We recently compiled our list of the best 24-inch monitors, in which we only had a couple 4K options, let’s take that to the next level, here is our list of the best 4K monitors.
What to look for
It is certainly important to seek out a high quality panel with a full and rich color palette, after all, there is more to a good monitor than just a pixel count. In that regard, a 4K display packs in a great number of pixels, the UHD, or Ultra HD designation, refers to 3840 x 2160 pixels of resolution.
In addition to a pixel count, do keep in mind sheer size of the panel. If you are a regular smartphone or tablet specifications connoisseur, you’ll certainly be familiar with devices that clock in at 300 PPI and higher. Did you know that a 24-inch monitor at 4K is just about 184 PPI? It gets worse, a 32-inch panel is about 138 PPI.
The good news, you can stop counting those pixels. Where a phone or tablet may live just inches from your face (please don’t use it that close if you don’t have to) your computer monitor will be a full arm’s length or more from the tip of your nose. You know how your 60-inch TV at 1080p is crystal clear from the other side of the room, it’s only ~37 PPI – I bet if you get up real close and scrutinize as you would a phone display, well, you get the idea.
Finally, I mentioned color palette, of which you’ll be best with a color coverage of 100% sRGB and 10-bit depth, but you’ll also want to look at the refresh rate and response time. Offering you no explanation, please look for 5ms or faster (lower) response time and a refresh rate of 60 hz or more. Anything less may save money, but you’ll likely be displeased with the display.
You’ll need to take note of your connectivity options, HDMI has multiple versions, for example, where v1.4 only supports 4K at 30Hz, v2.0 is what you’ll need. DisplayPort 1.2 has got you covered, but is a less common port on laptops out there.
No more explanations, let’s spend some money!
Acer has the honor of opening our list today with this UHD 27-inch display. Packing HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connections, this panel is IPS, has a 4ms response time and 60 Hz refresh rate. In addition to the visual experience, Acer has packed in a couple speakers with DTS certification.
Check out the fairly basic, but good at what it does Acer 4K monitor for $479.99 on Amazon today.
ASUS cares about your vision, that is the impression I get looking at the long list of blue light filters, anti-flicker and other measures they’ve taken to reduce eye fatigue. That’s good, leaving you able to stare at this 27-inch IPS 4K panel with 100% sRGB coverage, 10-bit color and 178-degree viewing angle.
This highly adjustable monitor accepts DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and four HDMI connections and can be yours for $599.00 on Amazon today.
LG Digital Cinema 4K 31-inch
What did we just say there, Digital Cinema? That’s right, if you hadn’t noticed UHD, as we are calling 4K, is only 3840 x 2160 pixels, but LG has gone all out, with the larger 4096 x 2160 4K experience. This is an IPS LED display at 31-inches, offering up a 17:9 aspect ratio, instead of the more common 16:9. That’s just more screen to love.
We are only looking at a 99.5% Adobe RGB color coverage here, but they have software to overcome not being at 100%. That said, you’re still looking at 10-bit depth and connectivity through DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort or two HDMI jacks.
Check out the LG 27-inch 4K monitor for $865.94 on Amazon today.
As one of only a few TFT LCD panels out there these days, you’re looking at a fairly well equipped monitor here from Phillips. 1ms response time is about as good as it gets, 10-bit color is on deck, as are a couple speakers and VGA, DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI connections.
Check out the Phillips 28-inch 4K panel for $399.99 from Amazon today.
Samsung has some fancy gear out there, but this monitor looks to keep things simple, packing the things you need and nothing that you don’t. At least that’s a pretty close conclusion. 10-bit color with 1ms response time runs at 60Hz and is a TN panel. Connectivity is through DisplayPort or HDMI.
Check out the Samsung 28-inch 4K monitor for $369.99 from Amazon today.
Offering up a solid IPS UHD 4K panel with 10-bit color, ViewSonic has included what they call a 14-bit 3D lookup table. Connect in via DisplayPort or HDMI on this fairly decently feature packed monitor.
Keeping it simple, check out the ViewSonic 27-inch 4K monitor for $599.99 on Amazon today.
We totally borrowed this entire section from our Best 24-inch monitors piece, still a great monitor, but you may have already ready our blurb.
This Dell panel packs 3840×2160 pixels of resolution into a DisplayPort connected IPS LCD screen. Beyond the superior resolution, Dell claims far higher color accuracy and the ease of a multi-monitor setup by daisy-chaining two screens together via DisplayPort output.
Don’t take my word for it, when our own Alex Mullis learned that this monitor was on our list, he wanted to say a few words:
Owning this monitor myself, I can safely say that even ignoring the price, this is one amazing piece of hardware. 4K is a nice bonus, but that is not what makes this product shine, what really sets it apart is that this display is color calibrated with 100% sRGB coverage – mine with a DeltaE of less than 2 across the board – and offers 10 bit color support with 1 billion colors, instead of the standard 8 bit 16.8 million colors, all while being displayed at 3840×2160 at 60 hz with a 5 ms response time. Simply put, this handily beats my MacBook Pro’s display and as a graphic designer, this offers a no compromise experience.
Thank you Alex! Now I might be considering this one for my desk. To get this 4K Dell monitor for your desk, visit Amazon and be prepared to drop $388.65 today.
NEC is an old name in monitors, and this entry is one of the more feature packed monitors we’ve seen. It’s packed with some bells and whistles we’ve previously not found in this size of panel, making it pretty much the best you can buy. At least that was the case for a while, luckily, the UHD resolution, DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI connectivity and 1 billion colors (10-bit) is a little more common in other monitors today.
We are not specifically recommending this display, just to be clear, but if this is within your price bracket and you really do want some infinite super powers in an itty bitty 24-inch living space, it’s on sale for $849 right now at Amazon.
There we have it, from the many 4K monitors out there, here is a solid list of some of the best, or, at least some of the best bang for the buck options that are most likely to land on your desk.
What do you think, is it time to upgrade to a 4K monitor?