it’s not cheap.
  • Our UltraWide picks, the LG 34UC98 and 34WK650, are a little more affordable. They’re both huge 34-inch monitors. The latter includes more pixels at a higher price.
  • Finally, our budget pick is the Acer SB220Q. It’s the cheapest, smallest, and lightest monitor in our roundup, so it’s a great choice if you’re short of room on your desk.

We’ll cover plenty of other quality choices to help you find one that suits your needs and budget. Read on to learn more.

Quick Navigation

// Why Trust Us?
// Programmers Need a Better Monitor
// Screen Resolution and Pixel Density
// How We Tested
// The Winners
// The Competition

Why Trust Us?


My name is Adrian Try, and like most programmers, I spend hours each day staring at a screen. I currently use the 27-inch Retina display that houses my iMac, and I love it. It’s clear and easy to read, eliminating strain on my eyes.

Are there any differences between the needs of a writer and a programmer when choosing a monitor? Yes, there are a few, especially for game developers. I cover them in detail in the next section.

I’ve done my homework, studying the thoughts of developers and other industry professionals, reading white papers written by monitor manufacturers. I’ve also carefully considered consumer reviews written by non-programmers that give insights into durability issues and more.

Programmers Need a Better Monitor

What does a programmer need from a monitor? Here are some thoughts that will help with your decision.

Physical Size and Weight

Computer monitors come in a range of sizes and shapes. In this roundup, we consider monitors sized from 21.5 inches up to 43 inches diagonally.

Many of us will choose the largest monitor that our desks and wallets can deal with. Unless having a compact monitor is important, I recommend 24 inches as a minimum.

Here are the diagonal screen sizes of the monitors in our roundup:

  • 21.5-inch: Acer SB220Q
  • 23.8-inch: Dell P2419H, Acer R240HY, HP VH240a
  • 25-inch: Dell U2518D, Dell U2515H
  • 27-inch: LG 27MD5KB, LG 27UK650, BenQ PD2700U, Dell U2718Q, ViewSonic VG2765
  • 31.5-inch: Dell UP3218K
  • 32-inch: BenQ PD3200Q
  • 34-inch: LG 34UC98, LG 34WK650
  • 35-inch: BenQ EX3501R, Acer Z35P
  • 37.5-inch: Dell U3818DW, LG 38WK95C
  • 49-inch: Samsung C49RG9, Dell U4919W, Samsung C49HG90

The size of the screen will affect its weight, but that’s not a major concern unless you need to move it regularly. Here are the weights of each monitor sorted from lightest to heaviest:

  • Acer SB220Q: 5.6 lb, 2.5 kg
  • HP VH240a: 5.62 lb, 2.55 kg
  • Acer R240HY: 6.5 lb, 3 kg
  • Dell P2419H: 7.19 lb, 3.26 kg
  • Dell U2518D: 7.58 lb, 3.44 kg
  • Dell U2718Q: 8.2 lb, 3.7 kg
  • Dell U2515H: 9.7 lb, 4.4 kg
  • LG 27UK650: 10.1 lb, 4.6 kg
  • ViewSonic VG2765: 10.91 lb, 4.95 kg
  • BenQ PD2700U: 11.0 lb, 5.0 kg
  • LG 34WK650: 13.0 lb, 5.9 kg
  • LG 34UC98: 13.7 lb, 6.2 kg
  • LG 27MD5KB: 15.2 lb, 6.9 kg
  • Dell UP3218K: 15.2 lb, 6.9 kg
  • LG 38WK95C: 17.0 lb, 7.7 kg
  • BenQ PD3200Q: 18.7 lb, 8.5 kg
  • Dell U3818DW: 19.95 lb, 9.05 kg
  • Acer Z35P: 20.7 lb, 9.4 kg
  • BenQ EX3501R: 22.9 lb, 10.4 kg
  • Dell U4919W: 25.1 lb, 11.4 kg
  • Samsung C49RG9: 25.6 lb, 11.6 kg
  • Samsung C49HG90: 33 lb, 15 kg

Screen Resolution and Pixel Density


The physical dimensions of your monitor don’t tell the whole story. Specifically, a larger monitor won’t necessarily display more information. For that, you need to consider the screen resolution, measured in pixels vertically and horizontally.

Here are some common screen resolutions with ballpark prices:

  • 1080p (Full HD): 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels (around $200)
  • 1440p (Quad HD): 2560 x 1440 = 3,686,400 pixels (around $400)
  • 4K (Ultra HD): 3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400 pixels (around $500)
  • 5K: 5120 x 2880 = 14,745,600 pixels (around $1,500)
  • 8K (Full Ultra HD): 7680 x 4320 = 33,177,600 pixels (over $4,000)

And here are some wider screen resolutions which we’ll talk about more below:

  • 2560 x 1080 = 2,764,800 pixels (around $600)
  • 3840 x 1080 = 4,147,200 pixels (around $1,000)
  • 3440 x 1440 = 4,953,600 pixels (around $1,200)
  • 3840 x 1600 = 6,144,000 pixels (around $1,500)
  • 5120 x 1440 = 7,372,800 pixels (around $1,200)

Notice that monitors with a high pixel count cost more. The price jumps significantly for 5K, 8K, and UltraWide monitors. Unless you’re on a tight budget or need the small size of a 21.5-inch monitor, I recommend you don’t consider anything smaller than 1440p.

Pixel density is an indication of how sharp the screen will appear and is measured in pixels per inch (PPI). A Retina display is one where the pixels are packed together so closely that the human eye can’t distinguish them. That starts at around 150 PPI.

At those higher resolutions, the size of the text on the screen becomes frustratingly small, so scaling is used to make it more legible. Scaling results in a lower effective screen resolution (in terms of how many characters can be displayed on the screen) while maintaining the same very sharp text of the higher resolution.

Nick Janetakis doesn’t feel that Retina displays offer enough benefit to justify their higher cost, and finds that his 117 PPI monitor is comfortable and causes no eye strain. “The goal here is to be standing or sitting at a certain distance away from your monitor and be able to comfortably read text at 100% scaling without eye strain,” he says.

Here are the pixel densities of our monitors sorted from high to low:

  • 279 PPI: Dell UP3218K, LG 27MD5KB
  • 163 PPI: LG 27UK650, BenQ PD2700U, Dell U2718Q
  • 117 PPI: Dell U2518D, Dell U2515H
  • 111 PPI: Dell U3818DW
  • 110 PPI: LG 38WK95C
  • 109 PPI: ViewSonic VG2765, LG 34UC98, Samsung C49RG9
  • 108 PPI: Dell U4919W
  • 106 PPI: BenQ EX3501R, Acer Z35P
  • 102 PPI: Acer SB220Q
  • 92 PPI: Dell P2419H, Acer R240HY, HP VH240a
  • 91 PPI: BenQ PD3200Q
  • 81 PPI: LG 34WK650, Samsung C49HG90

A general rule of thumb is to go no bigger than 24 inches for 1080p monitors (92 PPI) or 27 inches for 1440p (108 PPI).

Aspect Ratio and Curved Monitors

The aspect ratio compares the width of a monitor with its height. According to DisplayNinja’s knowledge base, here are some popular aspect ratios, along with resolutions associated with them:

  • 32:9 (Super UltraWide): 3840×1080, 5120×1440
  • 21:9 (UltraWide): 2560×1080, 3440×1440, 5120×2160
  • 16:9 (Widescreen): 1280×720, 1366×768, 1600×900, 1920×1080, 2560×1440, 3840×2160, 5120×2880, 7680×4320
  • 16:10 (rarer, not quite WideScreen): 1280×800, 1920×1200, 2560×1600
  • 4:3 (the standard ratio before 2003): 1400×1050, 1440×1080, 1600×1200, 1920×1440, 2048×1536

Many monitors (as well as TVs) currently have an aspect ratio of 16:9, also known as Widescreen. Monitors with an aspect ratio of 21:9 are UltraWide.

Super UltraWide monitors with a 32:9 ratio are twice the width of 16:9—the same as placing two Widescreen monitors side by side. They’re useful for those who want a double-screen setup with just one monitor. 21:9 and 32:9 monitors are often curved to reduce the viewing angle at the edges.

Brightness and Contrast

If you use your computer in a bright room or near a window, a brighter monitor may help. But using it on its brightest setting all the time may lead to sore eyes, especially at night. Software like Iris automatically adjusts the brightness of your monitor depending on the time of day.

According to a discussion on DisplayCAL, the best brightness and contrast settings are those that make the monitor a little brighter than a typed sheet of paper placed near it. During the day, that normally means a brightness level of 140-160 cd/m2, and 80-120 cd/m2 at night. All of our recommendations can achieve those levels of brightness:

  • Acer SB220Q: 250 cd/m2
  • Dell P2419H: 250 cd/m2
  • Acer R240HY: 250 cd/m2
  • HP VH240a: 250 cd/m2
  • BenQ PD3200Q: 300 cd/m2
  • LG 38WK95C: 300 cd/m2
  • BenQ EX3501R: 300 cd/m2
  • Acer Z35P: 300 cd/m2
  • LG 34UC98: 300 cd/m2
  • LG 34WK650: 300 cd/m2
  • LG 27UK650: 350 cm/m2
  • BenQ PD2700U: 350 cm/m2
  • Dell U2718Q: 350 cd/m2
  • Dell U2518D: 350 cd/m2
  • ViewSonic VG2765: 350 cd/m2
  • Dell U2515H: 350 cd/m2
  • Dell U3818DW: 350 cd/m2
  • Dell U4919W: 350 cd/m2
  • Samsung C49HG90: 350 cd/m2
  • Dell UP3218K: 400 cm/m2
  • LG 27MD5KB: 500 cd/m2
  • Samsung C49RG9: 600 cd/m2

White should look white and black should look black. According to DisplayCAL, contrast ratios of 1:300 – 1:600 are fine. As a point of comparison, the contrast ratio of printed text is no more than 1:100, and our eyes perceive full contrast even at 1:64.

High contrast monitors do offer some benefit. According to Samsung’s white paper, a high contrast ratio makes text easier to read, helps avoid eye strain and fatigue, allows you to differentiate different shades of black in dark rooms, and makes pictures feel more immersive.

  • BenQ PD3200Q: 3000:1
  • Samsung C49RG9: 3000:1
  • Samsung C49HG90: 3000:1
  • BenQ EX3501R: 2500:1
  • Acer Z35P: 2500:1
  • Dell UP3218K: 1300:1
  • BenQ PD2700U: 1300:1
  • Dell U2718Q: 1300:1
  • LG 27MD5KB: 1200:1
  • LG 27UK650: 1000:1
  • Dell U2518D: 1000:1
  • ViewSonic VG2765: 1000:1
  • Dell U2515H: 1000:1
  • Dell P2419H: 1000:1
  • Acer R240HY: 1000:1
  • HP VH240a: 1000:1
  • Dell U3818DW: 1000:1
  • LG 38WK95C: 1000:1
  • LG 34UC98: 1000:1
  • LG 34WK650: 1000:1
  • Dell U4919W: 1000:1
  • Acer SB220Q: 1000:1

Refresh Rate and Input Lag

A monitor’s refresh rate indicates the number of images it can display per second. Higher refresh rates produce smoother motion, which is especially important for game developers. A variable refresh rate may eliminate stuttering when frame rates change.

A 60 Hz refresh rate is fine for general use, but game developers would be better with at least 100 Hz. Depending on your budget, that may mean choosing a monitor with lower pixel density.

Here’s the refresh rate for each monitor included in this roundup, sorted by maximum refresh rate:

  • Samsung C49HG90: 34-144 Hz
  • Samsung C49RG9: 120 Hz
  • BenQ EX3501R: 48-100 Hz
  • Acer Predator Z35P: 24-100 Hz
  • Dell U2515H: 56-86 Hz
  • Dell U4919W: 24-86 Hz
  • Dell U2518D: 56-76 Hz
  • BenQ PD2700U: 24-76 Hz
  • Acer SB220Q: 75 Hz
  • LG 38WK95C: 56-75 Hz
  • LG 34WK650: 56-75 Hz
  • ViewSonic VG2765: 50-75 Hz
  • Dell P2419H: 50-75 Hz
  • LG 34UC98: 48-75 Hz
  • LG 27UK650: 56-61 Hz
  • Dell UP3218K: 60 Hz
  • LG 27MD5KB: 60 Hz
  • Dell U2718Q: 60 Hz
  • BenQ PD3200Q: 60 Hz
  • Acer R240HY: 60 Hz
  • HP VH240a: 60 Hz
  • Dell U3818DW: 60 Hz

Input lag is the length of time, measured in milliseconds, that it takes for something to appear on screen after your computer receives input such as typing, moving your mouse, or pressing a button on a game controller. This is another vital consideration for gamers and game developers. A lag of less than 15 ms is preferable.

  • Dell U2518D: 5.0 ms
  • Samsung C49HG90: 5 ms
  • Dell U2718Q: 9 ms
  • Samsung C49RG9: 9.2 ms
  • Dell P2419H: 9.3 ms
  • Dell UP3218K: 10 ms
  • BenQ PD3200Q: 10 ms
  • Acer R240HY: 10 ms
  • HP VH240a: 10 ms
  • Acer Z35P: 10 ms
  • Dell U4919W: 10 ms
  • LG 34UC98: 11 ms
  • Dell U2515H: 13.7 ms
  • BenQ PD2700U: 15 ms
  • BenQ EX3501R: 15 ms
  • Dell U3818DW: 25 ms

I was unable to find the input lag for the LG 27MD5KB, LG 27UK650, ViewSonic VG2765, Acer SB220Q, LG 38WK95C, and LG 34WK650.

Lack of Flicker

Flicker-free monitors are much better at displaying motion. This makes them a great choice for game developers or gamers. These monitors are flicker-free:

  • Dell UP3218K
  • LG 27MD5KB
  • LG 27UK650
  • BenQ PD2700U
  • Dell U2518D
  • ViewSonic VG2765
  • BenQ PD3200Q
  • Dell U2515H
  • Acer SB220Q
  • Dell P2419H
  • Acer R240HY
  • Dell U3818DW
  • LG 38WK95C
  • BenQ EX3501R
  • LG 34UC98
  • LG 34WK650
  • Samsung C49RG9
  • Dell U4919W

And these are not:

  • Dell U2718Q
  • HP VH240a
  • Acer Z35P
  • Samsung C49HG90

Screen Orientation

Some developers prefer to use a vertical, portrait-orientation for at least one of their monitors. That may be because they display narrower columns of code as well as more lines of code. You can read plenty of discussion on the subject here:

UltraWide monitors tend not to support portrait mode, but many Widescreen monitors do, including these:

  • Dell UP3218K
  • LG 27MD5KB
  • LG 27UK650
  • BenQ PD2700U
  • Dell U2518D
  • ViewSonic VG2765
  • BenQ PD3200Q
  • Dell U2515H
  • Dell P2419H
  • HP VH240a

One Monitor or More

Some developers are happy with just one monitor and find that it helps them focus on the task at hand. Others prefer two, or even three, and claim to find it much more productive. Here are some arguments for both sides:

There’s a third alternative. A Super UltraWide monitor offers the same screen space as two monitors side-by-side but in a single, curved display. Maybe it’s the best of both worlds.

Other Computer Uses

Besides coding, what else do you use your computer for? If you use it for media consumption, gaming, video editing, or graphics work, you may have additional requirements when choosing a monitor that we don’t include in this roundup.

How We Tested

Industry Reviews and Positive Consumer Ratings

I consulted reviews and roundups by industry professionals and programmers, then collated an initial list of 49 monitors. I specifically included reviews with actual test results from a wide range of monitors, including RTINGS.com and The Wirecutter. I also found DisplaySpecifications.com and DisplayLag.com helpful sources of information.

Because most reviewers don’t have long-term experience with the products, I also considered consumer reviews. There, users outlined their positive and negative experiences with the monitor they purchased with their own money. Some are written or updated months or even years after the initial purchase, providing helpful long-term feedback.

I’ve only included monitors that achieved a four-star consumer rating in our roundup. Where possible, these ratings were given by hundreds or thousands of reviewers. Here are the ratings of the included monitors, sorted from best to worst:

  • Acer SB220Q: 4.6 stars, 5,308 reviews
  • Dell P2419H: 4.6 stars, 454 reviews
  • Acer R240HY: 4.5 stars, 4,173 reviews
  • HP VH240a: 4.5 stars, 4,163 reviews
  • Dell U3818DW: 4.5 stars, 323 reviews
  • LG 27UK650: 4.4 stars, 1,021 reviews
  • Samsung C49RG9: 4.4 stars, 398 reviews
  • LG 34WK650: 4.4 stars, 224 reviews
  • Dell U2518D: 4.4 stars, 216 reviews
  • ViewSonic VG2765: 4.4 stars, 68 reviews
  • LG 27MD5KB: 4.3 stars, 777 reviews
  • BenQ PD2700U: 4.3 stars, 340 reviews
  • BenQ PD3200Q: 4.3 stars, 340 reviews
  • Dell U2515H: 4.3 stars, 302 reviews
  • Samsung C49HG90: 4.2 stars, 557 reviews
  • Dell U2718Q: 4.2 stars, 509 reviews
  • BenQ EX3501R: 4.2 stars, 232 reviews
  • Dell U4919W: 4.2 stars, 60 reviews
  • Acer Z35P: 4.1 stars, 520 reviews
  • LG 38WK95C: 4.1 stars, 227 reviews
  • LG 34UC98: 4.1 stars, 205 reviews
  • Dell UP3218K: 4.0 stars, 11 reviews

A Process of Elimination

After considering user reviews, our initial list of 49 monitors now includes just the 22 models listed above. I compared each to the list of requirements listed in the previous section and came up with a list of eleven finalists. From there, it was easy to select the best monitor for each category.

The Winners

Best Monitor Overall for Programming: LG 27UK650


While the LG 27UK650 isn’t cheap, it offers excellent value for your money as well as everything that most programmers need. It’s our overall winner, and after thorough testing, RTINGS.com agrees with our assessment.

Get It on Amazon

  • Consumer rating: 4.4 stars, 1,021 reviews
  • Size: 27-inch
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400 pixels (4K)
  • Pixel Density: 163 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 56-61 Hz
  • Input lag: not known
  • Brightness: 350 cm/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 5.9
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 8.1
  • Weight: 10.1 lb, 4.6 kg

This 27-inch monitor is big enough for most developers. While it doesn’t have the huge 5K resolution of the LG 27MD5KB below, it can still be considered a Retina display, and has a much more palatable price. Text is sharp and readable, and the lack of flicker allows you to work without eye strain.

It’s not the largest or sharpest monitor in our roundup, but it’s our favorite. If you’re willing to pay a premium, you can read about higher-end options below. It’s also not the ideal monitor for game developers due to its refresh rate. But for everyone else, LG’s 27UK650 offers the best balance between price and features.

Best Monitor for Game Development: Samsung C49RG9


Game developers need a monitor with a high refresh rate that’s also responsive to user input. The Samsung C49RG9 achieves that without losing a whole lot of pixels. It’s just that the pixels are arranged differently, in a curved Super UltraWide configuration equivalent to having two 1440p monitors next to one another. It also costs as much as two 1440p displays!

Get It on Amazon

  • Consumer rating: 4.4 stars, 398 reviews
  • Size: 49-inch curved
  • Resolution: 5120 x 1440 = 7,372,800 pixels
  • Pixel Density: 109 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 32:9 Super UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 120 Hz
  • Input lag: 9.2 ms
  • Brightness: 600 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 3000:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 5.2
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 7.5
  • Weight: 25.6 lb, 11.6 kg

The C49RG9 has a huge 49-inch display with an impressive number of pixels, though it’s not a Retina display. Despite the number of pixels, its high refresh rate and short input lag make it suitable for game developers.

A slightly cheaper alternative is its cousin, the Samsung C49HG90. It has an even more impressive refresh rate and input lag. That’s largely because it has a significantly lower resolution (3840 x 1080)—so only 56% as many pixels to refresh. The resulting 81 PPI pixel density will look a little pixelated. Strangely, it’s quite a bit heavier despite having the same size screen. Personally, I’d go with the C49RG9.

Best 5K Monitor for Programming: LG 27MD5KB


If you’re a Mac user looking for a quality 27-inch Retina monitor, the LG 27MD5KB is it. It’s gorgeous. By plugging it into your MacBook Pro or Mac, mini you’ll have a display every bit as good as the one in the 27-inch iMac. What about Windows users? Although it’s not officially supported, it can work with Thunderbolt 3-equipped PCs as well, as documented by Adam Mathes on Trenchant and Ambrose Little on Medium.

Get It on Amazon

  • Consumer rating: 4.3 stars, 777 reviews
  • Size: 27-inch
  • Resolution: 5120 x 2880 = 14,745,600 pixels (5K)
  • Pixel Density: 279 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Input lag: unknown
  • Brightness: 500 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1200:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 15.2 lb, 6.9 kg

LG’s 27MD5KB is your best choice if you want a 5K monitor that doesn’t come attached to an iMac. With ithigh contrast, flicker-free Retina display text is clearly readable, and its brightness and contrast are excellent.

It does come with a high price tag. If it’s outside of your budget, I recommend our 4K overall winner above. Finally, if you’re a Windows user, make sure you do your homework to learn whether you can get it working with your PC.

Best Curved UltraWide Monitor for Programming: LG 34UC98


The LG 34UC98 is a large, UltraWide monitor with a reasonably affordable price. It’s thirty percent smaller, two-thirds the resolution of the Samsung C49RG9 above, and around seventy percent cheaper! However, its refresh rate isn’t as suitable for game developers.

Get It on Amazon

  • Consumer rating: 4.1 stars, 205 reviews
  • Size: 34-inch curved
  • Resolution: 3440 x 1440 = 4,953,600 pixels
  • Pixel Density: 109 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 21:9 UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 48-75 Hz
  • Input lag: 11 ms
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 13.7 lb, 6.2 kg

LG offers several alternatives. A more affordable option is the lower-resolution LG 34WK650. It’s the same physical size, but has a screen resolution of 2560 x 1080, resulting in a pixel density of 81 PPI that may look a little pixelated.

In the opposite direction is the much more expensive LG 38WK95C. It has a larger (and heavier) 37.5-inch curved screen, and a huge 3840 x 1600 resolution. The resulting 110 PPI pixel density is significantly sharper and easier to read.

Best Budget/Compact Monitor for Programming: Acer SB220Q


Most of the monitors in this review cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Here’s an excellent alternative that won’t break the bank: the Acer SB220Q. At only 21.5 inches, it’s the smallest and lightest in our roundup—an excellent choice for those who need a compact monitor. Despite its relatively low resolution, it still has a respectable pixel density of 102 PPI.

Get It on Amazon

  • Consumer rating: 4.6 stars, 5,308 reviews
  • Size: 21.5-inch
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels (1080p)
  • Pixel Density: 102 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 75 Hz
  • Input lag: unknown
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 5.6 lb, 2.5 kg

If the budget isn’t your absolute priority, and you’re willing to spend a little more for a larger monitor, take a look at Acer’s R240HY. While it has a larger diagonal length of 23.8 inches, the resolution remains the same. Its lower pixel density of 92 PPI is still acceptable, but if you sit a little close to your monitor, it may appear a little pixelated.

The Competition

Alternate Widescreen Monitors

The Dell U2518D is one of our finalists, and will suit many developers. At 25 inches, it’s reasonably large and has good resolution and pixel density. It also has very low input lag, so it’s is an option for game developers looking for a more affordable monitor.

  • Consumer rating: 4.4 stars, 216 reviews
  • Size: 25-inch
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440 = 3,686,400 pixels (1440p)
  • Pixel Density: 117 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 56-76 Hz
  • Input lag: 5.0 ms
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 6.7
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 7.7
  • Weight: 7.58 lb, 3.44 kg

The Dell U2515H is quite similar, but the U2518D is a better deal. The models have the same size and resolution, but the U2515H has significantly worse input lag, is heavier, and costs more.

Another finalist, the ViewSonic VG2765, offers a clear, bright 27-inch screen. However, I believe that the LG 27UK650, our overall winner, offers better value for your money by cramming significantly more pixels in the same space.

  • Consumer rating: 4.4 stars, 68 reviews
  • Size: 27-inch
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440 = 3,686,400 pixels (1440p)
  • Pixel Density: 109 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 50-75 Hz
  • Input lag: unknown
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 10.91 lb, 4.95 kg

Like our overall winner, the BenQ PD2700U offers a quality 27-inch display with 4K resolution. It has the same brightness and slightly better contrast, but has one of the worst input lags in our roundup.

  • Consumer rating: 4.3 stars, 340 reviews
  • Size: 27-inch
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400 pixels (4K)
  • Pixel Density: 163 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 24-76 Hz
  • Input lag: 15 ms
  • Brightness: 350 cm/m2
  • Static contrast: 1300:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 11.0 lb, 5.0 kg

Another 27-inch, 4K monitor, the Dell UltraSharp U2718Q is comparable to our winner. But it’s let down by an inferior input lag, and will not work in portrait orientation.

  • Consumer rating: 4.2 stars, 509 reviews
  • Size: 27-inch
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 = 8,294,400 pixels (4K)
  • Pixel Density: 163 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Input lag: 9 ms
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1300:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: No
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 8.6
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 8.1
  • Weight: 8.2 lb, 3.7 kg

The BenQ PD3200Q DesignVue is a large, 32-inch monitor with a relatively low 1440p screen resolution. This results in a 91 PPI pixel density, which may appear a little pixelated if you sit close to the monitor.

  • Consumer rating: 4.3 stars, 340 reviews
  • Size: 32-inch
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440 = 3,686,400 pixels (1440p)
  • Pixel Density: 91 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Input lag: 10 ms
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 3000:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 18.7 lb, 8.5 kg

The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is the most expensive monitor we list by far—and it’s overkill for almost any developer. It offers incredibly high 8K resolution in a 31.5-inch display, resulting in the highest pixel density of our roundup. It’s also one of the brightest monitors on our list and offers very good contrast. As impressive as all that sounds, those specs are wasted on most programmers.

  • Consumer rating: 4.0 stars, 11 reviews
  • Size: 31.5-inch
  • Resolution: 7680 x 4320 = 33,177,600 pixels (8K)
  • Pixel Density: 279 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Input lag: 10 ms
  • Brightness: 400 cm/m2
  • Static contrast: 1300:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 15.2 lb, 6.9 kg

Alternate UltraWide Monitors

The Dell U3818DW gives our UltraWide winner a run for its money and is RTINGS.com’s pick for that category (To be fair, they didn’t test our pick, the LG 34UC98). The Dell offers a larger screen and more pixels (it’s more a competitor to the LG 38WK95C, also mentioned above), but has the slowest input lag of our roundup.

  • Consumer rating: 4.5 stars, 323 reviews
  • Size: 37.5-inch curved
  • Resolution: 3840 x 1600 = 6,144,000 pixels
  • Pixel Density: 111 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 21:9 UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Input lag: 25 ms
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 6.4
  • Flicker-Free: Yes (RTINGS)
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 8.0
  • Weight: 19.95 lb, 9.05 kg

The BenQ EX3501R is an excellent 35-inch monitor, offering good pixel density, brightness, and contrast. However, it, too, has quite slow input lag and is quite heavy.

  • Consumer rating: 4.2 stars, 232 reviews
  • Size: 35-inch curved
  • Resolution: 3440 x 1440 = 4,953,600 pixels
  • Pixel Density: 106 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 21:9 UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 48-100 Hz
  • Input lag: 15 ms
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 2500:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • Weight: 22.9 lb, 10.4 kg

The Acer Predator Z35P is an excellent UltraWide monitor with a lot of similarities to our winner. The biggest difference is the price—this one is far more expensive, and the LG offers significantly better value for money. Other than that, the Acer has better contrast while the LG is significantly lighter.

  • Consumer rating: 4.1 stars, 520 reviews
  • Size: 35-inch curved
  • Resolution: 3440 x 1440 = 4,953,600 pixels
  • Pixel Density: 106 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 21:9 UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 24-100 Hz
  • Input lag: 10 ms
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 2500:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 6.5
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 7.6
  • Weight: 20.7 lb, 9.4 kg

Alternate Super UltraWide Monitors

The Dell U4919DW is one of our finalists, and only one of three Super UltraWide monitors to find a place in our roundup—the others being our winners for game development, the Samsung C49RG9, and C49HG90. The Samsungs have a better refresh rate, brightness, and contrast. Most other specs are similar.

  • Consumer rating: 4.2 stars, 60 reviews
  • Size: 49-inch curved
  • Resolution: 5120 x 1440 = 7,372,800 pixels
  • Pixel Density: 108 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 32:9 Super UltraWide
  • Refresh rate: 24-86 Hz
  • Input lag: 10 ms
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: No
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 4.3
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 7.8
  • Weight: 25.1 lb, 11.4 kg

Alternate Budget Monitors

The Dell P2419H is a reasonably priced 24-inch monitor. It has a pixel density of 92 PPI, which results in less sharp text that may appear a little pixelated at close distances.

  • Consumer rating: 4.6 stars, 454 reviews
  • Size: 23.8-inch
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels (1080p)
  • Pixel Density: 92 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 50-75 Hz
  • Input lag: 9.3 ms
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: Yes
  • RTINGS Ergonomics: 6.9
  • RTINGS Suitability for office: 7.1
  • Weight: 7.19 lb, 3.26 kg

Another affordable monitor with a pixel density of 92 PPI, the HP VH240a meets most of the needs of a developer. How does it compare with our budget pick, the Acer SB220Q? The Acer is quite a bit cheaper, and because it has the same screen resolution housed in a smaller monitor, pixel density is far superior.

  • Consumer rating: 4.5 stars, 4,163 reviews
  • Size: 23.8-inch
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels (1080p)
  • Pixel Density: 92 PPI
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz
  • Input lag: 10 ms
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m2
  • Static contrast: 1000:1
  • Portrait orientation: Yes
  • Flicker-Free: No
  • Weight: 5.62 lb, 2.55 kg