Best 4K Monitor 2021 • 7 4K Monitors Reviews
4K monitors are quickly growing in popularity, mainly since the best content is now being produced in 4K. Our team went through many reviews and studies on the best 4K monitors and was able to come up with a conclusive list of the best products.
4K Monitor Leaderboard 2021
What is a 4K Monitor?
A 4K monitor is one which supports 4K resolution. This resolution standard is quite high as the pictures will have 4,000 pixels. For comparison, the pixels in 4K pictures are four times those of standard high definition pictures. The exact number of pixels on the width of the pictures is 3,840, and this is almost four times that of the standard HD pictures.
How Does a 4K Monitor Work?
A 4K monitor is simply meant to show pictures in the best form of clarity. It can still show pictures in lower resolutions perfectly. To use a 4K monitor, you will need to upgrade your GPU to at least 2K.
Advantages and Applications
In past reviews, buyers have mentioned that they appreciated the fact that they could buy large 4K monitors without sacrificing picture quality. Another reason noted in their reviews was that the best videos and images are now being produced in ultra-HD.
This is fast becoming the new standard resolution. To make sure you don’t miss out on this content, you should consider shopping for some of the best 4K monitors. With the higher resolution, you will be able to watch clearer and sharper pictures and videos. 4K monitors have been around for a while now, and they have had sufficient time to drop in price. You can now get some of the best 4K monitors for a fraction of their original prices.
These monitors are especially useful to people who watch lots of videos and pictures on their computers. Also, gamers will appreciate the enhanced appearance of the characters and settings in their PC games. Another group that would enjoy using 4K monitors is people who frequently edit photos and videos on their computers.
If you are buying a monitor right now, you should also consider the fact that lower resolutions are becoming obsolete, although slowly. 4K resolution monitors will be around for a very long time, so if you buy one now, there will not be any risk of it becoming useless dirt in the near future.
What Types of 4K Monitors Are there?
In the past, people had to choose between CRT and LCD monitors. But those days are long gone. Now, consumers have to decide whether they will purchase flat or curved 4K monitors. In this section, we will review the difference between these two types of monitors.
First, you should note that flat and curved monitors are both reviewed in the list of the best 4K monitors. The primary difference between the two types is the immersion you experience. Curved monitors tend to absorb you into a different virtual world, and that is why they are very popular among gamers. They somehow replicate a 3D experience without the need for goggles and other headsets. Flat monitors, on the other hand, offer a plain experience. You will simply complete the tasks you were handling without enjoying the experience as much.
As many reviewers have noted, curved monitors experience minimal distortion, if any. This is not because they never experience network issues or hardware issues. It is simply because of the science of light. The best curved monitors are designed to direct all the rays to the eyes of the viewer, meaning you will be unlikely to notice any blurriness. On the other hand, flat monitors direct all their rays in a straight line. Some will land in your eye while others will go past you. This is why you will easily notice distortion on a flat 4K monitor. Even the best flat monitors will occasionally get reviews touching on the problem of distortion.
Reviewers have also mentioned that they feel more comfortable looking at curved screens as opposed to flat ones. This is also because of the physics of the monitors. The curved nature allows you to view everything on the screen without straining. With flat monitors, you will have to strain to see everything on the screen. It is worth noting that even on the best curved monitors, you will not see everything at once- the design just makes your eyes feel like they have seen everything.
If you intend to mount your monitor on the wall, you will find it challenging to use a curved 4K monitor. These require special mounts and specific positioning. Flat monitors are a lot easier to mount and should not present you with any significant challenges.
The Big 4K Monitor Buyer’s Guide
The best 4K monitors on the market will generally be very expensive. You may not want to pay such high prices for the products but may still want to get a product which comes close to the best monitors. If this sounds like your thought process, you may have to sacrifice some features and pros. Here are some faults and defects you need to look for in 4K monitor reviews:
Low contrast ratio
- The best 4K monitors have high contrast ratios. In fact, a 4K monitor with a low contrast ratio may not be worth any of your money as you will not enjoy the image quality. The contrast ratio refers to the difference between the darkest and brightest colours on your monitor. Reviews of monitors with low contrast ratios will usually be very negative since most people buy 4K monitors for the enhanced picture quality. You can also check the manufacturer’s description to see the static and dynamic contrast ratios. The most important of these two measurements is the static contrast ratio.
Low viewing angles
- The viewing angle refers to the consistency of the screen colour when the monitor is viewed from the side. The best 4K monitors have viewing angles of more than 178 degrees. This is usually indicated by the manufacturer. However, with these electronics, you should not just trust the manufacturer’s claims- check the opinions of other professional reviewers. The details in non-professional reviews can also show you how high or low the viewing angle is.
- The gamut refers to the number of colours a monitor can display. It is displayed as a percentage and will usually be very high in the best monitors. The average monitor has a gamut of 72% of NTSC. The gamut can also be represented as a percentage of sRGB. The best monitors for general purposes will have a colour gamut of 99% to 100% of sRGB. You can see what other people have to say about the colour accuracy in the reviews of your preferred products.
- When you buy a 4K monitor, you will have the freedom to buy a very large product without having to sacrifice resolution. That does not necessarily mean you have to buy a large screen. You only need to know what you intend to do with the product and decide which size will suit you. Also, you should remember that screen sizes are measured diagonally and not vertically. If you want to do the math, you can measure the length and width of your monitor and calculate the diagonal. That way, you can get a good idea of the size of the monitor you will perform best with.
- Some screens are developed with piano-black finishes that quickly catch fingerprints. This is usually reported in the reviews, but you may, unfortunately, have to receive the 4K monitor in order to determine the quality of the finish. Another solution would be to avoid 4K monitors with touch screens simply. Many of the best 4K monitors do not even have a touchscreen feature.
You should plan to check for these features before you make an order for your monitor. The reviews from past buyers should guide you in the right direction. Also, you can check professional reviews for more guidance. It would be best to buy a 4K monitor from a seller who accepts returns.
Results and Experiences from Other Consumer Report
The best way to get a conclusive answer as to which is the best or worst 4K monitor is to check reviews of people who have already tested them. The people who came up with the reviews have first-hand experience with the monitors, so they definitely know which ones would suit which types of people. We went through reviews from Lifewire.com and rtings.com and were able to analyse their experiences with the 4K monitors.
For the reviews at rtings.com, professionals tested 64 of the best 4K monitors. All of them were tested and retested whenever major updates were implemented. The reviews at Livewire follow a similar testing process. Here are the key factors they considered when reviewing the products:
Of course, you can expect the best 4K monitors to be costly. The reviewers at Livewire simply used the price levels to determine the best monitors for people with different budgets.
The screen size
The value of the screen size is subjective, and the reviewers considered this. That is why they created a rank for the best big-screen 4K monitor. The best one can be split into multiple screens, and each screen will have a full 4K display.
In reality, the best 4K monitor should be dedicated to a particular purpose. However, some people want to use a single monitor for work and games. The reviewers ranked the monitors based on the functions they could perform.
4K monitors come with their own speakers. The quality of the audio will differ from one monitor to the other. The reviewers considered the audio quality when ranking these products.
Your monitor will be sitting on your desk all day long. It should at least look good. This is another factor which was taken into account in the reviews. Also, the reviewers considered whether the monitor was flat or curved. Generally, curved monitors are preferred to flat ones.
Even though all these monitors deliver full 4K resolution, they still have some minor differences in picture quality. These differences come from the available settings and the design of the monitors. The reviewers did not emphasise picture quality as there was not much difference in the picture quality of the different products.
The response time
The reviewers also did not focus on the response time of the different 4K monitors. A lower response time generally means that the pictures will be of very high quality. The best 4K monitors have a response time of less than 4 ms.
The colour gamut
The different monitors reviewed also had different colour gamuts. The differences in colour gamuts were quite small, so the reviewers did not pay much attention to this factor.
Top 10 4K Monitor Brands
Here are the best manufacturers of 4K monitors:
- View Sonic
The Development of 4K Display
4K technology was not developed recently. The first 4K display was developed by a young Canadian company known as Dalsa Corporation. The company created a 4K camera known as Dalsa Origin, and this was released to the market in 2003. Dalsa showcased this camera at the NAB Show in 2003 and received four awards for innovation. From there, students in many Ivy League universities started studying and analysing the technology in an attempt to improve it. The technology began improving in 2004, but it was too young for online video uploading companies to recognise it. It was not until 2010 that YouTube finally started supporting 4K video uploads. This move was prompted by the development of many 4K cameras by manufacturers around the world. You should note that videos captured in 4K cannot be viewed on a platform that does not support such high resolutions.
2013 is the year when 4K resolution generated a buzz. YouTube added 2160p in the quality options under their videos, and many PC manufacturers started developing monitors that could view these videos. YouTube also developed its own compression standard for 4K videos: the VP9. This was meant to replace the less-efficient High-Efficiency Video Coding standard.
It is interesting to note that Sony started offering 4K projectors in 2004, but theatres would only start airing movies in 4K in 2011. By 2014, companies like Netflix had also started offering movies in 4K. These movies would only be shown in 4K if your monitor or TV screen was compatible with that level of resolution.
Interesting Facts on 4K Monitors and Display
Here are some interesting facts on 4K monitors and displays:
- There are many non-standardised versions of 4K displays. These have been used in Samsung, LG, Apple, Canon, and Acer. All of these 4K resolutions are roughly 4 times the standard high definition resolution.
- The first pay TV to offer content in 4K was DirecTV, a USA satellite provider. It started providing content at this resolution in 2014. In the United Kingdom, BT Sport was the first to offer a 4K feed, and this was in 2015. Their first 4K broadcast was the 2015 FA Community Shield.
- Even though pictures in smaller resolution can be viewed on 4K monitors, a lot of the colour depth, clarity and overall quality will be lost.
- The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was among the earliest mobile phones that could shoot videos in ultra-HD mode.
- Asus was the first company to launch a consumer-oriented 4K desktop monitor. This was the 31.5-inch PQ321 monitor.
Safety Instructions When Using Your 4K Monitor
All monitors can be dangerous to the eye. The best ones are designed with eye protection features, but it still would not hurt to take some precautions. Here are some tips to help keep your eyes safe when using your 4K monitor:
- When using your 4K monitor, look away from the computer every 30 minutes. Try to gaze at a faraway object in order to allow your eyes to rest.
- Don’t sit very close to your 4K monitor. Try to position it about 20 to 26 inches away as that would strain your eyes a lot less.
- When setting up your 4K monitor, be sure to adjust the font size and screen resolution. You should not strain your eyes to see or read anything on the screen.
- Blink frequently- When staring at the monitor, people are likely to blink a lot less. This can make the eyes dry out. You can set a virtual sticky note to remind you to blink every now and then.
- Set the brightness and contrast levels to a comfortable level. The screen should not be too bright and neither should it be too dull.
How to Replace Your Computer Monitor
Once you purchase your new 4K computer monitor, you will need to install it and dispose of your old one. To do this, you will first have to shut down Windows, turn off the computer, and unplug the old monitor.
For your own safety, you should switch off the main switch before you disconnect the monitor from your computer. You should also not throw the old monitor into the trash as they contain dangerous chemicals. To install the new 4K monitor, you will have to take it out of the box and mount it on your desk. Then check the back of your computer.
Most computers are designed to accommodate more than one type of monitor, so you may be able to see multiple video ports. Try to push the plug of the new monitor into one of the ports, but don’t push too hard. It should slide into the right port easily. If the plug does not fit into any hole, you are either plugging it in the wrong way or your new 4K monitor is not compatible with your computer.
If you manage to plug it in, you will need to push the other end of the cable into your monitor’s ports. Then you can plug the power cord of the monitor and the CPU into the wall. Turn the switch on and watch as it lights up.
Some of the best 4K monitors are sold along with speakers, cameras, and other accessories. You can fix these accessories at the back of the monitor. It is also likely that Windows may not recognise some of the features that came with your new monitor. If this happens, you will simply need to install the drivers that came with your 4K monitor.
If your old monitor is still working, you don’t need to leave it in the trash. You can sell it to a local thrift shop for people who cannot afford to get the newer models. Alternatively, you can call the stores in your area that sell computers.
Top 5 Tips to Care for and Maintain Your 4K Monitor
The best 4K monitors will definitely cost you a sizeable amount of money. You will, therefore, need to maintain your monitor so that it lasts you the longest time possible. Here are some tips to help you care for your 4K monitor:
Use a surge protector
Use a surge protector
Don’t block the air vents
Don’t block the air vents
Clean the air vents
Clean the air vents
Leave your computer off or on
Leave your computer off or on
Place it in a secure position
Place it in a secure position
Alternatives to 4K Monitors
The 4K monitor is becoming the standard resolution, so it would be logical to avoid monitors developed with older resolutions. The best alternatives to 4K monitors would be 5K monitors. The only problem with these monitors is the fact that they are in very limited supply. Not many people can afford 5K monitors, and fewer people even understand why they would need such a high resolution. 5K monitors have also received many negative reviews since their release. Some of the reviews have even been written by professional monitor reviewers, so you would be inclined to believe them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can 4K monitors run 1080p?
Yes, 4K monitors can run lower resolutions. However, the image quality would not be ideal, especially if you purchase a monitor with a very large screen.
Are monitors better for your eyes?
The best monitors on the market have been developed with eye protection features, but they are still not good for your eyes. You should avoid staring at the screen for too long. A good practice is to look at a faraway object after 30 minutes of staring at the screen. Also, blink often.
Are 4K monitors good for photo editing?
Yes, 4K monitors are especially important for people in creative careers. They display all the details of the pictures clearly.
What 4K monitor to buy?
Before buying a 4K monitor, you should consider the purpose of the monitor. For general purposes, almost all monitors would be great. On the other hand, if you want to play graphic games or edit movies, you will have to shop for a special 4K monitor.
What size 4K monitor?
4K monitors come in small and large sizes. With the higher resolution, manufacturers have been able to develop very large screen sizes. The size you choose will be determined by your budget and your specific needs.
Why buy a 4K monitor?
Standard HD monitors are slowly being phased out since a lot of the content being released now is in 4K resolution. With a standard HD monitor, you will not be able to consume a lot of the new content being released. This is why you need to invest in some of the best 4K monitors.
What is 4K monitor resolution?
4K monitor resolution refers to a resolution of 3840 by 2160. With this resolution, pictures have four times as many pixels as those in standard HD.
When will 4K monitors get cheaper?
4K monitors were expensive for a short time in 2013 and 2014. Since then, they have been getting cheaper. You can now get a decent 4K monitor for less than £300. You should note that the best products are still quite costly.
When will 4K monitors become standard?
Standard 1080p resolution will simply be phased out over time. At some point, it will be clear that standard HD monitors are old and not good enough for professional settings. It is hard to predict when this will happen, but it will definitely come soon. You would be better off buying a 4K monitor as these are future-proof.
What are 4K monitors good for?
4K monitors are primarily used for gaming, photo and video editing, and for watching movies. Other activities can effectively be handled on standard 1080p monitors.