Choosing the best monitor for graphic design, illustration, 3D, photo editing and more can be a bit of a minefield. To make the most of your great graphic design laptop or video editing laptop – not to mention your top-class Creative Cloud subscription – you need to ensure your monitor packs colour accuracy, has the right number of inputs, is the right size and much more.
Just as well, then, that we are here with some terrific options when you're choosing the best monitor for you. (Make sure you pick up a quality monitor calibrator as well.)
What is the resolution of 4K?
4K, also known as Ultra HD, refers to the high definition resolution 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is four times the 1920 x 1080 pixels found in a full HD TV.
And, as you'd expect, all of these monitors are 4K or above, making them an excellent choice for creative professionals and serious hobbyists alike.
1. Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K
The best monitor. Period.
Screen size: 31.3-inch | Resolution: 4096 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 1 x VGA | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
The best and most accurate picture quality carries a high price tag. Eizo displays are a familiar sight in professional photography and video production studios. The 31-inch ColorEdge CG318-4K continues this tradition, with not just full sRGB coverage, but 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum and 98% DCI-P3. It fully supports 10-bit colour, taken from a 16-bit look-up table.
Unlike other 4K displays, 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 these 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 the colours as accurate as possible, which pops across the screen every time it's powered on, along with a bundled monitor hood.
2. Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q
Our best 4K monitor overall
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Dell's top-end 31.5-inch 4K display packs in a lot of professional-grade features for superb colour accuracy.
But while it costs a lot less than Eizo's offering, it's still a pricey prospect, as expected of a large high-end 4K display.
Dell's top-end 4K display now covers the DCI-P3 colour spectrum. It has a specification that almost rivals Eizo's monster CG318-4K, as it hits 99% Adobe RGB coverage and 87% DCI-P3, delivering great picture quality.
3. Philips Brilliance BDM4065UC
The best big 4K monitor
Screen size: 40-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: VA | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
This 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, that means that each connected device will have its own 1920 x 1080 screen area – perfect for seeing your designs in Illustrator or working on your 3D art on one machine while looking up reference images on another device on the same screen, for example.
4. AOC U3277PQU
The best budget monitor
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: VA | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
This 32-inch monitor has an IPS panel with 350 cd/m2 brightness, 60Hz 4K support over DisplayPort 1.2 and a range of other inputs. Not bad for its price point.
Furthermore, it has a flexible stand with pivot, tilt and swivel, and height adjustment, so you won't get neck ache while working into the night on a tight deadline.
Colour accuracy is good since it's a 10-bit panel as well – ideal for print projects that demand colour accuracy.
5. Samsung UD970
The best monitor for graphic design
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: LED | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort, 1 x Dual Link DVI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Get super colour accuracy and image quality for any design work with the Samsung UD970, thanks to this 4K monitor being calibrated for both.
Elsewhere, there are features such as Picture By Picture (PBP) and Dual Colour Mode (DCM) - the latter enabling you to use two of the eight different preset colour modes simultaneously on the same screen.
Obviously, if you don't require insane levels of colour accuracy then this is probably overkill for your needs – but as a designer working with a lot of imagery, this will appeal.
The fact that the UD970 comes with a smudge and glare-reducing matte finish only adds to this super bundle, delivering excellent image reproduction in almost any lighting conditions. This really is one of the best 4K monitors around.
6. Asus ProArt PA329Q
The best monitor for photo and video editing
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 3 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Asus' Pro Art line competes with professional colour-accurate screens. It's got loads of inputs, with three HDMI ports – including one HDMI 2.0 port capable of the full 60Hz needed for smooth 4K – and two DisplayPort inputs.
The Asus PA329Q is the upgraded version of of the company's flagship 4K professional display, with a 10-bit IPS panel that now supports a 16-bit colour look-up table and quoted 100% Adobe RGB coverage, with support for the DCI-P3 colour spectrum as well.
7. Iiyama B2888UHSU
Another great budget monitor
Screen size: 28-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: TN | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
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.
8. Samsung U28E590D
The best 28-inch monitor
Screen size: 28-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: TN | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI | USB: None
The U28E590D is a slick 28-inch 4K monitor with a beautiful design and a whopping 8.3 billion pixels.
DisplayPort 1.2 gives you fluid 60Hz 4K, while everything is detailed and clear thanks to a brightness of 370cd/m. Picture settings can be tweaked using the on-screen menu, or you can sit back and enable its Dynamic Contrast mode to do the heavy lifting.
There's also very smart port placement, so you won't have to bend around the back to connect any cables or peripherals.