Whatever you do, don't buy an OLED monitor right now. Here's why

Limited availability and high prices means this isn't the time to invest in OLED

LG UltraGear 45" curved OLED monitor
(Image credit: LG)

I wrote about the new LG UltraGear OLED monitor a few days ago, and it's an impressive bit of kit: 240Hz refresh rate, a 45-inch display with 800R curvature, lag of just 0.3ms. But it's also $1,699, and there aren't many smaller or cheaper options. There's a couple of 34-inch Alienware QD-OLEDs at around £1,000, and ASUS has its ROG Swift 42-incher at around £1,399. And that's pretty much it.

If you're thinking about getting an OLED display, I don't think this is the right time to do it.

Burn, baby, burn

The first and most obvious reason not to go OLED is that there's a risk of burn-in. It's not as bad as with the CRT displays I did my first computing on, but it's still a problem with OLED and a particular problem with OLED monitors. And that's because we use monitors for different things than we do TVs, so for example when I'm working there are tons of things that live permanently in the same place for all the hours my displays are on. 

There are some tech workarounds for screen burn on OLED, but they're workarounds rather than solutions. I'd be very wary of investing big money in an OLED monitor until I could be sure I won't end up with a permanent reminder of my most-used icons and apps.

The other reason is that there simply aren't many good OLED monitors out there, and as a result you don't have the intense competition that you'll find in every other sector of the display market. OLED TVs have been plummeting in price and their specs improving dramatically; for example if you're buying for gaming, you might be better with an OLED TV: LG's 42-inch version of the LG C2 is now under £1,000 and great for Xbox Series X and PS5 gaming.

If you're a creative pro such as a video editor or photographer then OLED's colour reproduction and superlative contrast matter. But if you're not, the best monitors and best gaming monitors for most people aren't OLED: over time that'll change as more manufacturers bring more models to market, but right now for everyday computing and casual gaming OLED is overkill – and overly expensive too.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).