We’ve all been there: suffering because you’ve been saddled with a tiny, disappointing display. It doesn’t have to be this way. Whether you’re still working in your office or if you’ve relocated to home, getting a better monitor can be transformative.
A new monitor won’t just deliver a bigger screen or a higher resolution – although those are undoubted benefits. Upgrading means improved image quality, more accurate colours and punchier contrast. You could also get a wider aspect ratio, more features, better refresh rates and pro-level calibration. Don’t forget: when it comes to who is paying for it, if you’re not freelance or self employed, it’s worth negotiating with your employer around your equipment and perks.
We’ve rounded up more than six of the best displays that cover all of the options when it comes to workplace monitors. There are affordable products, mid-range displays and high-end panels that are perfect for professional video, photo and design work – alongside widescreen and curved products that are perfect for multi-tasking.
What are the best office monitors in 2020?
The best monitor you can buy right now is the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q (£599), which balances superb image quality with smart, solid design and a broad range of features. For photo and video work alongside general-purpose use, it’s a fantastic all-rounder.
The Eizo ColorEdge CG279X (£1,618) is the best display for high-end photography and video work. It has market-leading image quality, a vast range of industry-friendly features, and robust physical design – it’s expensive, but it justifies the cost through its sheer quality.
The best monitor for multi-tasking and widescreen use is the Philips 499P9H (£917). It’s a vast 49in unit that is perfect for wider applications and versatile multi-tasking, and its huge 32:9 design is bolstered by a broad range of features.
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q
WIRED Recommends: Dell’s UltraSharp U2720Q is our favourite home office monitor
Size: 27in | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Display tech: IPS | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort | Ports: 2 x USB, USB-C | Adjustments: Height, pivot, swivel, tilt, VESA 100 | Extras: Factory calibration
The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q (£599) is one of those rare monitors that delivers brilliant quality and a broad range of features with no major weaknesses – which is why it’s our favourite office display.
It’s a 27in panel with a 4K resolution, which means it’s incredibly sharp and has loads of space. Quality is tremendous: this IPS panel is factory calibrated, which means it delivers a Delta E of below 2.0, so it’s an ideal option for creative work – only the most demanding designers and photographers will need more accuracy.
The colour temperature is good, the reliance on 10-bit colour means great gradients, and the contrast level of around 1,300:1 is good enough to provide ample punch. Black levels, brightness levels and uniformity are all impressive, and the matte display eliminates reflections. And if you want this quality in a different size, the 25in Dell U2421HE (£279) and the 32in Dell U3219Q (£799) are also available.
The Dell handles the sRGB colour gamut easily, and it can work in the DCI-P3 colour space – so it can be used for HDR work. It’s just about good enough for the Adobe RGB gamut, which is important for designers.
This display has slim bezels, a stylish base and a stand that’s got height, swivel, pivot and tilt adjustments alongside good build quality. It’s got three full-size USB ports and two USB-C connections, one of which can power laptops. Some ports are installed on the side, so they’re easier to reach, and you get an audio jack and a security lock slot. It’s all managed by an intuitive on-screen display.
There are only minor issues. You could find better Adobe RGB coverage elsewhere, but you’ll have to pay more. There’s no Thunderbolt support, either.
For the most part, though, the U2720Q is fantastic – it’s got great image quality, a high resolution, loads of features and good design. It’s the best office all-rounder.
Also consider: The U2720Q’s biggest flaws are its missing Adobe RGB and Thunderbolt support. If you want that, consider one of the pricier professional screens we’ve recommended here. If you want to stick with Dell, the UP2720Q (£1,242) fixes those issues, albeit for a higher price.
Pros: Fantastic image quality; ample adjustment options; smart, robust design
Cons: Can’t handle Adobe RGB; no Thunderbolt
HP Z27n G2
The best mid-range home office display
Size: 27in | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Display tech: IPS | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort | Ports: 3 x USB, 2 x USB-C | Adjustments: Height, pivot, swivel, tilt, VESA 100 | Extras: Factory calibration
This HP Z27n G2 (£330) panel is the best option for all-round quality without spending loads of cash. Its core specification is sound: the 1440p resolution delivers enough sharpness and on-screen space to handle large applications and multiple windows, and the IPS panel delivers good levels of quality – its got a Delta E that hovers around 2.0, contrast that sits just beyond 1,000:1 and solid uniformity and sRGB coverage.
For mainstream use – and even mainstream photo-editing – it’s easily good enough. The solid performance is bolstered with a broad range of features. It’s got HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI ports, dual USB-C connectivity with one port able to charge phones, and the connectivity is rounded out with three full-size USB ports. The stand is robust and discreet, the screen has slim, and it has height, swivel, pivot and tilt adjustment options alongside support for 100mm VESA mounting.
This panel doesn’t have the quality for pro-grade colour and design work, but it does have the quality for every mainstream task going – alongside a solid resolution and loads of features.
Also consider: If you want something more affordable, check out the Dell P2419HC (£147), which is a 1080p, 24in display with solid quality and design – ideal for everyday work. Its normal model costs £147, and adding USB-C brings the price up to £199.
Pros: Solid mainstream image quality; lots of adjustment; loads of ports
Cons: Doesn’t have 4K; not good enough for high-end work
The best mainstream widescreen monitor
Size: 34in | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Display tech: VA | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, DisplayPort | Ports: USB | Adjustments: Height, swivel, tilt, VESA 100 | Extras: 21:9 aspect ratio, AMD FreeSync
The AOC CU34G2X/BK (£449) is a gaming display, but don’t let that put you off – the gaming and professional worlds share loads of DNA, and this widescreen display has key attributes that mean it’ll be at home in the office.
It’s a 34in curved panel with a 21:9 aspect ratio, and it’s got a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 alongside a subtle, absorbing radius, which means plenty of vertical pixels and loads of horizontal space. That makes it easier to work in multiple applications simultaneously – crucial for a busy workplace.
The wide resolution is bolstered by good quality levels – the AOC is a VA panel, so it’s got great black points, and it pairs those with accurate colours and huge contrast. IPS displays are a little more balanced and many have 10-bit colour, so they’re better for colour-sensitive work, but the AOC’s VA technology serves up solid accuracy and vibrancy.
The AOC has pairs of DisplayPort and HDMI inputs, a mighty four USB ports and a solid stand with height, swivel and tilt adjustment, although there’s no pivot or USB-C. It’s got 144Hz AMD FreeSync if you want to play games or just crave smooth animation. It has a matte coating, and it doesn’t even look like a gaming monitor – it’s surprisingly subtle.
If you want the extra space that an ultrawide panel provides then this display is a surprisingly great option – it’s got impressive quality, a broad design and some decent features without breaking the bank.
Also consider: If you want a flat widescreen with a higher resolution and better image quality, consider the MSI Prestige PS341WU (£979). It’s a 5,120 x 2,160 display with top-notch sRGB and DCI-P3 ability, so it’s ideal for content creation.
Pros: Good sRGB performance; solid features and refresh rate; high resolution, curved design
Cons: Can’t handle gamuts beyond sRGB; no USB-C ports; awkward controls
Apple Pro Display XDR
The best premium display for Apple loyalists
Size: 32in | Resolution: 6,016 x 3,384 | Display tech: IPS | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Inputs: Thunderbolt | Ports: 3 x USB-C | Adjustments: Height, tilt, VESA 100 | Extras: Reference modes
The Apple Pro Display XDR (£4,599) is a monster in every sense. Its resolution of 6,016 x 3,384 is unmatched, its price is eye-watering, and it has a stunning metal housing that echoes the latest Mac Pro. It’s a 32in panel, so it’s got lashings of space too.
This 6K panel keeps impressing. It’s got Full Array Local Dimming, and quality levels are sensational – it handles the Adobe and DCI-P3 colour gamuts with ease, it has vast contrast, and its colour accuracy levels are industry-leading thanks to true 10-bit technology. It also has reference modes for photography, print, design, video and digital cinema colour spaces, so you can work with precision. It’s got Thunderbolt and USB-C ports, and it looks and feels fantastic thanks to aluminium construction and slim bezels.
There’s barely anything better out there for media professionals and content creators who use Apple machines – if you need consistent, accurate images for critical tasks, the Apple Pro Display is the one to get. It’s even available in both reflective and matte finishes, and it can also be used for tackling high-end HDR workloads. Unsurprisingly, uniformity and viewing angles are top-notch, and the display has a smooth, versatile stand – although that is available to purchase separately, and it’ll set you back £949.
The Pro Display XDR is hugely expensive, especially with the stand. But there’s no denying the quality on offer. If you’re an Apple-based creative who needs world-leading quality for critical tasks, there’s nothing better.
Pros: Flawless image quality across ample colour spaces; huge resolution; fantastic design
Cons: Wallet-busting pricing; stand sold separately; only uses Thunderbolt and USB-C
The best super-wide display for multi-tasking
Size: 49in | Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440 | Display tech: VA | Refresh rate: 70Hz | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, DisplayPort | Ports: USB x 3, USB-C | Adjustments: Height, swivel, tilt, VESA 100 | Extras: 32:9 aspect ratio
The curved Philips 499P9H (£917) is one of the biggest displays that it’s possible to buy. Its 49in diagonal means that it’ll dominate any desk, it has an ultra-wide 32:9 aspect ratio, and it has a mighty 5,120 x 1,440 resolution.
It’s the equivalent of having two 2,560 x 1,440 displays side-by-side, and the Philips is an ideal replacement for multi-monitor setups – you won’t have to deal with bezels, different levels of quality and loads of cables. If you work in applications with huge timelines, spreadsheets or databases – or just lots of windows – then having this sort of width is beneficial. It’s even got a KVM switch, so you can run two devices using this display and one set of peripherals.
The Philips has three USB ports, a Type-C connector and a Gigabit Ethernet socket, and its pair of 5W speakers are good enough for casual media. Its Full HD webcam supports Windows Hello and can be slotted into the bezel for privacy, and it’s even got height, swivel and tilt adjustment, which is unusual for a screen of this size.
Colours are accurate thanks to a great colour temperature and a top-notch Delta E of 1.6, it’s bright, and it uses VA technology, which means contrast is superb – it sits beyond 2,000:1. This screen handled the sRGB colour gamut well, too. Bear in mind that the Philips isn’t quite good enough for HDR and Adobe RGB work, though, and that widescreens don’t have great uniformity.
This screen isn’t the best option for pro-grade photo-editing, but it’s not really designed for that. Instead, it’s a fantastic display for multi-tasking and for everyday versatility. If you’ve got the budget and the desk space, it’s brilliant.
Also consider: If you want this ultra-wide form factor but with better HDR, a higher refresh rate and improved image quality, consider the Samsung Odyssey G9 (£1,280). It’s technically a gaming display, but it’s good enough to succeed in every situation – whether it’s work or play.
Pros: Incredible size and resolution; loads of work-friendly features; good core image quality
Cons: Can’t go beyond sRGB; mediocre uniformity
Eizo ColorEdge CG279X
The best display for colour-conscious creatives
Size: 27in | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Display tech: IPS | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort | Ports: 4 x USB, USB-C | Adjustments: Height, swivel, tilt, portrait, VESA 100 | Extras: Hardware calibration, Shielding hood
Eizo’s ColorEdge CG279X (£1,618) is designed for high-end professional tasks where colour accuracy and gamut coverage are vital – and so it justifies the price with incredible quality and a laundry list of features.
It’s an IPS display with 10-bit colour, an in-built calibration device and a 16-bit 3D LUT, and it’s got screen modes to handle a litany of professional colour spaces – from common options like sRGB, DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB to broadcast, print and cinema-friendly specifications like BT.2020 and BT.709.
It’s got HLQ and PQ gamma curve options for HDR content, and its image quality is brilliant – its Delta Es sit below 1.0, its colour temperature is top-tier, it’s bright and it has great contrast. It also handled the Adobe RGB, DCI-P3 and other colour gamuts with ease.
It’s a big, robust unit, with loads of adjustment options and both USB and USB-C ports. It comes with a shielding hood for improved uniformity. There aren’t many issues – the biggest problem is the 1,440p resolution. That’s fine for colour-sensitive work, but many people will prefer a 4K panel, even if it costs twice as much for Eizo’s equivalent. It’s not a great-looking display, either, but that’s hardly important here.
Indeed, the absence of 4K is the biggest problem, and it won’t bother many people. If you’re a professional who demands perfect colours and versatile design, Eizo’s panel is a market-leading option.
Also consider: If you need great image quality for sRGB workloads without spending quite as much, the Asus ProArt PA34VC (£1,110) delivers in spades – and it’s a curved widescreen. And if you need to go beyond conventional 4K with top-tier image quality and professional calibration, the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X (£4,323) is nearly flawless, and it has a 4,096 x 2,160 DCI 4K resolution.
Pros: Sensational image quality; versatile professional options; sturdy, no-nonsense design
Cons: Doesn’t use 4K; underwhelming looks
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