Which 4k UHD monitor?

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This topic contains 45 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  keepah 2 months ago.

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  • February 8, 2016 at 10:31 pm #37981

    RevDr
    Participant

    Hi,

    I am looking in the near future to purchase a 4k monitor.

    I am particularly after 4k as I am keen hobbyist 3D modelling, compositing, video editing and programming. The monitors ‘day job’ will be much less intensive work docs/surfing (but it my hobbying that I will be using the 4k for). Also worth knowing I am not a gamer so FreeSync/Gsync are not of interest. I am using windows 10 and am sat 70cm from my current monitor.

    I have read a large number of reviews and forums and from that I have a short list (which might not seem that shot) and number of questions (sorry if I should have split this over lots of threads).

    My first decision – which I am still puzzling over – is whether to go for a 27 or 32 inch. I understand that if I go for a 27 inch monitor I will need to use operating system scaling but if at 32 may ‘just’ get away without it. However, some say a 32 inch is just too big.

    If I go for 27 inch monitor I am considering the

    Dell P2715Q
    Or
    BenQ BL2711U

    There is quite a bit of info around on the Dell which I am reading very good reports about – although there seems to be lots of reports regarding ‘wake up’ syncing issues.

    The BenQ seems more difficult to find anything about although the specs look very good and the little I have found seems positive – it also, I believe, has HDMI 2.0 (see below why I think this may be significant). I noticed someone (admin?) of this forum has used this monitor.

    If I went for 32 inch I am considering the

    BenQ BL3201PT (the very top of my budget)
    Or
    Philips BDM3275UP

    There are lots of great reviews of the BenQ however there are lots of forum reports about ‘glitching’ happening multiple times a day. I read, in another thread , on this forum this is ‘normal’ for 4K using Display Port. There seems to be some discussion over other forums if this is an inherit DisplayPort & 4K issue or if this is due to the quality of cable being used. I also noticed on this forum it was suggested this ‘glitching’ does not seem to happen using HDMI 2.0. This is why I wonder if this is a significant feature and one that the BenQ BL3201PT is lacking.

    The Philips seems a much lesser known monitor and only discovered its existence recently. Most of the reviews for the Philips were not in English so I have read via google translate (which is a very handy tool – even if the English is a little broken sometimes). Most of the reviews were very positive. It also has HDMI 2.0. However, one review (and the most detailed review there was) indicated that sRGB is only available when the brightness is set to maximum – which I imagine will be way too much (I will post a link – but I am not sure if that is against forum rules so havn’t down that). It is also a little cheaper than the BenQ – although I am a little unsure as to the build quality of a Philips.

    So my questions…

    1) Is 27inch OK for my needs – or will 32 be just too big?

    2) Are there any disadvantages of using OS scaling? (other than some software compatibility issues).

    3) How much of an issue is 4k display port glitching and does HDMI 2.0 fix it? Is there any disadvantage to using HDMI 2.0?

    4) Does anyone know of Pro/Cons between the two 27 inch options or the two 32 inch options? (i.e. which of BL2711U/P2715Q has better colour etc). How big an issue is the sRGB only a max brightness on the Philips?

    5) Is there anything else in the pipleline but not yet released which might be worth waiting for – I am happy to wait a few months if there is something new coming.
    6. As I won’t be changing monitor again in the near future which company provides the best post-sales support (Dell are good, Philips I can’t find anything about)?

    Many thanks to any who (have read all this!) and are able to answer any of my questions – very much appreciated.

    February 8, 2016 at 11:19 pm #37986

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    Hi RevDr,

    I must thank you for posting such a comprehensive and well thought-out post. And also for starting such an excellent topic, which will undoubtedly be something many users are scratching their heads over. The recommendations section features two of the models you mentioned; the Dell P2715Q and BenQ BL3201PT/PH. That’s because they are the best in category. Rather than me waffling on about why, I feel it would be most helpful if I get straight to answering your questions. Indeed this will cover the ‘why’ bit anyway:

    1) 27” may be fine for your needs, but I personally find ~32” to be optimal for the ‘4K’ UHD resolution due to not needing scaling (as I’ll come onto) and the fact that the overall quality of some of the 32” options is unmatched. I don’t feel that 32” is too physically imposing at all. Just speaking of physical size, I even find 40” bearable, but obviously there aren’t any suitable models for you at that size and I think it’s pushing it – and 32” is plenty large enough for my tastes. As long as you’re able to accommodate the size on your desk and can sit a reasonable distance from it (>60cm really – so fine for your viewing distance).

    2) Software incompatibility is the main issue with OS scaling, but of course you lose work space if you’re scaling everything up. This is covered in our ‘experience’ article on the topic. As you can see, though, with the relatively low levels of scaling you might require on a 27” screen (28” used for the article) you still get a lot of space to work with. I prefer the pure experience and absolute advantage of using the resolution without scaling, as 32” provides (or 27” for me at a push) but still find 27” perfectly practical with 125% scaling.

    3) I don’t see the occasional flickering over DisplayPort on ‘4K’ monitors to be an issue worth worrying about. I’ve tested several UHD displays and always choose to connect them via DP, even if they actually support HDMI 2.0. It’s simply because the flickering is extremely occasional if it even occurs at all. You’re correct, the quality of the cable is important (shorter and thicker is better) but you don’t have to go crazy. Simple 1 – 2m cables from the likes of StarTech and Accell are absolutely fine in my experience.

    4) There are a few reasons that the Dell P2715Q is recommended. It essentially comes down to price, the fact it is very well tuned and partly the benefits of Dell’s generally strong customer service and warranty support. It’s similar to the P2415Q in terms of being finely tuned to give good accurate colours and good 60Hz responsiveness, but has a less grainy screen surface. In addition to being better than the 23.8” model in that respect, it is significantly less grainy than the models which use the much more common AU Optronics AHVA panel – as used on the BenQ BL2711U. Truth be told I actually tested a BL2711U fairly extensively but decided not to go the whole hog and publish a review simply because I much prefer the P2715Q. The screen surface makes a big difference. And although the overall image setup of the BL2711U was very nice and I did approve of some of the extra features (OSD controller and light/proximity sensors/HDMI 2.0), the pixel overdrive is a bit too strong for my tastes in the optimal ‘AMA High’ mode. Not as well tuned as on the Dell, in that respect.

    The 32” options are a bit less clear-cut, but that’s because they usually use the same AU Optronics M320QAN01.0 panel as the BenQ (noteable exception being the Samsung U32E850R). So yes, they all have a lot of potential to be very good monitors. But from my testing, the BenQ BL3201PT is known to be excellent. And you’d be hard pushed to find the other models better as the BenQ really did do an excellent job at pushing the panel it uses to its full potential. Marginally cheaper, yes, but very unlikely to be better (and possibly worse). As above I don’t feel the lack of HDMI 2.0 is worth fretting about, either. I should note that ‘sRGB’ is just a preset on the Philips and is likely not even as useful as some of the other modes where brightness can be adjusted. It’s similar to how things work on the BDM4065UC, for example.

    Philips are quite decent as far as customer support goes. They’re quite responsive and as long as you’re under warranty they’ll try quite hard to get your problem solved. You’re right the Dell are a bit of a step ahead in this regard, though, as they will usually give you a replacement monitor before your defective unit has even been picked up (a swap and drop). Aside from my thoughts on 32” being optimal for the ‘4K’ UHD resolution and 27” still being decent, there are two other things I prefer about the 32” models. One is that the screen surface is even lighter/smoother with even less graininess than the already decent P2715Q. The other is that the AHVA models (like the BenQ and Philips above plus ASUS PA328Q and AOC U3277PQU) are ‘low glow’. Not only is ‘glow’ lower than you’d expect from a 32″ panel, it’s actually slightly subdued even compared to 27″ models. Not a huge difference in that regard, it’s just a lot better than you’d expect from a ~32″ IPS-type panel. The Samsung U32E850R lacks this advantage, for example, and is only recommended by us if a user is really keen to have the greater FreeSync range.

    As for future models, there isn’t really anything that will be of particular interest for your uses which exclude gaming. There is of course the potentially incredible Dell UP3017Q, which is also going to be incredibly expensive and probably more of a glimpse into the future for most people than a serious option for today. And then there is the transition to DP 1.3 which will enable higher refresh rates such as 120Hz. Again, not of particular interest for your uses and not something that we’ll see in the immediate future either.

    February 9, 2016 at 5:49 pm #37987

    RevDr
    Participant

    Firstly thank you for your reply that is all very helpful in thinking through things.

    I had previously read the links you had given me and was aware of the other 32 inch models which I crossed off the list for different reasons.

    Today I created cardboard templates to better help me visualize the size of the monitors – seems to be somewhere between the two sizes would be ideal – but that is obviously not an option (UP3017Q!!!!).

    Your reply has given rise to a couple of other questions.

    1. is there a reason you don’t use HDMI 2.0 when it is available? Does DisplayPort do a better job?
    2. what exactly is and is not scaled in OS scaling? I have read your article on this but am a little unsure exactly what is scaled – is it simple UI elements or is there more to it than that?

    Thanks in advance for any reply.

    February 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm #37992

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    I love that cardboard idea to help visaulise things, that’s great! 🙂

    DisplayPort doesn’t do a better job at running 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz. It does support extra features like FreeSync and G-SYNC at that resolution as well, so naturally I’d use DP when reviewing a monitor with such features. And I also use an AMD GPU for some reviews, which lacks HDMI 2.0. Essentially I usually always have a DP cable connected to my GPU from testing various models which require the use of DP for their full functionality. So it’s just easier than switching to HDMI 2.0 for no reason (if using my Nvidia GPU). And really that was the point I was making – HDMI 2.0 doesn’t really offer an advantage over DP so the draw isn’t there to switch even if the option is available.

    As for the OS scaling, it is designed to make things more readable and easier to interact with. So it is text and UI elements such as buttons that are typically scaled. You wouldn’t generally get image content scaled if photo editing, for example. And if it is for some reason there would usually be an indepedent zoom control which can be used to counteract this. All scaling really does for the main content on applications like web browsers, Microsoft Office applications, Adobe applications and suchlike is increase the default zoom level. If you lower this you will be able to achieve something equivilent to 100% zoom without scaling, in other words. But using the zoom control has no effect on those UI elements.

    February 10, 2016 at 8:35 pm #37997

    RevDr
    Participant

    OK.

    Thanks for all the info. That is very helpful.

    I shall keep thinking and pondering (and playing with my UHC – Ultra High Cardboard 😎 ) screens as I am not sure which way to go (although under no pressure to decide) – but will report back once I do make a call.

    Thank you.

    April 23, 2016 at 10:20 pm #38993

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    Did you make a decision in the end?

    April 25, 2016 at 1:47 pm #39040

    RevDr
    Participant

    In a word ‘no’ 😎

    Well I liked the idea of the BenQ – but was bothered by all the reports of the ‘glitch’, which I know would really annoy me – even if it is a couple of times a day. Whilst sitting on the fence between monitors it became apparent we need a new family PC build – so in the end the budget went on that… so I will be waiting a little longer now… may be to a 3201PT Mark 2?

    Thanks for your help though

    April 26, 2016 at 12:51 pm #39042

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    Understandable. Hopefully when the time comes there will be something that will take your fancy. 🙂

    July 4, 2016 at 11:53 pm #39536

    katzolik
    Participant

    Hello!
    In Germany there are three 4K models right around the 500€ available.

    LG Electronics 27MU67-B
    LG Electronics 27UD68-W
    Acer B6 B276HKymjdpprz

    of course you can read a lot about them on the internet and everybody says there are good monitors “For the Price” but i don´t think a 4K monitor should cost more than that measured on the TV´s that are available for less with in my opinion the better display technology (VA).

    So can you tell me if they are not only good for the price but genuinely good monitors?

    i am quite sensitive to IPS Glow so how do they fair in that regard?

    Thanks!

    July 5, 2016 at 7:32 am #39537

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    I can’t as I have no experience with them. However; I have received a good amount of user feedback on the LG 27UD68 and that seems to suggest that it’s a very solid choice. It uses a newer iteration of the panel used in the Dell P2715Q but seems very similar aside from the thinner bezels. I have not received any useful quantitative data from users and just general comments like them finding the glow ‘fine’ and the colours ‘vibrant and inviting’.

    Plus the screen surface of the 27UD68 seems from comments to be similar to the P2715Q, so relatively smooth rather than obtrusively grainy as on some models. Speaking of which, I have a feeling the B276HK uses an AHVA panel with grainy screen surface (same as seen on the ASUS PB279Q, BL2711U and others). See my comments above and on relevant reviews regarding the screen surface of this.

    July 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm #39578

    katzolik
    Participant

    Hello!
    I still have the LG Electronics 27UD68-W for testing purposes and I stumbled onto another strange behavior.

    The monitor seems to have a lot of input lag in native 4K resolution!
    But when I mirror it with my 1280×1024 SyncMaster 940B It is nearly 2 frames faster than the SyncMaster 940B (tested using http://tft.vanity.dk/inputlag.html and slow shutter speed).

    I also tested 4K input lag by expanding a window over both monitors and filming a solid color transition in 30fps (I have no higher frame rate camera but it is enough to prove my point) and there the LG Electronics 27UD68-W is mostly one frame behind the SyncMaster 940B meaning a possible 4 Frames Slower Than it is in 1280×1024 mode.

    I also tested it mirrored in 1080P against the BenQ BL2700HT using http://tft.vanity.dk/inputlag.html and lowest shutter speed and there it was also up to 2 frames ahead of the BenQ BL2700HT.

    The 27UD68-W is advertised with a very low input lag and also tested by other sites under 10ms. But in 4k it deviates a possible 4 frames for me meaning an input lag up to 64ms.

    Is it possible that the HDMI 2.0 connection and the option “HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color” (seems to be a chip that does additional processing so it might have influence) that i have to activate to get 60Hz is causing th3 input lag? Could This be resolved with a Displayport Cable?

    I really feel it moving my mouse. That’s the reason I tested it.

    Thank you in advance!

    July 16, 2016 at 2:27 pm #39579

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    That is indeed strange. Monitors that exhibit this sort of resolution-dependent input lag may be undergoing additional processing that is specific to the connection used. So whilst it is no guarantee of better results, I do feel it’s worth trying to hook it up via DisplayPort.

    October 6, 2016 at 7:15 am #40182

    rephil
    Participant

    I am trying get some info and thought would try this site. I would like to buy a 4K monitor or 4k TV what is the best way get a TV and use it as a monitor or, get a monitor and thru my cable box use it as a TV I have an Alienware 17 R3 with and UHD screen and would be using that as a desktop hooked to either monitor or TV. If this is the wrong forum sorry just cant find any advice on this

    October 6, 2016 at 7:19 am #40187

    PCM2
    Keymaster

    Hi rephil,

    You have to be careful buying a 4K TV as a monitor as it must support something called 4:4:4 Chroma to display text correctly. Many users don’t realise this and are disappointed by the sharpness. It’s also not something manufacturers readily specify, so you’ll have to do research on this by typing something along the lines of the TV model and 4:4:4 Chroma into Google.

    On the monitor side of things there is nothing stopping you using the cable box (assuming it is an HDMI one) as a ‘TV’ at all. And you get a better selection of sizes and usually more capable models for PC use. Some are discussed here, others are featured in the recommendations section and/or reviewed on the website.

    October 17, 2016 at 1:03 pm #40279

    John 82
    Participant

    Hello there! , i’m searching from a glossy or semi glossy ips 4k screen , i don’t need 1ms or 144hz gaming thing , 60hz 4k would be good! someone can help me??

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