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7 Best Monitor For Photo Editing Under $300 Of 2020 Reviews | Get Great Editing Results On a Budget!

In this guide, I've compiled a list of the best affordable monitors for photo editing that cost under $300. Why? Well, the display you're working on can make or break your photo editing projects.

It comes as no surprise, as your only way of judging your photos' color gradients, brightness, and contrast is through your monitor's lens and the data it reveals to you. Don't worry; you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on reference monitors. 

We don't suggest going for 40 inch 4K monitor or an ultra wide screen because a good vertical monitor with less eye strain that you find to also be the best budget monitor will suffice for photo editing. 

3 Top Monitors For Photo Editing

1. [Best Overall] ASUS PB258Q

4.9/5

As a tech reviewer, the top spot on any list is probably the most difficult choice. This time around, Asus made my job easier with its excellent PB258Q monitor. It ticks all the right boxes that matter the most to photo editors and delivers one of the best budget-friendly packages for creators.

  • EyeCare features for eye strain-free editing sessions
  • Wide range of viewing angles for more creative freedom
  • The IPS panel delivers exceptional color accuracy

2. [Best For The Money] Philips 276E8VJSB

4.8/5

Folks looking for the largest display they can fit on their desks, search no more as Philips has got you covered with its 276E8VJSB monitor. The 27-inch 4k display comes at a pixel density of 163 PPI, which means your photos will look sharper than ever on the massive screen.

 


  • 10-bit display technology delivers richer colors
  • Viewing angles of 178 degrees for more freedom while editing
  • MultiView technology for seamless multitasking

3. [Best For Design] Philips 246E9QDSB

4.7/5

The Philips E lineup of monitors is well-known for its futuristic designs, and the 246E9QDSB is no different. I love how the monitor looks with its bezel-less design and sleek, all-metal stand. You can just stick two of this monitor side by side and get an ultra-wide continuous display, as the side bezels are almost non-existent.

  • AMD FreeSync-ready, which makes the monitor suitable for gaming

  • Ultra-Wide Color Technology for more vibrant colors
  • Narrow side bezels for an optimal multi-screen setup

How to Choose a Monitor for Photo Editing Under $300 for Your Needs?

If you’ve been sitting on your current monitor for years now and it’s finally time to upgrade, we rounded up the key features to help you choose the best affordable monitor that raises your photo editing game.

Resolution

By itself, the monitor’s resolution can be just another number slapped into the spec sheet to entice you to spend more money on a feature that won’t actually impact your workflow. That’s why you have to assess the monitor’s resolution in relation to its screen size. 

For example, a full HD (1920x1080) panel is perfectly fine on smaller monitors around 20 inches. Nevertheless, if you decide to push your monitor's size one step further, you can benefit from a 4k panel's extra sharpness with its higher pixel density.

My takeaway is the bigger the canvas on which you’re displaying your photos, the more crucial higher resolutions are. Understanding this simple equation ensures you’re putting your money in the right place and getting the most value out of your new shiny monitor.

Panel Type

Some panel technologies are better than others when it comes to photo editing. IPS panels remain the king in this space for a long time thanks to their color accuracy, wide range of viewing angles, and deep contrast. They’re also sharp with no image artifacts or ghosting, allowing you to zoom in and out smoothly.

Furthermore, VA panels come very close to the high standards set by their IPS counterparts. Such panels are known to deliver the deepest blacks with an impressive range of contrast ratios. 

VA panels are generally more affordable than IPS screens; however, we've seen many budget-friendly IPS-friendly monitors, narrowing the two's price gap.

Best Monitor for Photo Editing Under $300 Reviews

[Best Overall]

4.9/5

As a tech reviewer, the top spot on any list is probably the most difficult choice. This time around, Asus made my job easier with its excellent PB258Q monitor. It ticks all the right boxes that matter the most to photo editors and delivers one of the best budget-friendly packages for creators.

The 25 inches edge to edge display delivers an immersive experience that puts your content front and center. The panel also comes at a 2k resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, which is a step above full HD.

Top Features:

  • The monitor is calibrated with 100% sRGB color space out of the box to work with all your other devices seamlessly

  • EyeCare features for eye strain-free editing sessions

  • Wide range of viewing angles for more creative freedom

  • The IPS panel delivers exceptional color accuracy

  • The 16:9 aspect ratio is well-suited for photo editing software

ASUS PB258Q

Screen Size

25 inches

Maximum Resolution

2560 x 1440 pixels

Panel Type

LED IPS panel

Refresh Rate

76 Hz

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Ports

HDMI, DisplayPort, and Dual-link DVI

I love to have a multi-screen setup on my desk, and the Asus PB258Q fits perfectly. It has a wide-angle view range of 178 degrees, giving me the freedom to put it off-center next to my other monitors and still get an excellent view. 

Furthermore, the monitor comes with some sleek tricks to ensure you don’t end up with eye strains after your extensive photo editing sessions. An example is the Asus EyeCare Blue Light Filter; as its name implies, it ensures harmful, short light waves don’t cause damage to your eyes.

The monitor is also built from the ground up with the intent of eliminating the annoying screen flickers, and Asus delivers on that promise. The IPS panel is tweaked to maintain its excellent color accuracy while ensuring the LED backlight refresh cycles are in sync all over the screen.

Finally, the stand delivers the flexibility I expect from a monitor built for creators. It swivels, tilts, and pivots, allowing you to use your display the way you want. The monitor is also built to work with any VESA mounts, so if you decide to mount your display to a wall down the line, you won’t have to worry about searching for a proprietary stand.

Pros

  • 25 inches frameless screen design
  • No screen flicker
  • Included ergonomic stand

Cons

  • No option for video input via USB-C

[Best For The Money]

4.8/5

Folks looking for the largest display they can fit on their desks, search no more as Philips has got you covered with its 276E8VJSB monitor. The 27-inch 4k display comes at a pixel density of 163 PPI, which means your photos will look sharper than ever on the massive screen.

Furthermore, the 10-bit IPS panel can produce 1.074 billion colors, giving you more control over your photo's different shades and color gradients. During my testing, I appreciated how accurate the color representation is.

Top Features:

  • UltraNarrow side borders for seamless multi-screen setup
  • 10-bit display technology delivers richer colors
  • Viewing angles of 178 degrees for more freedom while editing
  • MultiView technology for seamless multitasking
  • Flicker-free technology and low blue light to protect your eyes while working

Philips 276E8VJSB

Screen Size

27 inches

Maximum Resolution

4k UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution

Panel Type

10-bit IPS

Refresh Rate

60 Hz

Aspect Ratio

1.78:1

Ports

2 HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, and HDMI audio out

Many of the displays that come with a wide color gamut tend to oversaturate the photos. However, this is not the case here, as photos on the 276E8VJSB look natural and close to real life.

Of all the monitors I tested, the 276E8VJSB has the least input lag of the bunch. At 3ms response time, there’s no perceivable lag between your inputs and the action on the screen. 

To be fair, you won't make the most of this feature during photo editing. Gaming is a whole different story, though, as the screen's response time will be perfect for competitive, fast-paced games.

Philips MultiView technology allows you to push your monitor even further and make the most out of every pixel. The monitor enables you to connect two devices at once and multitask on this massive canvas. I was able to connect my camera and laptop at the same time to edit on my computer and choose the best shots from my camera.

I was spoiled by all the adjustable stands I tested to this point, so it was a real bummer to find out that the monitor’s included stand only tilts. Don’t expect to be able to rotate, pivot, or adjust the height of your monitor. I understand that such limitations are because of the monitor’s 27-inch screen size, but I was still disappointed.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Slim, bezel-less design with a sturdy stand
  • 4-year advance replacement warranty

Cons

  • Limited stand adjustability

[Best For Design]

4.7/5

The Philips E lineup of monitors is well-known for its futuristic designs, and the 246E9QDSB is no different. I love how the monitor looks with its bezel-less design and sleek, all-metal stand. You can just stick two of this monitor side by side and get an ultra-wide continuous display, as the side bezels are almost non-existent.

Aside from the looks, the 246E9QDSB comes loaded with all the features you’d expect as a creator. The IPS panel implements Philips’ Ultra-Wide Color Technology, offering an expansive spectrum of colors to bring your photos to life. It also supports 129% sRGB color space for better color optimization across your media devices.

Top Features:

  • LowBlue mode and flicker-free technology ensures your eyes’ wellbeing
  • AMD FreeSync-ready, which makes the monitor suitable for gaming
  • Ultra-Wide Color Technology for more vibrant colors
  • Narrow side bezels for an optimal multi-screen setup
  • You won’t experience any hassles when connecting your monitor to different devices thanks to the variety of built-in ports

Philips 246E9QDSB

Screen Size

24 inches

Maximum Resolution

1920 x 1080 pixels

Panel Type

Flat IPS

Refresh Rate

75 Hz

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Ports

HDMI, VGA, Dual-link DVI, and audio output port

Furthermore, the display is slightly smaller than that of Asus PB258Q, sitting at 24 inches. However, it still comes in the same 16:9 aspect ratio, making the display feel bigger than it actually is.

The 246E9QDSB is a step back from the 2k panel found in its Asus counterpart when it comes to resolution. The monitor comes in full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels, and it looks sharp enough to my eyes. You won't notice much of a difference in image quality unless you're trying so hard.

Your photo editing monitor can also double as a gaming display thanks to its 75Hz high refresh rate. Your games will run smoothly without any dropped frames or screen tearing as the monitor also makes use of AMD FreeSync technology.

My only complaint is that the monitor doesn’t come with built-in speakers. Nevertheless, the audio output port allows you to connect to your favorite pair of headphones or external speakers to add some music to your photo editing sessions.

Pros

  • Stylish aesthetics
  • Supports VESA wall mounts
  • 4-year advance replacement warranty in the U.S.

Cons

  • No built-in speakers

4.6/5

AOC managed to secure a spot on my list with its 27-inch 4k display. The AOC U2790VQ lives up to the standards set by the other large screen entry from Philips, as both monitors come with a color-accurate IPS panel with over a billion colors, crisp image quality, and frameless design for the perfect multi-screen setup.

Due to its sheer size, the stand doesn’t offer any adjustability beyond some tilt. I really wish there was any way to adjust the screen's height as I find myself looking way up most of the time and end up with neck strains after extended editing sessions.

Top Features:

  • A massive 27-inch canvas for an immersive photo editing experience
  • Comes with various ports for ease of connectivity
  • The 3-sided narrow bezels design fits perfectly in multi-screen setups
  • Certified color calibration to give you a wide color gamut with an accurate representation of your photos’ true colors
  • Response time of 5ms for minimal input lag if you decide to take a break and jump into a game

AOC U2790VQ

Screen Size

27 inches

Maximum Resolution

4k UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution

Panel Type

10-bit IPS

Refresh Rate

60 Hz

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Ports

HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio in/out

With my only complaint out of the way, there’s much to love about this monitor. The panel can achieve a dynamic contrast ratio of up to 1000:1 for true blacks and detailed highlights.

Unlike the Dell P2419H, AOC’s  U2790VQ monitor comes with a certified color calibration out of the box.

You don’t need to worry about stumbling through menus to get your colors right, as the screen covers 99% sRGB and 90% NTSC color spaces for the maximum accuracy.

Pros

  • Sharp and crisp display
  • Impressive dynamic contrast ratio
  • An IPS panel with over a billion colors

Cons

  • No height adjustability
  • No built-in speakers

4.5/5

Most of the color-accurate displays we went through so far don’t come with built-in speakers. This means you need to consider the extra step of searching for an external speaker if you want to use your monitor for multimedia or entertainment.

Luckily, you don’t have to go through such a hassle with the BenQ PD2700Q. You just plug and play as the monitor rocks a decent pair of built-in speakers for stereo audio.

Top Features:

  • DualView split-screen function for seamless multitasking
  • Flicker-free and blue light filters to protect your eyes
  • Adjustable stand for more control over your workstation
  • 100% sRGB color space to deliver exceptional color accuracy
  • Built-in speakers to double as a multimedia monitor

BenQ PD2700Q

Screen Size

27 inches

Maximum Resolution

2560 x 1440 pixels

Panel Type

LED IPS

Refresh Rate

60 Hz

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Ports

HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, USB 2.0 hub, and headphone jack

You know the drill by now! Color accuracy, wide viewing angles, eye protection features, multiple ports, crisp 2k resolution, frameless design; all the features you love and care about as a creator are here. 

I also appreciate that this time, the stand is highly adjustable on a 27-inch monitor. You can tilt, rotate, and pivot your display to personalize your workstation further.

Finally, it’s worth noting that on comparing the pixel density of the BenQ PD2700Q with any of the other 4k 27-inch monitors I’ve reviewed, I could notice the difference. Of course, the 4k displays are sharper and more detailed; however, if you’re willing to trade-off a slight downgrade in resolution for more adjustability and built-in speakers, the BenQ PD2700Q is perfect for you.

Pros

  • Massive, adjustable display
  • Loaded with tons of preset picture modes
  • Multiple viewing angles

Cons

  • The speakers aren’t that loud

4.4/5

Though Dell P2419H is not the thinnest monitor on my list, the stand has a compact footprint that makes it sit sleekly on any desk without occupying much room. There’s a cutout at the back of the stand as well for better cables’ organization.

The first thing that struck me with the Dell P2419H is the level of control over photos’ contrast. The monitor can output images at a contrast ratio of 1000:1, which makes a huge difference, especially if you’re editing darker photos.

Top Features:

  • Compact stand for a minimum footprint on your desk
  • The stand comes with a flexible hinge to pivot, rotate, or tilt your display
  • Impressive contrast ratio for accurate editing of low light photos
  • The anti-glare screen coating makes the monitor perfectly usable on sunny days
  • No input lag thanks to the low 8ms response time

Dell P2419H

Screen Size

24 inches

Maximum Resolution

1920 x 1080 pixels

Panel Type

LED IPS panel

Refresh Rate

60 Hz

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Ports

HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, 1 USB upstream, and 2 USB downstream ports

Another standout feature that will become a natural fit to your workflow is Dell’s multitasking monitor interface. For me, I found the perfect template to run Photoshop and Lightroom side by side and seamlessly jump between the two apps. Dell’s Auto-Restore feature also comes in handy, allowing you to continue where you stopped in your last editing session.

As I was jumping between all those different monitors for the purpose of my reviews, I ask myself whenever I switch to a new display what features are missing compared to the other monitors I’ve tested. Luckily, the answer in Dell 2419H’s case is not much.

The monitor comes with Dell’s version of the blue light filter called ComfortView, in addition to the implementation of flicker-free technology for maximum vision protection. The IPS panel delivers the color accuracy you’d expect, and it also comes with an anti-glare coating, allowing you to remain productive in brightly-lit environments.

Furthermore, the 24-inch display rocks the same 3-sided thin bezel approach that we’ve seen with the previous two entries. This enables your multi-screen setup to be as seamless as ever with fewer distractions.

It’s worth mentioning that the monitor’s stock color profiles require some reworking. Be prepared to go through a calibration step before you start photo editing. Even after the calibration, I was getting around 97% sRGB. 

Pros

  • Diverse port selection
  • Wide viewing angles of 178 degrees range
  • ComfortView features

Cons

  • No built-in speakers
  • Calibration is required for optimal color accuracy

4.4/5

Dell delivers yet another excellent monitor with accurate color profiles for creators. The U2415 shares a lot of the same DNA with its P2419H counterpart, leaving only some minor differences to distinguish the two models, so let’s start with the changes.

The U2415 comes at a slightly higher resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels compared to the standard 1920 x 1080 pixels of the P2419H model. I have to admit, such a minor difference is insignificant when it comes to daily usage, and shouldn’t be the main reason to sway you to choose the U2415 over the other model.

Top Features:

  • Wide color gamut with 16.78 million colors for more natural-looking photos
  • Dell’s PoweNap feature for enhanced power management
  • The response time sits at 6ms for virtually no input lag
  • Impressive contrast ratio to accurately edit low light photos
  • Compact stand for a minimum footprint on your desk

Dell U2415

Screen Size

24 inches

Maximum Resolution

1920 x 1200 pixels

Panel Type

LED IPS

Refresh Rate

60 Hz

Aspect Ratio

16:10

Ports

HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0 downstream port, and audio out

In terms of connectivity, the ports are similar on the two monitors for the most part. However, the U2415 replaces the legacy VGA port with a Mini DisplayPort. So, before finalizing your purchase decision, check your devices and see which ports make more sense to your workflow.

Aesthetically speaking, it’s quite evident that the two monitors abide by the same design language. They both have the compact stand base, 3-sided bezel-less display, and adjustable stand. I personally prefer the U2415’s design a bit more thanks to its clean, one-tone metal stand, and slightly thinner form factor.

Aside from the differences I mentioned, both of Dell’s entries come with the same 1000:1 contrast ratio, anti-glare IPS panel, and wide color gamut. They’re also compatible with different VESA mounts, opening up the doors to more ways of mounting and using your monitors.

Finally, I should highlight that the U2415 takes a more environmentally-friendly approach to manufacturing and power consumption. The monitor is produced from eco-friendly and recycled materials.

It’s also more efficient in terms of power usage. Whenever you’re not using the monitor, the display dims to the lowest brightness, then enters sleep mode to save power.

Pros

  • Sturdy stand with tons of adjustability
  • Eco-friendly
  • Wide viewing angle

Cons

  • No built-in speakers

Budget

The market of pro-level monitors for photo editing is more diverse than ever. No matter what budget you’re working with, you can find the perfect monitor that nails all the basics that matter the most for photographers and creators.

The market is mature enough for the latest, most expensive products with a niche set of features to co-exist with great budget-friendly monitors that don't compromise in terms of quality and performance.

Color Accuracy

If you ask photographers to list the top features they're looking for in their monitors, color accuracy would probably make it at the very top of the list. You want the colors you see on your screen to reflect what your audience will get on their end accurately.

That’s why many professional monitors implement sRGB color space, a technology aiming to standardize the color data across devices. Furthermore, you want to pick a monitor with a wide color gamut, giving you more shades to work with.

Finally, many photographers are now shooting in HDR, so it’d be a good idea to pick an HDR-capable monitor if you need it. Such displays have wider ranges of brightness and contrast, enabling the ray-traced, computer-generated photos to shine in their full glory.

Screen Size

I already highlighted how pixel density and screen size go hand in hand. Whenever you decide to push one, the other has to go along to keep up with it. Aside from that, choosing the perfect screen size is entirely subjective.

Of course, having more screen real estate is always a welcome addition to your workflow, but massive screens don’t necessarily work that well on a desk setup. When you’re mostly sitting close to your display, you can get away with a 20-inch display and have enough room to preview your photos and view all the controls on screen without feeling cramped.

What Is a Color Space?

You'll definitely find yourself juggling your photos across different devices, whether it's your camera, smartphone, printer, or computer. At the end of the day, you want the photo's data, including its colors, to accurately transfer from one device to the next.

Here comes the role of color spaces, intending to create reproducible color standards for different devices to communicate more efficiently. For your photo editing purposes, you'd mostly be working with the RGB or sRGB color spaces.

Is an HDR Monitor Good for Photo Editing?

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, took the experience of shooting outdoor scenery to the next level. Photographers struggled for a long time to capture colors in a vibrant background while keeping the details and right exposure of their main target. HDR allows you to get all such data in one cohesive shot.

HDR monitors do an exceptional job of displaying detailed shadows and highlights. However, make sure you pick a monitor that can at least achieve 500 nits of brightness for HDR to be usable. We’ve seen many monitors marketed as HRD-capable at much lower brightness levels, and we aren’t blown away by their implementation.

Is 4k Worth It for Photo Editing?

Being able to have a crisp preview of your whole photo all the time is just transformative; let me explain more! 

The pixel-dense display ensures I can spot the finest details of my photos without having to constantly zoom around and lose context of how the settings I’m tweaking are affecting other areas of my photo.

Higher-resolution becomes a necessity to your monitor as you bump its screen size. Nevertheless, if the extra crispness that 4k displays bring to the table is crucial to your workflow, you’ll be able to find excellent options at all screen sizes without hurting your wallet that much.

is ips better

In Conclusion

A color-accurate, high-quality display designed with photo editing in mind is as important as your camera gear used for landing the shots. You want to make sure that your audience is experiencing your content through the same lens, so working with a color-calibrated panel makes a huge difference to the photos you publish.

You don’t need to break the bank to get a pro-level monitor, there are many budget-friendly options. I hope my list of the best photo editing monitors under $300 has set you on the right path to up your editing game.