What to Look For in a 4K Monitor in 2023
A monitor purchase can be tricky, given the sheer number of options on the market. While nailing down the resolution does help, there are several other factors to consider in order to narrow down your choices.
You can start by deciding how you are going to use the monitor. Will you primarily use it for gaming, office work, or both? This is important because while a faster display refresh rate can deliver a fluid gaming experience, it’s not crucial for office work. If you create content, color accuracy, gamut, and color space coverage play a significant role in the monitor you need. Similarly, if your monitor will be used for binging the latest TV series or watching movies, contrast ratio and HDR performance can impact the picture quality.
Monitor screen size is another important detail. While 27-inch and 32-inch models are among the most popular, you will also find 42-inch and 48-inch sizes. So depending on how far back you sit, the space available on your desk, and your budget, you need to pick the right monitor size for your needs.
In other features, you will want to check the port selection to ensure a simple and seamless setup that doesn’t require adapters. The included stand’s viewing angles, peak brightness, and ergonomics are also crucial.
These are some of the most important factors to remember while shopping for a 4K display. But if you want more help, our guide on how to pick the right monitor will undoubtedly come in handy.
- ✓ 144Hz refresh rate and works with FreeSync and G-Sync
- ✓ Complete SRGB coverage
- ✓ HDMI 2.1 and DP 1.4
- ✗ HDR performance
- ✗ Mediocre contrast ratio and local dimming doesn’t help
The Gigabyte M32U is an excellent all-rounder that is capable of fulfilling the needs of everyone from a professional working on Office apps to a content creator to a gamer. It features a flat 32-inch IPS panel with excellent color accuracy and complete coverage of the sRGB color space. Plus, if you are a content creator, you’ll be happy to know that there is good color reproduction with Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 as well.
While the monitor has a subtle design without any gamer aesthetic or RGB lighting, a glossy bar on the back adds style. It’s also reasonably ergonomic and supports height, tilt, and swivel adjustments. However, you can’t rotate it into portrait mode with the included stand.
In other features, the gamers will appreciate the native support for a 144Hz refresh rate. And the M32U works with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync VRR technologies to reduce screen tearing.
The port selection is also great. There are two HDMI 2.1 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, and a built-in USB hub with three USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports. You also get a USB Type-C port that supports DP Alt mode for video input and can push up to 15W power to the connected device.
Thanks to the HDMI 2.1 ports, you can connect PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X consoles to enjoy 4K gaming at 120Hz. Another useful feature included in the Gigabyte monitor is the built-in KVM switch.
The one area where the M32U struggles with HDR performance because of its relatively lower peak brightness. But given its wide color gamut, HDR content still looks true to life. Also, although Gigabyte has used local dimming to improve the otherwise mediocre contrast ratio of the monitor, it’s not very useful because of edge backlighting.
Best 4K Monitor
Gigabyte’s M32U is a versatile 4K monitor with an understated design that ticks all the right boxes. So you’ll have no qualms whether you create content or play games.
- ✓ IPS panel is great for color accuracy
- ✓ Full sRGB coverage
- ✓ Excellent ergonomics
- ✗ No USB-C port
- ✗ HDR performance is middling
If you don’t have the budget for the Gigabyte M32U, Dell’s S2721QS is a good but affordable 4K monitor you can buy. Featuring a 27-inch panel, it’s primarily designed for office use and sports a clean and minimalist look. You get plenty of screen real estate for multitasking, the text looks crisp, and the IPS panel ensures the viewing angles are good.
The presence of an IPS panel also means the Dell monitor can deliver excellent color fidelity. While the color accuracy is decent out of the box, you can significantly improve it after calibration. In addition, there is complete coverage of sRGB and good coverage of Adobe RGB.
The S2721QS’s adjustable stand excels in ergonomics, and all standard adjustments are available, including tilt, rotate, and swivel. You can also mount it using VESA holes.
Connectivity options are limited to essentials, but you still get two HDMI 2.0, one DP 1.2 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Unfortunately, there is no USB-C port for a single cable connection with your laptop for power and video.
In terms of gaming, while the monitor offers low input lag and VRR support, the display tops out at 60Hz, and there are no HDMI 2.1 ports. HDR performance is another aspect of the monitor that is slightly underwhelming.
Because of the relatively low peak brightness, the Dell monitor can’t offer impactful HDR performance—but you’ll be happy to know it gets plenty bright for SDR content and can counter glare in rooms with a lot of ambient light.
Best Budget 4K Monitor
The Dell S2721QS offers the best bang for the buck among 4K monitors. It has an IPS panel for wide viewing angles and good color accuracy. And you get an ergonomic stand.
- ✓ Impressive picture quality
- ✓ 120Hz refresh rate and four HDMI 2.1 ports
- ✓ AMD FreeSync and G-Sync support
- ✓ Dolby Vision support
- ✗ Burn-in is a concern
- ✗ No DisplayPort or USB-C
- ✗ Low brightness in SDR for PC input
Although the LG C2 isn’t a monitor in the traditional sense, it works great as one if you’re primarily looking for a gaming monitor. Available in a relatively desk-friendly 42-inch size, this LG TV has an OLED panel that delivers exceptional picture quality with inky blacks and a near-infinite contrast ratio. Like all OLED displays, it also has a fantastic pixel response time and wide viewing angles.
Its 120Hz refresh rate ensures you’re always ready for high refresh rate gaming, and the TV is G-Sync compatible and supports AMD FreeSync and HDMI Forum VRR. So playing video games on the C2 is a treat, whether using a console or gaming PC. This is why it’s also our pick for the best gaming TV.
Unfortunately, being a television, it doesn’t come with a DisplayPort or USB-C port, so you are dependent on the included HDMI ports for your connectivity needs. It also doesn’t get very bright while using PC input in Game Optimizer mode for SDR content, which can be an issue if you use it in a brightly-lit room. But fortunately, it will get relatively much brighter when you watch HDR content or play HDR games.
Moreover, the included USB ports can’t be used to connect computer peripherals, and the included stand isn’t ergonomic.
However, you get a smart system through webOS and Dolby Vision support. So you don’t need a PC to watch movies or TV shows, or to enjoy them in all their HDR glory. And you can also use the native app for GeForce Now to enjoy games without a PC.
Finally, burn-in is a concern with the C2 as the PC interface includes many static elements. But LG’s built-in tools to stop permanent image retention are helpful.
Best 4K Gaming Monitor
LG C2 (42-Inch)
Enjoy 4K gaming on an OLED screen with the 42-inch LG C2 that has unmatched picture quality, a 120Hz refresh rate, and low input lag.
- ✓ Fantastic picture quality
- ✓ Great viewing angles
- ✓ Built-in KVM switch
- ✓ HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4
- ✗ Burn-in is a concern
- ✗ Low brightness
- ✗ Stand isn’t ergonomic
- ✗ Some may find it too large
There aren’t a lot of 4K monitors that come with a native 120Hz refresh rate. So you can either go for a 144Hz monitor or the Gigabyte AORUS FO48U. While the F048U is an excellent monitor with impressive picture quality, its 48-inch size may be too big for some. But size aside, this Gigabyte monitor has a lot to like.
For example, it uses an OLED panel, which is great for viewing angles, picture quality, black levels, and contrast ratio. But unlike the LG C2, our recommendation for the best gaming monitor, the Gigabyte monitor is built to be used as a computer monitor. So it comes with a DisplayPort, a built-in USB hub to connect your peripherals, and a Type-C port that supports DP Alt mode. Of course, you also get two HDMI 2.1 ports. As a bonus, there is a built-in KVM switch as well.
Gamers will like the monitor’s low input lag, fast response time, and VRR support. Its large screen also delivers an immersive experience. However, you may have to sit slightly away from the screen to truly appreciate it.
In other highlights, it has a full coverage of sRGB and excellent coverage of Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 color spaces. Color accuracy is also decent. But the monitor doesn’t get very bright in both SDR and HDR.
As the FO48U is built like a TV, it doesn’t feature an ergonomic stand. So you can’t adjust the height, tilt, swivel, or even orientation out of the box. But there are VEGA mounting holes. Lastly, like other OLED displays, it’s also susceptible to burn-in.
Best 4K 120Hz Monitor
Gigabyte AORUS FO48U
Gigabyte AORUS FO48U’s OLED panel delivers stunning picture quality, wide viewing angles, and fast response time. It’s also chockful of connectivity options.
- ✓ Can overclock to 160Hz
- ✓ Advanced gaming features, including HDMI 2.1 ports
- ✓ Excellent color accuracy and viewing angles
- ✓ Good peak brightness
- ✗ Mediocre contrast and local dimming is underwhelming
- ✗ No USB-C port
The LG 27GP950-B shines as a 144Hz 4K monitor. As it features a high refresh rate panel, it’s primarily targeted to gamers. Thus, it includes everything you need to get a fantastic gaming experience, including low input lag, fast response time, and VRR support. But gaming isn’t the only thing it excels at. The LG monitor is also great for consuming media, office work, and content creation.
It has an IPS panel that enables wide viewing angles and outstanding color accuracy. You will also be happy to know that, like our other picks, it covers the entire sRGB color space. Moreover, you get excellent coverage of Adobe RGB and near-perfect coverage of the DCI-P3.
The port selection is also fantastic, and you get everything apart from a USB-C port, including two HDMI 2.1 ports if you want to enjoy console gaming.
Furthermore, the LG monitor can deliver high peak brightness in both SDR and HDR. So you get a great experience and have no trouble with the glare, even in bright rooms. But sadly, the semi-glossy finish of the screen doesn’t help with reflection handling. And since the monitor uses an IPS panel, it has a mediocre contrast, which gets little help from its underwhelming local dimming implementation.
But otherwise, the LG monitor is a solid pick for anyone wanting a 4K 144Hz monitor—and let’s not forget that you can overclock it to 160Hz.
Best 4K 144Hz Monitor
The LG 27GP950-B is a great 4K, 144Hz monitor that excels at both gaming and productivity.
- ✓ Excellent picture quality
- ✓ G-Sync compatibility and AMD FreeSync support
- ✓ 165Hz refresh rate
- ✗ Narrow viewing angle
- ✗ Some blooming and black crush
Curved monitors are great for an immersive experience, and if you want a 4K curved monitor, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G7 S32BG75 is the best option. It has a 32-inch 165Hz screen and VRR support for high refresh rate gaming.
As it uses a VA-type panel, the monitor has an excellent native contrast ratio, which is significantly enhanced by using Mini-LED backlighting and full-array local dimming. So you get deep blacks, which, combined with the quantum dot technology, result in impressive picture quality.
In terms of design, the Samsung monitor has a gamer aesthetic and comes with RGB zone lighting. Ergonomics are also strong as you can tilt, swivel, and rotate the screen. Plus, there is scope for a decent amount of height adjustment.
The screen’s curvature is aggressive at 1000R, but this also means the edges of the screen are always comfortably in your field of view despite the monitor’s otherwise large screen size.
Samsung has packed many connectivity options into the S32BG75. You get two HDMI 2.1 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 port, a built-in USB hub, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Another area where the Samsung monitor shines is the screen brightness. It gets plenty bright in both SDR and HDR. But unfortunately, not everything is fantastic, as there is some black crush and blooming on the monitor, and it has narrow viewing angles.
Best 4K Curved Monitor
Frequently Asked Questions
All 4K monitors have a vertical resolution of 2160p, but their horizontal resolution can differ based on their screen aspect ratio. For example, a 16:9 4K monitor has a 3,840×2,160 pixels resolution, whereas a 21:9 4K monitor comes with a 5,120×2,160 pixels resolution. However, the latter resolution is sometimes also marketed as 5K2K.
A 4K monitor can run at the 1440p resolution. You can change the resolution of your monitor by going to display settings on your system.
There are a few ways to check if your monitor is 4K. If you use Windows, right-click on Desktop and select “Display Settings.” Next, select the drop-down in “Display resolution.” If one of the listed resolutions is 3840 x 2160p or anything by 2160p, you have a 4K monitor. On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Displays in the sidebar. Now, you can see the listed resolution. Alternatively, you can check the monitor specifications online to see its resolution.
While you don’t necessarily need a 4K monitor for photo editing, it gives you more screen space to open multiple windows, and you’ll be able to see more detail at once. But, of course, color accuracy is far more critical.
If you have a sufficiently powerful gaming rig or the latest-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony, you can get a 4K monitor. But otherwise, a 1440p monitor, at least in 2023, offers a much better value for money.
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