The best 4K monitors are now almost essential tools for visual design work. In fact, for those working with video, 4K is almost becoming a minimum now that 8K video is emerging. 4K, also known as Ultra HD (UHD), refers to a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. That's four times as many pixels as full HD (FHD), and that increased pixel density makes for a much cleaner, sharper image with more detail and texture on any screen from 27 inches and above.
The good news is that the best 4K monitors are a lot more affordable than they were a few years ago. Because UHD has now become more standard, both for media consumption as well as professional use, there are a lot more options on the market today. The flip side of this is that it's now perhaps harder than ever to work out which is the best 4K monitor for your needs.
To help with that, we've made our own pick of the best 4K monitors based on our own reviews, recommendations from working creatives and a full comparison of their specs. We've weighed up the pros and cons of each screen and evaluated them for build and ergonomics image quality, features, colour support and accuracy, brightness and connectivity (learn more about how we test and review at Creative Bloq).
We've also considered value for money in order to recommend options for different needs and budgets. The best 4K monitors in terms of image quality are still very expensive – demanding professionals with a big enough budget will want to go for the Asus ProArt PA32UC-K or Eizo ColorEdge CG319X, but we haven't placed these at the very top of our list because their price makes them simply unaffordable for many people. When factoring in value, cheaper 4K monitors like the Dell S3221QS and Samsung U28E590D end up ranking higher since we think they meet most people's needs and an accessible price.
If you're looking for the best 4K monitor specifically for video work, see our pick of the best monitors for video editing. And while some of the screens below can support daisy chaining for a dual monitor setup, you might also want to consider one of the best ultrawide monitors if you want more space to work with.
The best 4K monitors available now
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Pro features for under a grand put this at the top of our list of the best 4K monitors. Following in a long tradition of fine displays from Dell, the UltraSharp U3219Q offers full sRGB covering, 95 per cent DCI-P3 and exceptional colour uniformity, making it ideal for all types of creative, including those working in photo and video.
We think this monitor is reasonably priced for a screen of this size and quality, which is rather impressive, all things considered. It doesn't have features like the colour calibrator of the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X below, but it's about a quarter of the price, and still offers a high-quality build. A sleek design meets a matt IPS panel finish and 6mm thin bezels, all adding up to a superb monitor at an outstanding price. All things factored in, this is the best 4K monitor you can buy right now.
Dell takes second place on our pick of the best 4K monitors too, but this time with a much more affordable display. So OK, perhaps it's not exactly cheap, but it's a lot more affordable than most good 4K monitors. It looks stunning too. Dell monitors aren't known exactly known for their sleek looks, but the curved S3221QS is a lot more elegant than its name, standing out from all those black and grey business monitors with its white back and base.
With a contrast ratio of 3,000:1, support for 1.07 billion colours, a response time of up to 4ms and a 178/178 viewing angle it offers stunning, crisp and vibrant visuals. There's no USB-C, which feels like quite a major oversight for a monitor aimed at professionals, and there's no true HDR either, but there are some multitasking features that we found useful, like Picture in Picture, picture by picture and EasyArrange, which lets you organise apps and tabs. If you can live without a USB-C port and true HDR, this affordable 4K monitor is a steal.
Professional 4K monitors can be massively expensive (just see the stunning Eizo ColorEdge CG319X and the Asus ProArt PA32UC-K below), but there are now some fantastic UHD screens that strike a great balance between specs and price. Our favourite, certainly for photography, is the BenQ SW321C PhotoVue. When we reviewed it, we found it to be the perfect (reasonably) affordable 32in 4K monitor for photo editing for performance and usability.
The colour gamut is outstanding. BenQ quotes 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709, and 95% DCI-P3/Display P3, and in our own tests, we got 100% Adobe RGB out of the box (to get 95% DCI-P3 colour gamut, you need to switch to DCI-P3 colour mode). As for accuracy, our tests gave us a Delta E ≤ 2 average of 0.90 in Adobe RGB colour mode and 1.55 in DCI-P3 mode. With HDR10 and HLG support and some nice features designed with editing in mind, we think this is the best value professional 4K monitor around. See our full BenQ SW321C review for more details.
The Eizo ColourEdge CG319X is 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, is a stunner. The CG319X also boasts one feature that sets it apart from competing high-end 4K screens: 4096 x 2160 resolution rather than 3840 x 2160. This reflects the slightly taller 4K standard used in digital video production.
When we reviewed it, we found the design of the ColourEdge CG319X to be a little dull and utilitarian, but then you're really buying this for the display itself, and we found that to be unfaultable, producing a jaw-dropping image. There's a built-in calibration tool to keep your colours as accurate as possible – it pops across the screen every time it's powered on – and you get 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 details.
For a more compact 4K monitor, this 28-inch Samsung 4K display follows very closely on the heels of the Dell 4K S3221QS at number 2 on our list of the best 4K monitors above in terms of value. It lacks pro features but there's still 100 per cent support for the sRGB colour space, a high 300cd/square metre brightness level and support for 60Hz 4K.
It's a decent-looking display that also boasts various connectivity options including dual HDMI and Display Port, too – although again this budget option has no USB-C connection. You can use picture-by-picture if you want to use two inputs alongside each other, such as a TV box or gaming console. The viewing angle is narrower than more expensive monitors, which is worth bearing in mind, but this monitor should do the job for anyone who doesn't have particularly exacting requirements.
Most displays are 16:9 or 16:10 format, so the 3:2 Huawei Mateview immediately got our attention when we tested it out. This slightly squarer format is good for viewing certain types of content – viewing images and documents in portrait format is easier, and a picture taken on a standard camera can be displayed full bleed. Of course, the flip side is that widescreen video will have big black bars on the top and bottom – so it’s probably not the best choice for movie-watching
The MateView is firmly pitched at working creatives. Its IPS panel is capable of displaying 100 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, and 98 per cent of the DCI-P3 video colour space. It also has a maximum brightness level of 500 nits, and a 1200:1 contrast ratio. The sleek, slim-bezel design is a nice addition too, and we found the touch-sensitive smart bar to be an ergonomic way to control the monitor. It's available at a tempting price (although there are some stock issues in the US), and we reckon it's a solid choice of monitor for creatives.
See our in-depth Huawei Mateview review for more details.
Asus's flagship ProArt PA32UC-K boasts a premium appearance, 10-bit colour, a range of inputs (including Thunderbolt 3), 1,000-nit brightness and great colour accuracy, using a 14-bit look-up table (LUT). Hardware support for colour calibrators is also included out of the box and accuracy can hit 100 per cent of sRGB, 99.5 per cent of Adobe RGB, 95 per cent DCI-P3 and 85 per cent Rec.20. So basically, it's a solid screen for those who need accurate colours for photo or video editing.
Like the Eizo screen above, it comes with its own monitor calibrator so you can perform regular calibrations for the best possible accuracy. This all comes with a massive price tag, and the 60Hz refresh rate means this isn't a monitor for intense gaming, but the feature list and image quality put up there as one of the best high-end 4K monitors.
The BenQ EW3280U is a great all-round display with impressive colour accuracy and coverage is enough and an attractive price. It may be part of BenQ's entertainment line, but we tested the monitor for different tasks over several days and found it to be good at handling productivity and creative workloads, as well as gaming. The screen size and resolution make it a great option for designers and creators who aren't ready to commit to splashing out something like the Eizo and Asus options above.
The screen is a generous 32-inches, which makes working with 4K images and videos much more comfortable, while designers of all kinds will appreciate the factory-calibrated colour accuracy and Rec. 709 adherence. See our in-depth BenQ EW3280U review for more details.
Compared with some of the pricey high-end colour-accurate Eizo and Asus screens above, the Philips Brilliance 328P (another really catchy name, right?) is an excellent alternative, as it’s great value for money while still offering solid visuals. It’s a 31.5-inch IPS panel with measured 99 per cent sRGB and 73 per cent 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 creatives – the colour presets have names 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 good as it gets, with a Delta-E under 2, rather than under 1, and a 270-nit measured brightness, this screen looks very impressive for the price.
The Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q is by no means the best 4K monitor you can buy, but it is one of the best value, especially for gaming. This 28-inch monitor can swivel, pivot and tilt almost anywhere you need it to and it has lovely thin bezels and a neat cable management solution It offers gorgeous vibrant colours, super sharp image quality and a design that hints at gaming but not so much that it can't stand in as a 4K monitor for general use for anyone who watches a lot of visual media.
Photographers and videographers who need high resolution may also want to consider this more compact LG option, which offers a 98% DCI-P3 colour gamut, great colour accuracy and typical brightness of 540 nits. The stand is height-and-tilt adjustable so you can find the right position for you, and the Thunderbolt 3 port supports 4K Daisy Chain so you can set this up with another monitor.
With 4K resolution and Thunderbolt 3 it's a good option to pair with MacBook or Ultrabook. The bezels are strangely thick for a monitor at this level, and the price tag is neither cheap nor widely expensive. But that means it could be a good option for newbie photo and video editors that aren't ready to commit to a massively expensive screen like the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X and Asus ProArt PA32UC-K above.
Viewsonic has a few colour accurate displays on the market, and the VP2785-4K is the most high-end model in its catalogue. It's a 27-inch 4K IPS screen, sporting 100 per cent sRGB and quoted 99 per cent 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.
What is a 4K monitor?
4K, also known as ultra-high definition or UHD, is a measure of a screen's resolution. 4K monitors have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which compares to a resolution of 1290 x 1080 for full high definition (FHD). This means that it's almost four times FHD resolution. What that means in practice is that images look sharper and tighter, which is great for viewing HD video and higher quality video game graphics.
Do I need a 4K monitor?
There are a couple of main reasons that you might benefit from a 4K monitor. Firstly, for your own enjoyment. Even if you'll be using your screen purely for entertainment purposes rather than for work, 4K offers a notably sharper picture, which can enhance the enjoyment of watching films, series and playing games. That said, when it comes to PC gaming, 4K UHD resolution is very demanding and many will find that the improvement in image quality isn't worth the drop in performance.
The other reason you might want one of the best 4K monitors is for work. If you work in any visual creative area, a 4K screen can improve your experience by allowing you to see your work in more definition. If you work in video, you'll almost certainly need at least a 4K monitor since 4K video has almost become the norm. If you're producing 4K video for a client, then you really need to be able to view it in 4K while you work.
Is a 4K monitor worth it?
Today, for most professionals it's almost certainly worth investing one of the best 4K monitors. They're still more expensive than 1080p displays, but they have come down in price a lot as they become standard, and they're now so much more affordable than they were that it's no longer such a big decision.
While 4K doesn't make a lot of sense for a small monitor, from 27-inches and up, it makes a huge difference from FHD that will be immediately apparent to anyone. Gary Heiting, an optometrist and senior editor of the website AllAboutVision, even says that the increased screen resolution can reduce the risk of eye strain, so working in 4K over long sessions can be more comfortable even if you don't need to produce 4K video.
Is my computer compatible with a 4K monitor?
You might hope that buying one of the best 4K monitors will automatically improve your viewing experience, but it's important to know that not every laptop or PC can support 4K. Most recent PCs or Macs should have no problem displaying 4K resolution, but it's a good idea to check your screen's recommended display resolution before you buy a new screen. We have a guide to screen resolution that may help.
To check your device, Right-click your desktop and select “Screen Resolution”. Under display settings, you'll find a range of screen recommendations. If 3840×2160 is listed, you can be confident that your computer will indeed support a 4K monitor. If not, then you'll need to upgrade your computer as well as your monitor if you want to enjoy 4K video rendering.
There's also the issue of ports. You’ll need to make sure your PC has either an HDMI 2.0 port or DisplayPort 1.4 port that can support 4K since earlier versions of these ports do not. Your CPU And GPU also have an impact on your device's ability to run 4K, because 4K is more demanding.
If your device uses Intel integrated graphics, you'll want to have at least a 4th generation (Haswell) processor core processor. If you have Ivy Bridge or earlier, you'll need to have a recent graphics card installed (if you're unsure, you can check your processor at ark.intel.com to find out what the motherboard or integrated CPU graphics is capable of.
How do I choose the best 4K monitor?
You can now go 4K without spending a fortune, but the best 4K monitors can still be very expensive if you want pro-level calibration and the best colour accuracy. If you're going to be using your screen for any kind of colour work, then you want precise colour accuracy. Most entry-level 4K monitors actually do a fairly decent job, but the best 4K monitors for designers will have full coverage of the AdobeRGB or DCI-P3 colour space.
Investing in a colour-accurate display will get you an excellent screen for black levels and brightness that will serve you well whether you're working on images or video. You'll want to invest in the best monitor calibrator too unless the monitor you choose comes with one of its own.
After colour, size is obviously another major factor in choosing the best 4K monitor for you. The most popular choice is usually 27-inches but 32-inch screens are becoming more common. If you're looking for a display specifically for image editing then make sure you see our roundup of the best monitors for photo editing for more options.
You'll also want to check what ports a monitor has before you buy it. The two cheapest options in our list of the best 4K monitors don't have a USB-C connection, something that many creatives will want for hooking up devices quickly and easily. Most monitors have DisplayPort and HDMI ports, but this can't be taken as given either – the LG Ultrafine 24MD4KL is well kitted out with USB-C and the faster Thunderbolt 3 ports, but skips the older ports.