6 Great WIRED-Tested Monitors Under $500

You might not think about your monitor too much, but whether you’re working or gaming in your home office, that array of pixels blasting light at your face is important. A monitor can vastly improve your productivity if you’re currently working off a laptop, and a dual display setup can take things further. The folks on the WIRED Gear team use these large external screens every day in a variety of arrangements as we write our reviews, and naturally, we decided to review those too. These are our favorite monitors—all of which are under $500. 

It’s difficult to count the number of monitors out there, which means we’ll be including more recommendations as we continue to test. We’ve also included monitor buying advice at the bottom for any jargon you might not know, and be sure to check out other guides, including the Best WFH Gear, Best Laptops, and our advice on How to Use a Second Monitor With Your Laptop.

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  • Photograph: Asus

    A Reliable, Cheap Monitor

    Asus 24-Inch Full HD Monitor

    WIRED reviews editor Julian Chokkattu has been using this 24-inch Asus IPS monitor for years without issues, which is about the best praise you can get from a monitor at this price. The 1080-pixel resolution is well suited to the 24-inch screen size, so it looks sharp. Colors can look a bit oversaturated, but you can tweak this in the display’s settings. The included tilt-adjustable stand does the job, but since it supports the VESA mounting standard, I recommend putting it on an arm mount to clear some space on your desk. It even supports AMD’s FreeSync if you have an AMD graphics card on your computer, so you can take advantage of the panel’s 75-Hz screen refresh rate for smooth gaming.

  • Photograph: Dell

    A Budget Gaming Monitor

    Dell 27-Inch Curved Gaming Monitor

    Some of our favorite keyboards and mice have the “gaming” moniker attached to them, but that doesn’t mean only gamers can use them. This curved gaming monitor from Dell packs a 1440p LCD TFT display, which is about the minimum you’d want from a 27-inch screen. That makes it great for anyone looking for a higher resolution without shelling out the big bucks. The stand isn’t too obtrusive here, and while you can VESA mount it, you’ll need to do some finagling since the mounting holes are recessed. 

    There are gamer-friendly features, like the 165-Hz refresh rate (with AMD FreeSync support), which will make games appear more fluid-like and smoother on the screen, provided your computer is powerful enough to dish out the necessary frames per second. It lacks HDR support, which is a bummer, but if that’s not essential for you, this is a great gaming monitor at a reasonable price. It’s often available for $300 or less, so try to catch it on sale.

  • Photograph: BenQ

    For Creative Professionals

    BenQ 27-Inch QHD HDR Monitor

    If you do any kind of visual creative work like graphic design, video editing, or VFX, then color accuracy matters a lot more to you than most people. This is where monitors like this one from BenQ can excel. WIRED senior editor Michael Calore says the 2K-resolution display is gorgeous, with highly accurate color reproduction. It covers 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut with color accuracy rated at Delta E ≤ 3. If you know what that means, then you probably already know whether this monitor is good for your needs. 

    For everyone else, it’s still really pretty. The stand is versatile since you can rotate the screen to portrait orientation, or you can VESA mount it. 

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