Whether you’re a consumer looking to upgrade to a high-resolution display or a gamer seeking out the fastest refresh rates, IFA 2018 brought a number of eye-pleasing options. Many of the affordable monitors start with FHD resolution panels, but if you’re looking to step up your desk game, there are plenty of attractive choices that ship with higher resolutions, wider screens, and faster refresh rates.
All the monitors we saw checked off many of the boxes that consumers should look for when choosing to upgrade, including bright screens, slim bezels, and attractive styling. Displays designed with slim bezels not only take up less space and look more modern on your desk, but it’s also easier to connect multiple monitors together for an immersive computing or gaming experience without the screen’s borders getting in the way. But if you’re looking for a simpler setup, you may want to take a look at ultrawide monitors. These displays give you plenty of screen real estate on which to multitask without requiring you to connect multiple monitors.
Dell Ultrathin S2718DC
Who’s it for: Consumers who demand premium styling
How much and when can you buy it: Starting at $550 on September 20
If you don’t need an ultra high definition (UHD) panel, Dell’s Ultrathin S2718DC is one of the best-looking monitors to hit the market. As a technologically functional “objet d’art,” the Ultrathin S271DC measures less than a quarter-inch thick and comes with a near bezel-freedesign, 60Hz refresh rate, and a maximum resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. With 600 nits of peak brightness and HDR 600 certification, the Ultrathin is great for both work and entertainment.
If you’re running low on desk space, you can use the VESA-compatible mount to hang the monitor on a wall. To complement the design, the single USB-C connector helps to minimize unsightly wires snaking around your workspace, allowing you to power the display and connect to a compatible PC or laptop with one cable. Older computers can connect via the HDMI 2.0, and there’s a USB hub and a 3.5mm headphone jack on board.
LG UltraGear 34GK950G, 34GK950F
Who’s it for: Gamers who don’t want multiple monitors for an immersive experience
How much and when can you buy it: TBA
Even though it may be nice to connect multiple displays together, you can opt for a simpler single monitor setup and still get an immersive gaming experience with an ultrawide panel. LG’s pair of monitors support either Nvidia’s G-Sync technology (34GK950G) or AMD’s FreeSync tech (34GK950F) on a 34-inch panel. The pair comes with a 21:9 aspect ratio, and because it’s so wide, the display has a 1,900R curvature to help make it easier for your peripheral vision.
The ultrawide QHD resolution supports 3,440 x 1,440 pixels, and the panel supports 98 percent of the wide color gamut space. Refresh rates vary, with a 100Hz standard rate on the Nvidia-compatible panel that goes up to 120Hz when overclocked to a native 144Hz rate on the AMD-optimized screen. The panel comes with 400 nits of brightness and supports 5ms response time for gaming. In addition to faster refresh rates, the FreeSync panel also comes with HDR 400 certification and 1ms Motion Blur Reduction (MBR), whereas the G-Sync one doesn’t. Both panels can be mounted on a wall to save space, but gamers opting for the G-Sync variant will likely want to show off the backside of the display, as that version supports LG’s Sphere Lighting System for illumination.
Acer Predator XB273K and Nitro XV273K
Who’s it for: GeForce gamers not willing to sacrifice on specs
How much and when can you buy it: $1,299 (Predator), $899 (Nitro) in the fourth quarter
Though it will cost you a pretty penny, Acer’s Predator monitor delivers on the company’s gaming creds. Launched just in time for Nvidia’s newest GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, the Predator XB273K was designed for GeForce gamers. The panel takes advantage of the chipmaker’s G-Sync technology to prevent screen tearing. Gamers who play fast action games will love the 27-inch 4K UHD panel with a fast 144Hz refresh rate. HDR 400 certification helps you spot enemies or pick out details in shadows in games, and the display’s calibrated panel supports 90 percent of the wide color gamut. The Predator comes with an ErgoStand and a hood to help keep gamers focused, but if you’ve got a gaming chair — like Acer’s Predator Thronos chair — you can opt to mount the display with the VESA-compatible mount to create an immersive multi-monitor setup that will be the envy of your gaming pals.
Just because the Predator monitor was built to support Nvidia gamers doesn’t mean that Acer is turning its back on fans of AMD. The flagship Nitro XV272K matches the Predator XB273K spec-for-spec.. The main difference between the Nitro XV272K and the Predator-branded display is that the Nitro supports AMD’s FreeSync technology to prevent screen tearing. The Nitro XV272K also supports a fast 1ms moving picture response time (MPRT) for fast action games, and it features six-axis color adjustments, so gamers can tune the color, hue, and saturation on the display. The built-in black boost option allows gamers to select from 11 levels of black to gain a visual advantage when trying to spot enemies in darker scenes.
Who’s it for: Tech-forward multitaskers wanting a premium experience
How much and when can you buy it: TBA
Stylish and chic, the Samsung CJ79 is an ultrawide monitor that doesn’t skimp on technology. Like LG’s UltraGear, Samsung opted to go with a curved 34-inch ultrawide panel on the CJ79. The CJ79 has a 1,500R curvature and ultrawide QHD resolution. Though Samsung is mainly targeting the CJ79 at creatives and professionals with this stylish monitor, gamers can also take advantage of the CJ79’s FreeSync support. The quantum dot LED (QLED) screen tech supports 125 percent of the sRGB space and has a 3,000:1 contrast ratio.
As the first monitor on the market to take advantage of Thunderbolt 3, you can use a single Thunderbolt cable for power, data, and video. Compared to USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 offers faster data throughput and outputs more power. Older computers can rely on HDMI or DisplayPort, and the CJ79 also has a USB hub with three USB-C and two USB 3.0 ports to easily connect peripherals and accessories. Picture-in-picture support coupled with the ultrawide aspect ratio will be appreciated by multitaskers hoping to keep multiple windows open. If 34 inches is too small, Samsung also has a larger 43-inch CJ79 model with a 3,840 x 1,200 resolution and 32:10 aspect ratio. That monitor comes with an integrated KVM switch, allowing you to connect two computers to it.