Most web surfers and office workers don’t need to spend loads of money on a monitor. In fact, photography, video production, and gaming are likely where you’ll see the big investment given the need for higher resolutions, higher refresh rates, and immersive curved screens. If all you need is a decent monitor that gets the job done, you can get a great one for under or around $100.
Acer’s SB0 series is a stylish budget line, and the SB220Q is no exception. It looks great in any location thanks to its narrow frame that’s just 0.24 inches deep, relatively trim bezels, and an attractive, patterned stand. It’s not the biggest display at just 21.5 inches diagonally, but that’s still big enough for work and play.
Built with an IPS panel, the SB220Q has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a maximum 75Hz refresh rate, a 4ms response time, a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 250-nit maximum brightness. There are no built-in speakers, nor will you find a 3.5mm jack for headphones. The outputs are limited to just one HDMI port and a single VGA port. There’s also no VESA mounting option.
The Acer SB220Q does support AMD FreeSync, though, making it a decent solution for AMD-powered PC and console gaming.
This TN panel from Asus features specs similar to Acer’s SB220Q, though it’s certainly not as attractive. More suited for business environments, the VS228H-P doesn’t include sync technology for gaming but does support VESA mounting, so you can more easily affix it to a wall or custom stand. It also has a solid port selection, including HDMI, VGA, DVI-D, and a 3.5mm audio jack, making it a great solution for the office.
The Asus VS228H-P features a 21.5-inch screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a maximum 75Hz refresh rate, 5ms response time, a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a maximum 250-nit brightness. What you won’t see here is the rich color palette and wide viewing angles associated with IPS screens, built-in speakers, or thin bezels.
This 20-inch monitor is a bit smaller than many of our picks, but also one of the most affordable, ideal for those who want to save on price and desk space at the same time. It includes Adaptive Sync technology, a 75Hz refresh rate, and built-in speakers.
The Sceptre Ultra Slim Pro’s resolution, at 1,600 x 900, isn’t sky-high but still gets the job done. There are two HDMI ports for different inputs (and they support DVI conversion) as well as VGA, and the response time is reasonable at 5ms. Brightness is limited to 250 nits, but as you see on our other picks, this is quite common among monitors at this price range. You can also choose bundles that throw in an HDMI cable or keyboard, but if you really want to save, this monitor is best purchased alone.
HP’s Pavilion 22cwa may be the least impressive monitor on our list, but it comes in at the lowest price at $85. It doesn’t include built-in speakers, cable management, or sync technology, but what it does offer is a 21.5-inch IPS panel promising rich colors and wide viewing angles. It’s somewhat attractive, too, though its bezels appear slightly larger than the BenQ and Acer models elsewhere on this list.
The HP Pavilion 22cwa has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, a 250-nit maximum brightness, a 7ms response time, and a native 1,000:1 contrast ratio. If you’re looking for connectivity, it’s rather limited, providing one HDMI port and one VGA port. The included VESA mounting kit allows you to attach this monitor to a wall.
LG’s 22MK430H-B undoubtedly targets gamers with features like on-screen crosshairs, a black stabilizer, and Dynamic Action Sync that speeds up the image-refresh process. It even includes AMD FreeSync support to reduce visual tearing and stuttering when connected to AMD-based graphics cards and APUs. The 5ms response time isn’t great for gamers, but it’s not a deal-breaker, especially at this price.
The LG 22MK430H-B measures 21.5 inches and sports a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at a 75Hz refresh rate. It also has a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio and a 250-nit maximum brightness. It doesn’t have the streamlined design that makes many of the models on this list more appealing, but it can be mounted to the wall to look sleek in your office. It includes one HDMI port, one VGA port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
This 22-inch monitor from Philips uses FreeSync technology to smoothly stream graphics. The monitor has a sturdy base to stand on and has minimal bezels for an immersive user experience. The IPS panel with HD resolution and 5ms response time don’t hold many surprises, and the 75Hz refresh rate is expected, but we do appreciate the extra blue light filter mode to keep eyes healthy and set for longer sessions.
There are no built-in speakers on this monitor, but it has ports for HDMI, DVI-D, VGA, and HDMI audio out connections so you can link up your own sound system. Altogether, the Philips 226E9QDSB is a strong pick if you want that dependable Philips design that will last years into the future, although it’s too bad that this version doesn’t come with USB-C, which is available on some of the larger display sizes for this model.