One of the most important things to ask yourself before buying a 4K monitor is whether you actually need one. “4K isn’t really necessary unless you are doing content creation or you want to use your PC to watch 4K content,” says Miguel Melendez, a PC expert at B&H Photo Video. If you’re just working on some Google docs, looking at occasional spreadsheets, and taking Zoom calls, you could easily get away with a standard HD or Quad HD monitor. Still, if you want to play it safe and buy technology you can grow into, or if you plan on getting into gaming, Melendez points out that prices for 4K monitors have come down quite a bit and there are many options available for “a very reasonable price.”
In terms of size, he recommends at least a 24-inch display. Unlike lower-resolution screens, 4K can handle the extra visual real estate without getting blocky. 60Hz is the most common refresh rate, and it’s fine for most people, Melendez says. If you’re into gaming or video editing, however, he suggests a 120Hz monitor: “The overall effect is that the system feels a lot more responsive,” he says. Melendez also suggests getting an IPS or VA panel, as opposed to TN: “IPS offers the widest viewing angles and best color accuracy. There isn’t a drastic color shift like what you see on a TN panel, which looks good only if you are dead center.”
To help you find the best 4K monitor to fit your needs, we spoke with Melendez and six other experts. Here are their suggestions.
Best 4K monitor
Two of our experts — Tyler Stalman, a photographer and tech podcaster, and Sam Byford, an editor at our sister site, the Verge — consider this the best 4K monitor. And Steven Acevedo, a buyer at Adorama, likes all of LGs monitors: “They’re a go-to brand for photographers, filmmakers, gamers, and any other type of content creator due to their high resolution and vivid color displays,” he says. Stalman praises the Ultrafine’s color accuracy out of the box, along with its “great pixel density and sharpness. It’s the best match for pairing with a Mac,” he says. Byford agrees, saying that the Ultrafine “works more seamlessly with macOS than any other monitor.” And although he finds the monitor “a little undersized” and the design “boring,” he says “the panel quality is excellent.” This monitor also connects via USB-C, which means it will charge your laptop when connected, leaving you with one less cable behind your desk.
Best (less expensive) 4K monitor
“This monitor boasts a fantastic 4K display that gives content creators a lot of flexibility,” Acevedo says. “It has remarkable pivot and tilting functions that allow for great ergonomics and control.” Melendez also praised this monitor for its reasonable price and features. It’s USB-C-compatible and has a refresh rate of 60Hz.
Best rotatable 4K monitor
Melendez recommends this sharp 4K monitor from Dell, which has a 60Hz refresh rate and an adjustable-height stand. “Making the monitor fit well in your workspace makes a big difference, especially in the current day-to-reality many of us are living where your desk setup at home might be less than ideal,” he says. He also likes this monitor for coders since it can rotate 90 degrees and be used in portrait mode.
Best large-screen 4K monitor
Scott D’Alessandro, a senior software engineer at Fullstack Academy, started using this 43-inch monitor almost two years ago. “I extensively researched my options since I wanted something that wouldn’t strain my eyes,” he says. “It offers a lot of real estate and allows me to condense a two-monitor setup to a single-monitor setup.” When he’s teaching classes, he also likes that “the large monitor allows you to easily split your screen so you can manage your video classroom on one half of the screen and your presentation on the other.” This option has built-in speakers along with four HDMI ports and USB-C.
Best premium 5K monitor
Yes, this is a story on 4K monitors, but two of our experts recommended this 5K screen, which has a 5120 x 2880 resolution compared to 4K’s 3840 x 2160. That gives you more-vibrant images and is most useful for serious creative professionals. It has an IPS panel, USB-C compatibility, and a 60Hz refresh rate, plus speakers and a built-in camera. “If you’re into drawing, graphic/game design, autocat, or trading, this is the choice for you,” Zilberman says.
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