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Best 4K monitor in 2018: is a UHD monitor worth it?

No matter what you use your monitor for most of the time – whether it’s designing, gaming, animating, writing, or something else entirely – nabbing yourself an excellent 4K monitor is vital. Sure, games and movies can look glorious in 1080p, but once you see a 4K image you’ll never want to go back. However, there are a lot of choices out there, and some options and most certainly better than others. Whatever job you need a monitor for, and whether you want a sharp screen for work or play, our list of the best 4K monitors available right now should help you decide.

Choosing the best 4K monitor for you

Monitors and other kinds of computer displays have all sorts of fancy tech designed for specific uses these days. All this new technology gives us a huge range of options when it comes to picking a brand new PC monitor. Alongside 4K monitors which prioritise resolution, you can also get ultra-wide (21:9) monitors which are ideal for video editors, displays with high refresh rates (144Hz and beyond) which make gaming a breeze, and some proprietary NVIDIA tech (G-SYNC) to help games maintain their good looks even when pushed to their limits.

A fair amount of these features will cross over, so you will see 4K monitors with G-SYNC, ultra-wide displays that offer high refresh rates, and so on. What you prioritise in a monitor entirely comes down to what you will be using your display for, and how. The below list will take that into account and we’ll be pointing out our top picks for the best 4K monitor of 2018, the ones ideal for gaming and which are better suited for animators or artists.

In terms of 4K displays – which are often referred to as Ultra HD (UHD) – these are the natural successor to the industry-standard 1080p HD displays. While games, movies and other media can look superb in 1080p, a 4K image is a real treat for the eyes. For PC gaming, the cost of a higher resolution will always be a need for more processing power from your computer. If you have a beefy enough computer to handle running games at 4K, it can be a tremendous experience and well worth the investment.

When picking which 4K monitor is the best for you there are a number of things to consider – response time, refresh rates, size, colour gamut and the type of screen used in the display. Response time and refresh rate are particularly important for gaming, as these will both affect your play experience in very noticeable ways. In terms of sizing up your shiny new monitor, we’ve found that for 4K sets, in particular, 27-inches works out best for picture quality and realistic desktop proportions. That said, there are plenty of larger displays that put out spectacular image quality, and some are surprisingly affordable.

So, with all that out of the way, let’s get right on to our list of recommendations for the best 4K monitor 2018 has to offer so far.

Best 4K Monitor picks – 2018

Dell P2715Q — super-high performance

Dell P2715Q

Screen size: 27-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel: IPS
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response time: 6ms-9ms

Reaching the top of our list is the Dell P2715Q, a relatively unglamorous and straight-to-the-point PC monitor. What it lacks in sparkle and presentation it more than makes up for in performance. Quite frankly, the performance you will see out of the Dell P2715Q is outstanding and coupled with the not-that-outlandish price point, you’re onto a winner. This model features all the connections you’ve come to expect from a PC monitor in the modern age, as well as the obligatory USB ports. It has single-stream transport for its DisplayPort connection which, if you’ve not been keeping up, allows you to work on multiple monitors with ease — crucial for intensive creative professions and multi-screen gaming.

Dell calibrates these guys in its factory, just like the company’s UltraSharp range, meaning you’ll get some superb quality images right out of the box without having to mess around in the settings menu for hours. Indeed, the colour range of this monitor is near perfect (at least according to ColourChecker tests) and the overall day-to-day performance maintains excellently.

All in all, it’s hard to fault the Dell P2715Q. It might not exactly be a looker but it does happen to be a high-performance 4K monitor that costs less than £600 / $450, which is slightly creeping up from previous prices but still isn’t too bad these days.

In the UK: around £545 from Amazon UK | In the US: around $424 from Amazon US

Acer Predator X34 — gaming splurge

Screen size: 34-inch | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Panel: IPS
Refresh Rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4 ms

The Acer Predator X34 we’ve listed here is one of the, if not the absolute best 4K gaming monitor you can get right now. It’s far from cheap but for your money, you’re getting a very powerful IPS-panel monitor that can comfortably run 4K resolutions with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, a 4 ms response time and, on top of all of that, it even features NVIDIA’s proprietary G-SYNC tech. All of this means, as long as you have a powerful enough PC, you can push everything to the limit in an attempt to get the best looking games possible (Boo-ya!).

You also get a gorgeous curved screen that supports an ultra-wide 3440 x 1440 resolution to bring an entirely different cinematic perspective to all your favourite games. The monitor supports a multitude of tilt, swivel and height-adjustments so you can find the perfect viewing angle with all screen space. It will absolutely dominate your desk, so make sure you have space!

It really is one impressive gaming monitor that also happens to be powerful enough to run games at 4K and is packed with extravagant G-SYNC technology to boot. The fact that it’s one of the most expensive monitors on this list shouldn’t really be surprising, but if you have the budget for it, this one is hard to beat.

In the UK: around £900 from Amazon UK | In the US: around $900 from Amazon US

Acer Predator XB281HK — impressive budget gaming choice

Acer Predator XB281HK

Screen size: 28-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel: TN
Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response time: 1 ms

The only monitor that comes close to dethroning the ROG Swift in terms of gaming-specific 4K displays is the Acer Predator XB281HK. This one has a whole 1-inch advantage when it comes to screen size, also features NVIDIA’s innovative G-SYNC technology, has an impressive 60Hz refresh rate and a blisteringly fast 1 ms response time. Add to that, it’s almost half the price of the previously available ROG Swift.

In fact, one of the only things that lets the Predator down when directly compared to the ROG Swift also featured on this list is the fact that it uses a TN panel. This means that you won’t be getting the larger range of viewing angles as seen on an IPS panel and the colour range suffers slightly for it, too. The exchange here is a sacrifice of colour perfection for an ultra-snappy 1 ms response time, which can make all the difference when playing online competitive games such as Overwatch and PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds.

Overall, the Predator is an impressive monitor and also happens to be one of the most affordable. If your budget doesn’t quite allow for the extravagant ROG Swift pricing, this 4K monitor is your next best bet.

In the UK: around £463 from Amazon UK | In the US: around $546 from Amazon US

AOC U3277PWQU — Best suited for editors and artists

AOC 4K monitor

Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel: MVA
Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response time: 4 ms

If you’re looking for a slightly larger display that maintains the best features of some of the other monitors we’ve featured, you may want to take a look at the relatively subdued AOC U3277PWQU. This is a 32-inch monitor that displays at 4K natively, has a 60Hz refresh rate, a minuscule 4 ms response time and truly exceptional brightness tech.

Colour accuracy is also a highlight, given the panel’s 10-bit tech, but it’s nice to see it paired with the 4 ms response time which is pretty rare. Additionally, this model features a superbly flexible stand that pivots, tilts and swivels alongside height adjustment.

This monitor is ultimately better suited for artistic work like CAD drawings or animation rather than straight-up PC gaming but it comes in as one of the most affordable monitors we’ve seen, so if you’re looking for a larger monitor that ticks most of the boxes you could ask for, this is the one.

In the UK: around £393 from Amazon UK | In the US: around $400 from Amazon US

BenQ PD3200U — native resolution gaming choice

 

Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel: IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz  | Response time: 4 ms

While we’re talking about the larger, 32-inch 4K monitors, we’d be remiss not to mention the BenQ PD3200U. In terms of gaming performance, this BenQ is hard to beat. The catch here is the price tag, though, as the BenQ routinely comes in costing somewhere around £700 / $700.

The benefit of a larger 4K monitor is the lack of need to scale your display, as its running natively here although you’ll be paying a high price for the pleasure. Connectivity-wise, the BenQ features everything you could ask for including some USB ports on the side, it’s adjustable and has plenty of configuration options. It’s huge, it’s versatile and it may even surprise you that as far as 32-inch 4K monitors go, it’s actually relatively cheap. If you’re after the best 4K monitor that specialises in gaming and offers a native resolution and packs a big punch, you’d better start saving some pennies now.

In the UK: around £635 from Amazon UK | In the US: around $700 from Amazon US

ViewSonic XG2700-4K — bang for your buck

ViewSonics

Screen size: 27-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Panel: IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Response time: 5 ms

The ViewSonic XG2700-4K might be the last monitor we’ve featured on our list here but make no mistake, this is by no means a runner-up. This monitor is fantastic at basically everything it attempts and fits around the mid-price range of our list, too. With the ViewSonic, you’ll get intensely accurate colours,  a huge array of connections, a cavalcade of in-menu configurations and, uniquely to this list, AMD’s FreeSync technology built-in.

FreeSync is AMD’s response to NVIDIA’s G-SYNC tech and essentially performs the same job from another angle – letting you play game with minimal screen-tearing and stutter and delivering consistent, fluid motion no matter how intense the gameplay gets. The only reason this monitor hasn’t taken pride of place at the top of our list is the fact that the Dell we did place up top is more affordable and a little more user-friendly.

That being said, if you’re looking for an alternative to the Dell that’s a little flashy, offers a massive amount of ‘bang for your buck’ – and you perhaps just happen to have an AMD graphics card – the ViewSonic is a superb choice.

In the UK: around £685 from Amazon UK | In the US: around $530 from Amazon US


There you go, those are our picks for the best 4K monitor you can buy with human money right now in 2018. Have we missed something you think is worth shouting about? Drop us a line over at Facebook or Twitter and we’ll check out your suggestions.

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