It’s all very well and good if your laptop or bog-standard monitor can handle the daily spreadsheet or odd game of Spider Solitaire with ease, but when it comes to gawking at the graphics of the newest Steam releases, it’s likely you’ll want something with a little more pizzazz. In the computing world, pizzazz means pixels, and the best 4K monitors have them by the bucketload, making them ideal for gaming, movies and more.
- Console gamer? See our best TVs for gaming to get the most out of those new releases
- You’ve got the hardware, now play on with our favourite PC games of the moment
There are a few specifics you’ll want to keep an eye out for when buying a 4K monitor, depending on what you want it for. If you’re going to be watching films or working on detailed, large-scale visual projects, consider going for the largest screen size that your budget (and desk) will allow without sacrificing resolution. If you’re an avid gamer, something with the lowest possible response rate is a must, with 4 or 5ms being great, and 1ms being the ideal. In the market for a new gaming keyboard too? See here for our list of the best.
1. LG UltraFine 4K Display
Unbeatable resolution in a Mac-friendly package? Fine by us.
Best for: Macbooks | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Screen size: 21.5” | Resolution: 4096 x 2304 | Response rate: 12ms
If your 13-inch Macbook is perfectly adept at the day-to-day stuff but you’re after something more for games and movies, this Mac-friendly monitor might just be the one to get. It packs in over 9.4 million pixels: that’s nearly five times more than your average HD display, so photographers and designers who need ultra-faithful representations of images will find it ideal for work. When it comes to movies and games, the included USB-C cable can support 4K video, audio and data all at the same time, while charging your laptop. Pretty amazing stuff, all earning it our top spot.
2. Samsung U32E850R
Pictures in pictures, by pictures, and on pictures? This is one for the professionals and video enthusiasts.
Best for: Professionals | Aspect ratio: 16.9 | Screen size: 31.5” | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response rate: 4ms
This UHD monitor might boast 1.4 million fewer pixels than our first pick from LG, but that’s no big sacrifice when it still looks this good. With a resolution four times greater than full HD, it renders box sets and games in phenomenal, pin-sharp detail, but its real beauty lies in its ability to multitask. Picture-by-Picture functionality lets you see two different input sources without either one losing its quality, and the intuitive Picture-in-Picture makes shifting sources easy peasy. Overall, it’s ideal for anyone dealing with video on a regular basis, and its adjustability makes it easy on the eyes (and posture) too.
3. Philips BDM4037UW
Fast response rate and a huge curved screen make this an awesome monitor for gaming
Best for: Immersive AV | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Screen size: 40” | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response rate: 4ms
Curved screens are still a big thing in the world of TVs, and they’re popping up in computing too, with good reason. This curved monitor from Philips is specifically engineered for a comfortable and immersive experience, especially when it comes to PC gaming – sure, it’s outrageously large, but for something that properly fills your field of vision without having to squint or strain your eyes, there’s none better. Plus, it can be wall-mounted for an even more majestic effect in smaller rooms where it would be overbearing as a desktop.
4. Acer Predator XB271HK
Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water: consider this transformative monitor before replacing your whole rig
Best for: Gaming | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Screen size: 27” | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response rate: 4ms
This Acer Predator monitor is one for the players. Our best 4K monitor for gaming, it features NVIDIA G-Sync technology for a smooth, lagless experience with no screen tearing to speak of, absolutely essential when you’re 10 hours deep into a marathon castle-storming sesh and need to keep your wits about you. One reviewer called it “a new level of amazing”, saying that playing on it was like having a whole new PC, and when this monitor runs at around half the price of some of our other picks, that’s really something worth celebrating.
5. Asus PB287Q
Be kind to your eyes with this flickerless, feature-packed budget monitor
Best for: Value | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Screen size: 28” | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response rate: 1ms
This Asus monitor might not look like pageant material when you compare it to our picks from LG or Philips, but sacrificing just a little design finesse is well worth it for an award-winning monitor that comes in at under £400. It lets you multitask with Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes; see things in enhanced brightness and superb sharpness; and avoid eye strain with low-blue light, flicker-free and light level-specific modes. Pretty clever stuff for a budget monitor
6. AOC U2879VF
Those in search of a cheap gaming monitor can halt the search at this fast responding AOC marvel
Best for: Affordability | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Screen size: 28” | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Response rate: 1ms
Thought our previous pick couldn’t be beaten for value? You know where we’re going with this... For just shy of £300 you can get a quality 4K display in the form of this AOC monitor, and while it’s worth bearing in mind that it have its own speakers – so those in search of an all-in-one audiovisual solution might be best-placed to look at other options on our list – it’s ideal as a second monitor for a laptop. Its ultra-fast 1ms response time makes it ideal for gaming, and a wealth of inputs including HDMI, VGA, DVI and DisplayPort make it impressively versatile for the money.
Not found what you're looking for here? Check out the best gaming monitors for further options.