The 6 Best Monitors For Programming - Spring 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Monitors For Programming
169 Monitors Tested
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When programming or coding for long periods, it's essential to have a comfortable monitor to keep eye-strain to a minimum. It's important to get a monitor that's the right size, with enough screen real estate to have multiple windows open and still work comfortably without having to squint. A flicker-free monitor is also a must, as backlight flicker can cause headaches and eye strain with prolonged periods of use. Many programmers even prefer working with more than one monitor, as you can have your editor open on one and your specifications open on another.

We've tested more than 160 monitors, and below are our recommendations for the best monitors for coding to purchase. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best ultrawide monitors, the best monitors for dual setup, and the best 34 inch + monitors.


  1. Best Monitor For Programming: Dell U2720Q

    8.3
    Office
    Size 27"
    Resolution 3840x2160
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    No VRR

    The best monitor for programming we've tested is the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q. It has a 27 inch screen with a 4k resolution, giving you tons of screen real estate as well as delivering sharp images and text. It comes with a sturdy stand that allows for height, tilt, and swivel adjustment, and the screen can also rotate to portrait mode in either direction. It has wide viewing angles so that you can easily share your work with colleagues.

    There are plenty of inputs, including three USB 3.0 and two USB-Cs. One of the USB-C supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, which is great for those working on a laptop as you can send a video signal and charge your device simultaneously with a single cable, keeping your setup clean. However, it doesn't have a Picture-in-Picture mode or a KVM feature, which might disappoint those working on two computers.

    Unfortunately, its reflection handling is mediocre, so it might be best to avoid placing it in a bright, sunny room. It isn't ideal for dark rooms either due to its IPS panel's low contrast ratio. Its response time is good enough for some gaming on the side, but the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, and there's no VRR support. On the upside, it has a flicker-free backlight and a blue light filter to help reduce eye strain. All in all, this is an impressive work monitor that should please most people.

    See our review

  2. Larger Alternative: LG 32UD99-W

    Size 32"
    Resolution 3840x2160
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    If you want a bigger screen than the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, then check out the LG 32UD99-W. It has the same 4k resolution but on a 32 inch screen. The pixel density is lower but still more than enough to render text clearly. It also uses an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, and it gets brighter to combat glare, so you shouldn't have any visibility issues unless you're in direct sunlight. It only has one USB-C port, but it supports DisplayPort Alt Mode. On top of that, it has a Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals simultaneously. Unfortunately, its ergonomics are worse because it can't swivel.

    Overall, the Dell is a better choice mainly due to its superior ergonomics and wider input selection. However, if you need more screen real estate, then go with the LG.

    See our review

  3. Best Ultrawide Monitor For Programming: Dell U3818DW

    7.8
    Office
    Size 38"
    Resolution 3840x1600
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    No VRR

    The Dell U3818DW is the best monitor for developers in an ultrawide format that we've tested. It has a 38 inch curved screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio, giving you more horizontal space to open multiple windows side-by-side. It's impressively well-built, and it comes with a stand that allows for height, tilt, and swivel adjustment. It has great viewing angles so that images remain accurate at the edges of the screen when sitting up close, as well as when viewing from the side.

    It's packed with great multitasking features. It has a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you see images from two input sources simultaneously, and you can control both of those devices with one set of peripherals with its KVM feature. You can keep your setup clean and minimal as it has a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode and built-in speakers. If you already have a set of active speakers, it has a 3.5mm audio line-out with fixed output.

    Although it has an uncommon 3840 x 1600 resolution, the pixel density is roughly the same as a 27 inch 1440p display, so images and text look sharp. Sadly, it has mediocre reflection handling and doesn't get very bright, which means that glare might be an issue in well-lit rooms. The backlight is entirely flicker-free at all brightness levels to help reduce eye strain. On the whole, this is a feature-rich ultrawide monitor worth considering.

    See our review

  4. Super Ultrawide Alternative: Dell U4919DW

    Size 49"
    Resolution 5120x1440
    Refresh Rate 60 Hz
    LCD Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    No

    If you want to go all out with a super ultrawide monitor, then go with the Dell U4919DW. It's very similar to the Dell U3818DW, but it has a 49 inch screen with a 5120 x 1440 resolution, which is the equivalent of two 27 inch 1440p monitors placed side-by-side. This is great if you don't like having distracting bezels running down the middle, and it also reduces the number of cables in your setup. It gets a bit brighter to combat glare, but the ergonomics are worse as its height and tilt adjustments are more limited, and it doesn't swivel at all. On the plus side, you still get its great Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode, KVM feature, and USB-C input.

    Overall, the U3818DW and the U4919DW have very similar features and performance, so choosing between them depends on your needs. For most people, a 38 inch screen should be enough for most types of work, but if you want even more screen real estate, the U4919DW is a great alternative.

    See our review

  5. Best Compact Monitor For Programming: Dell U2520D

    7.9
    Office
    Size 25"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    No VRR

    The best monitor for coding and programming with a compact screen that we've tested is the Dell UltraSharp U2520D. It's a small 25 inch screen that's well-suited for tight spaces. Despite its smaller screen size, it has a 1440p resolution that results in a high pixel density, so text and images look incredibly sharp. Its great ergonomics allow you to easily adjust it to your optimal viewing position, and it has an IPS panel that provides wide viewing angles. It has a good peak brightness, but its reflection handling is just okay, so it's best to avoid placing it opposite bright light sources.

    If you want to do some gaming on the side, the response time is great, and the input lag is low. However, the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, and there's no VRR support of any kind. It delivers an okay HDR experience in games, but it can't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR movies. Also, it isn't well-suited for dark rooms, as its IPS panel has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity.

    Like its bigger brother, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, it has tons of connectivity options. Its two USB-C ports support DisplayPort Alt mode, and one can be used to charge your mobile devices even if it's off. It also has a DisplayPort Out, which allows you to daisy-chain multiple monitors. Overall, this is a great option for those with limited space or just prefer a smaller screen size.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget Monitor For Programming: ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV

    8.4
    Office
    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    75 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    Adaptive Sync

    The best monitor for programming in the budget category that we've tested is the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV. It's a 27 inch screen with a 1440p resolution, with thin bezels that are well-suited for multi-monitor setups. It has a good build quality, and its superb ergonomics allow you to adjust the screen easily for the best viewing experience. It gets bright enough to overcome glare in well-lit rooms, handles reflections well, and its IPS panel's wide viewing angles are great for sharing work and content. It isn't the best for dark rooms, though, as it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish.

    With a 27 inch screen, there's plenty of space to work comfortably with multiple windows opened side-by-side. It has a 75Hz refresh rate that makes motion look a bit smoother than a typical 60Hz panel, which is great for quickly scrolling through documents or for some casual gaming. Response time is great, and there's also a Black Frame Insertion feature to reduce motion blur and Adaptive Sync support to minimize screen tearing.

    There are a couple of USB ports for charging, a pair of integrated speakers, and a QuickFit Virtual Scale feature that lets you preview documents in their actual size before printing. There's no HDR support; however, it's expected of something in this price range. On the upside, if you work long hours and worry about eye strain, the backlight is flicker-free. All in all, it's a great monitor for any workplace that's also easy on the wallet.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • LG 27UK650-W: The LG 27UK650-W is a very good 4k office monitor and is cheaper than the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, but it doesn't have any USB-C input, and it's an older model that might be harder to find. See our review
  • Dell S2721QS: The Dell S2721QS is a cheaper alternative to the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, but it lacks USB-C input and may be hard to find due to low availability. See our review
  • Gigabyte M27Q: The Gigabyte M27Q is only slightly more expensive than the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV, and it has USB-C input, but its BGR sub-pixel layout may be a dealbreaker for some as it might cause blurry text in some applications. See our review
  • MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD: The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is a good 1440p alternative to the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, but its USB-C port has a max power delivery of 15W, which might not be enough to charge more power-hungry laptops. See our review
  • LG OLED48CXPUB: The LG 48 CX OLED is great for those who like to work in the dark, but it doesn't allow for any ergonomic adjustments since it's a TV. See our review
  • Samsung C49RG9: The Samsung C49RG9/CRG9 has better gaming features than the Dell U4919DW, but it has worse viewing angles and poor black uniformity. See our review
  • LG 49WL95C-W: The LG 49WL95C-W is a good alternative to the Dell U4919DW, but it's more expensive. It also has a lower peak brightness and might not be able to overcome intense glare in bright settings. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 26, 2021: Replaced Dell S2721QS with Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, replaced LG 34GN850-B with Dell U3818DW.

  2. Jan 26, 2021: Replaced Dell U3818DW with LG 34GN850-B.

  3. Nov 27, 2020: Replaced Dell UltraSharp U2720Q with Dell S2721QS.

  4. Sep 28, 2020: Added ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV.

  5. Jul 27, 2020: Replaced LG 27UK650-W with Dell UltraSharp 2720Q, replaced Dell U2415 with Dell UltraSharp U2520D, removed Dell U2518D.

  6. May 26, 2020: Minor changes to text for clarity; updated notable mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors for coding and programming that are 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 things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

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