The 6 Best Monitors For Programming - Fall 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Monitors For Programming
219 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 210 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 S2721QS

    8.4
    Office
    Size 27"
    Resolution 3840x2160
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The best monitor for programming we've tested is the Dell S2721QS. This 27 inch, 4k model is great for productivity as it provides plenty of space for multitasking, and it delivers exceptionally sharp text. The stand allows for a good amount of ergonomic adjustments, including rotation to portrait mode, and you can also VESA mount it should you need greater adjustability.

    Like most productivity-focused monitors, it has a 60Hz refresh rate. However, its response time is pretty good, and it even supports variable refresh rate technology if you want to play some games on the side. The backlight is entirely flicker-free, great for reducing eye strain on long workdays. It handles reflections well, gets bright enough to fight glare, and its wide viewing angles make it great for sharing content with others.

    Unfortunately, there are no USB ports, but you do get built-in speakers. There's also a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals at once, which might be handy for programmers working on two computers simultaneously. Like most IPS panel displays, it's not the best option for dark rooms because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish. Nonetheless, it's a great and versatile monitor that should please most programmers.

    See our review

  2. Larger Alternative: Gigabyte M32U

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

    If you want something a bit bigger than the Dell S2721QS, then check out the Gigabyte M32U. It has a larger, 32 inch screen, but the same 4k resolution, resulting in slightly worse but still fantastic text clarity. Although mainly intended as a gaming monitor, it's great for office use, with wide viewing angles, excellent gray uniformity, and okay ergonomics. Visibility isn't an issue in most viewing environments, as it has very good peak brightness and decent reflection handling. It also delivers impressive colors, with great accuracy out of the box and an outstanding SDR color gamut. There's a great selection of office features, including a built-in KVM switch, allowing you to work with two sources using a single set of keyboard, display, and mouse. Finally, it has a built-in USB hub and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, great if you want to connect a MacBook.

    The Gigabyte is a bit overkill for office use, so unless you also want an excellent gaming monitor, the Dell is the best option for most programmers. However, if you want something a bit larger, or you want an excellent gaming monitor for when you need to take a break from programming, then check out the Gigabyte.

    See our review

  3. Best 1440p Monitor For Programming: MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD

    8.0
    Office
    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    165 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    Adaptive Sync

    The best monitor for developers with a 1440p native resolution is the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD. It's a great office monitor with wide viewing angles, great ergonomics, and a large, high-resolution screen that's great for multitasking. The lower native resolution is especially great for developers that like to use remote desktop from home to log into their workstation remotely, as it's easier to stream a lower resolution and not worry about text scaling issues on a 4k display.

    It has great peak brightness and decent reflection handling, so you don't have to worry about visibility in a bright room, and the IPS panel combined with quantum dot technology delivers exceptional colors. It's completely flicker-free at all brightness levels, which is great, as it can help reduce eye strain. It also has excellent gray uniformity and an exceptional SDR color gamut, great if you also work with graphics or other design elements.

    It's not the best choice for a dark room, though, or if you like to use a dark mode, as it has low contrast and just alright black uniformity. Overall, it's a great monitor, and it's the best 1440p monitor for programming that we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Ultrawide Alternative: LG 34GP950G-B

    Size 34"
    Resolution 3440x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    180 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    G-SYNC

    If you prefer an ultrawide monitor for extra screen real estate, check out the LG 34GP950G-B instead. The ultrawide format of the LG delivers a similarly great coding experience to the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD, but due to the larger screen size, the stand isn't as versatile. The increased horizontal resolution doesn't change the pixel density, and it has good text clarity and a flicker-free backlight. Visibility isn't an issue, as it has great peak brightness and decent reflection handling, and the already decent viewing angles are even better, thanks to the gentle curve that brings the sides of the screen into your field of view.

    Overall, the MSI is the best choice for most programmers, as it's a lot cheaper than the LG and has better ergonomics. However, if you like the increased screen real estate, the LG is a great alternative.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Monitor For Coding: Gigabyte G27Q

    7.8
    Office
    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    144 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The best monitor for coding in the budget category that we've tested is the Gigabyte G27Q. Overall, it's a good office monitor with wide viewing angles, a great 1440p resolution, and a 27 inch size that delivers good text clarity. Visibility in a bright room isn't an issue, as it has great peak brightness and good reflection handling, so it can easily overcome glare. Like all monitors on this list, the backlight is completely flicker-free at all brightness settings, which is great.

    It has great connectivity, with a built-in USB hub, but it doesn't offer any USB-C ports, so you'll need an adapter if you're working from an Ultrabook that doesn't offer any full-sized HDMI or DisplayPort connections. It has excellent gray uniformity and good accuracy out of the box, as well as an outstanding color gamut, great if your work often includes design elements that rely on accurate, uniform colors.

    Unfortunately, it has low contrast, so it's not a good choice for a dark room or if you prefer to use dark mode on your computer. It also has poor ergonomics, so it might be hard to place in an ideal viewing position. Overall, despite the budget price, it's a very good monitor, and it's a great choice for coding.

    See our review

  6. Best Portable Monitor For Coding: ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE

    7.2
    Office
    Size 17"
    Resolution 1920x1080
    Max Refresh Rate
    240 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    Adaptive Sync

    The best portable monitor for coding we've tested is the ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE. Although it's mainly marketed as a gaming monitor, the XG17 is also a decent portable office monitor. The 1080p, 17 inch screen has a relatively high pixel density (roughly equivalent to a 24 inch 1440p display), resulting in great text clarity, even if your programming environment doesn't support ClearType. It's also flicker-free, which can help reduce eye strain.

    Of course, this monitor is designed for portability, and it doesn't disappoint. The 17 inch screen should fit in most laptop bags or backpacks, and the folio case protects it during transport while also doubling as a stand. It also has a built-in 7800 mAh battery, so you can get up to 3.5 hours of coding without draining the battery on your laptop. It also has great connectivity, with micro-HDMI and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, meaning you can use it with pretty much anything.

    It's not perfect for everyone, though, as it has a low contrast ratio and disappointing black uniformity. If you like to use your IDE's dark mode in a darker environment, a monitor with a VA panel might be a better choice. Overall, it's by far the best portable monitor for programming that we've tested.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Dell U2720Q: The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is a great office monitor with USB-C input, but it's significantly more expensive than the Dell S2721QS. See our review
  • Gigabyte M27Q: The Gigabyte M27Q is slightly cheaper than the Gigabyte G27Q, but it uses a suboptimal BGR subpixel layout. This layout normally isn't an issue, but it can cause some text clarity problems in certain IDEs. See our review
  • ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV: The ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV is a great productivity monitor with USB-C input, a good alternative to the Dell S2721QS if you don't mind a 1440p resolution. See our review
  • Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx: The Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx is a great office monitor, but it's not worth the premium price over the Dell S2721QS because the size difference isn't noticeable. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Nov 19, 2021: Completely restructured the article, adding a new category for the 'Best 1440p Monitor For Coding'. Removed most of our picks, as they're currently sold out, and removed most of our Notable Mentions, as they're quite old.

  2. Sep 20, 2021: Replace the LG 32UD99-W with the Gigabyte AORUS FI32U, as it's no longer available. Replaced the 'Best Compact Monitor' category with 'Best Portable Monitor' and changed the recommendation to the ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE.

  3. Jul 22, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q with the Dell S2721QS because it's cheaper. Replaced Dell U3818DW with LG 38WN95C-W because it's hard to find.

  4. May 25, 2021: Replaced the Dell U4919DW with the LG 49WL95C-W because the LG is easier to find; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.

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

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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