The best 4K monitors in 2021
Getting one of the best 4K monitors for your workspace is much more achievable these days – the price has some down, and the range of options (and features) have increased. A great 1080p HD screen can still do the job, no question, but there are great reasons to give yourself this big boost in resolution.
What are the main temptations to go 4K? Once upon a time, it was overkill to have a 3840 x 2160 screen, but now high-dpi support is normal across operating systems and creative software, and Ultra HD video is available everywhere from Netflix to Youtube.
So, having one of the best 4K monitors means you can watch Ultra HD media at full quality, but it also means you create 4K video and see exactly what you’re doing. If you’re a video editor (check out our round up of the best video editing software) who needs to work with 4K video for a client, for example, then you’ll want a top 4K display to view your footage at its native resolution.
And though it’s true that digital cameras shoot in resolutions far higher than 3840×2160, having a 4K monitor gives you four times the number of pixels as 1080p (check out our feature about screen resolution if you want to know more). This means that what you see is more detailed on-screen when zoomed out, but if you want to view at 100%, you actually get more of the image on the screen at once, making it easier to review and make edits.
Want more flexibility with your displays? Don’t miss our guide to the best monitor arms and best portable monitors, too. We’re seeing lots of great discounts on 4K monitors at various retailers as this year’s big sales events begin. Keep your eye on our best Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales articles, where we’ll collect all the offers worth considering!
The best 4K monitors available now right now
Dell has a long history of offering high quality displays, and each year its newest models raise the bar for image quality and features. The Dell UltraSharp U3219Q is the latest flagship 4K 32-inch screen – and we love it. It offers full sRGB coverage, with 95% DCI-P3 and great colour uniformity, making it a great choice for pro designers and creatives.
Best of all, it isn’t quite the wallet buster that some high-end screens are. Although it lacks the built-in colour calibrator you get with some screens – like the eye-wateringly expensive Eizo ColorEdge CG319X below – the U3219Q’s overall build is extremely high quality, with a modern design, matt IPS panel finish, 6mm thin bezels and USB-C. If you need pro features, superb colour accuracy and don’t have a spare four grand, this is the best 4K monitor you can buy right now.
The Eizo ColourEdge CG319X is undoubtedly the connoisseur’s choice in high-quality displays. Eizo displays are a very familiar sight in professional video and photography studios – and this 31-inch 4K monitor, with a 10-bit display and 24-bit colour look-up table, represents a big upgrade over its predecessor. The CG319X also boasts one feature that sets it apart from all competing high-end 4K screens.
Unlike other 4K monitors, the CG318-4K has a 4096 x 2160 resolution. This reflects the different, slightly taller 4K standard used in digital video production, compared with the 3840 x 2160 resolution used in most computer displays. All of this monitor’s features come together to produce a jaw-dropping image, making your creative work shine.
Oh, and there’s a built-in calibration tool to constantly keep your colours as accurate as possible, which pops across the screen every time it’s powered on, along with a bundled monitor hood. If money is no object, the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X is the best 4K monitor you can buy right now.
See our Eizo ColorEdge CG319X review for more information.
Many 4K monitors can be expensive. However, this LG offers gorgeous 4K resolution, excellent colour accuracy and VESA DisplayHDR 400 support for a mid-range price. It also supports 99% of the sRGB colour space alongside the HDR, making it a brilliant monitor for photographers and video editors.
There’s USB-C support to boot, while if you’re a gamer you won’t be disappointed by the capabilities here, with dedicated modes for that.
There are, of course, cheaper 27-inch monitors around and we’ve covered many on this page that are more expensive and intended for high-end professional users. But if your budget is more prosumer rather than professional video editor, you’ll find this LG has a huge amount to offer.
This 27-inch display is great for those working in video, thanks to its HDR1000 certification, which means that its peak brightness for HDR matches or exceeds most TVs that are sold, giving you a great display for creating or checking HDR content. It also has 384 local dimming zones for better control of dark, which again rivals flagship TVs.
99% Adobe RGB coverage and over 100% of sRGB make it great for broader creative uses as well, and a high 144HZ refresh rate is great for gaming, or anything else where you want to see smooth and instant response on-screen. Nvidia G-Sync is here as well for gaming.
Acer’s built-in control software is also great for quickly customising and adjusting the modes, including colour and contrast specifics.
Compared with some of the pricey high-end colour accurate screens, the Phillips Brilliance 272P7VPTKEB (catchy name, we know) is an excellent alternative, as it’s great value for money and can serve up an excellent image. It’s a 27-inch IPS panel with measured 99% sRGB and 73% AdobeRGB coverage, a thin-bezel design and a few extras such as a pop-up webcam that works when the built-in USB hub is connected.
It’s not really aimed at graphic designers – the colour presets are given terms like ‘office’ and ‘movie’ rather than ‘sRGB’ and ‘DCI-P3’ and the fiddly underside buttons make it tricky to flick through on-screen menu options. And although the image quality isn’t as high-end as it gets, with a Delta-E under 2, rather than under 1, and a 270-nit measured brightness, this screen still looks very impressive and won’t disappoint.
BenQ already has a strong portfolio of gaming and general-purpose 4K displays of different sizes, all featuring the company’s trademark ‘puck’ – a wired remote control that sits in the base and makes it much easier to flip through colour settings and presets, compared to constant fiddling with on-screen controls. The SW271 is a 27-inch IPS 4K display with a 10-bit HDR panel and a 14-bit LUT, aimed squarely at photography and graphic design use.
The headline features for graphics work are 99% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB coverage and a whole range of colour settings to choose, including a gamma range from 1.6 to 2.6, numerous calibration modes and excellent brightness and contrast levels that really offer up a sumptuous picture.
Thin surrounding bezels, a flexible stand that tilts, rotates and swivels, and a reasonably generous set of display inputs with picture-in-picture modes rounds off this premium offering from BenQ.
This isn’t quite as pro-level as the monitor options further up this list, because it isn’t designed for colour-accurate work first and foremost. However, what it is designed for is giving you full 4K resolution in a big screen that makes it easy to really get into the details, with stunning, vivid colours thanks its QLED panel tech (the same Samsung uses in its flagship TVs).
It’s pretty well-specced beyond that, too – dual HDMI inputs and DisplayPort 1.2 are paired with a picture-in-picture mode, meaning you can have a second source visible at all times easily. At 250 nits, its brightness is fine for photo work, but isn’t particularly strong.
There are no USB-C ports, which is a same since it makes connections so easy for those with laptops that use it, but it does have four regular USB ports, two of which offer fast-charging speeds for juicing up phones, tablets and so on.
Whenever Lenovo launches a Think-branded product, you can expect high quality, which is exactly what you get from its designer-focused ThinkVision display. An excellent design, plenty of ports and great picture quality make the premium Lenovo ThinkVision P32U worth its high asking price.
100% AdobeRGB coverage is enough to compete with top-end screens, and it has Thunderbolt 3, which lets you connect and charge laptops from a single port. This professional-grade 4K monitor isn’t cheap, but it certainly is impressive.
The BenQ PD3200U‘s screen size and resolution make it a great choice for designers and creators. It isn’t the cheapest model in our guide (for that, scroll down to the Iiyama at number 07) but it’s a more affordable option for pro creatives than the other options so far.
So what’s so good about it? Well, the screen is a hefty 32-inches, which makes working with 4K images and videos much more comfortable. 3D designers will be grateful for the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, and everyone else will appreciate the factory-calibrated colour accuracy and Rec. 709 adherence.
The Philips Brilliance BDM4065UC is an incredible display – but do you really want a 40-inch panel? Based on VA-IPS panel technology, it offers extremely good contrast, with 300 cd/m2 brightness. Its menu is controlled with a small joystick at the back and it also offers a four-way picture-in-picture (PIP) mode, allowing you to allocate a quarter of the screen to each video input.
On such a large 4K screen, each connected device will have its own 1920 x 1080 screen area – perfect for seeing your designs in Illustrator CC or working on your 3D art on one machine while looking up reference images on another device on the same screen, for example.
Like this? Check out the LG 42-incher below.
Viewsonic has a few colour accurate displays on the market, and the VP2785-4K is the most high-end model in its catalogue, a 27-inch 4K IPS screen, sporting 100% srGB and quoted 99% AdobeRGB coverage. It’s a bit fiddly to put together, requiring a screwdriver to attach the panel to the stand, but the overall design is extremely svelte, with a thin and light build, near edge-to-edge screen, and only a small bezel at the bottom that accommodates touch-sensitive controls.
With a 14-bit LUT, 700:1 contrast ratio and 375-nit brightness, the picture quality of the VP2785-4K won’t disappoint, although it doesn’t quite deliver the same eye-popping colours of the most high-end 4K displays money can buy.
Asus has updated its flagship ProArt 4K display, the ProArt PA32UC-K, with a more premium appearance, 10-bit colour, a whole new set of inputs (including Thunderbolt 3), much higher 1000-nit brightness and even better accuracy, now using a 14-bit look-up table (LUT). Hardware support for colour calibrators is now included out of the box and accuracy can hit 100% sRGB, 99.5% Adobe RGB, 95% DCI-P3 and 85% Rec.20. All very impressive, but it comes at a high price.
That said, with a feature list and image quality that now puts it up there with the most high-end screens The PA32UC-4K is more competitively priced than first appears.
Iiyama’s 28-inch B2888UHSU is a lot more reasonably priced than many of the options we’ve presented in this buying guide. It uses a TN panel with a 1ms response time, and although the viewing angles aren’t quite as wide as you’ll find with an IPS display, there are plenty of small extras that make the B2888UHSU a really good buy.
It has plenty of inputs, too, plus a fully adjustable stand, and a picture-in-picture mode, so you can use two devices simultaneously with this monitor.
The best 4K monitors: What to look for
While 4K monitors are still more expensive than 1080p ones, they have actually come down in price a lot in recent years, so you can now go 4K without spending a fortune. Of course, there are still some expensive 4K screens out there as well, which not only feature high resolutions, but are also professionally calibrated for the best possible colour accuracy.
If you’re going to be embarking on any kind of colour work with your new display then you’ll be looking for precise colour accuracy. Most entry-level 4K monitors still do a fairly decent job, but designers will want to look for a monitor that offers full coverage of the AdobeRGB or DCI-P3 colour space (you’ll want to invest in the best monitor calibrator as well, by the way).
Investing in a colour-accurate display – and it is an investment – will bag you an excellent screen for black levels and brightness that’ll be brilliant whether you’re working on images or video.
Size is obviously an issue. 27-inches is now very common but the 32-inch size is seen more often than it was a year ago. If you want something more affordable then take a look at the Philips Brilliance 272P7VPTKEB, which offers great value and image quality as well. If you’re looking for a display specifically for image editing then check out our roundup of the best monitors for photo editing too.