The days of the big and bulky CRT monitors that were once a hallmark of desktop computers are long gone. They've been replaced by slim high-resolution screens which, just like TVs, are available in ever-increasing size.
Whether you want a 27-, 29- or 34-inch monitor – or maybe something even bigger – you're spoiled for choice. With prices ranging from $250 up to $2,000, you'll need to compare image quality, screen sizes, aspect ratios, ergonomics and more before you buy.
Keep reading to find out how to choose the best large computer monitor for your needs.
Compare some of the best large computer monitors
What is a large computer monitor?
In the world of computer monitors, a large monitor is typically 27 inches (measured diagonally) or bigger.
There are many monitors available measuring 30 inches and above, and some top-end gaming monitors push up towards the 50-inch mark. For example, check out our review of the 49-inch Samsung CHG90 QLED.
Pros and cons
There are several reasons why bigger is better:
- Better viewing. Whether you're streaming a movie or sharing photos, chances are you spend a large portion of each day staring at your computer monitor. A good-quality large monitor can offer a much more detailed and user-friendly viewing experience than that five-year-old model currently on your desk.
- More work space. An ultra-wide screen allows you to easily look at documents side by side and view large spreadsheets without continually having to scroll back and forth. If you're a creative type, a large monitor gives graphic designers, photographers and multimedia professionals the high resolution and screen space they need to accurately display and edit images.
- Immersive viewing and gaming. With a large monitor, your PC can double as a home entertainment centre where you can stream movies and TV shows. It also offers a much more immersive and involved experience for gamers.
If you're a gamer, check out our detailed comparison of gaming monitors for more info on how to choose the best 4K monitor for your gaming needs.
There are two main drawbacks of large computer monitors:
- Cost. While high-quality monitors are a lot more affordable than you might think, the larger you go, the more you'll need to spend. And when you can pick up a no-frills 24-inch model for less than $200, you might decide that a smaller monitor is all you need.
- Space. They're a lot slimmer than those old CRT monitors, but a big widescreen monitor can still take up a lot of desk space. You'll need to make sure you've got sufficient room for a large monitor before handing over any cash.
Which large computer monitor is best for me?
The only way to answer this question is to ask yourself a few other questions. How big of a screen do you need? How much desk space do you have to work with? What will you be using the monitor for? How much are you prepared to spend?
The bottom line is that provided you have sufficient space, it's generally worth buying the biggest monitor your budget allows. Once you've spent any amount of time using a large monitor, going back to a smaller screen just doesn't cut it anymore.
Only after you've worked out these specifics will you be able to start comparing products to find the best large computer monitor for your needs.
What are my options?
One of the main ways to differentiate between big computer monitors is to take a closer look at the panel types they use. There are a few options available:
The vast majority of modern LCD monitors use LED technology and come in two standard types:
- Twisted nematic (TN) panels are the most common because they're cheap and offer very fast response times. However, they have poor colour accuracy and limited viewing angles.
- Vertical alignment (VA) panels offer more accurate colours, improved contrast ratios and better viewing angles than TN panels, but their response times are slower.
These anagrams respectively stand for in-plane switching and plane-to-line switching, two very similar types of technology designed to offer better colour accuracy and contrast, a much wider viewing angle and improved image quality. They're the most expensive option and have a slower response time – so they may not be suitable for gamers – but they are generally considered to be the best option.
OLED monitors offering better contrast ratios and faster response times are also starting to emerge. However, as they're not widely available and still prohibitively expensive, OLED is not yet a viable option.
How to compare computer monitors
The first step in choosing a computer monitor is to consider your budget. Entry-level 27-inch monitors start at around $250. From there, prices increase in line with screen size and any other special features, such as a curved monitor and 4K resolution. Top-spec gaming monitors can cost as much as $2,000.
Next, compare screen size, image quality, resolution and ease of use before deciding which large computer monitor to buy. Make sure you consider the following essential factors: