Lower prices, improved image quality, and better support from both Windows and macOS make it a great time to buy one of the best 4K monitors—especially since they’re becoming the new standard.
These monitors provide a great improvement in sharpness which is just as effective when browsing the web or watching 4K movies or playing games. 1080p though 24-inch gaming monitor Higher refresh rates can be reached for smoother gameplay, with some 4K displays now reaching comparable speeds.
is our top pick Acer Nitro XV282K KV (Available at Amazon for $899.99), a 28-inch 4K monitor marketed at gamers but can handle a lot more. The XV282K KV has a high refresh rate and HDMI 2.1 support, which makes it great for both PC and console gamers. Yet it has a wide color gamut and excellent color accuracy, both of which appeal to creative professionals. It’s so good that it might be too little for some people, so we’ve also tested a range of more affordable 4K monitors.
Here are the best 4K computer monitors in the order we tested them:
- Acer Nitro XV282K KV
- Dell S2721QS
- BenQ PD3220U
- Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX
- Asus ROG Strix XG43UQ
- Samsung S80A LS27A804NMNXGO
- Asus VP28UQG
Other 4K monitors we’ve tested
How we test 4K monitors
Matthew S. Smith is a technology journalist, reviewer and editor with 14 years of experience. He has tested more than 600 laptop and desktop displays over the past decade, keeping a log of his findings for future reference. In addition to evaluating monitors, laptops, and other gear for Reviewed, you can find his monitor reviews published on Insider, IGN, and Digital Trends.
Image quality is the most important feature of a monitor. An outstanding monitor will offer a strong contrast ratio, pixel-perfect sharpness, a wide color gamut, high color accuracy, good uniformity, and enough brightness to look bright in a typical home office. Most monitors fail to achieve robust results in every case, but those that do provide a realistic, lifelike experience.
We objectively test image quality with Datacolor’s SpyderX Elite monitor calibration tool. It provides detailed tests that can measure how a monitor performs against industry standards. If this sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry. You don’t need to get into the weeds of color accuracy and contrast ratio to buy a great monitor. We’ve done the work for you.
Our objective tests are paired with real-world usage that includes everything from Microsoft Word to Netflix streaming and PC gaming. This step allows us to detect minor defects that our objective testing does not show.
We also judge monitors on design, build quality and ease of use. Most modern monitors do well in this area, but budget options sometimes stumble.
What size 4K monitor do I need?
24 inches: A handful of 24-inch 4K monitors exist, but we don’t recommend buying them. 4K resolution on a 24-inch display can cause problems with older apps that don’t scale properly on the pixel-dense display. The selection is also slim, so you won’t find a monitor that supports the features you want.
27 inches: A 27-inch monitor is a perfect size for most people. 4K resolution looks sharp at this size, but most apps scale down enough to remain usable. Monitors of this size are more affordable, so you can buy a great 4K monitor for less. Some 4K monitors are available with a 28-inch screen, but the size difference isn’t enough to be noticeable.
32 inches: is especially popular for Gaming monitor, a 32-inch monitor is too big for most desks. However, a 4K 32-inch monitor can make sense as a television replacement in small rooms and appeal to gamers who want an immersive, in-your-face experience.
43 inches: 43 inch monitor is becoming a rival of small television. Most 43-inch 4K monitors are designed for gamers and exceed the gaming-focused features available on televisions of this size. A 43-inch monitor might be too big for a desk, but it makes sense if you need a display to use with a PC and game console in a small room.
Three LCD panel types: IPS, VA and TN
Most monitors use an LCD panel that sits in front of an LED backlight. The type of LCD panel technology used by a monitor has a big impact on its image quality. There are three main panel types you’ll find in modern monitors. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
- IPS: It stands for “in-plane switching”. The most popular type of display panel for 24-inch and 27-inch monitors, IPS panels are known for providing a bright, vibrant image with a very wide color gamut.
Modern IPS panels can offer a high refresh rate for smooth and responsive gaming. IPS struggles with contrast, which can lead to a dull, blurry look in dark content.
- VA: It means “vertical alignment.” VA is known to provide the best contrast ratio of any LCD panel. It provides a better sense of depth and realism and is great for movies, streaming and gaming. VA panels are often not as bright or vibrant as IPS at a certain price point, but it’s close.
VA panels have poor viewing angles that can make them frustrating when you’re not sitting directly in front of the monitor. They have lower refresh rates than IPS competitors.
- TN: It means “twisted nematic.” TN technology is an aging choice that trails IPS and VA by every metric of picture quality. Motion clarity is an exception, although modern IPS panels outperform TN in this regard. TN panels are cheaper, however, so you’ll often find them in budget monitors.
Want more general help buying the right type of monitor? Check us out Guide to buying a monitor.
What is the refresh rate?
A monitor’s refresh rate is how many times per second it updates the image. It is usually expressed in Hertz (Hz). A 60Hz monitor updates the image 60 times per second, while a 120Hz monitor updates 120 times per second.
Increasing the refresh rate improves motion clarity, meaning objects that move across the screen will be more clearly defined. It can reduce input lag, providing a more responsive feel when using your PC.
The refresh rate is not important for everyday use and is primarily aimed at gamers. An improved refresh rate can lead to a smoother, more connected feel, which is especially helpful in fast-paced games.
What is AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync?
AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync are adaptive sync standards that allow a monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the framerate of your PC’s video output. This eliminates issues like stuttering and screen tearing when your PC’s video output is significantly different from your monitor’s refresh rate.
Adaptive sync, like refresh rate, is primarily aimed at gamers. Windows and macOS desktops can easily output video at a rate that matches your monitor’s refresh rate. This only becomes difficult in games, which tend to vary considerably in frame rate and can easily get out of step with the monitor’s refresh rate. Adaptive Sync was developed to solve this problem.
AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync are designed to work with AMD or Nvidia graphics solutions. Actually, these values are not exclusive. An AMD FreeSync monitor can work with an Nvidia video card or vice versa.
With that said, most monitors only offer official support for one of these two standards. We recommend that you purchase a monitor that officially supports standards that match your PC’s graphics resolution.
What is HDR?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR content contains more color and luminance data than SDR content. It delivers a brighter, more vibrant image with added detail in extremely dark and bright scenes.
HDR does not technically refer to a specific standard and is instead used as a shorthand for various standards. With monitors, the term HDR almost always refers to the HDR10 standard. HDR10 is an open source standard for HDR content that any company can use.
Other standards such as Dolby Vision are popular among HDR Television But not found on the monitor (yet).
At best, HDR can provide an unquestionable boost in picture quality that is evident when viewing HDR content. However, it can only perform its best when viewed on a very bright, high-contrast display, and most monitors don’t. Budget and mid-range televisions also face this problem.
That doesn’t mean you should skip HDR. It’s becoming a standard feature, especially among 4K monitors, and it can deliver a more vibrant, colorful image on many of the monitors we’ve tested. Just keep your expectations in check.