Displays have come on a great deal in the last few years, with a range of tempting technologies. There are ultra widescreen displays, super-high refresh rates of 144Hz and beyond, and adaptive-sync screens which mean smoother frame rates for gaming.
But the true natural successor to today’s 1080p screens and televisions is undoubtedly 4K resolution, which is also marketed as Ultra HD (UHD). There are four times as many pixels, which means four times as much detail.
Movies look good at 1080p, but in 4K the picture is utterly breath-taking. And as long as your PC can handle the processing demands, playing games on a 4K display is an amazing experience.
With all that in mind, here’s our roundup of the best 4K monitors currently on the market.
1. Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K
The best and most accurate picture quality carries a high price tag
Screen size: 31.3-inch | Resolution: 4096 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 1 x VGA | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Eizo displays are a familiar sight in professional photography and video production studios, due to the company’s well-deserved reputation for outstanding consistent colour accuracy, with very little brightness deviation across the panel.
The 31-inch ColorEdge CG318-4K continues this tradition, with not just full sRGB coverage, but 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum and 98% DCI-P3. It fully supports 10-bit colour, taken from a 16-bit look-up table.
Unlike other 4K displays, the CG318-4K has a 4,096 x 2,160 resolution. This reflects the different, slightly taller 4K standard used in digital video production, compared with the 3,840 x 2,160 resolution used in most computer displays.
It goes further still – there’s a built-in calibration tool to constantly keep the colours as accurate as possible, which pops across the screen every time it’s powered on, along with a bundled monitor hood.
All these features come together to produce a jaw-dropping image, matched only by its asking price. At around £4000, this serious piece of image editing hardware commands a seriously high premium.
2. Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q
Dell's top-end 4K display now covers the DCI-P3 colour spectrum
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Dell’s latest high-end 31.5-inch 4K display packs in a lot of professional-grade features for superb colour accuracy. It has a specification that almost rivals Eizo’s monster CG318-4K, as it hits 99% Adobe RGB coverage and 87% DCI-P3, delivering great picture quality.
While it costs a lot less than Eizo’s offering, it's still a pricey prospect, as expected of a large high-end 4K display.
3. Asus ROG Swift PG27AQ
60Hz G-Sync in a 4K IPS monitor
Screen size: 27-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort | USB: 2 x USB 3.0
The ROG Swift PG27AQ is currently the only 4K gaming display on the market that has an IPS panel, with its associated 178 degree viewing angles, while also supporting G-Sync adaptive-sync technology, which reduces the screen tearing and micro-stutter that you often get in games.
G-Sync only goes up to 60Hz rather than the 144Hz seen on other non-4K displays, but it still looks great in games, with extremely fluid animation and minimal ghosting, thanks to a 4ms response time. The screen offers excellent contrast and good brightness, and it’s also a 10-bit panel for superb colour accuracy.
And like other ROG Swift displays, the on-screen menus are controlled with a small red joystick behind the monitor, letting you quickly flick through settings.
4. Philips Brilliance BDM4065UC
A massive 40-inch 4K monitor
Screen size: 40-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: VA | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
The BDM4065UC is giant 40-inch 4K PC monitor, crossing into the territory of TV-sized displays. Its sheer size alone means that this display is certain to offer an impressive gaming experience, quite unlike that of any other monitor.
Based off VA-IPS panel technology, it presents extremely good contrast, with quoted 300 cd/m2 brightness.
Its menu is controlled with a small joystick at the back and also offers a four-way picture-in-picture (PIP) mode, allowing you to allocate a quarter of the screen to each video input. On such a large 4K screen, each device will have a 1,920 x 1,080 screen area.
Read the full review: Philips Brilliance BDM4065UC
5. Acer XB280HK
A well-priced 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync
Screen size: 27-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: TN | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Like the Asus ROG Swift PG27AQ, Acer’s XB280HK is a 4K monitor with G-Sync technology ensuring no tearing or stuttering in games up to 60Hz.
It uses a TN panel, which can’t offer the same wide viewing angles of IPS displays, but it makes this monitor a lot more affordable than the Asus ROG Swift. Indeed, the XB280HK is nicely priced for a general 4K display, so the inclusion of G-Sync is an impressive addition.
Being based off TN technology also means a lower 1ms response time, which is essential for the most serious of gamers.
6. AOC U3277PQU
Good value 4K IPS display
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: VA | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
The U3277PQU is a 32-inch display with an attractive asking price given the amount of 4K goodness it has to offer. This monitor has an IPS panel with 350 cd/m2 brightness, 60Hz 4K support over DisplayPort 1.2 and a range of other inputs. Not bad for around £600.
While colour accuracy should be good since it’s a 10-bit panel as well, this AOC display also offers a 4ms G2G response time for gaming, too.
Furthermore, it has a flexible stand with pivot, tilt and swivel, and height adjustment.
7. Samsung U32E850R
General-purpose 4K display with FreeSync
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS (Samsung PLS) | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
As one of the biggest suppliers of 4K televisions, Samsung makes a wide range of PC displays as well. While the company has some very nice colour-accurate professional models, the UE850 is of interest as it offers AMD FreeSync adaptive-sync technology.
FreeSync works in a similar way to Nvidia’s G-Sync, but for use with an AMD Radeon graphics card rather than an Nvidia GeForce card.
The UE850 has four video inputs, including dual HDMI and DisplayPorts, plus it offers a quoted 370 cd/m2 brightness and a 97% sRGB gamut.
8. Asus ProArt PA329Q
Flagship 4K monitor for professional use
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 3 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Asus has two lines of high-end display. The ROG Swift 4K display offers G-Sync, a feature that will appeal to gamers because of its elimination of screen tearing during 3D animation, but the Pro Art line competes with professional colour-accurate screens.
The PA329Q is the 2015 upgrade of the company’s flagship 4K professional display, with a 10-bit IPS panel that now supports a 16-bit colour look-up table and quoted 100% Adobe RGB coverage, with support for the DCI-P3 colour spectrum as well.
It’s also chock full of inputs, with three HDMI ports, including one HDMI 2.0 port capable of the full 60Hz needed for smooth PC use in 4K, and two DisplayPort inputs.
9. Iiyama B2888UHSU
An affordable 4K display
Screen size: 28-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: TN | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Since 4K is still quite a new technology, most of the displays in this list are pricier than a lot of non-4K displays – but Iiyama’s 28-inch B2888UHSU is a lot more reasonable.
It uses a TN panel with a 1ms response time, and although the viewing angles aren’t quite as wide as you’ll find with an IPS display, there are plenty of small extras that make the B2888UHSU a really good buy.
It has a copious number of video inputs for example, a fully adjustable stand, and a picture-in-picture mode, as seen with other larger displays, so you can use two devices simultaneously with this monitor.