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

READ NEXT: The best 1080p, 1440p, 4K and ultrawide monitors available

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:

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