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These 4K monitors are an easy way to upgrade your PC or Mac setup

Displays with 4K resolution used to cost a fortune, but the technology has become mainstream. Now, it's an easy and affordable way to upgrade your setup. ZDNET's pick for best 4K monitor is the BenQ EW2780U 27-inch for its screen size, refresh rate, and price.

With four times the resolution of a 1080p HD display, 4K monitors offer better detailing, contrast, and color to enhance movies, photos, and games on screen. 

4K monitors work well for typical office work and casual home use, because enhanced detailing makes small text easier to read. It's a game changer if you work with spreadsheets and documents all day. 

You can find excellent monitors for decent prices, but there are still some expensive models out there. I've combed the web to find the best 4K monitors and analyzed their features to help you find the best choice for your budget and needs.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Blue light filter
  • Integrated speakers
  • Ambient light sensors
  • USB-C connectivity
Cons
  • No VRR support
  • No Dolby Vision support
More Details

Specs: Screen size: 27 inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 4K | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR: Yes | Response time: 5ms

This 4K monitor from BenQ is perfect for typical office work, streaming, and even gaming. The 27-inch IPS display features HDR support for enhanced detailing, producing up to 99% of the sRGB gamut for more vivid colors. A blue light filter helps prevent eye strain during long days in front of the computer, and integrated speakers enable you to listen to music, watch movies, and join virtual meetings without a headset. Its integrated ambient light sensors automatically adjust brightness depending on your environment. It also has USB-C connectivity for faster file transfers between devices and the ability to charge your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Great price
  • VRR support
  • 120Hz via Display Port
  • Ultra-fast response time
Cons
  • No HDR support
  • No integrated speakers
More Details

Specs: Screen size: 28 inches | Panel type: LED | Resolution: 4K | Refresh rate: Up to 120Hz | HDR: No | Response time: 1ms

Although marketed as a gaming display, this monitor works well as an everyday screen. Better yet, the price is perfect if you're trying to spend less than $300 on your new monitor. It has an ultra-fast 1ms response time for near real-time reactions to inputs, which is convenient for gaming as well as creative work. It supports Adaptive Sync and AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate technology to help prevent screen stuttering and tearing that can ruin movies and make virtual meetings difficult. Its native refresh rate is 60Hz, which is sufficient for casual office use, but if you connect the monitor to your desktop via the DisplayPort, you can get up to 120Hz for streaming movies or playing games. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Integrated speakers
  • VRR support
  • USB ports
  • Wireless connectivity
Cons
  • No HDR support
More Details

Specs: Screen size: 27 inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 4K | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR: No | Response time: 5ms

The HP U27 is a middle-of-the-road option if you're looking to upgrade your current setup or buy your first 4K display. Its refresh rate of 60Hz is serviceable for everyday tasks and office work, and it supports AMD FreeSync Premium variable refresh rate technology, which prevents screen stuttering. Along with HDMI and DisplayPort connections, it also has USB ports for connecting peripherals like keyboards, mice and external storage drives. If you dislike cables and cords cluttering your desk, you can connect your mobile devices or laptop to the display via Bluetooth for wireless multitasking. It even has integrated speakers so you can stay untethered from your monitor via headset during video calls and presentations.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • USB-C docking
  • High-quality picture
  • Display configuration options
Cons
  • No HDR
  • No integrated speakers
More Details

Specs: Screen size: 43 inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 4K | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR: No | Response time: 5ms

If you prefer to work on a large screen, the Dell UltraSharp 43 is your best option. This truly big-screen display measures 43 inches, offering plenty of real estate for detailed videos, photos, and documents. And with the Display Manager feature, you can configure the screen tiles windows and applications for efficient multitasking. The Dell UltraSharp 43 remembers where you left off in programs, automatically restoring your sessions even after you've turned off the display. With USB-C ports directly on the monitor, you get more ways to connect peripherals and storage devices. You can also use these inputs to charge mobile devices and even daisy-chain secondary displays if (somehow) you need even more display space to work.  

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Calman certified color accuracy
  • 100% sRGB/DCI-PE
  • HDR10
  • Ergonomic stand
Cons
  • No Dolby support
  • No integrated speakers
More Details

Specs: Screen size: 27 inches | Panel type: IPS | Resolution: 4K | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR: Yes | Response time: 5ms

The ASUS ProArt is the ultimate display for creative professionals. The 27-inch screen can produce up to 100% of sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts for richer, more lifelike images. Each monitor is Calman verified for Delta E<2 color accuracy, so you can confidently expect your on-screen work to look just as awesome in real life. Support for HDR10 ensures excellent detailing, which is essential for digital painting and photo editing. Display presets and 6-axis color adjustments also let you customize your palette for a signature look. Other features include picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes for easier referencing and multitasking, on-screen alignment grids and rulers for scale accuracy, an ergonomic stand, and a blue light filter. Along with HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity, you can use the USB-C port to quickly transfer files, charge devices, and daisy-chain displays for even more room to work. 

What is the best 4K monitor?

The best 4K monitor is the BenQ EW2780U 27-inch based on our expert analysis of screen size, panel type, refresh rate, and response time.

4K monitor

Price

Screen size

Refresh rate

BenQ EW2780U

$545.00

27-inches

60Hz

ASUS VP28UQG

$254.99

28-inches

Up to 120Hz

HP U27

$429.99

27-inches

60Hz

Dell UltraSharp 43

$950

43-inches

60Hz

ASUS ProArt 

$479.99

27-inches

60Hz

Which 4K monitor is right for you?

You'll want to consider desk space when shopping for a new 4K monitor, especially if you plan to create a multi-display setup. If you're using two or more screens, it's best to choose displays on the smaller side (between 24 and 27 inches) so as to not overwhelm your desk. You can also purchase mounting arms or wall mounts for some 4K monitors in order to free up desk space, but make sure you take note of weight and size limitations before you buy. You don't want your fancy new monitor to fall and smash into a million pieces because your mounting hardware couldn't handle it. 

If you're a creative professional who works with audio or video, an ultra-wide screen is best suited for your needs. Super wide displays allow you to see more of your editing timeline to reduce frustration and better envision how cuts and transitions fit into your project. Digital artists and 3D modelers may want to opt for a big screen, like a 32-inch option, for more room to work. 

Choose this 4K monitor...

If you want...

BenQ EW2780U 27-inch

The best overall option

ASUS VP28UQG 28-inch

A budget-friendly 4K monitor

HP U27

A mid-range 4K monitor

Dell UltraSharp 43

A 4K monitor with a huge screen

ASUS ProArt 27-inch

A 4K monitor that's perfect for creatives

How did we choose these 4K monitors?

Aside from price, we carefully considered best uses for each product. While each monitor is capable of excellent 4K resolution, some are better suited for creative work like animation and digital art. With factory Delta E <2 color calibration and HDR support, artists, graphic designers, and animators can take full advantage of advanced displays. The everyday 4K displays are perfect for working from home or casual family use, making it easier to read text and playback video calls for virtual meetings and classes. 

Is a 4K monitor better than a 4K TV?

For your PC display, a 4K monitor is better than a TV. It may be tempting to opt for a cheaper, smaller 4K TV to use as a monitor, but it really isn't the best option. A TV's refresh rate is locked at either 60 or 120Hz, so your playback can get sluggish and choppy if you work with video or animation. Unlike TVs, monitors are also designed to be viewed up-close, with built-in blue light filters to reduce eye strain and an aspect ratio designed for up-close use. If you try to use even a 32-inch TV as a computer display, you may experience headaches from blurry text and images as well as the blue light output.

Can your eyes tell the difference between 1080p HD and 4K?

Actually, they can. A screen capable of 4K has roughly four times the resolution of a 1080p HD display. This means that there are more pixels per inch (PPI) of screen, allowing for better detailing. When you pair greater pixel density with the higher refresh rates 4K displays can achieve, you get smoother playback that's ideal for action movies, sports, and gaming.

How do I know if my monitor is 4K?

When you're browsing inventory, check the product listing for a display's resolution: if it says FHD, full HD, or (1920x1080), the screen is in 1080p. If you see 4K, then it's a 4K-capable display. However, sometimes retailers will include the actual resolution (3820x2160) in the product title or specification overview. The first number is the horizontal pixel count, which doesn't matter as much, but the second number (2160) will always indicate 4K resolution. 

If you want to know if the monitor you're currently using is 4K, there's a way to check. For Windows users, click the search bar and type in "display settings," then click "additional display settings" in the side bar. Under the "scale and layout" section, you'll see a drop-down menu of your display resolution which is defaulted to your monitor's native resolution. For Mac users, open System Preferences and click on Display; the defaulted selection is your screen's native resolution.

Are there other 4K monitors worth considering?

Outside of this list, there are many 4K monitor options available for purchase. Here are some noteworthy models that didn't quite make the cut but receive honorable mention:

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