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What's behind our computer monitor Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 12 models in computer monitors to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score is based mainly on display quality and ease of use, with viewing angle and versatility also considered. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Display quality
    Display quality reflects image clarity, color accuracy, and contrast as judged by panelists who viewed text and photos, and on lab measurements.
  • Viewing angle
    Indicates our evaluation of picture quality for clarity and color accuracy at various horizontal and vertical viewing angles.
  • Ease of use
    Ease of use indicates usability of controls on the display and in onscreen menus.
  • Versatility
    Versatility indicates features that increase a monitor's utility or capabilities. These might include the presence of a built-in camera, speakers, microphone, a base with adjustable height, DVI and HDMI inputs, USB ports, and so on.
  • Energy cost/yr.
    Estimated cost per year in dollars, calculated for 8 hours a day turned on and 16 hours in the computer-commanded standby mode, based on the current year's national average electricity rate. Your usage and local rates will affect your costs. Note that the energy costs are for a monitor optimized for the best picture quality and equal brightness -- the energy consumption would be less with dimmer picture settings.


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Recommended computer monitors

Recommended computer monitors are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Lightweight, flat-panel LCD displays have almost entirely replaced heavy CRT displays, which took up more desk space. If you're looking for information about computer monitors, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ computer monitor reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our computer monitor buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and computer monitor reviews to help you choose the best computer monitor for your needs.

Computer monitor buying guide

4K monitors are increasingly becoming available for computers, but they still cost more than conventional displays.They're best for graphics pros looking for a monitor that can show the finest detail.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for a monitor for more-typical everyday use, you'll find lots of choice at great prices. Finding a wide-screen, 16:9 monitor is not much of a challenge. In fact, these types of monitors have all but replaced the squarish 17-inch models. Their greater width allows for much easier side-by-side page viewing as well as more viewable spreadsheet columns at once, requiring less scrolling.

Prices keep falling on LCDs, even for bigger screens. You can now get a 24-inch for as little as $200. If you're buying a monitor bundled with a new computer, as many consumers do, you can often upgrade from the standard display to a larger one for a modest amount. Here are some things to consider before you start shopping.

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