A 4K monitor used to be something that you saw on display at the store, and thought “Maybe, one day, if I win the lottery.” The good thing about technology though, is that before you know it, it’s actually quite affordable.
These days we think you can pick up a 4K monitor for pretty much any budget, and have your eyes feasting on 4K glory in no time. So in this article, we’ve tracked down the 18 best 4K monitors to fit your individual budget.
But First, What Exactly is 4K?
The term ‘4K’ refers to the horizontal dimensions of the resolution on a screen. High-definition (1280×720) was known as 720p, and when Full HD came along (1920×1080) came, that was also known as 1080p. Those bolded numbers should make sense when you match them up.
4K generally has an aspect ratio of (4096×2160) and is considered ultra-high-definition, or UHD. With approximately twice the vertical and horizontal pixels of 1080p, 4K media has effectively four times more pixels than full HD television.
When we talk about computer monitors, it’s ever so slightly different in the pixel count — the standard aspect ratio for 4K technology is (3840×2160) — but in essence it’s still four times more pixels than Full HD/1080p.
When you first start looking at computer monitors, you’re likely to see a whole lot of specs and numbers that are no doubt confusing. Despite the potential technobabble, those specs and numbers are really just covering a few aspects of the monitors you’ll want to consider.
Let’s make a quick breakdown of what everything means, so you can decide whether it’s important to you.
1. Screen Size
This is really about preference. How big is your desk? How far away will you be sitting from your monitor? A 27 to 32 inch screen size seems to be the industry norm at the moment, but you can find different size screens to suit your needs. It’s probably best to go into a store to do some window shopping for this, because you’ll be surprised at how much more ‘stuff’ you can show on a 4k monitor.
2. Panel Type
The panel describes the way in which the screen shows it’s image. The main panel types are:
So basically, if you’re on a budget or love hardcore, fast paced gaming, go for a TN panel. If you really value colour reproduction, and don’t really play games too much, go for the IPS panel.
3. Refresh Rate
You can think of refresh rate as how much blur there is when something moves fast across your 4K screen. Most 4k monitors will be around 30hz, which means the monitor refreshes 30 times per second. This is okay for general use, but will not be good at all for gaming, as there will be too much blurring.
Some very, very high end 4K monitors can be 144hz, which means very good performance in terms of reducing blurring for gaming and video. Be warned though, the higher the refresh rate, the (much) more expensive the 4K monitor.
Unless you really want to do hyper-competitive fast paced gaming, 30-60hz will do just fine.
4. Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio is how wide your 4K screen is compared to how tall it is. Most monitors are a 16:9 ratio, but there are also ultra wide monitors that have a ratio of 21:9. Ultrawide monitors are more expensive, as they pack more pixels in the horizontal aspect of the monitor.
Find out what monitor connections your computer has, and make sure the 4K monitor you’re looking at is compatible. If you want 4k 60hz when you’re plugging into your gaming console, HDMI 2.0 is what you want. If you’re plugging into a PC, DisplayPort is a better option.
6. FreeSync and G-Sync
FreeSync and G-Sync are graphics/gaming technologies created by AMD and Nvidia, respectively. To make a long story short, both will reduce ‘screen tearing’ when you are gaming or watching video, which looks like this:
Both technologies can tax your graphics cards, but do provide a better gaming experience during fast paced action.
Hey, we get it — not everyone has the time to peruse a long list looking for the absolute best monitor. Some people don’t like shopping, and others just want to know what will give them the best value for their money.
With that in mind, we believe that the LG 27UK850-W 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor is the best value monitor for its price.
It has a little bit of everything for everyone — HDR10, excellent clarity, and FreeSync for great gaming — all at a very reasonable price.
AOC has done a great job with the U2790VQ in terms of offering great colour representation and crispy 4K goodness, all in a decently designed package. Of course at this price point it’s not going to offer all of the bells and whistles, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck.
While it doesn’t have stuff like High Dynamic Range (HDR), the colour gamut (range of colours) is still very good, and would be absolutely fine for some Photoshop work. It’s fair to say this is far from an high end gaming monitor, but you could still game in crisp 4k in a pinch, and as a monitor for productivity, you really can not go wrong at this price.
it does come with plenty of connectivity to cover all of your bases — the only real possible deal breaker is that it does not have a USB-C input, so If by chance your computer (e.g. Apple Macbook) only has USB 3.0 outputs for a monitor, you’ll probably want to keep looking.
If the lack of USB-C input doesn’t bother you, and you’re on a budget, the U2790VQ is a very solid choice.
For not much more money than the U2790VQ above, the HP Business Z27 offers the added connectivity of a USB-C, so you could plug everything into it outside of a toaster. For the price, the color accuracy is also first rate, and it’s stand is incredibly adjustable for good ergonomics.
With the word ‘business’ in its name, its design is very clean and minimal, and is really made to not look out of place in an office, rather than shouting “4K LOOK AT ME!.” Despite its subdued looks, it does like very stylish, and it has slim bezels on the sides if you want to have multiple monitors.
It offers different display modes, like Low Blue Light and Night, which are great to reduce eye strain during long and late night sessions. One thing of note though, is that it doesn’t come with inbuilt speakers, so that might be something you want to consider.
If you’re a hardcore gamer or need absolutely perfect color reproduction, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a very good looking, capable 4k monitor that doesn’t cost the earth, the HP Business Z27 should absolutely be on your shopping list.
We like this monitor so much, we’d go so far as to say this is best all rounder in this price range.
The LG 27UD68-W is a gorgeous piece of tech, with very thin bezels and a gloss white back to really stand out. Colors are crisp, vibrant, and it has excellent viewing angles from its matte IPS display.
It has a good amount of customizability for the picture, and it’s a breeze to navigate thanks to LG’s thoughtful joystick based user interface. USB-C is also a handy inclusion, so you can also power your laptop and mouse from the monitor while you use it.
The LG 27UD68-W is a great all rounder in the sub-$400 category, and will certainly cover your bases for productivity, editing, movie watching, and light gaming. If you want a 4K monitor that can do a bit of everything, the LG 27UD68-W is worth a second look.
While the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q is not exactly a dedicated gaming monitor, it actually provides a very good gaming experience in this price range. That’s because of its low input lag, which basically means if you move the joystick on your game’s controller, the monitor will respond much faster to your input. This is great for faster paced gaming, and a real treat for this price point.
It does everything else quite well too, with a reasonable color gamut suitable for photo editing, wide viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio.
excellent ergonomic options are also abundant — you can even tilt it 90 degrees to be in portrait orientation, which is great for productivity work where you don’t want to have to dart your eyes back and forth over widescreen.
There aren’t many 4K monitors in this price bracket with HDR, but the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q is one of them. While this usually means extremely vibrant colors that jump out at you to grab your attention, we have to admit the HDR effect isn’t that strong on this particular monitor.
All in all though, the Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q is an excellent choice if you lean towards the gaming side of things, and what to keep your monitor budget under control.
The BenQ EW3270U is quite similar to the Dell monitor above, with the exception that it is a VA panel as opposed to an IPS panel. This means it has absolutely stellar color reproduction, but it has poor viewing angles if you ever head off to the side.
Somehow, even though it has a VA panel, which traditionally has high latency, the BenQ EW3270U manages to be actually quite good for gaming. It’s also very good for media watching, with deep blacks and good contrast ratio.
On the down side it doesn’t have terrific ergonomics due to it having limited adjustability (you can only tilt it). The HDR is also a little lacklustre, because the screen just can’t get bright enough to show all of that high dynamic range goodness. You should still notice a bit of HDR effect though.
It should be applauded though for its Brightness Intelligence Plus technology, which much like your cell phone, uses an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the screen’s brightness for your lighting conditions.
Think of the Samsung U32J5 as very similar to the BenQ above, but without HDR and USB-C, and about $50 cheaper, depending on where you look. While reasonably stylish, it doesn’t have slim bezels like its competitors, which can be a distraction if you want to use more than one monitor.
Much like the BenQ EW3270U, it has very good color reproduction, and while the picture looks great in a dark room, it’ll never be bright enough if you are in a well-lit room. We should mention too that the ergonomics are similarly terrible.
On the plus side, it’s actually pretty decent for gaming, and 32 inches is a very good sized 4k monitor, so for the dollars to inches, it’s worth having a look at.
It is no secret that staring at a computer screen all day can be very hard on the eyes. That was one of the factors that motivated the development of the Samsung U32J5. One of the downsides of traditional LED screens is a persistent flicker caused by the backlight.
Utilizing new techniques from TUV Rheinland laboratories, this monitor uses a dynamic system that adjusts the backlight to eliminate that harmful flicker.
In addition, the monitor works to filter out blue light emanating from the monitor, as it has been proven that such light can damage the pupils. Finally, the monitor comes with several filter settings to ensure everything looks right if you are enjoying a movie as opposed to a game.
All of those features mean it’s a lot gentler on your eyes if you have long sessions in front of your 4K screen.
When you couple these advanced eye care measures with the stunning resolution and color of 4K technology, it is easy to see why this 28-inch computer monitor comes highly recommended, not only by us but by PC Magazine as well.
Well if all of the 4K monitors previously listed to this one can be described as minimalist, the Acer Predator XB271HK screams ‘GAMER, COMING THROUGH!” While it only has a reasonably modest 60hz refresh rate, it has an otherwise very responsive panel for some pretty solid 4K gaming chops in this price range.
It’s design and construction are all very well done, and right out of the box the colors are accurate and true. When it came out a few years ago, it retailed for well over $900, but these days you can pick one up for a little over $500, so we like the gaming value here.
It’s extremely adjustable ergonomics-wise, and can even be tilted 90 degrees. We must say though for a 4k monitor in this price bracket, it’s disappointing there is no USB-C. And of course the styling… well that’s not for everyone, but we like it.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a 4k gaming monitor (that also does everything else very well) for around $500, check this one out.
Mmmm, ultrawide goodness. Honestly once you try an ultrawide monitor, you will struggle to go back to a normal widescreen. It’s kinda like going from 1080p to 4K — once you see the difference, you’ll be hooked.
The LG 34WN80C-B is an ultrawide, 4K monitor that is primarily aimed at professionals who do things like game design, graphic design, and photo editing. This monitor is also curved, so you really get enveloped on what you’re working on.
It’s no slouch in the other departments either. It’s great for media watching, and it has a very responsive panel so you don’t have to worry too much about ghosting/blurring when you’re playing fast-paced games. If you have an Nvidia graphics card, you can even get the refresh rate up to 75hz, which is fantastic for this price point.
If you want something that’s more for professional use, but still has decent chops for gaming, put the The LG 34WN80C-B on your list!
Designed for mixed usage, the Dell U3219Q, does pretty well whether you are in the office, gaming, or consuming multimedia. Being an IPS panel, it has low input lag, so the monitor will keep pace with your gaming fingers with little worry. It also means good viewing angles, so there is no trouble if you’re showing a colleague what you’re working on.
Typical of a good professional monitor, it does have very good ergonomic adjustments, and it also offers very good color accuracy. It’s a shame then that the HDR isn’t that noteworthy, and it doesn’t really excel at any one discipline.
But that’s par for the course for an all rounder 4k monitor, you can’t get everything you want, just what you need. What it does do though is offer solid specs across the board, and in that nice and large 32 inch form factor.
The Dell U3219Q might not be a rockstar in any one department, but it will serve you well for pretty much whatever you’re doing with it.
At first glance, the LG 34BK95U-W looks reasonably unassuming, but it has a trick up its sleeve that will satisfy even the fussiest of pixel-peepers — this bad boy boasts a stunning 5K resolution!
Now it’s not actually quite accurate to call it a genuine 5K display, because even though it has 5,120 lines of pixel on the horizontal axis, it only has 2,160 lines on the vertical axis, which is the same as a 4k monitor.
So think of it as perhaps a 4.5K monitor — not 5K, but still a heck of a lot better than 4K!
If you’re still following along, the LG 34BK95U-W features LG’s patented Nano IPS technology, which essentially means greater intensity in its colors, and enhanced HDR support.
It’s very bright, but it also has an ambient light sensor to adjust brightness and color temperature to protect your peepers. If you’re a Mac owner, this LG should be right up your alley, as they’ll work seamlessly together.
I really like this monitor, it has huge real estate, and works well for gaming too. If you want the most pixels on the block, and still have low latency for gaming, look into this one.
If you had told me ten years ago that computer monitors would be so advanced that they’d need their own computer processor unit, I would have laughed in your face. But not only does the ASUS Ultra HD ProArt Professional Monitor have its own processor, it has its own dedicated RAM as well. There is basically a miniaturized computer inside the monitor to improve its performance.
As its name suggests, the ASUS PA328Q monitor is designed with professionals in mind. It features unbelievable color accuracy, rated at 100% sRGB true color reproduction, and adheres to the standard Rec. 709 HD format. The monitor offers a wide array of connection options, including HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 connections that allow you to connect with next-gen gaming consoles, 4x USB 3.0 ports, and MHL 3.0 for better 4K performance.
Thanks to extraordinarily accurate colors, this monitor is perfect for photo and video editing, as well as graphic and video game design – really, anything that benefits from true-to-life colors.
It must be said though that this isn’t the best fit for video games, but it’s ideal for professional use.
If you have a MacBook, look no further because the PD3220U was designed by BenQ just for you. Now normally if you’re a designer of some sort using a Mac, you’d look at Apple Pro Display and drool. Then you’d see the $5,000 price tag, and nope out of the store immediately. The PD3220U provides a very good, and much less expensive alternative.
Even looking at it, you can see the design was inspired by Apple, so even aesthetics snobs will put this monitor pride of place on their work station. I should note that it also works well with PCs, despite its orientation towards the Apple ecosystem.
For media consumption, it’s very good, and it’s okay for casual gaming — if you’re a hardcore gamer, I’d look elsewhere if were you.
If you’re a professional designer that loves Apple, but not their prices, this BenQ is for you.
The LG 32UL950-W is another monitor targeted at creative professionals particularly Mac users, but PC users will feel just as at home. The difference between this and the BenQ, is that this monitor is also very good for gaming. Off to a good start then!
For the office, it has a Thunderbolt 3 connection, so you can plug in your MacBook, daisy-multiple monitors, and charge your Macbook all the same time. Pretty darned convenient, especially if you like to swap between your laptop monitor and a big 4K monitor. It also has coverage of the wider Adobe RGB color space, which is designer lingo for ‘very good color representation.’
For gaming, the LG 32UL950-W has low input lag, and of course glorious 4K real estate. Be warned though, it’s probably not ideal for gaming in dark rooms, because of the low contrast.
For media consumption it has LG’s fantastic Nano IPS technology, so that HDR will scream bright and loud at your eyeballs.
Otherwise, it’s a lovely monitor in the pro-sumer category, and should give you long and capable service either in the office or in the depths of an online gaming battle.
For the price, the Asus ProArt PA32UC might just be the best value professional 4K monitor on this list — that’s a lofty claim, but hear us out here. Let’s list a bunch of the Acer’s specs — they may sound gibberish to the layman, but it’s music to the ears of professional creative types.
The Asus ProArt PA32UC has Thunderbolt 3 with 60w of power, HDMI 2.0 x4, and DisplayPort 1.2. It boasts HDR 10, up to 1,000 nits of brightness, with 384 local dimming zones, 99.5% Adobe RGB coverage, 100% sRGB coverage, and ProArt Calibration technology. Oh, and it has whopping 14-bit graphics and support for gammas of 2.6, 2.4, 2.2, 2.0, and 1.8.
To our creative professionals reading that, we’ll give you a moment to wipe your brow.
As a cherry on top, it’s very well equipped for gaming too, but in reality, this is the ultimate professional’s 4K monitor. If you do anything like gaming design, graphic design, video editing, or any other creative profession, check out the Asus ProArt PA32UC, you won’t be disappointed.
The ASUS PA239Q 32” 4K/UHD Eye Care ProArt Monitor is one of the more expensive 4K monitors on the market, but it also offers some excellent, high-tech features that you won’t find in less expensive models. Translation — this is for serious buyers only!
One of the main problems with cheaper 4K monitors is they don’t always have enough ports for all of your devices. The PA329Q gets rid of this problem right away. In addition to four HDMI 2.0 ports, it also has a DisplayPort 1.2 and a mini-DisplayPort 1.2, allowing you to hook up several computers and gaming consoles simultaneously.
Another major boon of this monitor is its customization and compatibility. It utilizes ASUS ProArt Calibration technology and is also compatible with most major hardware calibrators, including the Datacolor Spyder 5 Series and x-rite i1 Display Pro. The monitor lets you save your preferred color profiles to the monitor itself, and switch between profiles at the touch of a key. With 100% Rec.709 and 99.5% Adobe RGB true color reproduction, the PA329Q offers outstanding color results as well.
Like the PA32UC, this monitor is not tailored towards high-end gaming, but it nevertheless offers solid performance and a 60 Hz frame rate. If you’re looking for a gaming monitor, there are better models out there, but for professional use, this is one of the best 4K monitors money can buy.
There you have it, 18 of the best 4K monitors at just about every price point imaginable. Not an easy task, but hopefully you’re now armed with more than enough information to purchase the 4K monitor of your dreams, that won’t break the bank.
If you pushed us to recommend our favourite 4K monitor though, we’d back our Editor’s choice, which is the LG 4K UHD 27UD88-W. It does all of the basics very well, and it’s at a very competitive price point.
Did you agree with our picks? Let us know what you think in the comments!