Finding the best budget monitors under $200 can be a pain. There are so many options on the market and you need to decide which will be the best for you and your needs. In this review I’d break down the top 15 cheap computer monitors based on the price vs performance and situations they will be used in.
Today, there is no need to spend more than $500 in order to get a great 27-inch IPS display. Frankly speaking, $200 is enough. So, when you get a chance to buy a cheap monitor, pay attention to all variants. Usually, you start looking for a new display, when you need a professional gaming monitor, you are just at the beginning of your photography career or do the first steps in video editing. Perhaps, you rented the office and need a great number of qualitative monitors or just want to connect a bigger monitor to your laptop. So let’s figure out what our budget monitor market may offer.
Price: about $100
Size: 21.5 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920х1080p | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 60Hz: Response Time: 5ms | Inputs: 1 х DVA, 1 х VGA.
Although it seems to be a limited option, BenQ GW2270 offers an ideal balance of simplicity and functionality. In general, the contrast levels are quite good for everyday use. This cheap computer monitor is a gaming one thanks to the quick response and perfect pixel density. Moreover, this model is a great variant to create a double screen at a reasonable price. If you don’t want to buy a large screen laptop and need a monitor for business, BenQ GW2770 is a great choice.
Price: about $450
Size: 27 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3440x2160 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 5ms | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort.
LG 27UK650-W is a great 27 inch IPS LCD monitor with HDR support. It offers a quick matrix response for games and good peak brightness. It has a great picture quality, wide view angles, and good resolution, which reflects every little detail. Although the monitor supports HDR technology, its performance is not very useful in this mode.
It is more suitable for medium-illuminated places since it perfectly copes with reflections and flares, which look gray in dark rooms. LG 27UK650 is the best budget 4K monitor featuring HDR technology. It is a great option for gamers and movie lovers.
Price: about $120
Size: 23 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920х1080 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz: Response Time: 7ms | Inputs: 1 х HDMI, 1 х VGA.
This monitor belongs to cheap computer monitors group and may be used as a gaming one. It has a display with IPS-panel for brighter colors. ViewSonic monitor response is equal to 5 ms, but it is fine for IPS monitors. ViewSonic is also suitable for games with 1080 resolution.
Thanks to flexible connectivity features, it may be easily connected to a laptop, PC, PS4, and Xbox One. If you are a gamer with a small budget, it the best cheap gaming monitor for you.
Price: about $150
Size: 25 inches | Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2560х1080 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 5ms | Inputs: 2 х HDMI.
LG 25UM58-P has a distinctive feature ‒ an ultra-wide IPS panel. It offers much space for work. The best thing about this monitor is its 99% sRGB coverage and game compatibility. In other words, you may use it for design, image retouching, and games. It offers two HDMI ports is and compatible with VESA attachment.
Moreover, this display belongs to best budget monitors thanks to its split screen and PIP mode function which help easily organize several windows. You will surely like this monitor because it offers ultra-wide panel, 2560х1080resolution, gaming functions, beautiful design, and decent build quality.
Price: about $230
Size: 29 inch | Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2560x1080 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 75Hz | Response Time: 5ms | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4.
If you are looking for the best budget monitor for video editing, LG 29WK600 will not disappoint you. Thanks to its reasonable price, this monitor is perfectly suitable for video editing as well as for multimedia, games. LG 29WK600 doesn’t provide exact and deep colors as more professional and expensive competitors offer. But it pays its way for such a price. Actually, it was calibrated at the factory and covers 99% of sRGB picture range. Screen Split allows dividing the screen into several parts to facilitate multitasking. It also offers two integrated MaxxAudio dynamics with a capacity of 5W.
Price: about $243
Size: 27 inch | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 6ms | Inputs: 1 x DP, 1 x HDMI, 1 х VGA.
This 27-inch monitor from Dell Professional line offers many functions for those users, who are interested primarily in work capabilities. Although it is not suitable for games due to 1920х1080 resolution and update frequency equal to 60 Hz. It is an ideal budget monitor for business and media sphere. If you are looking for vertical portrait orientation, you may apply the fully adjustable stand which provides the preferable view angel. Dell also features an integrated ComfortView technology, which filters excessive blue light in order to mute bright shades while looking on the monitor for a long period of time.
Price: about $250
Size: 27 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560х1440 | Panel Type: TN | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Inputs: 1 × DisplayPort, 1 х HDMI, 1 х VGA, 1 х DVI.
AOC Q2778VQE is developed by a less famous but highly-specialized Taiwan company. TN panel provides flash response equal to 1 ms, although the update frequency is limited to 60 Hz. It is the most available gaming device among the best budget monitors in my list. Although it does not have built-in speakers, the monitor features a 3.5mm audio jack which allows connecting headphones directly to it. According to recent standards, bulky front panels are considered to be a very subjective drawback, which disappears if you don’t plan to create a multi-monitor system. The overall design looks cheap. It is compensated by a 27-inch QHD display.
Price: about $250
Size: 24.5 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Panel Type: TN | Refresh Rate: 75Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x VGA.
Acer XF251Q is a reliable monitor with 1080p TN resolution featuring great game functions. It provides fast response, low input delay and supports AMD FreeSync technology. It has a great stand which may be adjusted for the perfect viewing spot. Unfortunately, it has a bad view angle that is why the picture quality leaves much to be desired while looking at the monitor at an angle. This budget monitor is suitable for a modest gaming workstation.
Price: about $252
Size: 25 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560х1440 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Inputs: 1 х DVI, 1 х HDMI, 1 х Display Port.
Acer G257HU is a nice 1440p IPS-monitor with decent picture quality and great peak brightness. The display provides good viewing angles but has poor black uniformity. It offers low matrix delay, but gamers will be disappointed with limited update frequency equal to 60Hz. Its 2560х1440 resolution significantly enhances viewing quality no matter whether you work or play. 1440p offers you extra workspace thanks to higher pixel density.
Price: about $340
Size: 24.5 inch | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920х1080 | Panel Type: TN | Refresh Rate: 240Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Inputs: 1 x Display Port, 2 x HDMI.
Alienware is a popular name among game lovers. AW2518HF features fast response and update frequency. The response has an impressive frequency of 240 Hz which makes it one of the best budget monitors for gamers. TN panel that does not support G-sync technology belongs to its drawbacks. It also has a height-adjustable stand, tilt and swing functions. It is even equipped with an AlienFX RGB LED-based lighting, which may be synchronized with any image on the screen and other AlienWare equipment.
Price: about $360
Size: 28 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Panel Type: TN | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Inputs: 3 х HDMI, 1 х Display Port.
Despite the lack of FreeSync, it is a nice choice for every user as it has fantastic characteristics. The monitor has an elegant and thin design, stylish black colors and a solid build. It can handle all types of resolutions up to 4K.
Finally, the model has many advanced features that will not only enhance your gaming performance but also will not let your eyes get tired during long-term usage.
Price: about $400
Size: 27 inches | Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560х1440 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 14ms | Inputs: 2 х HDMI, 1 х DisplayPort, 1 х mini-DisplayPort, 1 х DisppalyPort-Out.
ViewSonic VP2768 is another representative of the best budget monitors created for professional designers. It has a good reputation. IPS panel offers true color depth. The monitor has a ready hardware color calibration. The 14-bit scheme creates an amazing palette of 4.39 trillion colors for amazingly accurate reproduction of images, which is extremely important for professional apps. ViewSonic VP2768 is the best choice for mid-level monitors. It has four USB 3.0 ports and audio output.
Price: about $460
Size: 34 inches | Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440x1440 | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 100Hz | Response Time: 8ms | Inputs: 1 х HDMI, 1 х Display Port, 1 х DVI.
MSI Optix is a good model for fulfilling ordinary tasks on a daily basis. It is also quite suitable for working in Photoshop but you shouldn’t expect very accurate colors. The image is very clear without artifacts from the anti-reflective layer. VA panel provides users with good contrast. You can play either with or without FreeSync.
It is the best budget computer monitor which offers gamers everything they really need: reliable video editing, impressive contrast, high resolution and quick response. Despite some problems with accurate color reproduction, it provides good performance at a low price.
Price: about $650
Size: 34 inches | Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440x1440 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 5ms | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x MHL.
U3415W is a nice 34-inch 21:9 curved display with a cinematic resolution of WQHD (3440x1440). This model can show images from two devices at the same time, using functions (picture in picture) due to the presence of several ports. Owners can control everything that happens on the screen easily due to its curved design. Moreover, it has two speakers (9 W each), which make daily watching of videos and playing games funnier. Overall, a given model is one of the best ultra wide monitors these days. It is suitable for photographers, gamers, video editors or any professionals who look for more space to work.
Price: about $700
Size: 35 inches | Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2560x1080 | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 144Hz (OverClocking to 200Hz) | Response Time: 4ms | Inputs: 1 х HDMI, 1 х Display Port.
It is a nice model among the best budget monitors. This is a massive 35-inch extra-wide display that features a fast update rate of 144 Hz (200 Hz OC) for exciting gameplay. The model provides users with deeper black colors and a better ratio between the darkest and the brightest shades in comparison with other panel technologies, including TN and IPS.
The resolution (2560x1080) of UWHD is very low for a 35-inch screen. It leads to a bad pixel density of 79 pixels per inch. Viewing angles are 178 degrees vertically and 172 degrees horizontally. Thus, they are not as wide as on IPS panels, but better than TN panels.
|BenQ GW2270 CHEAPEST||CHECK PRICE|
|LG 27UK650-W OUR CHOICE||CHECK PRICE|
|ViewSonic VA2359-smh||CHECK PRICE|
|LG 25UM58-P ULTRAWIDE||CHECK PRICE|
|LG 29WK600 BEST IPS||CHECK PRICE|
|Dell P2717H||CHECK PRICE|
|AOC Q2778VQE FOR GAMING||CHECK PRICE|
|Acer XF251Q||CHECK PRICE|
|Acer G257HU||CHECK PRICE|
|Alienware AW2518HF||CHECK PRICE|
|ASUS MG28UQ BEST 4K||CHECK PRICE|
|ViewSonic VP2768 FOR PHOTO EDITING||CHECK PRICE|
|MSI Optix MAG341CQ||CHECK PRICE|
|Dell UltraSharp U3415W FOR VIDEO EDITING||CHECK PRICE|
|Acer Predator Z35||CHECK PRICE|
When you are on a tight budget, you should be more careful while choosing the best budget PC monitor. Even a difference of 50 dollars may be crucial. If you can’t decide which model to select because of the various prices for similar characteristics, then look at my guide.
Are you confused about sizes? I will give you examples to explain better. FullHD (1080p) usually looks best between 20-24 inches, 2K – between 25-29 inches and 4K – between 29-34 inches. Ultimately, this will depend on the characteristics of your PC and personal preferences. But lots of people like 27-inch screens the most, as there is enough space for work and they have an average resolution (1440p).
FullHD (1080p) used to be a gold standard for the best budget monitor. However, it is just a basic characteristic nowadays. If you're eager to spend more money, there are several other options worth considering, especially if you want to improve screen space or gaming visualization. But there are more monitor functions aside from resolution. In fact, too high resolution on a too small screen can often be annoying, because it compresses all the images and forces you to enlarge the fonts to read information easily.
It is the difference in light intensity between the brightest color (white) and the darkest (black). You need a high contrast ratio for a brighter image. Computer displays often have two separate contrast ratios: active/dynamic contrast ratio and static contrast ratio. The best budget monitors are not an exception as well.
Active/dynamic contrast measures the brightest and darkest colors for a certain period of time, while static one measures them at the same time. Pay more attention to static contrast.
An update rate of the monitor is measured in Hertz (Hz) and indicates a number of times it can update the displayed image per second. This rate also determines how many frames per second the model can show. Monitors may have the following update rates: 60Hz, 75Hz, 144Hz, 240Hz. It is important to remember that a high rate won’t make sense unless your graphics card is powerful enough to produce a required number of frames per second. Therefore, make sure that your video card can run necessary games at a required rate before making a decision to buy a cheap computer monitor with 144 Hz or 240 Hz.
The type of matrix panel affects the brightness of the picture, its visibility when exposed to direct sunlight and the viewing angles.
Twisted Nematic (TN) is the most widespread type of TFT screen. It has a rapid response time, but low color accuracy and poor viewing angles. This display technology is popular for gaming models.
In-plane Switching (IPS). These screens have better viewing angles and more accurate color reproduction than VA and TN panels. They feature a slower response time than TN screens. It is better for the best budget monitors designed for professionals, image retouching and video editing.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is the latest visual display technology. OLED monitors consist of plenty of individually illuminated pixels for clearer black and better color integrity than LED backlit screens.
It is measured in milliseconds (ms) and shows how long does it take for one pixel to switch from black to white or switch between different shades of gray. Actually, the shorter the response time, the smoother the movement will be.
The next additions may not be present in all best budget monitors, but having them will make your work more convenient. Therefore, you must be ready to pay more money.
The presence of USB ports in the best budget IPS monitor allows connecting other devices through the screen. Nowadays the number of models which have USB 3.0 connectors is increasing. As a result, you can quickly transfer large files without using the system block ports.
Many cheap monitors for gaming have in-built speakers. In most cases, they are far from perfect. Movies, music and games may sound unsatisfactory. So skip this option while making a final decision. If you care about sound, you should use separate speakers or headphones.
Traditionally, professional monitors have more stand adjustments than standard models. These additional settings include height, tilt and rotation. Consider whether you need them, as such functions can be very useful.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.