Posted on February 16, 2019
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of 5 best 4K PC screens among more than fifteen models available at the moment.
My favorite is the LG 32UD99-W. You may say that it is the easy choice, but in terms of technology, it can be difficult to find a satisfactory compromise. As it stands, it is this LG high-end screen that seems to me the most complete and the most powerful at all levels.
You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to help you make the best choice of 4K screen, by unraveling all the technical criteria related to the purchase of a computer hardware incorporating a fairly new technology.
The best cheap 4K PC displays
Progress requires, we now find screens 4K both powerful and affordable. Despite some compromises, they manage to offer at a low price the incomparable rendering of the 4K definition.
Iiyama GB2888UHSU: the best cheap
I start with this very complete screen of the brand Iiyama. This 28 inches (about 71 centimeters) 4K is based on a TN slab, like most entry-level models, as opposed to the IPS.
The strengths of TN panels are the responsiveness and lower prices, to the detriment of contrast and viewing angles, much better on IPS slabs, more expensive.
Level of responsiveness and fluidity, so it is faultless with a response time usually very low. The screen is also equipped with FreeSync technology that guarantees a perfect fluidity of the image! The colors are fairly faithful even with the default settings.
Contrast level, the level is in the average of the TN screens: correct, but the blacks are often faded, for example during the viewing of a film. The interface is not the most practical, since it uses good old touch buttons under the screen. But at least the menus are clear and easy to use!
Connectivity is well supplied and well thought out, divided between the back and the side. On the back are the HDMI and VGA ports, and on the side the USB, audio and headphone ports. Added two speakers of very average quality, as often …
The consumption is high enough for a screen of this range, but nothing alarming.
An aspect not to be overlooked on the screens is ergonomics. Here, it is satisfactory: height adjustment on 13 centimeters, and rotation at 45 degrees on the sides. On the other hand, no pivot at 90 degrees, but it is anyway disadvised for TN slabs. My only disappointment is the inclination, only backward (17 degrees)!
So we are dealing with a fairly complete screen for this price, which will satisfy gamers who wish to make the leap into the world of ultra-high definition!
Samsung U28E590D: to taste 4K
Contrast and low angles
With this 28-inch screen at less than $ 300 at the time of writing, Samsung makes the 4K more than affordable.
With its TN panel, we logically find the advantages of technology: a very good reaction time, and this famous low price. But the defects of reduced viewing angles and low contrasts are also present …
The colors are of good quality by default, and can still be improved with some settings that you will find easily on the Internet. The interface, for its part, allows easy navigation thanks to a clickable joystick system.
For the rest, the screen defends well for its price: it produces no flicker, and a special filter reduces the risk of headaches (we see them arrive long hours of play!).
It announces a compatibility FreeSync, technology improving the fluidity of the image. But it is not available on HDMI ports, so it will not work with gaming consoles connecting to these ports. Pity !
Ergonomics level, this screen is unfortunately a bit limited. If it has the merit of taking up little space, being rather broad, but shallow, the adjustments are limited. It tilts only 2 backwards (and 20 degrees forward), and allows neither height adjustment nor rotation, lateral or vertical. It is still compatible with Vesa wall mounts …
Connectivity is also basic: 2 HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and an essential headphone output since the screen is not equipped with speakers. This is not a loss since the built-in devices are generally of poor quality, but you have to know it. Also note the total absence of USB ports …
Last, the screen consumption is in the average of products in this category.
It is therefore an entry-level screen, with the benefits associated with its low price: it will do very well to discover the 4K resolution on games.
Dell 27 UltraSharp 4K: IPS and HDR!
Good IPS: contrasts, angles …
… unfortunately poorly exploited
Dell hits hard with a 4K IPS screen at a very reasonable price.
Theoretically, this technology must offer a much better image quality than TN tiles. And that's what we find in use since the contrasts are much higher!
The colors, they require some settings, you'll find easily online, but once these settings made, the colors are perfect. The IPS panels also allow much wider viewing angles: even on the side, we can see the image.
In addition, this screen relies heavily on the presence of HDR technology, rare in this range.
If you do not know this technology, which is starting to find its place in the screen market, here's what to remember: it allows you to take full advantage of details and colors. Of course, technically, it's more complicated, but the advantages are undeniable: the games adapted to HDR are beautiful. However, this new technology is not yet very successful, so it is not exploited to the maximum on this screen.
The reactivity, without being at the level of screens TN panel, is quite acceptable.
Level ergonomics, the foot is well adjustable in height, in front and back tilt, lateral rotation and pivot to 90 degrees. Only drawback for my taste, the buttons on the lower edge.
There is also a high consumption, because of the very important backlight designed to optimize the brightness.
The connection is very complete since it includes 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort and a mini DisplayPort, as well as a USB hub and a headphone output. Dell even adds a screen-keyboard-mouse switch.
It is therefore a complete screen which we can especially regret the poorly exploited HDR. In addition, the screen is primarily designed for image professionals.
The best 4K mid-range PCs
The mid-range allows you to enjoy the qualities of the 4K definition without losing too many qualities, all at an acceptable price.
Acer Predator XB271HK: the best mid-range
We go upmarket to discover this screen 4K brand Acer, in 27 inches. With its IPS panel, it promises very high-level contrasts, perfect colors and excellent viewing angles, without reflections, at a still reasonable price. And the promises are kept!
Its reactivity of 4 milliseconds is very efficient for an IPS panel, without suffering the disadvantages of TN panels.
Add to that the Nvidia G-Sync technology, which ensures perfect fluidity by matching the refresh rate of your screen with that of your graphics card. Of course, for that it is necessary that your graphic card is a model of the mark Nvidia (one has nothing for nothing). In these conditions, you have a perfectly clear and fluid image!
The screen also incorporates a "Flicker Less" technology to avoid flickering and fight against eye strain (still limit your screen time!) In addition to an anti-glare technology, which remains, after all, enough appreciable, especially in the middle.
Ergonomics is not left out with the usual range of possible movements: height, side and pivot at 90 degrees, and tilt forward / backward. Same thing for the complete connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort, headphone jack, and a USB 3.0 hub.
To top it off, the consumption of this screen is quite low. We do not make small savings, and that's a hell of a lot!
We are therefore dealing with a complete screen, which exploits the advantages of IPS technology while not being left out of the reactivity … even if it is of course accompanied by its main defect: the price!
The best high-end 4K PC screens
At the top end, you will have access to all that is best in 4K. Here, more compromise between technology, price and performance!
LG 32UD99-W: the best high end
With this LG 32 inch diagonal screen, you really enter the high end. So we find the IPS technology, logical in this price range!
I did not talk much about design on the other screens, relatively classic, but I think that this one deserves a word, so much it seeks to make forget the presence of the frame: ultra-thin edge and foot thinner than the medium, to focus as much as possible on the image and forget everything around it. A design, to my taste, the most beautiful effect!
The default colors, pre-calibrated by the manufacturer, are not perfectly precise at the exit of the box, but can be easily corrected in some settings. Once done, they are really very high level (what is expected of a screen as expensive elsewhere).
The screen has HDR technology, well exploited for games and movies, despite some compatibility issues with Windows 10, which sometimes shows green and not ripe …
The screen also benefits from FreeSync technology to improve fluidity. Nothing to say about the visual performance of the screen.
The foot is adjustable in all directions, and the connection is very complete, with, in addition to the usual ports, the USB A. The screen is compatible, as a bonus, with Vesa wall mounts.
The sound is not neglected thanks to the presence of 5 speakers of suitable quality. Of course, having a dedicated audio system is always better, but we leave you carte blanche on this point!
Last but not least, the settings are made with a clickable joystick, instead of the usual buttons difficult to locate and use. In short, you do not waste precious time making the settings of your screen (so you have much more to play).
With this screen, you get what you pay for!
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
The 4K resolution unequivocally represents the future of the screens, so as to get up to date. Like any technological innovation, it can be complicated to navigate, hence the interest of summarizing some basic elements before getting into the thick of it: how to choose the best screen for its use?
There is a lot of noise around this 4K term. But what does that mean exactly, beyond the marketing sirens of "the best image quality"?
The term definition, often referred to as "resolution" by anglicism, refers to the number of pixels a screen can display. The higher the number, the more detailed the image. The calculation is made by giving the number of pixels in width, multiplied by the number of pixels in height.
The 4K is the new standard of very high definition. The origin of the name comes from the definition of 4000 pixels wide minimum (logic), but by misuse of language, it now refers to everything that is considered "ultra-high definition", including the screens of a resolution of 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels. So it's a little bit abusive on the part of the builders, but it's the usual term now!
The previous standard, the high definition (HD), proposed a resolution of 1920 pixels on 1080: the famous "1080p". The 4K, or UHD, therefore offers double. The ratio on the screen (the proportions) remain the same between HD and UHD: 16/9.
More and more equipment and games will be adapted. If you change installs now, you should upgrade to 4K to be up-to-date in the future. Already, many games as well as consoles like the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X are 4K compatible and therefore require a screen level to exploit all their possibilities.
It is important to note that the difference between 1080p and 4K is not as important as the previous jump, between standard definition and 1080p. The latter was a massive revolution instantly, while the 4K definition is still a development.
Before jumping together in the world of 4K, ask yourself the question of his interest in your specific situation!
Note that there is an intermediate option: the 2K definition, or 1440 p. Basically, this definition below 4K displays an equivalent price, but requires fewer resources. So you can save on equipment.
The size of the screen
Most of the best PC screens are screens of 27, 28 or 32 inches diagonally. The bigger the screen, the more immersive the experience is, of course, the ideal.
But do not forget that a big screen takes up more space and also requires more perspective. And of course, size affects the price. So do not just be attracted by the sirens of the largest diagonal!
The refresh rate, expressed in Hertz, is closely related to the fluidity of the image since it determines the number of frames per second, or FPS (Frames Per Second). The higher the refresh rate, the higher the number of frames per second.
The most common is 60 Hertz. This is why a connection port limiting refresh to a lower value is a handicap. This is particularly important for games that require responsiveness, such as shooting games.
The slab is the element of the screen that supports the image. The choice of slab technology is therefore decisive.
The screens in the selection use the two most common technologies for PC screens: TN and IPS.
A TN slab is cheaper and offers better responsiveness. IPS panels offer better contrast and color, as well as wider viewing angles, at a higher price, especially to reduce responsiveness to an acceptable value, especially for gaming. One last category, VA technology is not very interesting for games because even less reactive.
Let's talk reactivity precisely. The reactivity of a screen is determined not only by the response time, but also by the time of remanence.
The response time is the closest notion of the term of reactivity: simply the time that elapses between a signal and its display on the screen. The best TN screens announce a reactivity of 1 millisecond, seldom achieved in reality, so it is better to rely on tests published online.
IPS panels rarely do better than 4 milliseconds (it's above 5 milliseconds that the difference can start to come into play).
The time of persistence
The time of persistence, meanwhile, refers to the time that an image whose display is completed really disappears. A high remanence time can result in "ghosting": the image remains visible a moment too much.
The term "angles" about screens refers to the maximum angle that can be positioned relative to the screen while still having a correct image. The closer the viewing angle value of the screen is to 180 degrees, the better.
The IPS slabs of our selection thus promise up to 178 degrees of angle. TN panels usually offer low angles, meaning you have to face the screen to take advantage of it.
The fluidity is obviously a major criterion of the quality of a screen. Two similar technologies can further improve this feature by synchronizing the bitrate of images between your computer hardware and your screen, to avoid lags and jerks: G-Sync and FreeSync.
G-Sync is the version developed by Nvidia, thus requiring a graphics card of the same brand, while FreeSync is developed by AMD.
I come finally to the quality of image, essential criterion. The colors must be very precise, which can usually be changed in the settings, at the cost of a little research on the internet.
The best screens will obviously need only a few changes.
Contrast level, the higher the rate, the better the screen. TN panels are rarely better than 750: 1 in contrast, while IPS panels are rarely worse than 1000: 1.
Ergonomics is very important to ensure your comfort. The foot in particular must have the maximum of possible settings to avoid torticollis, reflections and other inconveniences: height, inclination, rotation and pivot at 90 degrees are adjustable on the best screens.
The adjustment of the screen parameters itself also deserves attention: some buttons, tactile or not, may be misplaced or unreactive. For me, the best option for navigating the menus is the use of a clickable "joystick".
Connectivity must be as complete as possible: HDMI, DisplayPort, possibly the VGA and DVI ports of yesteryear. A nice new feature is the presence of a USB hub to connect multiple USB devices.
Last criterion, the consumption of the screen can vary, especially according to its brightness. This setting can vary your electricity bill from a few euros to several tens of euros per year.
Showing four times more pixels on the screen inevitably requires higher performance. Which means that in addition to paying the screen more expensive, you must also make sure you have more powerful hardware, so also more expensive, mainly at the graphics card.
As with any new technology, a 4K screen is still a high-end screen. This is reflected on its price, higher than a HD screen, equivalent range.
You are now ready to make the best 4K screen choice for your PC, so do not hesitate, you will not regret it!