The employment world has gone through a radical shift in the last few years. More and more people were able to work from home, but that required a lot of changes to their computer setups. From new desks to office chairs, a lot of us had to buy all new equipment for our new home offices including monitors for the work laptops that were issued to us.
The CNET team is full of diverse experts; people who spend their lives reviewing products and testing them, so we know how to pick a good product. We collected testimonials from the editorial staff, gaming staff, and engineers about their favorite monitors and why you should buy one too.
I got this Gigabyte monitor when I bought a new gaming desktop. I wanted a 27-inch screen with 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate, and this was on offer for around $300 about a year ago. Never having heard of the brand, I took a punt on it.
I'm really happy with it. It looks great, day and night, with hardly any reflections. The bezel is super thin. It can be adjusted up and down, as well as tilted. And it has all the ports you'd probably need. The only thing I would change is that the power button is also a menu joystick and it's on the back, which is fiddly on the few occasions I need it.
-- Nick Hide, Managing copy editor
I love this monitor from Asus. Since I am a video editor by trade, who also edits a lot of photos in his spare time, having a monitor with excellent color rendition is super important, and this ProArt monitor does that really well.
It has a bit more resolution than a standard 1080p monitor which is fantastic as well, it adjusts easily into landscape and portrait mode, and it can move up and down for different desk setups.
But probably the biggest selling point is the price. It's more expensive than a standard monitor, but for what it delivers on picture and color quality, it's probably the most affordable monitor for professional photo and video folks. The ProArt is much more affordable than something from Apple.
-- Owen Poole, Video producer
This Full HD monitor is intensely basic for the price, but it's so easy to use and has gotten me through some of the busiest pandemic news cycles. With two HDMI ports, one audio jack and a D-sub connector, I've been able to seamlessly connect its 24-inch glory to my work Mac (for editing and digital production), as well as my former Windows laptop and current personal desktop (for video games) with minimal interruptions to my productivity. It's 6.8 pounds, which might be heavy for a monitor -- I wouldn't know -- but I've also taken to carting it into other areas of my house without issue. And it has... screen tilt!
-- Dawnthea Price Lisco, Copy editor
When we set up our home office, my wife and I used these Sceptre curved displays for a long time. The curve is gentle enough not to strain your eyes, while also making you feel like you have a wrap-around experience. I eventually changed out my monitors for something more gaming focused, but my wife loves her Sceptre.
The color tone can be a little uneven and it took us a while to get them dialed in, but now that they are, they're worth the small cost. We ended up getting two for the full experience.
-- James Bricknell, Senior editor
While I wanted to have good gaming monitors, I couldn't afford some of the bigger curved displays you see here. My gaming on a PC consists of 1080p resolution games anyway so 4K just wasn't needed.
I picked up two of these ultra-thin HP monitors as they have FreeSync for gaming, but are also low profile enough to leave room on my desk for the keyboards I test. Plus, the bezel-less display is fire.
-- James Bricknell, Senior editor
For most of the pandemic, I couldn't work in the same spot in my house every day. Setting up a big monitor or even a regular desk to put one on was out of the question. Lepow's 15.6-inch portable monitor gave me just enough extra room to work, whether my "office" was in my dining room, living room or bedroom.
The display setup takes seconds with a single USB-C cable for both the picture and power though it does have an HDMI input if necessary. All the cables come in the box, too, along with a screen protector. It has a folio case that doubles as a stand (newer versions have a built-in kickstand for better positioning and use less desk space). It even has a headphone jack and basic built-in speakers so it can connect to a game console. When you're done for the day, it folds up and easily stores in a drawer or backpack. Easy.
-- Josh Goldman, Senior editor
A few years ago I upgraded to the LG Ultragear ultrawide, and everything about it makes me extremely happy. Its 3440x1440 resolution is the sweet spot for a 34-inch gaming setup since it doesn't tax a GPU as hard as a 4k monitor. It's 144hz, with Gsync and VESA adaptive sync (freesync) support. I play Final Fantasy 14 and Destiny 2 on a custom-built gaming rig, and the frame rates are amazing.
Since I'm not even maxing out the specifications on this monitor -- a GPU upgrade in a year or two will let me max out the 144hz part of the monitor -- I'm going to be keeping this for a good long while.
-- Wesley Radcliffe, Engineering manager
CNET's Eric Franklin got me into ultrawide monitors, and for a long time I had an entry-level LG that did the job. When the pandemic hit though, I decided to go bigger and I'm so glad I did. I bought this one Used/Like New from Amazon, and it's been a dream to work with.
I bought the 120hz because I don't game at higher refresh rates anyway, and most of the time I was relying on this for work. I also found a monitor arm for it that cleans up my workspace really well.
- Ian Sherr, Editor at large
I wanted a future-proof, best possible monitor that was 1440p, had a high refresh rate, and supported Nvidia's variable refresh rate. After much research, I chose the Asus PG279Q and have not been disappointed. I didn't want a 4k monitor that would be difficult to reach good frame-rate and graphics quality, nor did I want a 1080p monitor that lacked detail.
It has really good colors, too. The first time I played Apex Legends on the new monitor, I was amazed how much all the colors just popped compared to my previous monitor.
-- Tim Waterbury, Data engineer