Which 4k UHD monitor?

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Buying a monitor? Please refer to this post before purchasing.

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    BenQ EW3280U or LG 27UL850-W.

    I can’t decide between the two which one is better for gaming movies and light content creation?


    As covered in the review, the ~32″ screen size is very well suited to the ‘4K’ UHD resolution. If budget allows then it’s a much better path to go down in my opinion. The EW3280U also provides a superior colour gamut, which some users would enjoy for gaming, movie watching and general usage. It’s an appropriate gamut for HDR content, as per the review. This can work nicely for content creation under SDR as well, if you’re targeting DCI-P3 colour space.. The screen surface also has a smoother surface texture on the BenQ, so lighter content appears less grainy. The integrated subwoofer and remote control are nice touches in my view, so is the ‘rustic’ aesthetic.

    The LG‘s design is ‘safer’ and more conventional, which could appeal to some. It offers good ergonomic flexibility and is (or should be) somewhat cheaper than the BenQ in most markets. IF your content creation is within the sRGB colour space and you don’t own a colorimeter or similar device, the LG may be more appropriate for that usage as its gamut is closer to that standard. The BenQ offers an sRGB emulation setting, but as noted in the review it isn’t perfect. You might have some luck using our ICC profiles from the review if you don’t own your own colorimeter. But with either model, you’d get the best results in terms of colour accuracy by calibrating and re-calibrating with your own colorimeter.


    Hello there, I wanted to ask some advice on a new monitor. I’m going to buy my first 4k monitor and I’m not shure which one to get between those 3:
    BenQ BL3201PT,
    Philips 328E1CA,
    – Benq EW3270u.

    I found the first monitor for 430E and the other two for the same price, 369E. I’m tempted by the first one since it’s IPS but at the same time it’s pretty old.
    My main usage is coding via connecting my MacBook Pro (USB-C would be nice), watching movie and some time playing games via console. If you can guide me to the ‘best’ choice it would be amazing, pretty lost here among all the names and different characteristics of each.


    Here there lory_s,

    There’s quite a bit of discussion on all of those models on the forum, including in this thread that’s dedicated to the ~32″ ‘4K’ UHD options. I wouldn’t get too bogged down in all that though, the 328E1CA is certainly a model I recommend for uses like yours. It offers a more consistent experience than the EW3270U – less grainy screen surface, colours lose less saturation towards the edges, dark detail levels better maintained. The contrast is also a lot stronger than on the BL3201PT, which is really only a model I’d recommend over the Philips if your main use is colour-critical work.


    Relevant to this thread as it’s another model I’ll happily recommend. Our review of the Philips 288E2UAE (288E2E) has been published. Decent 60Hz responsiveness with Adaptive-Sync support and vibrant but not strongly oversaturated colour output. My unit hit all desired calibration targets for the ‘Test Settings’ straight from the box. It offers decent overall build quality with height adjustment as well and is priced very competitively. It doesn’t have the best brightness adjustment range of offers no HDR support. But it delivers a solid SDR experience for a good price. And HDR is nothing to write home about on competing models of anywhere near this price, anyway.


    Hi PCM2,

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts/opinions on the Dell S2721QS? It’s become quite popular due to RTings giving it a very glowing review and is in a very affordable price range. I’m currently looking for a budget 4k monitor that will be as color accurate as possible for a budget monitor (in the ~$300 price range) as my girlfriend does do some graphic design work. Was hoping to not go any smaller than 27 inches.

    I was also considering the Philips 278E1A, however Amazon reviews seem to point towards quite a few quality control issues and Phillips not honoring warranty requests that is scaring me away.

    Do you have any other alternative monitors you may recommend? Do you think the Dell S2721QS could serve my purposes?


    Hi capbera,

    I think the S2721QS is a decent option. It’s well-built and offers solid all-round performance in many respects. But I’m not really sure it’s suitable for your girlfriend’s graphic design work, unless she owns a colorimeter or similar device. It lacks any gamma options in the OSD and gamma is all over the place – that is clear from RTINGS review and shouldn’t be overlooked. Other reviews also highlight the funky gamma performance and this is something I’ve observed with Dell’s S Series models more broadly.

    I also still slightly prefer the 278E1A for similar reasons to those mentioned earlier in this thread when comparing the 276E8VJSB to LG’s models. Which use the same panel as the Dell. It has a slightly smoother (less grainy) screen surface and tends to be better calibrated. I’ve recommended the two Philips models to a very large number of individuals and gathered a lot of feedback on it. Most of it is very positive. They’re very popular due to their affordability, but people are far more likely to post negative rather than positive things. If the monitor is genuinely faulty as specified in their warranty then legally, Philips don’t have the right to refuse the return. And they wouldn’t do so. If people are suffering from an issue that isn’t covered by the warranty then they may not accept the return. That would apply with other manufacturers all the same, although I know Dell are usually quite lenient with this and flexible with their warranty terms.

    The LG panels have known longer-term quality control issues which I’m not sure have been rectified. In fact LG themselves quietly switched to using BOE panels for some of their ‘4K’ models for this reason. In particular there’s a ‘corner bleed’ issue where colourful bursts such as red or green can appear due to rupturing of the panel over time. I’m not sure if I mentioned this elsewhere on the forum. Also, if your girlfriend takes colour accuracy seriously it would be strongly advised to consider a colorimeter or similar device. I appreciate that’s an additional expense that she may not want to incur now. But my main recommendation if this level of calibration is an option (and I’d highly recommend it with the Dell, I’m afraid) would actually be the Philips 288E2E. The Innolux panel it uses is excellent and from what I’ve seen from that and others using it, the quality control seems to be average or above.


    What are your recommendations for flicker-free true 8-bit IPS 3840×2160 monitors? Presumably they’d have to have excellent SRGB coverage with for an SDR input.


    My overarching recommendations can be found in this thread, which I’ve moved your post over to. More specific recommendations by use can be found in the respective recommendations pages and various other forum threads. There are very few ‘true 8-bit’ 4K monitors and none I’d specifically recommend. If you feed most 10-bit (8-bit + FRC) monitors an 8-bit signal, they essentially shut off the dithering stage. So it’s a non-issue really.


    Are there any caveats for using a 3840×2160 monitor to display a 1920×1080 signal? Presumably, true 8-bit IPS 4K monitors will become easier to obtain than their 2K counterparts.


    As I said in my previous reply, 10-bit (8-bit + FRC) vs. true 8-bit is a non-issue really with an 8-bit signal and there is no ‘4K’ model I’d recommend that specifically offers true 8-bit. Additional points:

    – Your question is addressed in the ‘interpolation and upscaling’ section of any of our ‘4K’ reviews. Take your pick. The image is softer than a native Full HD display because of the interpolation process used, but some are better than others.

    – The Gigabyte M27Q we recommend is true 8-bit as a WQHD option. And so is the ASUS PA278QV.

    – Please don’t use the term ‘2K’ to describe the WQHD resolution. It’s misleading and inaccurate. Nothing personal, I point this out to anybody who uses the term. 🙂


    Hi PCM2,

    I’ve started considering the PA27UCX in my quest for a monitor with good contrast because the 32″ options are so expensive at that level. The PA27UCX-K is £1,200 cheaper than the PA32UCX-PK on Amazon! Granted it has half the number of dimming zones but still has a good number for a 27″ panel I think.

    However one thing has got me a bit confused – the ‘Off Axis Contrast Optimisation’ you mention above is only listed on the Asus page for the PA27UCX and not the PA27UCX-K for some reason. It is not listed on the Amazon page for the PA27UCX-K either, although there are very few details on there at all TBH. As only the PA27UCX-K seems to be available in the UK I’m now slightly concerned that if I order that model it won’t have OCO which I think would make a big difference!

    Another thing I noted when looking at your piece on the PA27UCX was the mention of a P variant with 1152 dimming zones which sounds very interesting. You have a link to Taobao but when I click on this I see a listing for the PA27UCX with a peak brightness of 1000cd/m so it looks like the non-P version? Can’t find any reference to the P version anywhere else when I search for it.

    I’d be interested in any thoughts or info you might have on the above – many thanks as always!


    The PA27UCX-K is exactly the same as the PA27UCX, except that it’s bundled with an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter. OCO was not ever mentioned in the initial product details but was later added to the literature. However; ASUS only updated some regional websites. The ‘K’ variant page you linked to is from the UK whereas the ‘non-K’ variant is their global website which is updated more regularly. The K-variant is also listed there with mention of OCO. This isn’t a regional difference and as far as I know the feature was always there, just that they forgot to mention it in the initial information (which most retailers also use).

    I’ve removed mention of the PA27UCX-P with 1152 dimming zones and higher peak luminance. Because ASUS has scrapped plans to launch this model, Taobao jumped the gun with their initial listing and then redirected it to the regular version instead.


    Ah, that’s great to know, thank you for the clarification! I hadn’t spotted the global listing for the PA27UCX-K, that makes sense.

    Shame about Asus scrapping the P model of the PA27UCX, would have been quite something I think, but probably would have had a much higher price-tag anyway!

    The PA27UCX-K is looking like an attractive option, even if it is still a pricey one…


    I’ve recently been giving thought to the LG 32EP950, thinking that if I’m going to spend big on something to get better contrast & black levels it might as well be an OLED (which is what I ideally want anyway) – and I’ve read that the price should be lower than expected (notebookcheck.net article) too. It also seems as if there is a 27″ version on the way, which is good news as it would be nice to have the choice between those two sizes.

    However, as always I’ve noticed a catch – the TFT Central review talked about the panel not being flicker-free, and indeed implies that all OLED panels exhibit “a characteristic PWM-like behaviour”. It says that it is not as drastic as an LCD, but then doing some reading I’ve noticed conflicting views on that – one (relating to smartphones) saying that the frequency of LCD flicker is a lot higher than OLED and so flicker is more noticeable on OLED smartphones. I’ve also read an opinion that only OLED smartphones and tablets have flicker, and that TVs don’t (although you could argue that this doesn’t have any relevance to an OLED monitor specifically I guess).

    I’m left a bit confused and conflicted about whether I’d would want – indeed ever want – an OLED monitor if they inherently flicker. That said, would the fact that I’ve owned three OLED smartphones and never noticed a flicker or headaches / eye-strain give me some confidence that it might not be something I’d notice? It is quite hard to guess at such a thing, but I don’t see how I’d ever be able to try out an OLED monitor to find out for sure without buying one….!


    I can certainly see the attraction. But also the hesitation based on the PWM-like behaviour (pixels pulsing on and off) that the panel manufacturer JOLED uses for their OLED panels. This isn’t something that all OLED panels do, incidentally, and isn’t something that LG Display’s own panels do as used in the 48″+ models. But it is something all current JOLED panels seem to do and is also something smartphones often do. For JOLED panels it’s designed to enhance motion clarity, a bit like a strobe backlight setting would. It helps given the inherent limitations of a 60Hz sample and hold operation, which makes extremely poor use of the rapid pixel responses of OLED.

    The cycling frequency is 120Hz (that’s quite low) but it isn’t a full on and off cycling so shouldn’t be as bothersome. It will still be bothersome to sensitive users, I have no doubt – and it could potentially accelerate eye fatigue even if you don’t actively notice the flickering. Fortunately we’ll undoubtedly see plenty of ‘flicker free’ OLED screens when the technology becomes more mainstream. Just like with LCDs, this isn’t something that needs to be used and should really be an option just like a strobe backlight setting on some LCDs.


    Hi PCM,

    First of all, I Love your work!
    The last two monitors I bought with your help are great!
    I’m a programmer at my work, and I am interested in getting a new monitor.
    I saw you are recommending the Philips 288E2E. But in my country I can only buy the philips 288E2A. What are the diffs? And should I buy it or other monitor?

    Thanks for your help!


    Hi bhr166,

    This is covered (briefly) in the review: “In some regions a 288E2A variant is available with tilt-only stand, 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, an audio input and speakers but no USB ports.” Aside from that it’s the same thing – same panel, similar tuning etc. My current recommendation for this monitor for uses including productivity, which is relevant in your case, is very clear.


    I bought the monitor you recommend to me (twice) from your Amazon link
    And now I need another one smaller for my setup in my parents home.
    And as the previous time I ask for your advise 😀


    I appreciate the support. As I said previously, my recommendation for the Philips 288E2E/UAE/A is clear. So I think this is the right one to try for general-purpose usage. 🙂 I prefer it to the 27″ LG alternatives which commonly use BOE panels. The colour consistency on the Innolux panel is superior (less of a shifting for some shades comparing centre to peripherally) and the screen surface seems to be a touch lighter and less grainy.

    I still like the 27″ Philips models mentioned earlier in this thread, which use a 27″ Panda panel. But the 28″ Philips gives you an extra 1″ of screen space – which is a nice bonus but doesn’t dramatically change the experience. And more importantly a wider but not extreme colour gamut for a bit of extra vibrancy, plus Adaptive-Sync support.

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