If there’s one thing I can’t work without…well, it’s probably, you know, a computer of some kind. But if there are two things, the second one is an external monitor. Without at least two screens in front of me I feel like someone’s tied an arm behind my back. On my personal desktop, I use a 34-inch Acer ultrawide in the center, but on both sides is a very capable, no-nonsense 27-inch Dell monitor. That same model, the S2721DS, is on sale for just $179.99 today.
I’ve been very happy with these screens for a lot of reasons. It’s a great price for a QHD (2560×1440) panel that’s also matte IPS, making its color accuracy perfect for when I’m working on review images in Photoshop. The skinny bezels make it a great match for my center Acer monitor, and with an identical vertical resolution and physical height, it means I have a consistent image size across all three screens. The lightweight and built-in VESA mount means it’s perfect for my triple-screen setup on gas spring arms, too.
With DisplayPort and double HDMI connections, it works with most modern desktops and can handle a secondary input from another laptop or game console. The screen includes a pair of built-in speakers, but at just three watts, I’d use the headphone jack for a dedicated set instead.
At 75Hz this monitor isn’t great for gaming, and its lack of USB-C or USB-A ports means it isn’t an ideal pick for an ultraportable laptop. But as an add-on for an existing desktop (or a laptop plugged into a Thunderbolt dock), it’s a great way to expand your screen real estate and boost your productivity. IPS screens of this size and resolution often go for $300 from major brands, so this is a fantastic deal.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.