The best 4K monitors for work and gaming in 2022
The best 4K monitor is a difficult thing to pin down. As 4K or Ultra-High Definition (UHD) monitors become more commonplace in the home and the office, it becomes increasingly challenging to select the best 4K monitor for your needs. While it’s certainly a good thing to see UHD monitors in such high volumes (and at increasingly low prices), having a surplus of choice is never much fun for the consumer.
So how do you separate the best 4K monitors from the worst? At Expert Reviews, we’re constantly testing and tinkering with monitors of all shapes and sizes, from dinky 1080p panels to enormous ultrawide monstrosities. This article is made up of a collection of the best 4K monitors we’ve tested recently: we want to help you cut through what is becoming a very crowded marketplace so that you can assess a small number of high-quality 4K displays and choose the best one based on your specific requirements.
Below, you’ll find our favourite 4K monitors, alongside a brief buying guide to help newcomers understand what makes a UHD display different from the rest
How to choose the best 4K monitor for you
Do I need a 4K monitor?
First things first, UHD monitors aren’t cheap, and they also tend to demand a lot more of your hardware. For example: playing a video game at 4K requires a high-end graphics card, and streaming YouTube, Netflix or Disney+ videos in 4K requires a rock-solid, high-speed internet connection.
If you’re new to PC monitors, or your GPU is a little less than ‘high-end’, you should definitely consider starting with a cheaper and less demanding 1080p or 1440p display instead. You can check out the best 1080p or 1440p monitors in our dedicated roundups.
If you’re eyeing up a 4K monitor for your new PS5 or Xbox Series X, you should consider a 4K TV instead. Very few 4K monitors currently support HDMI 2.1 – a requirement for making full use of the high resolutions and refresh rates offered by next-gen consoles. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to 4K TVs – and some double as rather good PC monitors, too. You can find out more in our roundup of the best TVs for gaming available today.
How much should I spend?
It’s possible to buy a decent 4K monitor for as little as £400. Really high-end models top out at ludicrous sums, but these are designed for professional photo/video editors and should be avoided by everyone else. The monitors on our roundup tend to fluctuate between the £400 mark at the low end and the £900 mark at the high end.
What size should I buy?
This is partly dependent on personal taste, but usually monitors in the 27in-32in range are well-suited to being placed on a desk and used for office work and after-hours gaming. You can go bigger, but you’ll obviously need to sit further away to comfortably view the entire panel.
Most of the monitors on our list nestle in that 27in to 32in range – we think the lower end is more comfortable for working and playing at your desk, while the 32in end is good for pushing back a foot or so from your desk to enjoy a bit of after-hours gaming.
What specifications should I watch out for?
Resolution: UHD 4K is always 3,840 x 2,160. True 4K, which is very rare, is 4,096 x 2,160.
Refresh rate: Unless you’re a gamer, 60Hz/75Hz is perfectly fine. Gaming monitors with 4K resolutions commonly peak at 144Hz, but you’ll need a very powerful PC to maintain triple-figure frame rates at 4K resolution.
Panel technology: IPS LCD is the most common form of panel technology. IPS monitors tend to have great colours and viewing angles, but contrast ratios and response times are often inferior to that of VA LCD panels.
4K monitors with VA LCD panels tend to have great contrast and good colours but much higher response times and poor viewing angles. They can also exhibit higher than average amounts of motion blur when gaming, due to slow pixel response times.
HDR: When implemented well, High dynamic range (HDR) makes games and movies look more vibrant and impactful. Most modern games and streaming services support it in at least some capacity.
As 4K monitors with HDR tend to be at the pricier end of the market, they often come with higher DisplayHDR certifications, such as DisplayHDR 600, 800 or even 1,000. The number indicates the maximum brightness (in nits) of HDR content on the monitor in question, and generally, the higher the number the better. If you want the absolute best HDR experience, then your monitor absolutely needs to have local dimming technology, too, so make sure to look out for it in the specifications.
Connectivity: It’s important to make sure your new monitor has ample connectivity for your PC, laptop and/or consoles. That means the correct number and type of video ports – in this case HDMI, DisplayPort or USB-C, as older connectors such as DVI or VGA cannot carry a 4K signal. USB-C cannot handle refresh rates higher than 60Hz, so gamers should concentrate on DisplayPort for video transmission duties.
USB-C ports can also charge connected devices, with maximum power delivery ranging from 10W to 45W depending on the product. If you plan on connecting to your new screen via a Windows laptop/MacBook with few to no USB-A ports, consider looking out for a monitor with a USB hub (of at least two USB-A ports) for mice, keyboards or external drives.
Finally, next-gen console owners will want to keep an eye out for HDMI 2.1 ports, the new standard that facilitates 4K/120fps on PS5 or Xbox Series X.
Adjustability: It’s crucial that a monitor offers as many adjustment options as possible to aid your posture and permit all-day comfort – the last thing you want is a pile of books wedged under your lovely new 4K monitor. That means it’s essential to check a monitor’s height adjustment, pivot, swivel and tilt functions. Prepare to sacrifice adjustability the less you spend, but in general, it’s worth paying a premium for a top-quality adjustable stand.
READ NEXT: Our favourite budget gaming monitors
The best 4K monitors to buy
1. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q: Best 4K monitor
Price: £690 | Buy now from Laptops Direct
This unassuming 27in panel is brimming with features that combine to create the most well-rounded 4K monitor we’ve ever tested. From a technical perspective, this is an IPS panel that refreshes at 75Hz. It performed well on test, producing 95% of the sRGB colour gamut with good accuracy; DCI-P3 reproduction was a little less than advertised but at 87% remains pretty good for a non-professional monitor.
On the rear you’ll find a healthy selection of ports: one DP 1.4 port, one HDMI 2.0 port, three USB-A 3.0 ports and two USB-C 3.0 ports (one upstream, one downstream), plus a headphone jack for audio duties. Equally impressive is the stand, which provides all four of the crucial adjustments, including 130mm of upwards/downwards movement.
We had no issues navigating the on-screen display, although we did find that the stand wobbled a bit each time we pressed one of the four OSD navigation buttons. We were also a bit disappointed by the lack of built-in speakers – you’ll have to rely on the 3.5mm jack or a pair of headphones. These are minor quibbles, however, with what is otherwise a thoroughly impressive all-rounder. It’s just a shame that the price has been creeping upwards since launch.
Read our full Dell UltraSharp U2720Q review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Refresh rate: 75Hz; Response time: 5ms; Video inputs: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB-C 3.0
2. AOC U2790PQU: Best budget 4K monitor
Price: £321 | Buy now from Amazon
It’s very easy to recommend the AOC U2790PQU. This is a 27in 4K monitor with all the trimmings for under £400, which is all you really need to know.
If you need more, however, we’re happy to report that it performed remarkably well in our tests, producing 97% of the sRGB colour gamut with an average colour variance (Delta E) score of just 0.45, meaning it’s capable of producing that colour gamut with pinpoint accuracy. Brightness is also remarkable for the price, topping out at around 450cd/m² out of the box; contrast is less impressive, however, at 869:1.
What’s truly remarkable about the U2790PQU is that it packs in a solid feature set in spite of the price tag. The stand, for example, provides 90 degrees of pivot, 90 degrees of swivel, 21 degrees of backwards tilt and 130mm of height adjustment, which is more than most monitors at this price. There’s no USB-C port here, sadly, but the U2790PQU does have a three-port USB-A 3.0 hub as well as two HDMI ports (1.4 and 2.0) and one DP 1.2 port, plus an unusual combination of 3.5mm audio in and out ports to top things off.
With a 60Hz refresh rate and a 5ms response time, this maybe isn’t the gaming panel you’ve been dreaming about, but that’s not what this monitor is for. This monitor is for anyone who wants a crisp, bright image and a boatload of features for a price that won’t dent your budget.
Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Refresh rate: 60Hz; Response time: 5ms; Video inputs: 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x HDMI 1.2, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
3. AOC U32P2: A big, cheap 4K monitor
Price: £419 | Buy now from Amazon
If you need a bit more room for activities, consider the AOC U32P2. This monitor makes arguably better use of its 3,840 x 2,160 resolution with a larger 32in panel but still offers that trademark balance of features and price for which AOC is renowned.
What that means is that you’re getting a stand with pivot, swivel, tilt and height adjustment options – a whopping 175 degrees of swivel left or right is a particular highlight. The U32P2 lacks a USB-C port but comes with a four-port USB-A 3.0 hub plus one USB-B 3.0 port to power it, two HDMI 1.2 ports and a single DP 1.4 port – in other words, you’re well connected.
The panel itself is surprisingly good. It accurately produced 99% of the sRGB colour gamut in sRGB mode and hit a peak luminance of 414 nits in its default configuration. Like an increasing number of 4K office monitors, it refreshes at 75Hz, with a quoted 4ms response time and adaptive sync support. Perhaps not best suited to after-hours gaming, then, but far from appalling.
It’s worth noting that this is a bulky monitor, and that courtesy of its MVA (a form of VA) panel, you may notice that viewing angles aren’t all that great. But in truth, it’s hard to find any genuine flaws with the U32P2, particularly at such a fiercely competitive price.
Read our full AOC U32P2 review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 32in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: VA; Refresh rate: 75Hz; Response time: 4ms; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 1.2, 1 x HDMI 1.2, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
4. Philips 279C9: An impressive all-rounder for work and gaming
Price: £480 | Buy now from Amazon
The Philips 279C9 takes the formula established by other 4K monitors on this list and adds a couple of uncommon features into the mix for good measure. It does so at a competitive price point, too, which is no mean feat given what’s on offer here.
This 27in IPS monitor supports a rudimentary form of HDR: it’s not exactly going to blow your mind, but we noticed an improvement in colour vibrancy all the same. It also supports AMD FreeSync technology for reducing screen tearing when gaming. These things are noteworthy simply because they aren’t commonly found on office monitors; if you’re a casual gamer with a good rig that you’ve ended up reluctantly using very often for work, the 279C9 caters for you.
Elsewhere in our tests, the 279C9 performed very well indeed, producing 97% of the sRGB colour gamut with a fantastically low Delta E of 0.3 – so you can rest assured that colours are accurately represented in the sRGB space. Brightness tops out at around 380cd/m², which is more than good enough for even well-lit environments, although it falls a little shy of the 400cd/m² minimum required for that DisplayHDR 400 certification.
You’ve got plenty of room for cables here, which is great news: two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DP 1.4 port sit alongside a four-port USB-A 3.2 hub and a single upstream USB-C 3.0 port that provides up to 65W of power and can also carry a video signal (although in doing so, prevents use of the USB hub).
The downsides? The lack of speakers is a bit of a pain, and it’s also worth noting that although this monitor does support 75Hz refresh rates at lower resolutions, when gaming at 4K it’s locked to 60Hz. Otherwise, this is a fiercely good-value monitor for just about any scenario.
Read our full Philips 279C9 review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Refresh rate: 75Hz; Response time: 5ms; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB-C 3.0
5. BenQ EL2870UE: Best budget 4K gaming monitor
Price: £200 | Buy now from Amazon
At the opposite end of the spectrum to the likes of Asus’ eyeball-melting ROG Swift PG32UQ sits the humble BenQ EL2870UE. This phenomenally cheap 28in 4K gaming monitor is perfect for those who like the idea of pin-sharp images and a touch more screen real estate to play with but don’t want to fork out for the privilege.
This is a very simple monitor. The stand offers no adjustment options other than tilt, and you won’t find a USB hub of any kind on the rear – just two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DP 1.4 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The 3,840 x 2,160 panel refreshes at 60Hz – incidentally making this great for owners of the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X – and has a quoted response time of 1ms G2G thanks to unusual TN panel technology.
It’s plenty colourful, but if you want to give your games an additional kick the EL2870UE also supports HDR10 and has dedicated HDR and emulated HDR modes. With a peak brightness of 300 nits, this monitor is hardly class-leading where high dynamic range is concerned, but at this price the mere inclusion of HDR10 decoding is commendable.
Key specs – Screen size: 28in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: TN; Refresh rate: 60Hz; Response time: 1ms; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
6. Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ: Best 4K gaming monitor for PS5/Xbox Series X
Price: £850 | Buy now from Currys
The latest high-end 32in 4K gaming monitor from Asus leverages HDMI 2.1 and Variable Refresh Rate technology to broaden its scope beyond the reach of PC gaming enthusiasts. This is a gaming monitor for PS5 and Xbox Series X owners – and a very good one at that.
From a practical perspective, the PG32UQ covers almost every base. Ports include HDMI 2.1 (two of these), DisplayPort 1.4 (one of these) and USB-A 3.0 (two of these) plus a USB-B port to wire in your laptop or PC. The monitor lacks only the ability to swivel into a portrait orientation – pivot, tilt and height adjustment options are all present and correct. It’s a big, hefty thing (almost 10kg) that will sear your retinas at close quarters, but that’s hardly unexpected.
Speaking of retina-searing: the PG32UQ supports DisplayHDR 600 and has 16 local dimming zones for more nuanced backlight control. The result is a higher standard of HDR than you’ll find on most gaming monitors – still not a patch on a proper HDR TV, but certainly noticeable when you’re mid-game. Pair this with outrageously vibrant colours (this monitor produces 120% of the Adobe RGB colour gamut, with solid accuracy to boot) and a lovely 144Hz refresh and you’re looking at a seriously impressive bit of kit. The only downside in this regard is the mediocre contrast, an unfortunate side effect of the IPS panel technology.
Our verdict is simple: if you have money to blow on a gaming monitor, and you’d prefer to play your next-gen console on a smaller (but no less impressive) screen, buy the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ.
Read our full Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 32in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Refresh rate: 144Hz; Response time: 1ms; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4