Monitors

5 Best Monitors For Photo Editing Under $300 in 2019

This is a fairly interesting price range. It neither falls in the affordable/budget range nor does pertain to high performance displays.

Consider this as the lower mid range for monitors. Nevertheless, you can find exciting displays for professional work.

In this article, we will thus have a look at the best monitors for Photo Editing under $300.

Comparison of The Photo Editing Displays Under $300

ModelSizeResolutionPanel TypeColorsVESASpeakersPrice
Acer CB271HU272560 x 1440IPS8 Bit, 100% sRGB, 350 nitsYes / Ergonomic Stand2 x 2 Watts Check Price
Lenovo L27q-20272560 x 1440IPS10 Bit, 100% sRGB, 350 NitsNoNo Check Price
BenQ BL2420PT242560 x 1440IPS8 Bit, 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709, 300 NitsYes / Ergonomic Stand2 x 1 Watts Check Price
ViewSonic VX3211 2K MHD322560 x 1440IPS10 Bit, 99% sRGBYes2 x 2.5 Watts Check Price
Dell S3219D322560 x 1440VA10 Bit, 99% sRGB, 300 NitsYes2 x 5 Watts Check Price

List of Best Monitors For Photo Editing Under $300

We have selected the following monitors that are suitable in this price range.

  1. Acer CB271HU – 27 Inch – All Rounder
  2. Lenovo L27q-20 – 27 Inch – Most Amount of Colors
  3. BenQ BL2420PT – 24 Inch WQHD with Myriad of Modes
  4. ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD – 32 Inch – 2K – Inch IPS Panel
  5. Dell S3219D – 32 Inch – 2K – Inch VA Panel
  6. Bonus – BenQ PD2700Q – 27 Inch IPS Monitor

You may also be interested in: Ultrawide Monitors for Photo Editing

Brief Reviews

Let us briefly look in to the best monitors for Photo Editing under $300.

1. Acer CB271HU – 27 Inch – All Rounder

best monitors for photo editing under 300As far as the price and performance is concerned, this monitor takes the lead as one of the best monitors for photo editing under $300.

Firstly, this is a 27 inch monitor that boasts WQHD resolution on an IPS panel.

IPS panel, as you may know, are the essential panels for any work that requires high color fidelity.

On top of that, this monitor also features an ergonomic stand. Therefore, you can tilt, swivel, rotate and elevate the monitor to your desired orientation.

As far as the colors are concerned, this monitor bears the minimum specs that make it worth photo editing i.e 100% sRGB coverage as well as an 8 bit color depth that produces 16.7 m colors.

The monitor also comes with a plethora of connectivity options however it lacks a USB 3.0 hub (despite what some of the listings claim).

If you are a content creator, photo editor, graphic design, video maker on a budget, then we highly recommend this high resolution and high quality monitor.

Check Out the Latest Price on Amazon.com

Acer CB271HU

Essential: IPS, 27″, 2560×1440 100% sRGB, 8 Bit
Brightness: 350 nits
Connections: DP, HDMI, DVI
Response Time: 4 ms
Ergonomic Stand
VESA: Yes
Speakers: 2 x 2w

Good
  • Boasts WQHD resolution on IPS panel giving high color fidelity.
  • Has an ergonomic stand allowing tilt, swivel, elevation and rotation.
  • Covers the sRGB 100% making it suitable for editing purposes.
Bad
  • The plastic body is not very appealing.
  • The power LED can be annoying due to the high brightness.
  • Very low sound quality.
  • No USB 3.0 port available.

2. Lenovo L27q-20 – 27 Inch – Most Amount of Colors

Lenovo L27q-20The color quality of this monitor is phenomenal. Those who have bought and reviewed this product have all loved the sharp and crisp visuals that this monitor produces.

However, while it excels in image production, it does have some drawbacks.

Lenovo L27q-20 is a 27 inch monitor with WQHD resolution and an IPS panel as you would expect at this price range.

The best part about this monitor is that it offers a 10 bit color depth with 1.07 billion colors at your disposal. As such it does cover 100%  of sRGB color space.

While this monitor looks stunning with its slim bezels, it is very limited in its adjustability. It does NOT offer an ergonomic stand. It only allows some degree of tilt, but nothing else.

Furthermore, it is also a bit limited in terms of connectivity with just DP and an HDMI port. Also, it is neither VESA complaint nor does it have any built in speakers. Therefore, this monitor offers little in terms of ease of use.

In spite of that, if you are looking for a highly affordable 27 inch option with a 10 bit color depth, then this is one of the best monitors for photo editing under $300.

Check Out the Latest Price on Amazon.com

Lenovo L27q-20

Essential: IPS, 27″, 2560×1440, 100% sRGB, 1.07 b colors
Brightness: 350 nits
Connections: DP, HDMI
Response Time: 4 ms
VESA: No
Speakers: No

Good
  • Due to its extraordinary brightness and high quality panel, it produces vibrant quality.
  • It offers 10 bit color depth providing access to 1.07 billion colors, which in this price is a steal.
  • It covers the entire sRGB color space.
Bad
  • It doesn’t offer an ergonomic stand making it bad for adjustability.
  • It doesn’t have any built in speakers which makes it limited only for editing jobs.
  • It is neither VESA compliant nor does it offer much connectivity options.

3. BenQ BL2420PT – 24 Inch WQHD with Myriad of Modes

BenQ BL2420PTWe are digressing from the bear minimum screen size of 27 inch that you would expect at the price range of under $300.

However, we find that this 24 inch monitor warrants your attention.

For starters, this is far below the 300 USD range, therefore, you can consider this as a fairly affordable option for a professional monitor. This 24 inch monitor features 2K resolution with an IPS panel.

What sets this monitor apart from the rest is that it designed for industrial use. It has specific features and modes that cater to 3D drawing, CAD/CAM and Animation industries.

Therefore, if you are someone who is looking for a photo editing monitor while working in a technical field, then this would interest you.

This monitor not only covers 100% of the sRGB color space, but also supports the Rec. 709 color space which is the standard used in film industry for HD TV. The monitor is fully adjustable and has speakers (albeit they are very weak).

If you need a great value for money and very highly quality 24 inch monitor, then this is one of the best monitors for Photo Editing under $300.

Check Out the Latest Price on Amazon.com

BenQ BL2420PT

Essential: IPS, 24″, 2560×1440, 8 bit, 100% sRGB and REC. 709, CAD/CAM, Animation Modes
Connections: DP, HDMI
Brightness: 300 nits
Response Time: 5 ms
Ergonomic Stand
VESA: Yes
Speakers:  2 x 1 Watts

Good
  • Price is quite lower than the $300 making it light on the pocket.
  • The monitor allows 2K resolution with IPS panel making it yet more appealing.
  • It is specially designed for industrial uses and has specific features for CAD/CAM tools. It is also great for Animation industry.
  • Covers not only the sRGB color space 100% but also Rec. 709 used for film industry.
Bad
  • The screen is fairly small with 24 inches, and it is an unsaid rule the bigger, the better especially for editing jobs
  • The speakers are really weak.

4. ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD – 32 Inch – 2K – Inch IPS Panel

ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHDWhen it comes to editing, graphics designing or working on any professional software, larger screens usually take the winning spot.

It is truly a surprise as well as a blessing to find 32 inch photo editing monitors under $300 price range.

Now there are cheaper still 32 inch monitors out there, but they only offer FHD resolution and do not cover the required professional color spaces. ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD, however, offers both of that.

This 32 inch monitor offers WQHD resolution, covers 99% of the sRGB color space and offers an IPS panel for color uniformity. It offers other goodies as well such as thin bezels, built in speakers as well as VESA mounting capability.

Be warned that this monitor does NOT offer a high brightness (250 nits) as compared to the rest of the monitor here. For many photographers, a high brightness level is important because you do not want to over compensate on your work due to low brightness of the screen.

The monitor offers HDMI, DP as well as VGA port. However, the VGA port can only support up to Full HD resolution.

All in all, if you are looking for a rather affordable 32 inch option, then this is most certainly among the best monitors for photo editing under $300.

Check Out the Latest Price on Amazon.com

ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD

Essential: IPS, 32″, 2560×1440, 99% sRGB, 10 bit
Connections: VGA, HDMI, DP
Brightness: 250 nits
Response Time: 8 ms
VESA: Yes
Speakers:  2 x 2.5 Watts

Good
  • A 32 inch screen in a low budget means better designing allowing the details due to the bigger screen.
  • It covers the sRGB color space 99% with an IPS panel, which in this price along with wide screen is a bonus.
  • It has thin bezels with built-in speakers and VESA mounting capability.
Bad
  • The monitor doesn’t have the high brightness of 300 -250 nits.
  • The VGA port available in this only supports Full HD resolution which is quite limiting.

5. Dell S3219D – 32 Inch – 2K – Inch VA Panel

Dell S3219DDell S3219D has the same price point as well as the overall value as the ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD above. However, it does have a few pros and cons in comparison.

For starters, this is a 32 inch monitor with 2K resolution and offers 99% of the sRGB color space.

So everything checks out as far as the bear minimum is concerned. However, the difference between this and the ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD is that this boasts a VA panel instead of an IPS panel.

Although VA panels offer great color uniformity as well as the highest static contrast ratio of any other panel in the market, they are not perfect for color reproduction. That title is currently held by IPS panels.

While it does not offer an IPS panel, it offers so much more as compared to the ViewSonic VX3211-2K-MHD above. It offers twice as loud speakers at 5W rating, it offers not just one but two HDMI ports as well as a USB Hub and also offers the AMD FreeSync Technology.

AMD FreeSync is a feature that a gamer would find necessary. This syncs the refresh rate of the monitor with the frame rate of the PC to eliminate screen stutter and screen tear.

If you came here looking for a feature rich and affordable 32 inch option, then this definitely is one of the best monitors for Photo Editing under $300.

Check Out the Latest Price on Amazon.com

Read more about: Best Dell Monitors for Photo Editing

Dell S3219D

Essential: IPS, 32″, 2560×1440, 99% sRGB, AMD FreeSync
Brightness: 300 nits
Connections: 2 x HDMI, DP 1.2, USB Hub
Response Time: 5 ms
VESA: Yes
Speakers: 2 x 5 Watts

Good
  • A wide screen of 32 inch allowing better display with a VA panel for great color uniformity.
  • It offers 2K resolution covering 99% of the sRGB space.
  • Fairly loud speakers of 5 W rating each.
  • Offers the AMD FreeSync Technology too making the stuttering negligible for gamers.
Bad
  • The VA panel isn’t the best one for the color reproduction which may become a reason for reduced performance.
  • It has low output backlight which sometimes messes with the latter extraordinary features.

BONUS – BenQ PD2700Q

BenQ PD2700Q We understand that this monitor is a bit higher than $300 price tag. However, if you can save up a little, this monitor will most certainly interest you.

This is an award winning monitor by BenQ that is built specifically for the purpose of photo editing and designing.

Not only does cover 100% sRGB and REC 709 color space, it also offers plethora of modes specifically designed for photography and designing work.

The monitor offers Darkroom mode that enhances the image for post processing environments. It also offers other modes for CAD as well as Animation software.

Furthermore, it offers a high quality 27 inch WQHD screen with a 10 bit panel that has the capacity to produce 1.07 billion colors.

For an IPS panel, it also has fairly quick response time of just 4 ms. This should come in handy should you plan on gaming on it as well.

Other than that, it offers the rest of the goodies such as comprehensive connectivity options, VESA mounting capability as well as eye care technologies.

The only drawback in terms of connectivity is that offers the archaic USB 2.0 hub. You would at least expect a USB 3.0 HUB if not the latest USB 3.1

Again, this monitor costs slightly more than the $300 range and therefore is not suitable for most of the readers of this article, however, this monitor is something that you should keep in the back of your mind.

Check Out the Latest Price on Amazon.com

BenQ PD2700Q

Essential: IPS, 27″, 2560×1440, 100% sRGB/REC. 709, 10 Bit Panel, CAD/CAM Mode, Animation Mode, Darkroom Mode
Brightness: 350 nits
Connections: HDMI, DP 1.2, Mini DisplayPort, 2xUSB 2.0 Down, 1 x USB 2.0 Up
Response Time: 4 ms
VESA: Yes
Speakers: 2 x 1 Watts

Good
  • Specially designed for editing purposes and offers special modes for photography and design work.
  • Covers not only the sRGB space 100% but also the Rec 709 one.
  • Has additional features like Darkroom mode enhancing pictures for post processing and modes for CAD and animation software.
  • Has a 10 bit panel supporting 1.07 billion colors.
Bad
  • It is a little higher in price.
  • It has a high input lag making it less suitable for gaming.
  • A very low volume built-in speaker.

FAQ

The more you know, the better informed decisions you can make.

What is a Color Space?

color space

A color space is one of the essential consideration in photography and in any other content creation field that deals with colors.

A color space is basically the spectrum or the range of colors that can be depicted on an image on a certain medium. It is a piece of the entire color spectrum that your eyes can see.  Different mediums tend to cover different color pieces of the entire color spectrum and thus have an industry standard to define that spectrum. Here are some of those industry standard

  • sRGB: This is an industry standard color space that is used to define the colors that are seen on digital devices like monitors, smartphones as well as tablets.
  • Adobe RGB: This standard is highly relevant to color space that the printers use. Therefore, if you create anything in this color space digitally, the tangible/physical printed photograph would look highly uniform and similar in color. Therefore, those who work with printed media, must highly consider a monitor that covers Adobe RGB.
  • REC 709: This color space is the industry standard for widescreen HD TVs. So if you are producing video content for HD TVs, then you would use a monitor that covers this color space.
  • REC 2020: Similar to REC 709, this one relates to Ultra High Definition TVs.

There are plenty more color spaces. The point is that each media industry has its standard of color space. The cream of the professionals monitors tend to cover most of the color spaces under the sun. This is what generally separates high end professional monitors from low end displays.

The best photo editing monitors under $300 can only cover 100% of sRGB color space. If you want the monitors to cover more color spaces, then they would naturally cost more and would be beyond this price category.

What is the Most Suitable Color Space for Photographers?

One of the most crucial aspect of the selecting one of the best monitors for Photo Editing under $300 is to understand the color spaces.

There are basically two color spaces that photographers use the most: sRGB and Adobe RGB.

As mentioned in the previous FAQ question, sRGB is a color space that is relevant to the colors seen on digital devices. Therefore, if you are photographer who publishes their work online or through other digital medium, then you will most likely use sRGB color space.

Adobe RGB is a color space that is very much close to the CMYK spectrum utilized by almost all of the printers in the market. Therefore, if you are photographer who will be printing their work, then you will benefit from a monitor that covers Adobe RGB color space.

The bottom line here is that there is no hard and fast rule about which color space to use. You could use a $100 monitor that does not cover any color space in its entirety and still produce masterpieces. On the other hand, you could use a $1500 monitor and still find yourself lacking.

These color spaces are there only to help you and guide you.

Here is an expert explaining the difference between Adobe RGB and sRGB

Features You Don’t Need to Worry About

There are few certain features that are great to have for other purposes like gaming, but as a photo editor, you don’t need to worry too much about them.

Refresh Rate

60hz vs 165hzIt is almost impossible to find a professional monitor with a refresh rate that is higher than 60 Hz at least in the under $3000 range. On the other hand, dedicated gaming monitors can easily feature 144 Hz refresh rate within $200 range.

Refresh rate is basically the amount of time a screen refreshes the content on the screen in a second. A higher refresh rate means smoother motions. Therefore, for gamers the difference between an experience on a 60Hz monitor vs a 144Hz is like the difference between night and day.

For photo editors a higher refresh doesn’t mean much. Since photo editors deal with still images whereas refresh rate only improves motion pictures.

Response Time

response time

Another important feature for gamers is the monitor response time. A faster response time means lower ghosting effect. Ghosting effect is a phenomenon in which an annoying image artifact is left trailing on a moving object. This is quite similar to a motion blur except this is highly annoying.

Photo editing monitors have a slower response time as compared to gaming monitors. This is again due to the reason that response time effect moving objects not still images.

For the best monitors for Photo Editing under $300 selected here, we have really taken a fast response time into consideration. However, that does not mean that these monitors are capable gaming. In fact, the colors of these displays will make your gaming sessions beautiful.

Adaptive Sync

AMD FreeSync

This is yet another feature that affects fast changing frames. There are two issues known as Screen Tear and Screen Stutter that occur when there is a disparity between the screen refresh rate and the frame rate of the graphics card.

Adaptive Sync technologies like AMD FreeSync and G-Sync tend to solve this issue.

As a photographer you don’t need to worry about not having this feature as well.

$200 vs $300

Knowing the difference will help you decide which price range suits you better.

Photo Editing Monitors Under $200 VS Under $300

There are a few prime differences between photo editing monitors in the two price ranges.

Size

Those under $200 offer a maximum of 24 inch screen size while maintaining the required color enhancing features. Whereas, under $300, you can easily find monitors with a screen size of 27 inch.

For most professionals, 27 inch is the most comfortable screen size for work. It enables multitasking and has the perfect size to fit your field of view when you are sitting on your desk.

Resolution

Monitors under $200 range offer a maximum resolution of Full HD i.e 1920×1080. Since they are 24 inch monitors this does make sense because FHD is perfectly suited for 24 inch screen size. A larger resolution would not make a whole lot of difference in work experience on a mere 24 inch screen size.

Monitors under $300 almost always feature a QHD resolution. Now a QHD resolution on a 27 inch screen size is one of the most sought after feature. This combination is perfect for multitasking as well as gives you plenty of pixel real estate to perform detailed work on your photos.

Color Space

Both price ranges offer monitors that offers at least 100% of the sRGB color space coverage.

Unfortunately, you will not find ANY monitor covering the Adobe RGB (or other color spaces) within the $300 price range.

In that sense, the 24 inch FHD monitors under $200 range takes the lead as there are a FEW select monitors that do offer Adobe RGB coverage.

We will learn more about color spaces in the FAQ section.