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The 5 Best Multimedia Monitors - Winter 2023 Reviews

Best Multimedia Monitors

While TVs offer the best performance for watching multimedia content like shows or movies, they tend to be expensive and are usually available in larger sizes, which isn't ideal if you have limited space. If that's the case for you, consider getting a monitor as more of them are becoming great for this use. You won't get the same image processing as you get with TVs, meaning it's best to watch content at the monitor's native resolution so it doesn't have to upscale, but there are plenty of 4k options you can find. You'll also want to consider a monitor's HDR performance if you want to watch HDR content, and high contrast and peak brightness are important for that.

We've bought and tested more than 260 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best multimedia monitors that are available to buy. Also see our recommendations for the best 4k HDR monitors, the best 32-inch monitors, and the best 4k monitors.

  1. Best Multimedia Monitor

    The best monitor we've tested for consuming multimedia content is the Dell Alienware AW3423DW. It has a QD-OLED panel that also makes it the best monitor for movies, especially if you watch them in dark rooms. This type of display is even better than LED-backlit monitors because it combines the perfect black levels of an OLED with the wide range of colors from a QLED display. It means that blacks look deep and inky in the dark, and colors look vivid and full of color thanks to the remarkable color volume.

    It's an ultrawide display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is ideal for watching ultrawide movies as it fills out the screen, but you'll see black bars at the sides if you're watching 16:9 content, like some shows. It also has wide viewing angles that make the image remain consistent from the sides, which is great for sharing your screen with someone. Sadly, its main downside is that it has raised black levels in bright rooms, so blacks look closer to purple in a well-lit environment, but that just means it performs best in dark rooms.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Multimedia Monitor

    If you find the Dell Alienware AW3423DW too expensive or aren't a fan of the ultrawide display, then check out an upper mid-range model like the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U OLED. While it delivers the same perfect black levels as the Dell thanks to its OLED panel, it has a larger 48-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, so it's more like a small TV that's designed to be used with a PC. It doesn't have a quantum dot layer like the Dell either, so it has worse HDR color volume as colors aren't vivid and highlights don't pop as much in HDR, but it still delivers an amazing HDR experience.

    The main advantage of a traditional OLED display like this one over QD-OLED on the Dell is that there aren't any issues using it in a bright room, as the black levels don't raise with light shining on the screen. It also has fantastic reflection handling if you have some light sources on it, but it doesn't get bright enough to fight intense glare. The Gigabyte also has a higher 4k resolution than the Dell, letting you watch your favorite content in 4k.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Multimedia Monitor

    If you still find that the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U OLED is too expensive or simply too big for your liking, then consider an option like the Dell U3223QE. It has a smaller 32-inch screen, but with the same 4k resolution it has a higher pixel density and the images are sharper because of this. It doesn't have an OLED panel like the Gigabyte either, meaning it doesn't deliver the same perfect black levels, and instead, it has only a decent contrast ratio with a terrible local dimming feature that isn't effective at improving the contrast. Still, there isn't much blooming around bright objects, which is great for watching content with dark scenes.

    It has remarkable color accuracy before calibration, which is important if you want to see life-like images without having to calibrate the monitor. It also has alright HDR peak brightness and it displays a wide range of colors in HDR, but those colors are undersaturated. If that bothers you, there's a smaller variant, the Dell U2723QE, that doesn't undersaturate colors in HDR, but because it has a smaller screen it doesn't deliver the same immersive viewing experience.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Multimedia Monitor

    Should you want something cheaper in the lower mid-range price category, then check out the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80. It has the same 4k, 32-inch screen as the Dell U3223QE, but it's very different because it has a built-in smart system, essentially making it a 32-inch TV without a tuner. You don't even need to use a computer to watch your favorite content because the Tizen OS built-in smart platform is easy to use and has a ton of apps you can download. It even comes with a remote to navigate the menus, and it has a mic you can use with Alexa and Bixby voice assistants.

    In terms of picture quality, it's a great choice for watching movies because it displays deep blacks thanks to its high native contrast ratio and has good black uniformity with minimal blooming. It doesn't have a local dimming feature like the Dell, but it at least displays deep blacks without one. While its accuracy before calibration is just acceptable, it has more picture settings than most monitors, allowing you to adjust the picture settings to your liking.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Multimedia Monitor

    If you're looking for the best monitor for watching movies and you're on a budget, then the Dell S3221QS is a good choice. It costs more than some other budget-friendly monitors, but if you spend less you'll get worse performance for watching content, so this monitor offers the best value. It has the same 4k, 32-inch screen as the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80, but the main difference is that it doesn't have a smart system. Although this is a neat feature on the Samsung, it doesn't make a difference if you're just going to connect your PC and stream content from it anyways.

    It also has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and while it doesn't have a local dimming feature to further improve it, it still looks good in dark rooms, and the black uniformity isn't bad. It has a subtle 1800R curve which helps bring the edges of the screen more within your field of vision if you sit directly in front, but with narrow viewing angles, the image looks washed out from the sides, so it isn't an ideal choice for watching content with a friend.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • ASUS ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ: The ASUS ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ is a smaller alternative to the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U OLED that performs nearly the same, but considering HDR is severely washed out and it costs more, it's worth getting the Gigabyte. See our review
  • Samsung LS43BM702UNXZA: The Samsung Smart Monitor M7 S43BM70 is a smart monitor like the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 S32BM80. Despite being a larger display, it costs less, which is ideal if you want the 43-inch screen, but the picture quality isn't as good as it has lower brightness and fewer features. See our review
  • Dell S2721QS: The Dell S2721QS is cheaper than the Dell S3221QS if you want something on a tighter budget, but you're sacrificing performance as it isn't as good in dark rooms due to its lower contrast. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 20, 2022: Added the Dell U3223QE as the 'Best Mid-Range Monitor' while renaming the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 and the Dell S3221QS to 'Best Lower Mid-Range' and 'Best Budget' respectively; removed the Dell S2721QS and the ViewSonic Elite XG270 because they aren't good for multimedia; updated the Notable Mentions based on changes.

  2. Oct 18, 2022: Restructured article to reflect how people are looking for monitors; renamed the Dell Alienware AW3423DW as the 'Best Monitor For Multimedia' and replaced the LG C1 with the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U and renamed as the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Monitor'. Renamed the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 as the 'Best Mid-Range Monitor'; replaced the LG 32QN55T-B with the Dell S2721QS because of the higher resolution; removed the Dell U2723QE and added the Dell S3221QS and the ViewSonic XG270 in their categories; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.

  3. Jul 14, 2022: Restructured article to reflect user needs; replaced the Dell S2722QC with the Dell U2723QE because it's better and renamed to 'Best 27-Inch'; added the Samsung Smart Monitor M8 as the 'Best Monitor'; replaced the Gigabyte M34WQ and the Gigabyte M27Q with the Dell AW3423DW and the LG 32QN55T-B; and removed the 1440p category because 4k is better for multimedia.

  4. Feb 09, 2022: Replaced the Dell S2721QS with the Dell S2722QC for consistency; replaced the ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B with the Gigabyte M34WQ because it has more features; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.

  5. Dec 13, 2021: Switched our Best 1440p Multimedia Monitor pick to the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD, moving the Gigabyte M27Q to the 'Best Budget' category instead. We removed the AOC CU34G2X as a cheaper alternative, as there's almost no price difference between it and our main pick now.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors for watching movies and other types of multimedia content currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors.

If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the metrics that fare worse are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.