2K monitors have exponentially grown in popularity. They offer the best of both worlds when it comes to performance and cost. 2K monitors (1440p) are more sophisticated than the 1080p monitors, but they don’t have the same power and capabilities of 4K monitors. These monitors are ideal for top quality gaming or viewing experience on a budget. This review surveys the market for the best 2k monitor worth the buck.
Buying Guide for 2K monitors
Getting the best quality 2K monitor is a popular buyer’s dilemma, because ideally all 2K monitors don’t compare to 4K, yet they have better features than 1080p screens. I had a bad experience when I first upgraded from my 1080p to 2K. After a short time of use, I was dealing with dead pixels and screen tear that messed up with my viewing experience.
Had it not been for the sample return policy, I would be counting my losses. But I gained a few shopping skills when it comes to 2K monitors.
The monitor should be VESA mount compatible
VESA mounting is the panel at the back of the monitor with four screws. This configuration allows the mounting of the display monitor on a wide range of stands for optimal performance in stability and positioning.
VESA mount is compatible with all adjustable desktop stands and wall-mount mounts. If your monitor has VESA mount, it means that you can use it with any monitor stand you see fit.
Choose the panel type that suits your desired experience
IPS stands for in-plane switching, and such panels excel in color accuracy. The refresh rates for such monitors can get as high as 144Hz, and the colors are sharp and vibrant. This technology leverages liquid crystals that maintain the crispness of the picture no matter your angle of view.
TN or twisted nematics is the oldest LCD monitor technology around. They tend to be cheaper, but even so, they deliver a superb performance in gaming. They have a rapid response time with refresh times reaching 240 Hz.
These features help to reduce screen tear and blurriness. However, such panels often have bad viewing angles.
VA, which is short for ‘vertical arrangement’, is a display technology that offers superior contrast ratios than what you get with IPS. The picture quality and color clarity also remain constant no matter your angle of view.
However, VA pictures are prone to blurriness and screen tear because the refresh rate often falls below 144Hz.
Find a monitor with an adaptive sync technology
The two common types of sync technology include AMD FreeSync vs. Nvidia G-SYNC. It often happens that if your graphics card sends pictures faster to the monitor, exceeding its refresh rate, you witness blurriness or screen tear.
These sync technologies help to align the monitor’s refresh rate with your GPU’s frame rate. AMD FreeSync is the ideal sync technology for it is compatible with many GPU types.
Don’t be lured by the convenience of integrated speakers
Don’t necessarily shop for 2k monitors that come with built-in speakers. Inbuilt speakers are known to have a poor sound quality because they run on either 2W or 3W drivers. For an ultimate gaming or viewing experience, external speakers would suffice.
Look for multi-connectivity
The best 2K monitors in the market shouldn’t be limited to a single function such as gaming or watching. Connectivity options such as DMI, Display Port, USB, DVI, and VGA, among others, can help to improve the versatility of the device.
The popular types of connectivity options in 2K displays include Dual Link DVI-D and HDMI both of which support the 1440p resolutions at 144Hz. Display Port also has the same capabilities but is mostly used in gaming monitors.
The higher the refresh rate the better the image quality
The refresh rate of a monitor is measured in Herz (Hz), and it indicates the number of frames the monitor can display per second. Your GPU could be sending a desirable 240 frames per second, but if the monitor has a refresh rate that falls below 240Hz, the picture quality will remain to be substandard.
A low refresh rate means higher chances of motion blur in fast speed games or motion pictures.
Noteworthy 2K Monitors in the Market
1. ViewSonic VA2719
ViewSonic’s VA2719 model comes across as a simple monitor with a single stand base. It is a 27″ quad HD monitor that can potentially deliver high quality multimedia features in gaming and watching. 27 inches means wide-angle viewing with a dependable picture quality.
ViewSonic VA2719 is an IPS monitor, meaning you get to overcome the limitations of TN and other LCD screens. You will have consistent picture quality at all angles and reliable color accuracy. Nevertheless, this 2K monitor doesn’t have a higher response time or increased refresh rates.
The improved resolution (2560x 1440) and its slim bezel design makes this screen suitable for office or home multi-monitor setups. A monitor with a thin bezel design gets to have an increased screen surface area, which magnifies your view without necessarily needing to have an extra widescreen.
ViewSonic VA2719 also comes with different settings for Games, Web, Moves, Text, and Mono. These presets have different calibrations for color, gamma curve, contrast, and other settings to enhance your viewing experience with various applications.
The ViewSonic VA2719 monitor also has two HDMI ports and one Display Port for connectivity to your computers or other multimedia devices.
ViewSonic Pros & Cons
- IPS display delivers consistent picture quality at all viewing angles
- Minimalistic exterior design
- Comes with VESA mount support
- The support stand is not adjustable
- It doesn’t have a DVI port
2. Lenovo L24q
- HIGH DEFINITION: Enjoy the smallest details with the stunning QHD (2560 x 1440) picture resolution complemented by a 99% sRGB color gamut capable of over 1.07 billion colors.
- NEAR EDGELESS MONITOR: Uniquely designed 23.8" near-edgeless infinity screen provides an unobstructed, enhanced viewing experience. Tilt -5 to 22 degrees
- SMOOTH PERFORMANCE: Enjoy a smooth viewing experience with 4 ms response time, minimized reflection and reduced eye fatigue.
Another budget-friendly 2K monitor in the market is the Lenovo L24q. Unlike the ViewSonic VA2719, what you have here is a 23.8-inch screen. Now that size might be a bit small for the ultimate gaming and viewing, but I found that this IPS screen has a reliable picture quality nonetheless.
The exterior features a thin bezel, just like what is on the previous model. The screen design is full to the sides, what they call Near-Edgeless, a factor that maximizes the display area.
The exterior is also slivery and sleek. The design of this monitor can easily be add extra shine to your home or office environment.
You get a 60HZ refresh rate and 4ms response time with the Lenovo L24q.These features are almost standard for an IPS screen. This response time is sufficient for moderate gaming and viewing applications. However, the refresh rate might not be enough to counter motion blurs.
Connectivity is via an HDMI and Display Ports, which increases the versatility of the monitor. Things would have been much better should the makers have included a Dual Link DVI-D port which also works great for 2K 60HZ gaming.
Although it doesn’t support VESA mounting, the L24q has an adjustable stand. You can tilt the screen in any angle as you like for comfortable viewing and gaming.
Lenovo Pros & Cons
- The exterior design is incredibly aesthetic
- IPS monitor delivers superb picture quality at all angles
- High response rate enables seamless viewing and gaming
- It comes with an adjustable stand
- Four vision modes: Text Mode, Web Pic Mode, Video Mode, and Low Blue Light Mode
- Doesn’t support VESA mounting
- No DVI-D connectivity options
- There is slight ghosting on the sides (blurriness caused by insufficient response time)
3. Dell UltraSharp U2719D
In the previous 2560 x 1440 displays, one of the major concerns has been the lack of a VESA mount support. That’s been included in the Dell UltraSharp U2719D. This stand type enables all screen movements such as tilt, pivot, swivel, and vertical extension, among others.
Dell UltraSharp U2719D is a 27-inch display screen, and so you can expect a widened viewing and gaming capability.
Just like with the ViewSonic VA2719 and the Lenovo L24q, this monitor model also features an incredibly slender bezel that reduces the bezel gap in multi-monitor set-ups. It’s what the makers have called an infinity edge.
Among the reasons I would choose Dell UltraSharp U2719D over the ViewSonic and Lenovo models in this review is its versatile connectivity. With this 2K monitor, you get HDMI connectivity, USB, and DP connectivity.
These are inclusions that will maximize the usability of the monitor in various gaming and viewing applications.
The monitor also allows On Screen Display adjustments, a feature that will help you change its color and display settings as you see fit for a customized viewing experience. The IPS technology used in this monitor means that users can expect accurate colors and crisp pictures at every angle.
Dell UltraSharp Pros & Cons
- Sufficient color reproduction
- The IPS panel technology delivers superb picture quality
- VESA mount support for flexible monitor positioning
- Several input ports make it highly usable with gaming consoles and video sources
- It has a 60HZ refresh rate that might not be enough to counter IPS –associated motion blur
- The monitor doesn’t have a synchronization technology
- 60Hz refresh rate
4. LG 32GK650F
- QHD resolution; Watch games come to life with vibrant QHD clarity and detail; The precise 2560 X 1440 resolution and impressive 31.5 inches screen size combine for a thrilling, immersive gaming...
- Radeon freesync technology: Reduces the tearing and stuttering that occur between a graphic card's frame rate and a monitor's refresh rate enabling smoother motion and less stuttering in games
- 144 Hertz refresh rate: Games played on this monitor are noticeably smoother and clearer when compared to game play on monitors with refresh rates of 60 Hertz or 75 Hertz
The LG 32 GK650F is a dedicated gaming monitor with features that easily unseat the Dell UltraSharp U2719D from its high spot in this review.
First off, whereas you get 27 inches of display with the Dell model, this LG model is 31.5 inches of display space. This large display size will significantly optimize your gaming or viewing experience.
Unlike the IPS technology in the Dell monitor and earlier models in this review, the LG 32GK650F monitor uses the VA technology. The VA technology (Vertical Alignment) is known for high contrast and better color reproduction.
The picture quality tends to remain consistently crisp at all angles, whether viewing from above, from below or from the sides.
The LG monitor also features a bezel-less design, a factor that will make multi-screen connectivity a seamless experience. On top of that, the monitor has a comparatively higher refresh rate of 144Hz and a 5MS response time.
Because of these features, your viewing will potentially be seamless without cases of screen tear or motion blur. The AMD free sync included also helps to streamline communication between the graphics card and the monitor for tear-free pictures.
Connectivity is via HDMI and DisplayPort. Unlike the Dell UltraSharp U2719D, this LG model has no USB ports, which may be a bummer for graphics and video editing guys. The LG 32 GK650F also uses a fully adjustable stand, and it’s compatible with a VESA mount.
LG 32GK650F Pros & Cons
- AMD free sync technology reduces screen tear
- VA monitor technology delivers high contrast and superb color reproduction
- A sturdy and highly adjustable stand
- Large screen for wide viewing
- Skinny bezels
- No USB ports
AOC CQ32G1 31.5" Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor, Quad HD 2560x1440, VA panel, 4 ms Response Time, MPRT, 144Hz, FreeSync, DisplayPort/HDMI/VGA, VESA, Black
- 32" Class, 31. 5" Viewable AOC Gaming monitor with 2560x1440 Quad HD resolution (2K)
- 1800R curved monitor wrapping around you for an immersive gaming experience
- Rapid 1ms (MPRT) response and 144Hz refresh rate with AMD Free Sync for smoothest competitive game play. Powersource- 100 - 240V 50/60Hz. Power Consumption On -37 watt.Power Consumption Off- 0.5...
This AOC monitor model is 31.5 inches, the same size as the LG 32 GK650F monitor, and users can, therefore, expect a widened viewing and gaming screen. It utilizes an 1800R curved monitor that might deliver a highly immersive gaming or viewing experience.
I have a proclivity for curved screens. The monitor’s high curvature rating (the human eye’s peripheral vision has a curvature rating of 1000R) minimizes the blurriness you get with flat monitors.
VA panels usually feature an MPRT response time. This unit measures the motion blur in fast-moving pictures, and the lower the rating, the sharper the image quality.
The AOC CQ32G1 31.5″ has a 1ms MPRT response time, which means a higher refresh rate and better image quality.
The actual refresh rate, in this case, is 144HZ, just like what you get with the LG 32 GK650F monitor. That, combined with the AMD Free Sync technology births a seamless gaming experience with reduced cases of screen tear.
AOC CQ32G1 Pros & Cons
- 1800R curved screen to reduce blurred vision
- AMD Free Sync reduces screen tear and stutter
- A high refresh speed (144Hz) ensures a smooth gaming experience
- A wide 31.5” screen gives an optimal display
- Uses HDMI and Display Ports to expand its usability
- The curved screen might not appeal to everyone; it’s an acquired taste
- Might develop some dead pixels over time
- No built-in speakers
The best pick
The LG 32GK650F stands out as the best 2K monitor in this review. This 31.5-inch display monitor uses a VA panel display technology that has the same perks as the IPS technology when it comes to picture quality. You will have consistently crisp images and accurate colors at all angles.
What makes this monitor stand out is its fast refresh speed of 144Hz and a 5ms response time. What that means is that you get a seamless viewing experience with zero cases of motion blur, unlike in the ViewSonic, Lenovo and Dell 2K monitors in this review.
This monitor also uses the AMD Free Sync technology to help reduce cases of screen tear and stuttering.
Other remarkable features to justify this choice includes a bezel-less design, and HDMI and DP connectivity, factors that increase the usability of this monitor. There have been no cases of dead pixels either.