4K is still a lofty goal for the PC industry as a whole. Fortunately, we are starting to hit the mark as new mid-range and of course, high-end GPUs can handle 4K quite well. Everyone keeps saying 4K gaming is the future, and in 2021, we are closer than ever. Apart from gaming, these UHD monitors are becoming affordable, and you can find many options in the market right now.
There are a lot of naysayers when it comes to 4K as well. However, it’s hard to argue that 4K isn’t sharper than 1080p and even 1440p. Sure, some people will always choose framerate, but some people just prefer sharp image quality over anything. We also have to take photographers, video editors, and other professionals into account.
Options are always a good thing to have. Ultimately, it’s a win for the consumers as more competition gives us better prices and better products. However, it can be difficult to choose sometimes. Do you buy a monitor with a higher refresh rate or one with better colors? We’ll be covering all of that and more in this guide. These are the best 4K monitors you can buy in 2021.
The LG27GN950-B easily picks up the top spot on our list. It has everything you want out of a premium 4K gaming monitor, and a few extra features on top of that. It’s a high-performance professional-grade monitor. Even if you don’t like playing competitive games, once you experience 4K 144Hz, it’s hard to go back.
First off, let’s get the numbers out of the way first. This monitor uses LG’s Nano IPS panel. It has a 1ms (grey to grey) response time at a refresh rate of 144Hz. It is compatible with Nvidia G-Sync and also works with AMD Freesync. Other than that, it covers 98% of the DCI-PR color gamut and supports DisplayHDR 600. The bezels are quite thin as well, which is something buyers are on the lookout for these days.
Overall the entire monitor is built well. It has some of the thinnest bezels we’ve seen, and it’s almost frameless. The angular styling adds to the whole aesthetic as well. It has a few red accents here and there, but nothing too distracting. Around the back, we have a ring of RGB LEDs near the VESA mount. Connectivity includes one DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, one upstream USB 3.0 port, and two downstream ports. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack.
As you can probably guess, this monitor is a joy to play games on. Right out of the box, the colors are vibrant, and DisplayHDR600 is good enough for a brighter image. While it’s not quite HDR10, it does look quite good considering the reasonable price. This monitor is perfect if you want to play games for the most part, and especially if you also happen to need accurate colors.
So, it’s quite hard to find any major faults with this monitor. One could say that the lack of an HDMI 2.1 port is a bit disappointing. This means it won’t quite deliver the 4K 144Hz experience on next-gen consoles. Seriously, consoles definitely need a DisplayPort at the back by now. Other than that, this monitor is perfect.
The second monitor on our list comes from Dell. Dell’s Ultrasharp series is known for one thing: Image quality. The Dell U-Series U3219Q is no different in this regard, as it is yet another incredible professional monitor. This 32-inch screen size also makes sure that you get the most out of the 4K experience. It’s an easy win for this display, and that’s why it earns the second spot on this list.
The Ultrasharp U3219Q is a 32-inch 4K monitor. It has an aspect ratio of 16:9, and the viewable screen size is actually 31.5-inches. It is VESA certified as having DisplayHDR 400, so it can technically playback HDR content. Calibration is quite good out of the box, as it covers 99% of the sRGB color space. It has a response time of 8ms in the normal mode and 5ms (grey to grey) in fast mode. The pixel pitch is 0.182mm, and the refresh rate is 60Hz.
We all know that 4K is four times sharper than 1080p. But thanks to this display’s excellent colors, bright panel, and slim bezels, the experience is better than expected. Colors are quite realistic, from the bright whites to the deep blacks. It has a brightness of 400 nits. While it can playback HDR content, DisplayHDR isn’t something that impressive in my opinion. Don’t get this just for the HDR.
What you should get it for is the ease of use thanks to the USB-C cable. If your laptop supports display output via USB-C, you only need one cable to connect it to this monitor. You get the full 4K experience in all its glory from a single USB-C cable. You also get DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 ports. The stand is ergonomic as it has pivot, tilt, swivel, and height adjustments. It’s also quite minimal design-wise and can fit perfectly into a professional office environment.
Overall, this is an excellent monitor for people who prefer image quality over everything. We know quite a few people will happily give up a higher refresh rate for a monitor like this. The only problem we have against it is the somewhat misleading HDR spec.
We’re willing to bet that most people are aware of this monitor’s presence. It’s the one that made a lot of headlines back in 2018. That’s because it’s the first monitor to feature 4K at 144Hz with HDR10 support natively. Well, it was the first at that time. Even now, it’s a great monitor and worth taking a look at, if you can stomach the price.
There’s no way around this, this monitor is quite expensive for the average person. However, it does have monstrous specs. This 27-inch panel has a 4K resolution and covers 97% of the DCI P3 color gamut. The refresh rate is rated at 144Hz, and it has Nvidia G-Sync support built-in. It has 1000 nits of peak brightness, and that gives it a rating of DisplayHDR 1000. It uses a Quantum-dot IPS display. Other than that it also has the usual ASUS Eye care technology.
As you might expect, this monitor is an absolute joy to experience. We don’t need to tell you that 4K 144Hz is an excellent experience. Movies also look great thanks to the bright display and proper HDR support. However, at 4K 144Hz and HDR turned on, you have to use 4:2:2 chroma subsampling, which makes things a bit messy. Text can be a bit hard to read. At 120Hz and HDR turned on, the Chroma subsampling is better at 4:4:4, but the HDR is only available inside the application.
If you truly want to experience HDR properly and to its full extent, you’ll have to drop it down to 98Hz. That’s fine for movies, but not ideal for competitive games. So, you really have to pick which one you value more. Alternatively, you can switch between refresh rates using the OSD controls depending on what you’re doing. It truly is an excellent looking monitor, but you’ll have to put in the work if you want to truly enjoy it.
Other than that, this monitor is worth the splurge if you have the money for it. It has your typical ASUS design, and it even features an Aura Sync lighting sensor at the bottom. The HDR workarounds are a bit frustrating, but that problem is because of Displayport 1.4, not ASUS. If you are okay with the price and willing to deal with a bit of tweaking, this is a great monitor.
Who says you need to splurge on a $1000 monitor to enjoy 4K? Sure, those high-end monitors are a great option, but not everyone needs all those extra bells and whistles. If you’re looking for an affordable 4K monitor that also happens to be good for gaming, you’re reading the right paragraph. The LG27UK650-W might be the monitor for you.
As usual, let us get the specifications out of the way first. This monitor has a screen size of 27-inches, and it uses an IPS panel. It covers 99% of the sRGB color gamut, so it is quite color accurate. It supports AMD Freesync, and thanks to Nvidia’s added support, should work with your Nvidia GPU as well. Other than that, it has a peak brightness of 350 nits, so don’t expect any HDR content to look great here.
As for the connectivity, you get two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2 port, and one 3.5mm audio jack. Personally, I think the monitor looks quite good for the price as well. The silver stand can fit right into an office setup with ease. It can also fit into a gaming setup, without looking out of place at all. The build quality is also excellent. So, this monitor is a great choice for photographers, graphic designers, and people who love accurate colors. LG also has some of the best OSD controls.
The display has tilt and pivot adjustments built-in. On the back, we have a standard VESA mount which means you can mount this easily on a wall. Again, this monitor misleads customers by saying it is “HDR10 Compatible”. We’re not sure what that means, but the brightness simply isn’t up to the HDR10 standard in any way.
Other than that, this is a great monitor. However, keep in mind that you can get a very capable 1080 or 1440 high refresh rate monitor for this price. If you are a gamer, you might want to go that route. Despite that, this 4K monitor definitely holds a lot of value for the right customer.
The ASUS VP28UQG is a very surprising monitor. That’s neither because it has high-end specs nor because of its image quality/colors. In reality, the VP28UQG manages to surprise us with its price. At a low price of admission like this, it opens the door of 4K to many people. While it’s not going to compete with higher-end monitors any time soon, it’s a perfectly capable display on its own.
Let’s get the worst part of this monitor out of the way first. The design is quite generic, and it does look a bit boring. These thick bezels aren’t helping out much either. With that said, it isn’t ugly by any means, and you’ll forget about it quite quickly. Now let’s talk numbers. This is a 28-inch monitor with a 1ms response time. It has AMD Freesync support as well. The max brightness is 300 nits. It has 2 HDMI ports and one DisplayPort 1.2. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack
Thanks to the fast response times, and lack of ghosting, this monitor is perfect for getting into 4K gaming. Unfortunately, keep in mind that this is a TN panel, so viewing angles and colors aren’t all that great. This won’t be a problem for most people, but if you’re coming from an IPS panel, you will notice the difference. We can say that with a lot of confidence.
What the ASUS VP28UQG lacks in features, it makes up for its price. It’s not the brightest, most color accurate, or even the most impressive 4K panel in the world. But for the price, it doesn’t have to be. If you want to see if 4K is for you and don’t want to spend a high amount of money right away, get this monitor.