Enjoy ultra high definition visuals with the best 4K gaming monitors we’ve tested – starting from just £200
Not so long ago, 4K monitors were the sole preserve of deep-pocketed enthusiasts with high-end gaming PCs. With the advent of 4K console gaming on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, however, that’s all changed, and now the best 4K gaming monitors are in high demand from both PC and console camps.
Not all 4K gaming monitors support next-gen consoles, though, and not all PC graphics cards can actually handle 4K gaming, so it’s incredibly important to conduct some careful research before buying. There’s zero point in spending big on a 4K monitor if it doesn’t make a good match for your setup.
Even if you are one of those lucky gamers with a monstrously high-end GPU in your PC and one or two 4K consoles lying about, you’ll still want to ensure that your new monitor has the ability to squeeze every drop of performance from your hardware with features such as HDR and high refresh rate support.
This is where we come in. We’ve tested a lot of 4K gaming monitors, and on this page you’ll find our pick of the best 4K gaming monitors to buy. If you want to know more about choosing the right 4K gaming monitor for you, then read on and we’ll explain everything you need to look out for in our buying guide.
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How to choose the best 4K gaming monitor for you
Can my PC/console run games at 4K?
It might seem obvious, but there’s little point purchasing a 4K monitor if your gaming hardware can’t take advantage of it.
If you’re a console gamer, you will of course need a PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, PS5 or Xbox Series X in order to play games at 4K resolutions. The Xbox One S can play 4K Blu-rays, but not games.
If you’re a member of the PC gaming community, the prerequisites are simple: you’ll need an appropriate graphics card and CPU combination.
Graphics cards: Nvidia recommends the GeForce GTX 1080 as an absolute minimum, while the Radeon RX 5700 is AMD’s equivalent. Both cards will struggle to produce playable frame rates at 4K unless you’re prepared to dial down the graphics settings. For a more pleasant experience, you should be looking at Nvidia’s RTX 2070 and AMD’s RX 6800 cards and above – the better the card, the better your experience will be, and the more chance you’ll have of cranking a game’s graphics settings to optimal (if not maximal) settings.
CPU: Gaming at 4K places more strain on the GPU than the CPU, but it still pays to have something modern and capable. We recommend at least an eighth-generation Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 3000 series processor.
The rest of your build (ie, RAM, PSU, storage) needs to complement your chosen hardware. Fast M.2 SSDs will help reduce loading times. Top tip: never, ever try to run a power-hungry high-end CPU and GPU combination on an underpowered PSU.
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How much should I spend?
It depends entirely on what features you’re after. It’s possible to buy a basic 60Hz 4K gaming monitor for as little as £200, but features such as HDR and high refresh rates send prices soaring upwards – high-end 4K monitors won’t leave you much, if any, change from £1,000.
It happens that 4K gaming monitors built for PS5 and Xbox Series X hover at around the £700-£900 mark – you can spend less, but without HDMI 2.1, VRR or HDR support you’re missing many next-gen improvements.
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What size should I buy?
4K gaming monitors tend to range in size from 27in to 32in. The smaller the panel, the closer you’ll need to sit to really notice those extra pixels, so think about how you play – and how much space you have – before you buy.
What specifications should I watch out for?
Refresh rate: Generally either 60Hz, 120Hz or 144Hz. You’ll pay more for higher refresh rates and will need a seriously powerful PC (or a next-gen console) to benefit.
Panel technology: IPS (in-plane switching) is the most common panel technology. IPS panels have good colour reproduction and response times but have uninspiring contrast. Nano IPS panels improve colour reproduction further still.
VA (vertical alignment) panels partner good colour reproduction with dramatically improved static contrast, but can suffer from ghosting and often exhibit weaker viewing angles.
TN (twisted nematic) panels are reserved for older, budget monitors: these panels have very low response times but colour reproduction is inferior to the other panel types, and contrast is similar to IPS.
Don’t limit yourself to a single panel type – each type has pros and cons, but on the whole the performance gaps between them are shrinking rapidly.
HDR: While few gaming monitors can provide the same jaw-dropping HDR experience a top-end TV can, many of the products on our list make a pretty good show of it thanks to high peak brightness, wide colour gamut coverage and a backlight with basic local dimming support.
If you’re a PS5/Xbox Series X gamer, you’ll want to invest in a gaming monitor that has at least a DisplayHDR 600 certification. At this point, you’ll really start to get a taste of the bright, vivid colours and impactful contrast that HDR is capable of. If you can stomach the cost, consider a gaming monitor with local dimming – you’ll appreciate the huge boost it gives to HDR performance.
Connectivity: Since we’re dealing with gaming monitors here, you should temper your expectations. Most high-end gaming monitors have USB-A hubs for peripherals but very little else beyond the required HDMI/DP ports. If you plan to use this monitor for work and need USB-C or RJ45, consider a bog-standard 4K monitor instead.
Adjustability: A high-end 4K gaming monitor should have all four adjustment options: height, tilt, swivel and pivot (although many forgo the latter). Opt for a budget model, however, and you will sacrifice adjustability – the cheapest 4K gaming monitors offer a small amount of tilt and nothing else.
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How we test 4K gaming monitors
Whenever we receive a monitor for review, we first take measurements using calibration software fom DisplayCal and an X-Rite colorimeter. We measure peak luminance (with HDR on and off), black point and contrast, plus colour gamut coverage, colour accuracy, colour temperature and panel uniformity. We then use Blur Busters’ suite of web-based tools to check for inverse ghosting/ghosting and motion blur, as well as how these things are affected by overdrive/MBR (if applicable). Should the monitor on test have HDR with local dimming, we try and spot the zones in action using an HDR-ready video of a white moving object against a black background.
Once these tests are done, we use the monitor for at least a week, gaming on PC and PS5 with games that have good HDR implementation and 4K/VRR/120Hz support for next-gen consoles (if applicable). We check the build quality by stress-testing the panels and assess viewing angles, ports and the stand. Finally, we find comparable monitors and gauge whether you’re getting good value for money.
The best 4K gaming monitors you can buy in 2023
1. Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ: Best 32in 4K gaming monitor
Price when reviewed: £849 | Check price at Argos
The Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ is an excellent high-end 4K gaming monitor with HDR. The 32in panel is a cut above the average, assaulting your eyeballs with rich colours and pin-sharp visuals. It helps that the backlight supports local dimming, with 16 zones working independently to improve contrast. This is an HDR 600-certified monitor, and a good one at that – the panel produces a phenomenally wide gamut of colours with great accuracy. It’s also responsive and effortlessly fluid at 144Hz (or 120Hz on PS5/Xbox Series X).
There’s no getting around the price, but at least the PG32UQ provides plenty of extras to compensate. Alongside HDMI 2.1 and DP 1.4 ports, PC gamers will be pleased to note a two-port USB-A hub for your peripherals. The stand, meanwhile, provides swivel, tilt and height adjustment, which is enough to keep your posture correct.
If you want big-screen gaming for your desk, the PG32UQ is a great choice.
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; HDR: DisplayHDR 600; Local dimming: 16 zone, edge lit; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; Other ports: 2 x USB-A 3.0, 1 x USB-B 3.0, 1 x 3.5mm
2. BenQ EL2870UE: Best budget 4K gaming monitor
Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Ebuyer
The BenQ EL2780UE has clung to its position as our favourite budget 4K gaming monitor for some time now. There’s a reason for that: if you want 4K and something resembling HDR for your console or PC, the EL2780UE is about the cheapest monitor we’d happily recommend.
This 28in TN monitor is basic, but it produces a good image and has an emulated HDR mode that pumps up the saturation in a valiant – albeit artificial – attempt at high dynamic range. That said, it has a good peak brightness, good viewing angles and low response times, and as such is absolutely fine for the budget-conscious gamer. The maximum refresh rate of 60Hz means it’s better suited for low-end 4K rigs and last-gen consoles such as the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
The stand offers a bit of tilt and nothing else, and the port selection is equally barebones, but that’s not the point: this monitor is absurdly cheap for the resolution and image quality. If you’re on a shoestring budget and still want 4K, buy the EL2780UE.
Key specs – Screen size: 28in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: TN; Refresh rate: 60Hz; Response time: 1ms; HDR: Emulated; Local dimming: None; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; Other ports: 1 x 3.5mm
3. Philips Momentum 279M1RV: Best 27in 4K gaming monitor
Price when reviewed: £720 | Check price at Amazon
The Philips Momentum 279M1RV might look utilitarian, but it quickly cemented itself as one of our all-time favourite gaming monitors – 4K or otherwise. The 27in nano IPS panel squeezes 4K into a relatively compact frame, and the result is phenomenal detail even at close quarters. It’s also exceptionally colourful, with the wide-gamut panel producing 94% of the Adobe RGB space with good accuracy.
Thanks to a 16-zone local-dimming backlight and a peak brightness of well over 600 nits, the Philips Momentum 279M1RV earns itself a DisplayHDR 600 certification and handles HDR content very well indeed.
From a practical perspective, the 279M1RV has all the trimmings, including a versatile stand and a well-stocked port panel that unusually includes a USB-C port for power delivery and video transmission. There are a few less practical and more indulgent features here, too, including a strip of Philips Ambiglow lighting that runs along the rear edges of the panel and illuminates the nearest surface.
Read our full Philips Momentum 279M1RV review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 27in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Refresh rate: 144Hz; Response time: 1ms; HDR: DisplayHDR 600; Local dimming: 16 zone, edge lit; Video inputs: 3 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4; Other ports: 4 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C, 1 x 3.5mm
4. BenQ EW2880U: Best 4K gaming monitor for films and TV
Price when reviewed: £380 | Check price at Amazon
The BenQ EW2880U is a jack of all trades. This is a good-value 28in 4K monitor with decent gaming credentials and enough other features to earn it a spot here. If it’s versatility at a good price you’re after, look no further.
The EW2880U’s USB-C port enables you to send video to the display and simultaneously charge your connected device (up to 60W) with a single cable. It also has a good pair of speakers, and it comes with a remote control that lets you access the OSD and change source/volume from a distance – perfect for impromptu movie watching. The stand is relatively basic but still provides small amounts of tilt, swivel and height adjustment.
From a gaming perspective, this is definitely one for the budget-conscious: if you own a PS5 or Xbox Series X, you should probably spend more on one of the other options on this list. However, owners of cheaper 4K-ready gaming PCs or last-gen consoles (that is, anything that tops out at 60Hz) will do just fine on this colourful IPS panel.
Read our full BenQ EW2880U review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 28in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: IPS; Refresh rate: 60Hz; Response time: 5ms; HDR: Emulated; Local dimming: None; Video inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB-C; Other ports: 1 x USB-C, 1 x 3.5mm
5. LG C1: Best 4K gaming TV
Price when reviewed: From £1,000 | Check price at John LewisYou caught us: this isn’t a gaming monitor. If you’re the proud owner of an Xbox Series X or PS5, however, there’s nothing quite like a full-blown 4K TV for making the most of all that additional power.
The LG C1 is our current favourite OLED 4K TV for gaming. Available in 48in, 55in, 65in, 77in and 83in sizes, the C1 has everything you need for next-gen gaming. Four HDMI 2.1 ports enable VRR for tear-free gaming; ALLM for automatic game mode activation; eARC for lossless audio; and 120Hz refresh rate support at 4K resolutions.
Then there’s the panel itself, which produces staggering visuals. Pixel-level control delivers effectively perfect black for near-infinite contrast and works in tandem with a searingly high peak luminance to deliver excellent HDR performance. You’ll also benefit from an input lag of 6ms, which is exceptionally low for a TV. Next-gen gaming on this thing is a dream.
Obviously, you are paying a premium for a 4K TV, but it’s not that much more than some high-end 4K gaming monitors, and the results for console gamers are vastly superior.
Read our full LG C1 review for details
Key specs – Screen size: 48in, 55in, 65in, 77in or 83in; Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160; Screen technology: OLED; Refresh rate: 120Hz; Response time: 6ms; HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG; Local dimming: None (self-emissive pixels); Video inputs: 4 x HDMI 2.1; Other ports: 3 x USB-A, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm, 1 x Optical Digital, 1 x CI