The 10 best monitors and displays on the market 2017

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is here, and you can download and install it right now. But, to truly enjoy the effects of its newly implemented Fluent Design System, it might be time for a new monitor. Better yet, perhaps it’s time for the best monitor on the market that you can buy in 2017, complete with all the features that make personal computing a national treasure.

They’re not all expensive 4K screens, either, though we do have our pick of Ultra HD displays accounted for as well. Some of the best monitors are lauded for their value, such as the Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB, which doesn’t need the frilly sprinklings of a panel twice its cost to prove its competence to us. However, there are times when the bells and whistles come in handy.

Such is the case when you plan on gaming, where a 60Hz refresh rate simply won’t do in some cases, nor will a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Luckily, our list caters to gamers too and, if that’s not enough, you can check out the best gaming monitors on the market. In the meantime, these are the best monitors in general you can buy in 2017. We hope you like them.

  • AOC Agon AG352UCG
  • Acer Predator X34
  • Asus MG248Q
  • Acer S277HK
  • BenQ Zowie XL2540
  • LG 34UC79G-B
  • Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
  • Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB
  • Viewsonic VP2772

The Agon AG352UCG from AOC is proof that an ultrawide display doesn’t have to be limited in resolution or extended functionality. In fact, this 21:9 IPS panel prides itself on its stately 3,440 x 1,440 resolution and G-Sync capabilities. That’s right, when paired with an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor uses G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing without adding stress to your PC hardware. What’s more, you can expect better response times from the AOC Agon than with its closest competitors, meaning lower latency in games like Overwatch or Lawbreakers that rely on faster pacing. The only downside is that the AOC Agon is rather bulky. Weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total, you’ll want to be sure your desk can support it.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG

Display

When the classic 16:9 aspect ratio fails you, nothing does the trick like a cinematic, 21:9 display. Although it’s not ideal for streaming TV shows or playing one of myriad games that don’t support it, the Acer Predator X34 is a model example of what an ultra-wide screen should be. Flaunting an eye-catching aluminum bezel and a polygonal stand that resembles a crow’s foot, this massive 34-inch panel is a spectacle to behold. What’s more, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync frame-smoothing tech, you don’t have to worry about enabling VSync and stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. Save for the ho-hum speakers and missing ports, this is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets.

Read the full review: Acer Predator X34

best monitor

If your PC can't afford 1440p or 4K gaming, the Asus MG248Q is the next best thing. Despite exhibiting a mere 1080p twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS, the Asus MG248Q makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync. The latter reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q.

Read the full review: Asus MG248Q

Best monitor

You’ll normally shell out an arm and a leg for a 4K display, but that’s not the case with Acer’s S277HK. In terms of pricing, this bezel-less beauty hits the sweet spot. With a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a color gamut of 1.07 billion and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, the Acer S277HK is better seen than heard about. Unfortunately, because of the way Acer designed it, there’s no way to mount it onto a wall for everyone to appreciate, nor is the height adjustable. But, and this is a huge but, if you prioritize high pixel density, reasonable cost and “zero frame” over malleability, this is a monitor to shoot for.

Read the full review: Acer S277HK

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out an alternative in the similarly-specced BenQ EW2770QZ.

Depending on your budget, it might break the bank in classic Alienware fashion, but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor won’t let your screen tear. That’s because, whether you’re using an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, there’s a configuration designed with specifically you in mind. Taking away some of the heavy lifting away from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, a software technology that accomplishes a similar thwarting of screen tears, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate might actually be viable. In that case, you can expect the screen to garner up to 120 frames-per-second, so long as your graphics card can handle it and it isn’t being bottlenecked by your CPU. The 1ms response time is merely a bonus.

Read the full review: Alienware 25 

You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

If you’re running games using AMD- or Intel-based graphics and want to get into ultra wide displays without spending a fortune, this is the monitor to look out for. At 34 inches diagonally, the LG 34UC79G-B is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite the resolution being lower than a lot of other widescreen displays on the market, there’s no denying that the LG 34UC79G-B pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the pricier 4K monitors available today.

Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B

Display

If you care more about frame rate more than graphics or resolution, this one's for you. Because of its mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capabilities, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you're equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you're unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don't necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q

Not exactly glamorous or high-end when it comes to both specs and appearances, gamers and graphics professionals will wince at the Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB just before realizing it’s not for them. That’s because this monitor was crafted specifically with business users in mind. That’s right, this panel is designed to replace that old clunker of a screen you have set up in your office right now. And, with both VGA and HDMI connections intact, you can expect it to be compatible with virtually any PC – whether it’s brand-new or collecting dust. Plus, although it’s not enabled by default, Philips’ LowBlue mode makes this monitor pretty easy on the eyes too.

Read the full review: Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus MG248Q.

ViewSonic VP2772

Though it won’t win any fashion shows any time soon, the Viewsonic VP2772 is the perfect match for beyond-HD gaming or high-end photo editing. With a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, it won’t dazzle as much as some of the more lavish 4K screens on our list, but what it lacks in pixels, it excels in color accuracy. Featuring a palette of 1.07 billion colors and gray scales, covering 99% of the Adobe RGB space, the Viewsonic VP2772 is both sharp and vibrant. On the downside, it’s not the best choice for those switching back and forth between Windows and Mac, no thanks to the distortion produced when used with macOS. 

Read the full review: Viewsonic VP2772

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out an alternative in the similarly specced BenQ EW2770QZ.

  • Get one of the best monitors on sale this Black Friday

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Amazon Great Indian Festival 2017: Best deals on Hard disks, Pen drives and more

Looking for a new storage option? Does your data consumption lead you to buy a lot of storage devices? Fret not. Amazon's Great Indian Festival is here and with it come some really mouth-water deals and offers on storage devices. There are some highly discounted products on sale across Hard drives, Pen drives and memory cards to choose from during the sale.

We witnessed the first phase of the sale event in late September, so if you missed out on your favourite deal last time then it's your chance to grab it. We have also compiled the best deals the following categories, don't forget to check these- 

If you're looking to buy a new laptop, here are the best deals on laptops

Amazon Great Indian Festival: Best deals on laptops

Some great offers on wearables

Amazon Great Indian Festival 2017: Best deals on wearables

Huge discounts on portable wireless speakers

Amazon Great Indian Festival: Best deals on speakers

Best discounts and offers on mobile phones

Amazon Great Indian Festival 2017: Best deals on mobile phones

Offers on storage solutions: Hard disks, pen drives, and more

Amazon Great Indian Festival 2017: Best deals on Hard disks, Pen drives and more

The best power bank deals on Amazon are now live

Amazon Great Indian Festival 2017: Best deals on power banks

For the audiophiles out there, here's what Amazon is offering on headphones

Amazon Great Indian Festival: Best deals on Headphones and Speakers

So before you head over to these categories, check out the best deals on storage solutions.

Western Digital My Passport 4TB External HDD for Rs 9,498 @ Amazon

Get this Western Digital hard disk with a humongous storage of 4TB at just Rs 9,498 only. During the Amazon Great Indian Festival, the 4TB variant of WD My Passport will fetch you a discount of Rs 501. 

If you have a need for higher storage capacity devices, this WD My Passport HDD should not be missed. The hard disk is also available in some funky colour options.

Western Digital My Passport 2TB External HDD for Rs 5,798 @ Amazon (Save Rs 201)

A 2TB variant of the My Passport is also up on sale during the Amazon Great Indian Festival for a price of Rs 5,798. Users interested in a lower version of the Western Digital My Passport should definitely look at it.

Western Digital My Passport 1TB External HDD for Rs 3,798 @ Amazon (Save Rs 201)

There's also a 1TB version available of the WD My Passport external hard disk which budget users can look to if they want to purchase a storage device.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB External HDD for Rs 5,898 @ Amazon (Save Rs 201)

If you're in for a lower storage device option, we have got you the Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim HDD which will help you in everyday tasks and then some. The Seagate HDD is retailing for Rs 5,898 which is a discount of Rs 201 on Amazon India. 

Lenovo 1TB External HDD for Rs 3,499 @ Amazon (Save Rs 400)

Lenovo's 1TB external hard disk drive has also received a price cut of Rs 400 and is up for sale for Rs 3,499. The external HDD by Lenovo looks sleek and handy when it comes to portability and will get one through their storage needs, provided it's used for basic storage.

Buy Toshiba Canvio Basics 3TB HDD for Rs 6,499 @ Amazon (Save Rs 500)

Toshiba Canvio Basics 3TB external hard disk drive is now with a discount of Rs 500 and is up for sale for Rs 6,499. You might get better deals at cheaper prices but Toshiba promises to offer high transfer speeds, security and better durability. 

Buy Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB HDD for Rs 5,299 @ Amazon (Save Rs 200)

For those who ask for less and can do away with slightly lesser storage can go for the 2TB variant of the Toshiba Canvio at lesser price. 

Buy Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB HDD for Rs 3,699 @ Amazon

If you can do away with 1TB space on your HDD and don't wish to shed a lot of cash on a storage device, this one is just for you. 

Seagate Expansion 1.5TB Portable External Drive at Rs 4,399 (save Rs 200)

Seagate Expansion 1.5TB Portable External Drive comes with USB 3.0 connectivity option which ensures faster transferring of data. It is easy to connect the drive with the computer as it does not require any software for installation. Users can save their files easily by just dragging and dropping them to the drive.

Seagate Expansion 4TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive at Rs 9,399 (save Rs 366)

This hard drive has a storage capacity of 4TB and ensures faster data transfer with USB 3.0 connectivity. Apart from this, the other features are similar to the above mentioned hard drive.

SanDisk Ultra 32GB Memory Card for Rs 749 @ Amazon (Save Rs 278)

Looking for a value for money microSD card for your smartphone? Look no further than this SanDisk Ultra 32GB memory card which is now available for as low as Rs 749 during the Amazon Great Indian Festival sale.

SanDisk Ultra Dual 64GB USB 3.0 OTG Pen Drive (Gold) at Rs 1,399 (save Rs 227)

The OTG enabled pendrive allow the users to transfer their files directly from their mobile devices to laptops and PCs. It also ensures a transferring speed of up to 130mbps with its USB 3.0 connector. With the SanDisk Memory Zone app, users can easily manage their photos and videos.

HP V232w 16GB Pen Drive at Rs 419 @ Amazon (save Rs 148)

The 16 GB storage device comes with a metallic finish to ensure great protection against scratches. Apart from this, the pen drive is also shock proof, temperature proof and shock proof.

Sony Microvault Tiny 8GB Pen Drive (White) at Rs 299 (save Rs 121)

With its 8GB storage capacity and amazing transferring speed, users can store their files easily on the device. It also has an illuminated LED light which blinks when you plug your micro vault tiny into any compatible device.

How to get a good iPad deal on Black Friday

Apple’s products are notoriously expensive, and nowhere is that more evident than the eye-watering $999 / £999 / AU$1,579 price of the iPhone X. We wouldn’t expect to see that discounted on Black Friday, but if you’re in the market for an iPad then you may well be able to save some money if you wait until then to purchase one.

It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, driven by big discounts at dozens of retailers online and in-store.

While we don’t know for sure what products will be discounted yet, or by how much, there’s a good chance that certain iPad models will be among them.

And, as there are only really a handful of models to choose from, it’s an easier product to shop for than a lot of things in the world of tech, but there are still various things to look out for, be it key features or deals that aren’t quite as good as they first appear.

We’ll bring you all the best deals on the day, but to ensure you’re fully prepared for a day of shopping madness here’s how to make sure you spot the good iPad deals on Black Friday, and leave the bad ones well alone.

The features to look out for

If you’ve decided on an iPad then you’ve already avoided the decidedly mixed bag of tablet offerings from other manufacturers. There are no bad iPads as such, so you can’t go too wrong, but there are some things to bear in mind.

Everything has an expiry date

Firstly, how old a model is it? Although Apple itself only currently sells the iPad Pro 10.5, iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), new iPad and iPad Mini 4, some retailers may try to flog you an older model. That’s not necessarily a problem, but you need to be aware that they won’t be supported for as long.

Grab an iPad Mini 2 or iPad Air for example, and while you can get the latest version of iOS (iOS 11) you probably won’t be able to update it to next year’s version.

Go for something spacious

Storage is another consideration. Apps and games are getting bigger and Apple still isn’t including microSD card slot in its products, so you want a decent amount built-in.

Unless the tablet is being virtually given away we wouldn’t suggest going below 32GB. Even that will be a tight squeeze if you want much locally stored content.

The where, what, how and why

Most other considerations are more subjective, but you should consider what you actually plan to use the iPad for. Want to work on it? Consider an iPad Pro, for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, plus the potentially larger screen and extra power.

Just want an entertainment device? There’s really not that much need to splash out on a top-end model in that case. So you might want to consider the new iPad instead.

Travel a lot? The small size of the iPad Mini 4 could be a real winner, but if you mostly plan to use it at home then opting for a larger screen could be preferable.

Stick with Wi-Fi

Also consider whether or not you need cellular connectivity. Adding that can pump up the price, both at the point of purchase and going forward (as you’ll need a monthly data allowance to go with it).

Even if mobile data does sound handy, bear in mind that you can probably tether your phone to a Wi-Fi-only iPad and get it online that way, just as long as you’ve got a decent data allowance for your handset, so opting for a cellular model could be unnecessary.

That, plus the wide availability of free Wi-Fi hotspots, means a cellular iPad is probably an unneeded extra expense for most buyers.

Safe compromises

Other areas where you should be safe to compromise if it saves you some money include the screen tech, as even iPads from several years ago still have decent displays (just make sure the one you’re looking at has a pixel density of 264ppi or more), and performance, as that too should be solid as long as you get one with at least an Apple A8 chipset and 2GB of RAM.

Our deal predictions

If you’re after a deal on the iPad Pro 10.5 or iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) you might be out of luck. Being Apple’s latest slates we’d imagine they’re selling fine without the aid of discounts – but you never know, and if they are reduced we’ll be sure to tell you about it.

Products that are more likely to be reduced – and that are worth looking out – for include the following:

iPad Mini 4

The iPad Mini 4 has been around for a couple of years now, yet it’s still Apple’s newest 7.9-inch iPad and still available on the Apple Store.

The fact that Apple’s still selling it means it’s likely to be supported with software updates for a while yet, but because it’s no longer new it’s one of the more affordable iPads and likely to be in line for additional discounts.

Its A8 chipset and 2GB of RAM should still allow for solid performance (though it’s at the lower end of what we’d recommend) and its screen is competitively sharp.

It’s small though, which could be a good or bad thing depending on where and how you plan to use your tablet. As we mentioned above, if you’ll mostly be using it at home then a bigger screen could be preferable, but the iPad Mini 4 is exceedingly portable.

Watch out for the storage capacity though – Apple itself only now sells a 128GB model, but there used to be a 16GB version and that’s probably still floating around in some stores. Unless you plan to almost exclusively stream your content or rely on cloud storage we wouldn’t go below 32GB.

iPad Air 2

Released back in 2014, the iPad Air 2 is getting on a bit now, but its A8X chipset and 2GB of RAM were cutting edge at the time, and it can still outperform the newer iPad Mini 4.

Its 9.7-inch screen is also as sharp as newer models, though lacking in other ways – there’s no True Tone (which allows it to automatically adjust the white balance) for example.

Apple’s stopped selling this, but other stores will likely be looking to clear any remaining stock, so you might be able to snap up a good deal on what’s still a great slate.

Bear in mind that although it’s updateable to iOS 11 and will quite possibly get iOS 12 as well, we suspect that will be the end of the line for iPad Air 2. So if you want more than another year’s worth of software updates it might not be for you, but most apps and games work on older versions of iOS anyway, so it should still be perfectly functional for at least a few years.

As with the iPad Mini 4, just check the storage capacity, and think twice before opting for a 16GB version, no matter how cheap it is.

iPad Pro 9.7 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2016)

Discontinued and superseded by the iPad Pro 10.5 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), the iPad Pro 9.7 and iPad Pro 12.9 (2016) are less than two years old, but because they’re no longer the newest models and no longer sold by Apple other shops will likely be looking to clear stock, which is when you often get the best discounts.

These ‘Pro’ iPads have lots of power even now, good screens and support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, making them a great choice if you’re a digital artist or are looking for a laptop replacement.

That said, if you’re a more casual user you’d probably be just as happy with a non-Pro model and might be able to save some money by choosing one.

New iPad

The new iPad is Apple’s standard, non-Pro 2017 model, it’s a great slate, garnering a five-star review from us.

It’s also the latest ‘budget’ iPad, meaning it will likely be supported for a long time and is already fairly affordable.

We’re less sure this will be discounted than some of the older models, but if it is it could be the bargain to beat.

The specs can’t match even the previous generation of iPad Pros, but it still has a great screen, and if you want a tablet mostly for video, web browsing or undemanding apps then it’s really all you need.

  • Everything you need to know about Black Friday 2017

Appleā€™s Mac sales are suffering once again

The PC market is down again in Q3 of 2017, as are Mac shipments, according to fresh figures from Gartner.

The analyst firm’s latest report estimates that PC shipments hit 67 million units globally, down 3.6% year-on-year – but Apple’s Mac machines slipped to 4.6 million units, a more pronounced decline of 5.6% compared to the third quarter of 2016 (which witnessed nearly 4.9 million units shipped).

This means Apple remains in fifth place in the global league table of PC manufacturers, just behind Asus (which had a really bad quarter, dropping 9% year-on-year).

Apple currently has an overall market share of 6.9% when it comes to global PC sales.

There was even weaker performance for Apple on its home territory of the US – once again – with shipment numbers slipping to 1.88 million, a decline of 7.6% year-on-year.

Although Lenovo slipped further in the States, dropping a staggering 25.2% compared to the same quarter in 2016, which means that Apple is actually the number three PC vendor in the US now.

Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, observed of the US market: “Weak back-to-school sales were further evidence that traditional consumer PC demand drivers for PCs are no longer effective.”

Righteous refurbs

One argument for why MacBook sales could be softening, and affecting the overall Mac picture negatively, is the weighty price tags which the new MacBook Pro models were burdened with – but there is some good news on this front for consumers.

Namely that for the first time since they were launched, you can now purchase refurbished 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar notebooks from Apple, which might encourage a few more previously reticent buyers to take the plunge.

At the time of writing, in Apple’s UK store the cheapest such offering is a refurbished 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Intel Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM plus 256GB of storage, which is priced at £1,909 (around AU$3,230), a saving of £340 or 15% compared to new.

Over in the US, that same model has $350 knocked off meaning it retails at $1,949 (around AU$2,500).

Mind you, with Black Friday on the near horizon, it’s likely worth waiting to see what sort of discounts that will bring when it comes to MacBooks.

Via: MacRumors [1], [2]

  • Does the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar make our best laptops list?

Microsoft denies it’s killing its Surface products

Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of devices, has vehemently denied that the company is planning to stop selling Surface devices in 2019.

The very fact that a company has to deny rumors that it is killing off its flagship devices is unusual, but talk of Microsoft abandoning its Surface line of products was sparked last week when Steve Brazier, chief executive of analyst company Canalys, suggested that the “the Surface performance is choppy… overall they are not making money. It doesn’t make sense for them to be in this business.”

Fuel was further added to the fire when Gianfranco Lanci, corporate president and COO at Lenovo, also suggested Microsoft would be better off dropping its Surface products, saying “Microsoft is making a lot of money on cloud, making a lot of money on Windows and Office, but losing a lot of money on devices. And frankly speaking, it is difficult to see why they should keep losing money.”

However, Panay, speaking at an event, stated that this was “so far from the truth,” and that it was simply a “tabloid rumor of the week”.

Is Surface safe?

Of course, it’s likely that Microsoft would dismiss talk of it dropping its Surface products regardless of whether or not it actually was going to do that. It’s widely believed that Microsoft will announce a new LTE-enabled Surface Pro tablet later this month, and any talk of Microsoft dropping Surface products could hamper sales, as consumers won’t want to pay money for a product that may cease to be supported in the near future.

Sales of previous Surface products, such as the Surface Laptop and new Surface Pro, haven’t been brilliant, and there was another blow earlier this year when a report suggested that Microsoft Surface devices come last in reliability.

However, Microsoft has long argued that sales do not matter. Panay pointed to the $900 million write off Microsoft made in 2013 due to poor sales of the Surface RT tablet, which didn’t stop Microsoft producing Surface devices. “There was no loss of confidence. There was a real belief in how we can change the world.”

We genuinely like many of Microsoft’s Surface devices – the Surface Pro currently sits at the top of our best Windows tablet list – so we’d be sorry to see them disappear. Panay’s comments have helped alleviate our fears somewhat, but with the death of Windows Phone still fresh on our minds, all this talk could still be a bad omen.

  • There should be some brilliant Surface deals on Black Friday, as well