If we’re being realistic about what our eyes need and can perceive, how big of a screen we can fit, our budget and the media available, 3840 x 2160 sits on the upper echelon of premium viewing experiences, whether you’re gaming, watching a movie, surfing the web or getting work done. And with one of the best budget 4K monitors, you can get there without going broke.
For a while, 4K was a luxury that wasn’t quite reasonable for a PC monitor. But as these high-res screens have become more common and the bleeding edge has turned to higher pixel counts, a market segment of budget 4K monitors now allow you to take the Ultra HD experience to your desktop.
The top 10 best 4k budget monitors in United Kingdom in 2021
We’ve tested over 155 monitors, and below are our recommendations for the best 4K budget monitors that are available for purchase. Also, check out our recommendations for them.
1. Samsung U32R590 32Inch Curved UHD 4K Monitor
The Samsung UR59C offers a 32-inch VA panel with accuracy and curves. When we tested in sRGB mode, we recorded a color error of 4.3dE with visible errors, but our calibration got it down to 0.9dE. The UR59C also offers fantastic contrast, as expected from a VA panel, hitting an impressive 2,590.5:1 after calibration.
Ultrawide screens typically offer more noticeable curves, but despite its 16:9 aspect ratio, the UR59C’s1500R curve is noticeable and beneficial, allowing us to keep more windows in view. This monitor isn’t fit for serious gaming, but casual players can make it work. The UR59C has a 60 Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time and no FreeSync or G-Sync to fight screen tears. You’d get noticeably better response times and input lag scores from a 75 Hz screen even. But with its high contrast and the pixel density of a 32-inch, 4K screen, games didn’t look bad.
2. ASUS TUF Gaming VG289Q1A 28” HDR 4K UHD Monitor
The VG289Q proves that with a high-quality IPS screen, DCI-P3 color and HDR. And while it comes with FreeSync and isn’t Nvidia-certified as G-Sync Compatible, it ran G-Sync just fine in our tests. Both Adaptive-Sync flavors worked with HDR and the display’s full color gamut.
The backlight is a flicker-free LED arrayed at the edge. There is no zone dimming or additional dynamic contrast available for HDR. You’ll see in our tests that the luminance range is about the same for both SDR and HDR content. The monitor displays all content content in the extended color gamut, which by our calculations runs around 80% of DCI-P3.
The only thing missing is a fast refresh rate. But although 60 Hz is the maximum and the best gaming monitors often go up to 144 Hz or greater, at 4K resolution, it takes an expensive graphics card to drive speeds past that mark. The lower FreeSync limit is 40 Hz, so you’ll want a mid-tier graphics board at least. But that’s true any time one adds a 4K display to their gaming rig.
3. LG Electronics 32UN500 31.5 Inch UHD 4K HDR Monitor
The LG 32UN500-W is a shot at another market: those who want a 4K resolution HDR monitor on a budget. Right from the jump, you can see a few places where LG made cuts to reach the price point on a 32-inch panel. The 32UN500-W sports a VA panel, which is often preferred due to its high contrast levels. You lose the excellent response times of the TN panels, but make up for it with excellent contrast and image depth.
This monitor has a refresh rate of 60 Hz, which some gamers might scoff at, but if you’re gaming at 4K without a beefy enough graphics card, you won’t always be hitting 60 frames per second (fps) anyway. The 32UN500-W is about those trade offs for size and resolution. We’re not expecting it to be the best HDR monitor. But it still looks pretty good when combined with the pixel density, a high contrast ratio and a solid color gamut. Again, there’s a little give-and-take here.
4. Dell S Series S2721QS LED Display 4K Ultra HD Monitor
The Dell S2721QS is a great budget 4k monitor that’s suitable for a wide range of uses. It has a large screen with plenty of space for multitasking, and its high pixel density results in sharp images and text. The stand allows for a good amount of ergonomic adjustments, and its IPS panel has wide viewing angles, so you can easily share your screen with colleagues.
It has a fast response time, low input lag, and supports variable refresh rate (VRR) technology to reduce screen tearing when gaming. The refresh rate is limited to 60hz, but it shouldn’t be an issue for most people as gaming in 4k is still quite demanding. Like most IPS panel monitors, the contrast ratio is mediocre, which results in blacks looking grayish in the dark. Additionally, while it gets bright enough to fight glare, it isn’t enough to deliver a satisfying HDR experience.
5. HP U28 4K HDR Monitor
Monitors have never been easier to assemble, and with the bounty of connectivity options the U28 offers, the setup process is even smoother. The base and the arm are already unified when pulled out of the box, so you just have to snap the stand into the back of the panel. No tools required.
The U28 can connect to a PC over HDMI, DisplayPort or USB-C, and HP does the right thing by providing one cable for each. The box also includes the external 180W power adapter – it’s not built into the panel like some monitors – and 6.2-foot A/C power cable. There’s also a quick start guide, product notice and warranty papers.
HDR performance doesn’t quite match up, however. HDR mode isn’t tweakable, and its colors aren’t saturated enough and it doesn’t offer a noticeable visual upgrade over SDR. Some might even prefer to watch movies with HDR off in favor of more accurate, deep colors.
6. Samsung LU28E570 28″ UHD 4K Ultra HD Monitor
The Samsung LU28E570 doesn’t offer much when it come to extra ports. Running on the back, just below the VESA holes, are the bare bone necessities. Two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. There aren’t any USB ports, whether looking for Type-A or Type-C. That means you can’t use the monitor as a hub to power other devices or even your laptop.
Most people don’t buy a monitor with that in mind, but there are basic conveniences a budget-level monitor like this can’t afford. The LU28E570 does include a headphone jack, but lacks built-in speakers, meaning you have to use laptop speakers or buy external speakers.
It will work well enough for a gamer looking to power things up to 4K; or, just work for a creative professional who need a big, clear monitor. While at it, the middling contrast and black levels hold this back from being the ideal budget 4K monitor. In case you’re looking for a cheap 4K for the office or console and PC gaming, the Samsung LU28E570 is a decent pick.
7. ASUS VP28UQG 28″ 4K UHD Gaming Monitor
A good value, the Asus VP28UQG enables casual 4K gaming for rigs with budget graphics cards. But like most TN panels, it lacks contrast, resulting in a washed-out image. Serious gamers will want to look elsewhere.
If you’re more of a casual gamer or non-gamer and have a budget rig running a lower-end graphics card, you might find one of the best budget 4K monitors useful. The Asus VP28UQG tries to make that list by offering strong value, as well as what you need to enjoy tear-frame gaming at modest frame rates (it has a 60 Hz refresh rate, 1ms GTG response time and Adaptive-Sync) while offering the productivity benefits of 4K. But to do this at such a low price, the screen opts for a TN panel that lacks the ability to really make games (or other media) pop.
The VP28UGQ’s price is hard to ignore. And if you don’t want much more than a reliable 4K screen that can handle work and (light) play, it’s a good option.
8. LG 27UD58-B.AEU 27-Inch LCD/LED Monitor
The LG 27UD58-B is a good 4k IPS gaming monitor with a passable picture quality. It has a few gaming oriented features such as FreeSync and very low input lag for a 60Hz monitor. Motion handling is also good but limited by the relatively low refresh rate. Unfortunately, backlight bleed is bad when viewed in a dark room and the reflection handling isn’t as good as some other monitors when viewed in a bright room.
The design of the LG 27UD58-B monitor is good. The monitor looks good from the front, due to the fairly unique crescent stand. The black borders also look good, even if they are a bit thicker than most other monitors. Unfortunately, the ergonomic adjustment options are limited with only the ability to tilt the monitor which can make it difficult to find a comfortable viewing position. The build quality is decent, and the stand feels stable.
9. Philips 276E8VJSB – 27 Inch 4K Monitor
The Philips 276E8VJSB monitor is based on an IPS panel with dithered 10-bit color depth (8-bit + 2-bit FRC) and ~109% sRGB color gamut. The slightly extended sRGB gamut provides you with more saturated colors (not over-saturated, which is good), which makes them look more lifelike.
Keep in mind that 4K UHD is quite demanding even at 60Hz when it comes to the latest PC titles. Add to that the fact that the Philips 276E8VJSB doesn’t feature AMD FreeSync, which would provide a variable refresh rate (VRR) for compatible GPUs, thereby eliminating screen tearing and stuttering, at least within the 40-60Hz/FPS VRR range.
10. LG UHD 27UL600 – 27 Inch IPS LED 4K Monitor
The headline specs involve a quality 27-inch IPS panel with 3,840 by 2,60 pixels. LG says it’s good for 1,000:1 contrast, 5ms response and 99 per cent of the sRGB colour space.
As for HDR capability, it sports Vesa DisplayHDR 400 certification. OK, you’re not getting the full HDR experience with the ‘400’ rating. There’s no local dimming and the maximum brightness is 350cd/m2. But this monitor can handle an HDR signal and show colours correctly for HDR content.
Of course, with a price this low, something has to give. The LG 27UL600’s refresh rate is limited to 60Hz. But then the cheapest 4K 120Hz-plus panel costs at least three times as much.
How to choose best 4K budget monitor for you?
When shopping for the best budget 4K monitor, remember the following:
- Decide the monitor’s main purpose. If it’s gaming, higher refresh rates and Adaptive-Sync (AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync) are priorities, as is a beefy graphics card. You should have a minimum of a GTX 1070 Ti or RX Vega 64 for medium settings or, for high or better settings, an RTX-series or Radeon VII. For general productivity or entertainment, look for high contrast for high image quality. Creatives should strive for accuracy.
- Errors under 3 Delta E (dE) are generally invisible to the naked eye. A monitor with a 5dE color error, for example, probably has colors that look visibly off. Accuracy matters more for creative work.
- Do you need HDR? A 4K monitor with the right HDR implementation makes 4K/HDR content look significantly better than it would on a regular, or SDR, monitor. While many 4K monitors support HDR, few budget ones do it with noticeable impact. If you want a monitor that makes the HDR upgrade worth it, consider upping your budget to stay in 4K or opting for a lower resolution to save money.
- Consider ports and other features. Do you need HDMI 2.1, the latest DisplayPort (1.4)? Are USB Type-A ports important, and do you want USB-C for charging or a single-cable setup? Speakers and the stand’s ability to tilt, swivel or rise are also factors.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best 4k budget monitors currently available. If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our 4k monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.