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Upgrade to a 4K monitor for photo editing, working from home and 4K gaming

Whether you need them for photo editing, next-gen PC gaming, 4K streaming, or just because you're a sucker for more pixels, the best 4K monitors give you a level of visual quality that 1080p or 1440p monitors can't match. They can also get expensive, which is why we've included several budget and mid-range picks to go with our premium favorites. In fact, our top pick, the excellent ViewSonic VP2768-4K, is also one of the most affordable despite its high-quality specs. Narrow your 4K monitor search down to these nine reliable picks.

Best Overall: ViewSonic VP2768-4K

While far from the best in terms of raw specs, we chose the ViewSonic VP2768-4K for our top slot because it doesn't stray too far from what you'd pay for an excellent non-4K monitor and because it hits a wide gamut of colors for anyone who regularly uses photo or video editing software.

Specifically, ViewSonic promises integrated color uniformity for 99% sRGB, 99% EBU, 99% Rec. 709, or 100% SMPTE-C color spaces, meaning they'll display in true color across the entire monitor. You can reportedly use 14-bit Look-Up Tables (LUT) to generate literal trillions of colors, and you can also adjust the brightness, contrast, color format, and other color settings in the Color Adjust menu. Creatives will appreciate the pro-level customization at a casual price, though anyone who needs high DCI-P3 or AdobeRGB coverage may need to look elsewhere.

This monitor also isn't necessarily built for gaming but will be perfectly serviceable for non-competitive games, with 14ms GTG of input lag (or 7ms overclocked) and a 60Hz refresh rate. It has five USB ports, two HDMI 2.0s, and one regular and Mini DisplayPort each, which is useful for a wide range of connectivity even if we wish there could be one USB-C. The ViewSonic's stand can adjust five inches in height, plus swivel 120 degrees or pivot left or right 90 degrees. It's also VESA-compatible in case you want to add a monitor arm for a better viewing angle.

With a glowing review from our Windows Central teammates for its on-screen display controls, color calibration, and near-bezelless design, we didn't hesitate to choose this 4K monitor as the best for the widest range of users.

Pros:

  • Near-perfect for multiple color standards
  • Great price for 4K performance
  • 10 ports (including audio jack)
  • Versatile stand
  • Customized presets for different activities, color modes

Cons:

  • No built-in speakers
  • Not built for DCI-P3, AdobeRGB color gamuts
  • No USB-C ports

Best Overall

ViewSonic VP2768-4K

Pro colors without the pro price

Anyone hoping for a customizable display without spending a grand should end their search with the ViewSonic VP2768-4K.

Best Cheap 4K Monitor: Dell 27" 4K UHD (S2721QS)

You will rarely see a 4K monitor in this price range with such excellent specs, but Dell surprised us with the 27-inch 4K S2721QS monitor. Some of the major feature highlights include 99% sRGB color gamut, AMD FreeSync support for 4K gaming, built-in dual 3W speakers, Dell's trademark ultrathin bezels on the top and sides, a fully adaptable stand including height adjustment, low input lag between 8ms and 4ms, and support for HDR playback.

If you're looking for adjustable color modes for creative work, you'll need to look elsewhere (like at the ViewSonic, our top pick). The S2721QS is also thin on ports, with two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.2 and a line-out port for audio, but no USB ports whatsoever. Otherwise, it's surprisingly able as a casual gaming machine unless you want more than 60 FPS in 4K, and will let you watch 4K HDR content once you're done with working from home.

Its worth noting the Dell S2721Q is the same monitor, just with a fixed stand instead of one with an adjustable height, panning and rotating. We recommend the S2721QS but would recommend taking the fixed model if the moveable model is out of stock.

Pros:

  • Low price for a 4K monitor
  • Built-in speakers
  • Fully adjustable stand
  • Attractive design
  • AMD FreeSync and low input lag

Cons:

  • No USB ports
  • Limited color gamuts outside of sRGB
  • No 4K 60 FPS capabilities

Best Cheap 4K Monitor

Dell 27" 4K UHD (S2721QS)

Basic quality

The Dell S2721QS doesn't do anything innovative, but as an entry-level 4K option for everyday use, we highly recommend it.

Best 4K Monitor for Photo and Video Editing: BenQ PD2720U

If you're willing to more than double your 4K monitor budget, the BenQ PD2720U is easily the best choice for color performance and creative work while still offering an attractive design, flexible stand, and great port selection. We won't tell anyone they should spend thousands on any monitor, but BenQ's 4K model certainly does its best to justify the price.

For reliable color fidelity, the BenQ PD2720U has 100% sRGB, 100% AdobeRGB, and 96% DCI-P3 color reproduction, plus color presets for Rec.709, CAD/CAM, Animation, low blue light and Darkroom. You can split the 27-inch monitor down the middle and have it display one color type on each side, too, in case you need to compare and contrast.

Whichever PC or laptop you own, you can connect it via the multiple HDMI, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, or DisplayPort ports, depending on your preferences. A control puck attaches to the Micro-USB port and lets you quickly change modes without having to use the under-monitor controls. Add in a stand that can pivot, swivel, and tilt, and blue light and ZeroFlicker filters for protecting your eyes during long workdays, and you have a monitor with few drawbacks.

Again, this monitor is expensive and isn't built for gaming at 60Hz, though its 6ms response rate is perfectly respectable for casual gaming. And while it has built-in speakers, their power and sound quality are underwhelming, so you'll probably depend on portable speakers or headphones instead.

Pros:

  • Built for professional photo / video editing
  • HDR10+ compatible
  • Adjustable stand
  • Thunderbolt 3 is Mac-compatible, charges your laptop
  • Thin bezels on three sides

Cons:

  • Quiet built-in speakers
  • Expensive
  • 6ms response time could be better for gaming

Best 4K Monitor for Photo and Video Editing

BenQ PD2720U

No colors left behind

With the best color performance and an attractive design, the BenQ PD2720U is a serious machine for phototographers and editors.

Best Mid-Range 4K Monitor for Business and Creatives: Dell UltraSharp 27" U2720Q

We're finishing off our trifecta of excellent creative 4K monitors with the Dell UltraSharp 27-inch U2720Q, one of the best Dell monitors because it stays pretty affordable despite impressive specs. For photo and video editing with accurate colors, you'll find 95% DCI-P3, 99% sRGB, 99% Rec 709 and a sub-2 Delta-E score, with 350 nits of brightness at 1300:1 contrast. You won't find the same breadth of color standards as the ViewSonic or BenQ models, but you'll still get wide gamuts for three of the most commonly used standards.

Outside of creative work, this is a dependable 4K monitor to pick for working at home, regardless of your occupation. The 27-inch display will greatly expand your workspace, and with its DisplayHDR 400 compatibility, you can set it in DisplayHDR, Movie HDR, and Game HDR modes for the best performance in any context, including when the work day is done. The VESA-compatible stand can easily tilt, swivel, and pivot. You also have the choice between one HDMI port, two USB-C ports with 90W of power for your connected laptop, one DisplayPort connector, and three USB Type-A ports, so it'll work with whichever devices you use. It even comes with a three year warranty.

Like many of our other best monitor picks, the U2720Q is stuck at 60Hz and lacks gaming-specific tools like variable refresh rates (VRR) or FreeSync, but does at least hit 5ms response rate in Fast mode if you end up using it for gaming. Otherwise, it's an all-around excellent device that lives up to Dell's typical level of quality. We recommend pairing it with some of our favorite Dell PC accessories.

Pros:

  • 95% DCI-P3 with built-in calibration
  • Moveable VESA stand
  • Great port selection
  • HDR compatible
  • Thin bezels on three sides

Cons:

  • Can get expensive when not on sale
  • Not built for gaming

Best Mid-Range 4K Monitor for Business and Creatives

Dell UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Monitor (U2720Q)

1.07 billion colors supported

Built for photo and video editors, this bright, colorful 4K monitor will look stylish on your desk for working from home.

Best 32-inch 4K Monitor: BenQ EW3280U

Want to expand beyond a mere 27-inch monitor and give yourself a massive display built for multiple windows in 4K? The BenQ EW3280U is the new monitor of choice for Android Central's video editor, and could be yours too.

It has a lot of perks, most of which will sound familiar from our other best 4K monitor selections: HDR400, 95% DCI-P3 color gamut, thin bezels on three sides, a VESA-compatible stand, and two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort and one USB-C port with power charging. Our video editor regularly uses it while working in Final Cut Pro, and said that even if it wasn't built specifically for professional editors, he comfortably uses it that way.

There are some other novel perks. It has built-in stereo 2W speakers and a 5W woofer that aren't powerful or directional, but performed better than any other built-in monitor audio we've heard yet. It has BenQ's proprietary HDRi sensors for adjusting the brightness and contrast automatically based on ambient lighting in the room. It can use HDR image processing to improve SDR content to look better, and, along with a few color profile and blue light settings, it supports AMD FreeSync for gaming and a 5ms response rate. FreeSync will help make 4K gaming on the 32-inch monitor tear- and stutter-free, though you're still stuck at 60Hz.

Now for the downsides. To fit the speakers, there is a more traditional, large bar on the bottom of the monitor, where many of our other picks are much thinner. The 60W USB-C charger will be slow to charge more powerful laptops. While you can tilt it, you won't find panning, swivelling, or height adjustments here. It's a large, static, dynamic monitor with plenty of smarts that's decently expensive as a result.

Pros:

  • 95% DCI-P3
  • 2.1ch built-in speakers
  • HDR400 and HDRi
  • 32 inches for massive workstation
  • AMD FreeSync for 4K gaming

Cons:

  • Rigid stand
  • 60W USB-C isn't enough for many laptops
  • 60Hz refresh rate only

Best 32-inch 4K Monitor

BenQ EW3280U

Built for multi-window multitaskers

The BenQ EW3280U will free your strained eyes from your tiny laptop screen with its large, bright and colorful display.

Best Gaming 4K Monitor: Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ

For the impatient gamers saying, "enough with this 60Hz nonsense," Asus's 4K gaming monitor is exactly what you're looking for. It's somewhat pricey, but doesn't rise to the absurd cost of many 4K gaming displays. Connected to the DisplayPort, your PC or gaming laptop will be capable of running 144Hz with a 1ms response time for near-instant mouse feedback.

Unlike other gaming monitors that focus solely on faster refresh rates, the ROG Strix doesn't abandon visual quality for the sake of frames per second. It hits a respectable 90% in the DCI-P3 color gamut and a radiant 400 nits of brightness, so your favorite video game worlds will look good when you slow down to enjoy them. When things speed up, however, you can rely on its Nvidia G-Sync tech and VRR to avoid tearing or dropped frames.

The display itself is customizable based on your game genre of choice, letting you choose settings in the DisplayWidget software utility for racing, FPS, RTS, MOBA, sRGB or cinematic, among others. You don't have to frequently switch modes because you can assign these presets to different games so the monitor adjusts automatically. And there are other proprietary adjustments like ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur for making fast-moving games less nauseating, or Shadow Boost for improved contrast in dark gaming worlds.

Before buying this or any 4K gaming monitor, you'll want to make sure your PC or laptop has the power to run games with high graphics and high frame rates. Assuming it can, this is our top recommendation for a monitor that can handle anything your gaming rig can throw its way.

Pros:

  • 144Hz and 1ms in 4K
  • Great color fidelity
  • HDR400 gaming and cinema modes
  • Customizable gaming presets
  • G-Sync and low motion blur

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive
  • No AMD FreeSync

Best Gaming 4K Monitor

Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ

Premium PC visual performance

Whichever your preferred gaming genre, the Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ has a preset built for the best 4K, high-framerate performance.

Best Budget 4K Gaming Monitor: BenQ EL2870U

Our third BenQ monitor on our list — which should tell you something about our respect for the manufacture — the EL2870U is also the cheapest 4K monitor we're recommending today. While it's built for gaming specifically, anyone on a tight budget looking for any 4K monitor could reasonably choose this device and get a pretty display for casual work and streaming.

At this price range, you'll have to settle for 4K 60Hz gaming, but most gaming rigs don't take you past 60 FPS anyway. The 27.9-inch display hits 1ms GTG, supports AMD FreeSync, and even has built-in 2W stereo speakers. The latter won't exactly blow you away with sound, but we appreciate the inclusion nonetheless, as budget gamers can wait to buy improved speakers down the line.

It also recreates a standard 72% NTSC color gamut with 300 nits of brightness, and has built-in tech for adjusting the brightness based on lighting conditions around it. Basically, it's not built for professional editing and the less-vibrant visuals correspond to the bargain price. But this is the best 4K gaming monitor that will save you hundreds of dollars to spend on expanding your gaming library or upgrading your PC to actually play in 4K. We'd particuarly recommend it to Chromebook users looking to play Stadia games in 4K for cheap.

Pros:

  • Very affordable price for 4K
  • 4K with 1ms input lag
  • Supports AMD FreeSync
  • Adjusts brightness to match room
  • Built-in speakers

Cons:

  • Stuck at 60Hz / 60FPS
  • Only 300cd/m2

Best Budget 4K Gaming Monitor

BenQ EL2870U

Don't overpay for 4K

A quality 4K monitor can cost the same as a gaming laptop, but the BenQ EL2870U sells at a price most gamers can actually afford.

Best 4K Monitor for Apple Users: LG UltraFine 4K (24MD4KL)

While we don't typically focus on Apple power users, we're not going to ignore a major subset of display shoppers. The LG UltraFine 4K is tailor-made for your Macbook, iMac, or iPad thanks to its Thunderbolt 3 in and out ports that you can also use to daisy-chain two LG 4K displays together. In iMore's review, the dual-screen setup tests found no discernable lag when moving items between the two UltraFines, essentially turning them into one 4K ultrawide display.

Most Apple shoppers will only buy one, but should still be satisfied with this 24-inch display for its performance and ports. It has a standard 500 nits of brightness, where most of our other monitor picks only reach 400, and also generates an impressive 98% DCI-P3 color gamut for anyone looking to do creative work. Alongside the two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one of which offers 85W charging for your Macbook, you also have three USB-C ports for connecting to your Apple devices or accessories.

The main issues with the UltraFine 4K are straightforward: It's expensive for a 24-inch monitor, and it isn't built for non-Apple computers. You may be able to connect some PCs or laptops to it using a compatible DisplayPort over USB-C connection, but most of the display settings can only be adjusted in the MacOS controls, leaving Windows users out of luck. For Apple users, you can adjust the monitor brightness, built-in speaker volume, or display positioning using your regular keys and system preferences, making it fairly seamless to use.

If you have a little extra in your budget and want to go beyond 4K for an even better display, consider the 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K display instead.

Pros:

  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports
  • 500 nits of brightness
  • 98% of DCI-P3 color gamut
  • 85W for charging your devices
  • Built-in 2ch speakers

Cons:

  • Pricey for small display
  • Not built for Windows

Best 4K Monitor for Apple Users

LG UltraFine 4K (24MD4KL)

Vivid colors and Apple compatibility

Pricey for a monitor but affordable for an Apple monitor, the LG UltraFine 4K will quickly connect with your MacOS devices.

Bottom line

We left off several excellent 4K monitors from this list simply because we don't think many people want to spend TV money on a PC monitor. We kept our picks limited to the monitors that made some compromises in specs in exchange for an affordable price — but went all-out in specific categories like color performance or gaming.

The ViewSonic VP2768-4K is exhibit A for the idea that you shouldn't have to overpay for quality. Thanks to its multiple color libraries and adaptable color settings, photo and video editors can check their work in 4K and know their creations will look perfect on any device. You can pay extra for a monitor with even more colors supported, but that's an option that is more nice to have than a necessity. Don't let yourself be upsold when mid-range 4K monitors give you what you need.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Michael Hicks got his tech start in 2016, covering emerging tech like VR and self-driving cars before expanding to all things tech. When he's not gaming or reading SFF novels, he writes freelance for Android Central on everything from laptops to soundbars, home security, to fitness watches.



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