Best Budget Monitor for Graphic Design – Ultimate Buying Guide
Looking for the best budget monitor for graphic design? We’ve got you covered. Graphic design is more popular than ever, and there literally is no slowing down in sight. We honestly get it that most people have a specific budget in mind when shopping for a new graphic design monitor. Many attempt to get the lowest price available, and many others look for the best value. We’ve taken everything into consideration and provided the following info and product reviews below to help you with your purchase.
- Best Budget Monitor for Graphic Design – Ultimate Buying Guide
- Best Budget Monitor for Graphic Design – Quick List
- Best Budget Monitor for Graphic Design – Reviews
- 1. Philips 276E9QDSB – Best Overall
- 2. Philips 24E9QDSB – Best Philips 24 inch
- 3. Philips 325E8 – Best Philips 32 inch
- 4. HP 24mh – Best HP 24 inch
- 5. ViewSonic VA2447-MH – Best ViewSonic 24 inch
- 6. ViewSonic VA2747-MHJ – Best ViewSonic 27 inch
- 7. ViewSonic VX3211 – Best ViewSonic 32 inch
- 8. ASUS ProArt PA247CV – Best ASUS 24 inch
- 9. Acer SB220Q – Best Acer 22 Inch
- 10. Acer R240HY bidx – Best Acer 24 inch
- 11. Sceptre E248W-FPT – Best Sceptre 24 inch
- 12. Sceptre E275W-FPT – Best Sceptre 27 inch
- 13. Philips 278E1A – Best Philips 4K
- 14. AOC U2790VQ – Best AOC 4K
- 15. Samsung UJ59 – Best Samsung 4K
- What Can You Get with a Budget Monitor for Graphic Design?
- How to choose a monitor for graphic design
- 4K resolution or higher
- Size of 24″ or more
- IPS technology
- Refresh rate of 60 Hz or higher
- Sufficient color coverage
- Ergonomically adjustable
- I/O connections
- Price adjusted to its characteristics
- Conclusions on Budget Monitors for Graphic Design
Best Budget Monitor for Graphic Design – Quick List
- Philips 276E9QDSB – Best Overall
- Philips 246E9QDSB – Best Philips 24 inch
- Philips 325E8 – Best Philips 32 inch
- HP 24mh – Best HP 24 inch
- ViewSonic VA2446MH – Best ViewSonic 24 inch
- ViewSonic VA2747-MHJ – Best ViewSonic 27 inch
- ViewSonic VX3211 – Best ViewSonic 32 inch
- ASUS ProArt PA247CV – Best ASUS 24 inch
- Acer SB220Q – Best Acer 22 Inch
- Acer R240HY bidx – Best Acer 24 inch
- Sceptre E248W-FPT – Best Sceptre 24 inch
- Sceptre E275W-FPT – Best Sceptre 27 inch
- Philips 278E1A – Best Philips 4K
- AOC U2790VQ – Best AOC 4K
- Samsung UJ59 – Best Samsung 4K
Best Budget Monitor for Graphic Design – Reviews
The Philips 276E9QDSB is just stunning. This is largely due to it’s world class color coverage, excellent contrast range, and ultra thin bezels. It truly is a vibrant display that is literally made for graphic designers. The Philips 276E9QDSB not only covers an incredible 124% of the sRGB color space, but it also covers 93% of the NTSC as well. This monitor could easily cost more than 500 – 1000 dollars with those specs.
If you love everything about the Philips 276E9QDSB, but perhaps you would like a bit more compact version, the Philips 24E9QDSB should be exactly what you’re looking for. There’s still plenty of screen space to work with and it actually has even more accurate colors with 129% sRGB.
If you’re a fan of Philips monitors (like us) and perhaps want to go a bit bigger, you should take a serious look at the 32 inch Philips 325E8. The massive 32 inch display is actually a QHD 2560-1440 monitor. Which means that you will get both an increased size and an increased resolution, compared to more traditional monitors.
The HP 24mh is one of the best selling, highest rated monitors you can get right now. It can handle just about every task thrown at it. You’ll find yourself easily transitioning from web browsing, to viewing photos, and even gaming. This all around strength is accompanied with one of the best IPS panels in the market. The highly viewable 1080p, IPS panel even has 99% sRGB color gamut coverage.
The bezels are razor thin on three of it’s sides, so you’re not obstructed by a big black border. The small bezels also make it ideal for setting up multiple HP 24mh monitors side by side. This can be facilitated with the integrated VESA mounting, which can be used on a wall or monitor arms. The built in speakers are also great, since you can save some space that external speakers would usually take up. The stand has a good amount of adjustability for height and tilting.
With flexible connectivity, wide-angle display, and impressive screen performance, the ViewSonic VA2447-MH delivers robust multimedia functionality, sleek design, and great value for the money. Thanks to frameless MVA panel technology, the VA2447-MH delivers stunning brightness and contrast at almost any viewing angle. The minimalist design, edge-to-edge display, and bezel-less display make it the perfect display for nearly seamless multi-display setup. Whether you work in the office or enjoy entertainment at home, the VA2447-MH has an HDMI port and an HDMI cable that can flexibly connect to computers, laptops, and game consoles.
The ViewSonic VA2747-MHJ delivers flexible connectivity, wide-angle viewing, amazing screen performance, powerful multimedia capabilities, elegant design, and an incredibly adjustable stand, all at an affordable price. Similar to the VA2447-MH, the VA2747-MHJ uses a frameless MVA panel technology that delivers stunning brightness and contrast at almost any viewing angle. The minimalist design, borderless display, and borderless display make it ideal for nearly transparent multi-display setups. Whether you work in the office or play at home, the VA2747-MHJ has an HDMI connection and corresponding HDMI cable, which can be flexibly connected to computers, laptops and game consoles. A three-year limited warranty, combined with one of the industry’s best pixel performance guidelines, makes the VA2747-MHJ an excellent choice with great value for money.
The ViewSonic VX3211 is one the best professional grade values, from one of the most reputable brands for graphic design. ViewSonic has been focused on providing graphic design monitors for more than 30 years, and still going strong. The ViewSonic VX3211 costs a little bit more than our “Best Overall” pick, but it still is less than 500 bucks. The ViewSonic VX3211 has a massive 32 inch “canvas”, with a premium, 1440p IPS panel that covers 99% of the sRGB color space.
The ASUS ProArt PA247CV series lives up to it’s name by providing 100% sRGB/Rec. 709 ΔE < 2, and is Calman Verified. You can adjust all of that vibrant color with ASUS’ proprietary ProArt Presets. This is useful for quickly selecting color gamut coverages for color grading, video editing or manipulating photos.
There’s some very useful eye care tech that includes: ASUS Flicker-Free, and ASUS Ultra-Low Blue Light. Both of course great for long design sessions.
The ProArt PA247CV also has the ability to rotate the monitor from landscape to portrait mode. It even comes with a decent refresh rate of 75Hz, which gets the job done for most games.
The Acer SB220Q is a compact, 22 inch, low-priced monitor that is perfect for maximizing your desk space. It has good sRGB coverage of 98% to ensure all of your graphic design projects have accurate colors. The minimal bezel “Zero Frame” design is useful in facilitating your focus on your work. The Acer SB220Q is also thin which makes it even more space efficient.
The Acer R240HY bidx is one of the most affordable, best selling monitors right now. The included specs and features are a good fit for most graphic design beginners, or those on a tighter budget. Not only does it have a frameless 24-inch screen with FHD resolution, it also covers 100% of the sRGB color space.
The Sceptre E248W-FPT is classified as a business monitor, but actually it’s very versatile. To begin with it has incredible color coverage of 99% sRGB, hence the “exploding” colors on the screen. The amount of colors makes it ideal for graphic design, photo editing, and video editing to name a few. There are built-in speakers which are great for background music, watching movies & tv, and pc gaming. To top it all off, the Sceptre E248W-FPT has a 75Hz refresh rate that makes pc gaming and all your other applications smooth as silk.
The Sceptre E275W-FPT may be classified as a “business” monitor, but it’s actually a fantastic multi-purpose monitor that includes business, graphic design, and even some gaming. It has good connectivity options that cater to newer and older pcs with 2x hdmi and 1x VGA port. The Sceptre E275W-FPT has 99% sRGB color gamut coverage, which fits right in line with high quality graphic design monitors. The price fluctuates because of supply and high demand for the E275W-FPT, but it still remains to be one of the most affordable monitors you get. It’s a great value with it’s size of 27 inches.
The Philips 278E1A is a fantastic, 4K monitor with an astonishing 109% sRGB color coverage. Just picture yourself working on your design projects in UHD, with a resolution of 3840×2160. You would have pixel perfect precision. Philips has integrated their proprietary SmartContrast with Mega Infinity Dynamic Contrast Ratio, to make sure you get the optimal deep blacks, and bright whites. Another useful feature is the built-in speakers, which are great for background music while you’re designing. Or, perhaps a movie, tv show, or game after your done… all in 4K.
The AOC U2790VQ is an amazing 4K monitor, with an amazing price, and we are not just saying that. It pretty much goes toe to toe with the Philips 278E1A. One significant difference is the bezels are noticeably smaller on the AOC. This is great for a multiple monitor setup, as well as further utilizing the screen to focus on your designs. Additionally, the AOC has 10-bit color depth, which displays more colors and provides smoother color transitions compared to traditional monitors.
The Samsung UJ59 is a large, 32 inch 4K monitor that is surprisingly affordable. Just imagine yourself working on a graphic design project in UHD in the middle of the day, followed by watching your favorite movie or tv show in 4K during the evening. The Samsung UJ59 is that versatile. It’s basically like you get 2 devices in 1, a 4K monitor and a 4K TV.
There’s a good amount of gaming features, so you should carve out some time to play your favorite pc games as well.
The expansive screen coupled with a widescreen configuration make it easy to work with multiple assets and windows simultaneously. There’s even a PBP (Picture by Picture) mode to further facilitate multi-tasking.
Graphic designers will also appreciate the 1 billion colors it delivers, and eye care tech for working extended hours.
What Can You Get with a Budget Monitor for Graphic Design?
Budget monitors for graphic design usually have a 19 inch to 32 inch screen, with most being 24 to 27 inches.
Refresh Rate & Response Time
Refresh rates and response times are key factors for display imaging speed and for games. Most of the budget design monitors come with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 5ms response time. This will get the job done for most of your daily tasks and standard gaming. There are some monitors with higher specs, that often range from a 75Hz to 120Hz refresh rate.
Most monitors for design utilize IPS technology. IPS or In-Plane Switching displays, are more vibrant in color and have increased viewing angles compared to TN panels. TN panels appear to be dull when viewed from sides, while IPS displays do not fade.
How to choose a monitor for graphic design
Knowing how to choose a monitor for Graphic Design is not easy, due to the amount of technical specifications to take into account. It is not enough to go to the store and ask for the first monitor that looks good and has a high resolution.
Below I will show you what are the specific characteristics of a Graphic Design monitor you should look for and why, with examples and graphics, so that by the end of this reading you will know how to identify your ideal monitor for design.
These are the main features that any graphic designer should look for in a monitor. Although there are more aspects in the technical data sheets of the monitors, making sure you have these, you will be sure to be buying a good monitor for Graphic Design.
4K resolution or higher
A high screen resolution is indispensable to see our design projects clearly, and this is related to the number and density of pixels. The higher the number and density of pixels, the sharper the image.
Without a doubt, a 4K monitor is worthwhile for Graphic Design, as the UHD versions achieve a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, which is almost 4 times more pixels than an HD monitor (1920 x 1080 px) and approximately 50% more than a QHD monitor (2560 x 1440 px).
This means that, at the same screen size, with a 4K UHD resolution we will have 4 times more pixel density than with an HD resolution, which translates into a greater sharpness in images and texts.
Another advantage of 4K UHD monitors is that they allow you to work almost at 1:1 scale in the design of magazines, posters, websites, etc., saving time in zooms and scrolling through the workspace.
Size of 24″ or more
You should find a balance between screen size and resolution that gives you a large working area and a sharp image. Also consider the distance from the monitor you will be standing and the space you have on your desk before choosing your monitor.
Personally I have worked with monitors of all sizes and resolutions and I think the minimum to work comfortably is a 24″ screen with 4K resolution, although I recommend a 27-inch monitor for Graphic Design (with UHD 4K resolution, no doubt).
LED panels are brighter and consume less power than LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels or standard liquid crystal displays, so opting for an LED display for Graphic Design is an easy decision.
Some people are confused when they try to choose between an LCD or LED monitor for Graphic Design and find that the monitor they like is LCD and LED.
To be clear, all LED monitors are LCDs, but not all LCD monitors are LEDs. We only call “LED monitors” those LCD monitors that have a backlight with LED-type electrodes.
IPS (in-plane switching) panels are best suited for Design and other tasks that require accurate and uniform color reproduction. If you want to combine quality with energy efficiency, choose an LCD monitor with an IPS panel and LED backlight.
Unlike monitors with VA or TN technology, choosing an IPS monitor for Graphic Design has several advantages:
- Increased color accuracy
- Increased color consistency
- Wide viewing angles up to 178º.
High Color Accuracy
A basic IPS monitor has, at a minimum, an RGB color depth of 8 bits. This means that it is capable of producing 16.7 million colors, well above the 262,144 colors that an average TN panel, which has only 6 bits, is capable of reproducing.
VA (vertical alignment) technology has a depth of 8 bits, higher than TN panels, but lower than the latest IPS monitors that reach depths of 10, 16 and even 24 bits. These monitors count the number of colors in billions.
For this reason IPS monitors are more capable of covering professional color spaces such as sRGB. Adobe RGB, DCI-P3 and Rec. 709, which is essential when choosing a monitor for Graphic Design, as we will see in the color coverage section.
AMOLED displays are very similar to IPS displays in terms of quality, but have excess in reproducing color saturation, so IPS panels are more recommended, at least for Graphic Design tasks.
Professional monitors usually include calibration tools so that you can maintain color consistency over time. In case your monitor does not include a calibration system, it is advisable to purchase a screen calibrator.
Increased color consistency
IPS monitors are ideal for designers who have to work in places where outdoor light falls directly on them or where there can be large variations in light during the day, as is the case in many design studios or agencies.
Thanks to its backlighting system, colors in IPS monitors suffer less variation under extreme lighting conditions, such as direct sunlight, compared to other types of technologies such as VA, TN or AMOLED.
Wide viewing angles
Having a wide viewing angle on your monitor is essential for the image to be perceived correctly from various positions. This is especially useful for designers who may at some point need to show their screen to other colleagues or clients.
On IPS panels, the image remains consistent up to 178 degrees. On the other hand, on TN and VA monitors, the image varies significantly when one moves away from the frontal plane, which can lead to errors and misunderstandings.
Refresh rate of 60 Hz or higher
The refresh rate or refresh rate is the rate at which a monitor updates the information sent to it by the GPU to be displayed on the screen.
For Graphic Design it is advisable to choose a monitor with a fast refresh rate (60 Hz or higher) to avoid flickering and tearing of the image when, for example, scrolling through the workspace of an application, while working with complex images.
Only if you work in 3D design, video editing or plan to use your computer to play games as well as design, will you notice the benefits of using displays with frequencies above 60 Hz.
Variable refresh rate (VPR)
With variable refresh rate (VPR) systems, the refresh rate of the display is synchronized with the output capability of your graphics card, for better performance and image quality.
More and more manufacturers are introducing variable refresh rate (VPR) in their monitors through AMD Radeon FreeSync or NVIDIA G-Sync systems.
There are also monitors that do not directly use AMD or NVIDIA systems, but there are compatible systems that also synchronize with these graphics cards.
Advantages of a high refresh rate
- Avoid delays and flickering in the picture
- Prevents tearing and image fragmentation
- Smoother use in 3D design and video editing
- Better gaming experience
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is an image processing system that provides brighter images, deeper blacks, and a wider variety of color gamut than a 4K image with standard dynamic range (SDR), Sony explains.
A quality LCD display has a dynamic range (also called “contrast ratio”) of around 1000: 1. This range is suitable for Graphic Design and you will find that this is the range of most displays on the market.
Don’t get hung up on dynamic ranges well above 1000. While they may be fine for playing video games or for a television, design professionals find these ranges untrue to the final result, especially in print jobs.
What is HDR10?
HDR 10 supports 10-bit color depth (1.07 billion colors) and a maximum brightness of 4,000 nits. This allows many HDR 10-enabled or compatible monitors to cover the DCI-P3, Adobe RGB and Rec. 709 color space almost entirely.
Advantages of HDR
- Images with more color depth
- More pleasurable visual experience
- Improved outdoor visibility
Cons of HDR
- A higher price
- Excessive HDR can result in images that are not true to life.
Sufficient color coverage
Color coverage is a key aspect in the type of monitor you should choose, as monitor prices vary greatly depending on the color coverage you need.
From lowest to highest visible spectrum coverage, let’s see which coverage suits you best:
sRGB is the standard color space for the Web that covers 35% of the colors that the human eye is capable of seeing. If you only do projects for web and digital devices (phones, tablets, etc.), a monitor that covers 99% or more of the sRGB space is sufficient.
Adobe RGB is a color space developed by Adobe and optimized to faithfully display all colors that printers are capable of producing. It covers approximately 50% of visible colors, so its gamut (perceptible color space) is larger than that of sRGB.
You should choose a monitor that covers 99% of the Adobe RGB space or more if some of your work ends up in print, especially if you work with photographs and illustrations, where color accuracy is crucial.
DCI-P3 is the standard color space in digital film projection from the North American industry. DCI-P3 covers 45.5% of the visible spectrum.
If your projects include 3D design and animation, motion graphics or video editing for film, you will want your monitor to cover the DCI-P3 space, as many production companies work with this space as standard.
The Rec. 709 color space (you can also find it written as BT. 709) is the standard that manufacturers implement in high definition televisions (HDTV), so it is recommended for those designers (3D, motion graphers, etc.) whose projects are intended to be projected on television.
Rec. 2020 has recently been introduced for ultra high-definition televisions (UHDTV). While Rec. 709 covers 35.9% of the visible spectrum, Rec. 2020 covers 75.8%, but for now only a few high-end monitors come close to this standard.
Designers tend to spend many hours sitting down so I can’t stress enough how important it is that your monitor has adjustment options for proper ergonomics.
Buying a screen that you can place at eye level will avoid back and joint problems, which are quite common among designers. Fortunately, nowadays, most professional monitors have adjustable supports in height, tilt and even rotation, in case you want to work with the screen vertically.
Some monitors are compatible with the standard VESA mounting system (usually indicated on the product card). This mounting system allows you to place the monitor on an external or articulating monitor arm or stand, allowing you to adapt its position to the space you have available, for greater comfort.
The “Input and Output” or “I/O” connections are those connectivity options that the monitor offers. As designers, we will typically need at least one HDMI, DisplayPort or USB-C port to connect the display to the computer.
HDMI is gradually being replaced by DisplayPort ports and especially USB-C, as the latter supports various uses and different types of connection standards. If your computer only has a USB-C port, but your monitor does not have a USB-C port, you will need a good adapter that will not cause problems in signal quality.
Some monitors also have ports on the side for connecting USB sticks or charging your phone. There are also professional monitors with memory card readers, especially useful for photographers and videographers.
Price adjusted to its characteristics
Monitors for Graphic Design have different features and prices than most monitors that are usually found in stores, more focused on the average user or gamers, whose needs are different from those of a designer.
If you work only for digital media, you can find cheap monitors with 27″ and 4K resolution, covering the sRGB space, at quite affordable prices. But if you need a monitor that covers Adobe RGB, DCI-P3 or Rec. 709 space, you can expect a much higher price.
Conclusions on Budget Monitors for Graphic Design
When buying a monitor you should bear in mind that to achieve great accuracy and color coverage, you usually have to make a considerable investment. That is why I always recommend buying the monitor that suits your real needs.
If in your day to day you do not use the Adobe RGB space or the DCI-P3, it is not worth investing in a monitor that costs 3 or 4 times more. Buy it only when you need it.
All the monitors on this list have a very good quality and the guarantee of top-level brands such as LG, Samsung, Philips, Asus or BQ, so they are a very safe purchase.