Compared to your traditional 24-inch display, there are many benefits to a 27-inch computer monitor. For one, it takes up more of your field of view than a 24-inch monitor would at an equivalent distance. This allows for more immersive gaming and better screen real estate for multitasking and productivity.
However, this larger size comes with a downside: you’ll want to go with a higher-resolution panel to preserve ideal pixel density and clarity. For that reason, you shouldn’t be buying a 1080p 27-inch monitor: 1440p is essentially your minimum requirement for a good experience. If you’re worried about finding the ideal 27-inch LED monitor, don’t be: we’ve selected five top picks for you to choose from below.
Each of our reviews includes detailed specs, PPI measurements, a set of pros and cons, and our own thoughts.
If you went through this article but didn’t understand all the specs and jargon we threw around, don’t worry. We’ve dedicated this section to a buying guide that you can use to get informed and make the right buying decision for you. These may all be 27-inch monitors, but there are plenty of meaningful differences between each model we’ve selected.
What is PPI, and why should I care?
What may draw your eye most is PPI. This is a measurement that we at PC Guide pioneered using in our monitor reviews before any competitors took to it. PPI stands for Pixels Per (Square) Inch, and it helps us give a better indication of how these monitors will actually compare to one another in terms of fidelity.
The bigger the number, the denser the pixels. The denser the pixels, the harder it is to individually see them, which is pretty important for monitors since you are usually sitting close to them.
When viewed at an average desktop viewing distance, you typically want your desktop display to have at least 90 PPI. This lines up with a 24-inch 1080p monitor, and it means you shouldn’t notice any blurring or pixelation unless you intentionally lean in and squint for it.
When buying a 27-inch monitor, it’s important that ideal PPI is maintained. The benefit of having a larger display is enjoying more immersion and screen real estate, but if you’re using, say, a 1080p resolution, things will be noticeably pixelated.
Below, we’ve listed the PPI for common resolutions at 27 inches:
- 720p (HD) – ~54 PPI. NOT recommended. At. ALL.
- 1080p (Full HD) – ~82 PPI. Not recommended, especially for desktop usage. May be fine when watching movies or playing games at a farther distance, though.
- 1440p (QHD) – ~109 PPI. Recommended for all usage. Provides a respectable boost in clarity over a 24-inch 1080p display in terms of PPI.
- 1800p (QHD+) – ~135 PPI. Recommended resolution for gaming on a 4K display. Still looks considerably better than 1440p, but at much less of a performance penalty as native 4K.
- 2160p (4K) – ~163 PPI. Excellent, and probably a bit overkill for gaming and media. Unparalleled in desktop usage, though.
Panel Type: TN vs IPS vs VA
Panel type refers to the underlying panel that powers your display. Depending on the panel type, things like viewing angles and color reproduction will be affected.
- TN – Lowest price; worst color and viewing angles. Best responsiveness. Recommended for budget gamers and eSports gamers.
- VA – Middle-ground in price and color reproduction. Viewing angles and responsiveness on par with IPS in most scenarios. Seems to handle HDR content better, if Samsung’s VA displays are any indication.
- IPS – Highest price, but best color reproduction and viewing angles. A bit less responsive than TN panels, but not to a noticeable extent to most– especially not on a high refresh rate display. Recommended for anyone who can afford it.
Refresh rate and VRR
Refresh rate is measured in Hertz, and it counts the number of times a display can “refresh” its image in a second. A similar-but-not-completely-identical metric in games is framerate, or frames per second (FPS). While games can often run well above 60 FPS on a PC, the refresh rate of your monitor will limit the FPS it can display. 60 Hz tops out at 60 FPS, 75 Hz at 75 FPS, and so on.
Because of this, higher refresh rates provide smoother gaming experiences. For this reason, 144 Hz displays are recommended for competitive gamers.
VRR refers to Variable Refresh Rate technology. To cut a long story short, something called “screen tearing” occurs when your framerate does not match your monitor’s refresh rate. V-Sync is usually used to combat this, but using traditional V-Sync results in input lag and worse performance.
Newer displays use FreeSync (AMD-made with Nvidia support) and G-Sync (Nvidia-exclusive). These are essentially-identical VRR technologies that allow the monitors to completely sync with the GPU, even when running below maximum refresh rate. This prevents screen tearing and provides a smoother gaming experience, making FPS dips less noticeable.
That being said, you’ll still need to use some other V-Sync solution if your in-game framerates are exceeding your monitor’s refresh rate. This is unlikely to be a problem on a 144 Hz display, but on a 60 Hz panel, you’ll likely want to use Nvidia Fast Sync or AMD Enhanced Sync to keep screen tearing from occurring when you exceed the VRR range.
HDR stands for high dynamic range. This is a primarily TV-centric technology, introduced with 4K TVs to provide brighter whites and darker blacks. This is accomplished by using more powerful and intricate lighting technology, and it comes at a pretty penny. Because of the relative size of monitors compared to 4K TVs, good HDR implementations are tough to pull off, and a lot of PC content has yet to even support the technology.
At this point in time, HDR is primarily recommended for those who moonlight as console gamers at their desks. Even the best desktop HDR solution won’t quite stand up to a living room TV solution, though, so keep that in mind.
Response time is measured in milliseconds and generally measures the time it takes for a pixel to go from Gray to Gray (GTG). Non-standard response time measurements like MPRT occasionally pop up to make numbers look lower than they actually are, though.
While response time doesn’t directly measure input latency, it generally stands to reason that a 1 ms monitor will be more responsive than a 5 ms monitor, if only marginally. Refresh rate can muddy this up further, though.
We’ve ensured that the monitors in our roundup should all have excellent low input latency for gaming and common usage alike. Regardless, we’ll list common ranges below.
- 1 ms to 2 ms – The best, only achievable by TN panels.
- 3 ms to 4 ms – Good-to-great, depending on the refresh rate. Typical for high-end IPS and VN panels.
- 5 ms – Just okay. Common on decent IPS and VA panels, as well as budget TN panels.
- 6+ ms – Bad, especially for gaming purposes. Don’t bother. (Editor’s Note: Pretty sure we have never even recommended a 6+ ms monitor.)