4K Monitor Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Monitor
Feb 19, 2024• Proven solutions
Market is loaded with so many branded 4K monitors; they follow unique features and specifications. Naturally, the selection of right monitor for buyers, especially for newbie become a difficult task as there are lots of technical terms evolved around. Designs may appear impressive at first look but they may have lower feature rating so you need to stay careful while making such a big investment. It is important to add more focus to your requirements and budget while making final selection. The article below can help you to grab information about some of the major features that you need to search in your new product.
Things to Consider Before Buying a 4K Monitor:
1. Monitor Size:
Bigger is always better! But you must have space for that; also it will be expensive too. Display size is usually measured diagonally on its length. Specifications are generally mentioned in terms of aspect ratio and if you have gone through algebra and geometry in any stage of your life then definitely you can calculate height and width of your display from given aspect ratio. Note that, an aspect ratio of 1:1 will result in a closer view that falls directly in the vision line but the bigger units will have higher aspect ratios.
2. Monitor Type:
If you move towards market, you will find three terms related to monitor type and of course they can easily confuse a beginner. 4K displays are divided into three forms: TN, IGZO and IPS type. Each one of these has unique pros and cons. Here are few details:
These are recommended for beginners due to simple features and affordable price range. However, you can expect them to deliver fast response time but users need to make compromises for color accuracy in images.
This selection improves performance in terms of image sharpness and color reproduction. If you are a gamer or love to do video animation then you may find it little slow for your expectations. Note that, TN displays offer response time rating of 1 millisecond whereas IPS stops at 4 millisecond level.
IGZO panels are able to deliver high power service due to their improved transistor based design. At the same time, these panels use to have lower physical mass but they stay always ready to consume more energy with high power delivery.
While buying a new panel for your 4K needs, it is goo to check for processing power and graphic card details; but the best decision will be made on the basis of your budget.
3. Color Accuracy:
Technologies are taking over each other day by day; with this advancement several features are being improved but few are also getting worst like colour gamut of new monitors as compared to the old ones. It is essential to have higher colour accuracy for 4K videos because better colours lead to decent information delivery. Monitors or PCs from several years are following standard RGB pattern for color adjustments where sRGB is considered as best for full coverage with precise color delivery; you may find Adobe RGB little complicated as its range doesn’t suit to human eye.
The term color accuracy deals with the system’s ability to deliver required level of hue instead of making rough calculations for its delivery. When color gets deviated from its actual fidelity level then this error is represented with a Delta E figure, note that it is essential to have lower value of delta E value that reflects good color delivery. The best recommendation is 1.0.
4. Refresh Rate:
It is again an important consideration for your 4k monitor buying needs. Manufacturers design monitors with variable refresh rates for variable applications; for example, the gaming monitors use to have 144Hz refresh rate, the mainstreams go little downward with 60Hz rating whereas most of the 4K displays come with 30Hz refresh rate. It becomes little difficult to deal with video and image editing needs at 30Hz because it makes window and mouse handling little complicated with slow speed but yes a 60Hz option is better for desired speed range; you can also go for higher than this.
5. Aspect Ratio:
It is the ratio of length with respect to height of the display screen. One of the most popularly used aspect ratio setting is 16:9 that delivers great results for games and movies. In case if you are a serious hardcode gamer then you may find 21:9 aspect ratio more suitable; this range is available for few gaming special monitors. With 16:10 rating, you can enjoy more vertical space and it suits better when users need to work upon numbers of images and documents.
Most of the high end monitors are designed to offer brightness rating somewhere around 300 or 350 cd/m2. In case if you work in a much brighter room then you can easily handle higher brightness ranges for your monitor but note that this higher rating causes more strain to your eyes. The most suitable and professional recommended brightness range is 250 cd/m2.
7. Contrast Ratio:
It shows the different between brightest and darkest reflection on your screen. It is always advised to buy monitors that offer higher contrast ratio because this higher rating means much better differentiation between brighter and darker scenes. However, all manufacturers prefer to add different contrast ratio parameters to their products without following any standard for this rating so you cannot make more analysis for this feature.
8. Response Time:
The time taken by a pixel to change its color is measured in terms of response time. Most of the old display screens used to suffer with ghost effect that occurs due to very slow response time when pixels are not able to work in synchronization with moving frames. But all the recent designs offer improvement over response time with a valuable range of 1 to 4 ms.
It is essential to take a wise decision about getting certified display cables for your monitors but few popular manufacturers these days are also offering uncertified DP cables. These uncertified cables lead to so many troubles; one of the most common is that they make connection with pin 20 and reflects unwanted voltage back to the system- causing big damage. Also, the uncertified cables lead to bandwidth losses where 4K display cannot function well even at 60Hz rating and improper cables cause reduction in refresh rates. The idea is to get a 4K monitor with 4K HDMI support but it must be supported by your graphic card as well as monitor. The USB hubs are also essential options and they offer higher speed rating too.
Here is one more essential consideration for buying 4K monitors and it is named as DPI, desktop or window scaling. Generally, PCs are designed with higher pixel densities; it helps to improve size of menus and windows that enhances readability. Note that, window scaling not always effect all applications on your device so if you have few commonly used app collections in this category then you may not find it as useful.
Generally, the term viewing angle is related to TV screens but in case if you want to enjoy videos on your computer with your friends around then you must have higher viewing angle setting for better results. Prefer to keep it above 170 degree.
12.G-Sync or FreeSync:
Gamers need to focus on these two parameters; collectively they are well known as adaptive sync. These settings improve system performance over screen tearing issue, graphic mismatch problems and refresh rate mismatches. The screen tearing problem use to affect gamers when they switch to fast paced games as monitor refresh rate cannot stay in synchronization with the output of graphic card. This effect is quite annoying but thanks to adaptive synch technology that leads to better displays with improved synchronization. Note that, you cannot find a monitor that has both FreeSync and G-Sync technology. Adaptive sync is useful for adjustment of frames and shutter speeds.
Bonus for Great 4K Monitor:
1. Support Hardware Calibration:
Professionals always need perfect performance from their monitors because they do not have any space for making compromises for quality. You need to make efforts for selection of finest backlights and LCD panels; prefer to run calibration tests before buying your new monitor.
2. Backlight Compensation:
Many monitors these days also have backlight compensation ability that leads to adjustments of color and brightness settings of display screen. When monitors do not have backlight compensation feature then they naturally deliver much better contrast ratios. Professionals must initiate search for tone perfection to avail best results.