Using an external monitor for your computer, laptop, tablet or phone is a great way to customize and improve your viewing experience. The most common reason for upgrading to a new external monitor is to provide a larger viewing space, with external monitors being a cost-effective way to get a bigger screen for laptop users.
External monitors may also provide a better quality viewing experience. With the ability to hook up computers and laptops to an external monitor that has a fast response and refresh rate and a wide viewing angle, users can now stream video, surf the web, play video games and read and respond to emails on a screen that has sharper and faster graphics.
What To Look For In An External Monitor
When it comes to external monitors, bigger isn’t always better. If you like working with several files open and visible at once, opting for multiple small monitors with a zero-frame design may be a better fit than one large monitor.
For gamers, a fast response rate that will reduce tearing in graphics should be at the top of your must-have list.
Where will you be using the monitor? If it will remain stationary in your workspace, a monitor with a wall mount can free up desk space. We’ve also included travel-friendly portable monitors.
How We Chose The Best External Monitors
We like that external monitors can be used to complement monitors you already own. For example, some of the options we’ve included can be viewed in portrait or landscape and is ideal for presentations or to display data lengthwise next to a standard external monitor.
Check out our top picks below!
1. Acer 23.8-Inch Widescreen Monitor
Compatible with computers, phones, tablets and more and with a fast 4ms response rate, the Acer 23.8-Inch Widescreen Monitor is versatile and impressive. A great size for any desk, the Acer measures 23.8 inches and features 1920 x 1080 resolution with a 4ms response rate and 60Hz for tear-free streaming, making it a solid choice for casual gamers (the screen also has a blue light filter to reduce eye strain). The screen has a 178-degree wide viewing angle and 16.7M display colors. The zero-frame design means there’s no boundary, making this a great option if you’re looking to buy two monitors to use side by side. The screen supports VGA, DVI, and HDMI so you can use it with a computer, laptop, tablet or phone.
Pros: Helps reduce eye strain, several inputs supported, zero-frame design.
Cons: Not as clear if looking at it from a side angle.
2. Sceptre 30-inch Curved Gaming Monitor
The ASUS ProArt Display 27″ Monitor also a 5ms response rate, but thanks to its 200Hz refresh rate, the Asus transitions frames instantly, leading to less tearing and blurred images. Built-in speakers, picture in picture and picture by picture viewing options all contribute to the impressive viewing experience, as does a 90% sRGB display for vivid colors. A colorful LED illuminates the back of the monitor and an HDMI and Display Port help to accelerate the refresh rate.
Pros: Fast refresh rate, picture-in-picture viewing, vivid colors for gamers and streamers.
Cons: Some users may find the height of the monitor slightly lower than what they would like.
3. HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch LED Monitor
Need a monitor for your kids? Only have a small space to place your external monitor? The HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch LED Monitor is for you. It features 2 million crystal clear pixels and a 178-degree wide viewing angle for a screen that brings your graphics to life. The HP is a full HD screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution and a dynamic contrast ratio of up to 8,000,000:1. With a focus on environmental and energy efficiency, the HP has mercury-free LED backlighting, Arsenic-free monitor glass, and low halogen.
Pros: Afforable, compact size for small spaces, eco-focused design.
4. Mobile Pixels Duex Pro
Laptops and external monitors are the peanut butter and jelly partnership of the computer world, but what about times when you’re away from home or work and still want to increase your screen size? There is now the Mobile Pixels Duex Pro, an external 12.5-inch monitor that attaches directly to your laptop and slides out whenever you want to increase your screen size. Compatible with USB Type-C, Type-A, Windows, Mac and Chromebook laptops, the Duex Pro weighs only 1.6 pounds and is 0.48-inch-thick with a design that won’t put added pressure on your laptop hinge. Adhesive plates are used to attach the Duex Pro to any laptop and a simple connect cable allows users to choose from five viewing modes, including landscape or portrait viewing. The screen can be slid to either side of the computer to create a viewing experience that is comfortable for the user and the full HD 1080P IPS anti-glare monitor also has an adjustable brightness level.
Pros: Designed specifically for laptops, can be used in five viewing modes, compact and lightweight.
Cons: It can be difficult to keep the included adhesive stuck to the back of a laptop.
5. AOC 15.6-Inch Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor
Need an external monitor that you can take on the go? We like the AOC 15.6-Inch Ultra Slim Portable LED Monitor, which can be u sed in portrait or landscape view. Create a custom viewing experience with the USB 3.0 connection that allows for multiple USB monitors to be used simultaneously. The AOC is ideal for travelers, with the screen coming with a travel case and weighing only 2.4 pounds. It also has the added versatility of being able to mount the monitor to a wall unit. The 5ms response rate means you won’t have tearing on screen and the 366 x 768 resolution at 60Hz can keep up with any video requirements.
Pros: Lightweight, portable design, can be used in landscape or portrait mode, includes a travel case.
Cons: The AOC works with Windows and Macs and is plug-and-play, but DisplayLink software is required when connecting more than one AOC screen to a single computer. DisplayLink software is also needed to alter the brightness and contrast of the screen.
6. ASUS ProArt Display 27″ Monitor
Whether you need a monitor that can deliver the clearest, most crisp colors possible or want an option that can handle a multiple-monitor setup, the ASUS ProArt Display 27″ Monitor may be the best fit for you. The Asus features high color fidelity that is ideal for artists, graphic designers, and casual gamers who want a flicker-free viewing experience. Six-color access makes it possible to adjust saturation and hue parameters. The daisy-chain-compatible monitor can support up to four monitors at once and includes multiple ports at the back for added convenience, including earphone jacks, an HDMI port, two DisplayPorts and a USB-C and USB hub. The ergonomic stand allows for tilting, height adjustment and portrait set up, while the ultra-low blue light technology helps to protect the user’s eyes even after prolonged use.
Pros: Six-color access, flicker-free viewing, ultra-low blue light technology to protect the user’s vision.
Cons: The 5ms response rate is not fast enough to provide tear-free viewing for avid gamers.
7. HP VH240a 23.8-Inch Full HD
For a monitor that boasts an impressive amount of versatility, we like the HP VH240a 23.8-Inch Full HD. The HP has a 1920 x 1080p resolution with 60Hz and a response time of 5ms that makes for tear-free streaming of movies and TV shows. The anti-glare, LED-backlit panel produces a smooth viewing experience, whether you’re looking at documents or surfing the web. A thin, bezel-less frame and four-way-viewing that includes landscape or portrait mode makes this a monitor that can be used on its own or in addition to a secondary monitor. Vesa mounting and VGA and HDMI plug-ins add to the monitor’s versatility, while integrated 2-watt built-in speakers provide a clear audio experience. The Energy-star efficient monitor works with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Pros: Anti-glare screen, can be viewed in landscape or portrait, features built-in speakers.
Cons: The HP does not come with the hardware needed to wall mount the monitor.