Best 27-inch monitor for designers & photographers

Here's another list of monitor comparison, this time at 27-inch, for graphic designers, photographers and digital artists. The other lists are for high-end monitors (with no budget constraint) and budget monitors under USD $300.

I prefer the form factor of 27-inch monitors. They are not too big or small. I personally use the old Dell U2711 for years and this list below are monitors that I've researched for my upcoming upgrade. All links below are to Amazon so you can check out reviews there.

Unless otherwise mentioned, all monitors mentioned will have the following features:

  • 2560 by 1440 resolution
  • Full adjustment for height, rotation and tilt
  • IPS panel with good colour reproduction and viewing angles
  • Matte screens so that reflections won't be distractions

There are monitors out there that support 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) but this resolution is currently not widely supported by software. E.g. Software that aren't updated for high resolution screens will appear to have fuzzy interface when scaled up, or the interface will not scale and hence appear tiny and almost unusable. This might force you to spend more money to update your software, such as when upgrading from the one-time payment Adobe CS to monthly payments of Adobe CC.

In short, personally I do not recommend getting 27-inch 4K monitors for work purposes. User interface will be too small. If you really need 4K, I recommend the Dell UP3216Q.

A note on colour gamut

Specifications usually list colour gamut support for Adobe RGB, sRGB and other systems.

Adobe RGB was introduced by Adobe to include most colours on CMYK printers. That's like 100 million colours.

sRGB is the colour space introduced by Microsoft and HP in 1996. Most monitors can display 100% sRGB, and this is similar to REC709 colour space. That's almost 16 million colours.

DCI P3 is just another color space, more used by digital cinema projectors. It has wider colour space than sRGB but smaller than Adobe RGB.

In short, from the widest gamut, we have Adobe RGB, sRGB and DCI P3. With the range in mind, if you're working for print, then it's good to have 100% Adobe RGB. If your work is just going to be reproduced for screen, then it will be ideal to have 100% sRGB and DCI P3. As mentioned earlier, most monitors already support quite a wide range for sRGB, so if you want to a top notch screen, look out for Adobe RGB. To read up more, visit https://www.noteloop.com/kit/display/color-space/

sRGB is often listed. Other colour spaces, especially if they are not favourable, are not listed by manufacturers. Adobe RGB is a selling point so they are usually listed for high-end monitors.

Dell UP2716D

The Dell UP2716D is in my opinion the best monitor for creative professionals currently. I've actually written a detailed review for it already so I'm not going to repeat that here.

The main highlight is the colour gamut support: 100% Adobe RGB, sRGB, REC709, 98% DCI-P3.

Colour reproduction is excellent. I detected no backlight bleeding even when the screen is filled to CMYK black (4C black). IPS glow is also indiscernible. Overall, it's top notch and hence it's also the highest priced monitor on this list.

If you want it cheaper, you can get the smaller UP2516D which is 2-inches smaller while retaining all other specifications.

Ports supported:

  • DisplayPort
  • mini-DisplayPort
  • 2 x HDMI (MHL)
  • 4 x USB3 with one charging port
  • 2 x USB3 upstream

Overall, it's a well designed monitor. I love the thin bezel and together with the LED screen, it helps to minimize space used on the table.

This monitor is targeted at professionals who work in print production, video and photography. For anyone who needs colour accuracy, this is the monitor to get.

Dell UltraSharp U2715H

The Dell U2715H is actually my second recommendation if you don't have the budget for the high-end UP2716D. I would recommend the U2715H over the newer replacement model U2717D because of the price. U2717D may be the newer monitor but it doesn't offer any significantly better features than the U2715H.

U2715H's colour supports 91 % (CIE1976), sRGB 99% ( average Delta E of.

The ports supported:

  • 2 HDMI(MHL) connector
  • 1 Mini DisplayPort
  • 1 DisplayPort (version 1.2)
  • 1 DisplayPort out (MST)
  • 1 Audio Line out (connect your speakers)
  • 5 USB 3.0 ports - Downstream (4 at the back, 1 with battery charging)
  • 1 USB 3.0 port - Upstream

BenQ’s GW2765HT

This monitor supports 100% sRGB, 80% NTSC, 79.1% Adobe RGB. So that means this monitor is for those into video and photography. Design of the screen also does not look as appealing compared to Dell's options. The one good thing is the price is very competitive.

Connectors support: D-sub / DVI-DL / DP / HDMI / Headphone jack / Audio-in

ASUS PB278Q

ASUS PB278Q is another budget option that's quite similar to the BenQ screen. It supports 100% sRGB.

Connectors support: HDMI 1.4, D-Sub, DisplayPort 1.2, Dual-link DVI-D

NEC Monitor PA272W

This is also a monitor aimed at print professionals. This supports 99.3% Adobe RGB.

Ports support: DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D Dual Link, USB hub (2 up/ 3 down)

The downside is the price, significantly more than Dell. On the upside, you get 4 years of warranty. NEC monitors are often sold bundled with colour calibrators.

Eizo ColorEdge CG277

This monitor supports 99% Adobe RGB, DCI-P3: 93%. Just like the NEC, it's expensive but it comes with 5 years warranty included.

Ports support: DVI-D 24 pin (with HDCP), DisplayPort (with HDCP), HDMI (with HDCP, Deep Color).

Major downside is the USB 2 ports.

HDCP by the way is High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), a form of digital copy protection developed by Intel Corporation to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across connections. Some video content actually requires you to play them over HDCP. This applies to those who want to watch HDCP content.

Conclusion

For designers working for print, go for 100% Adobe RGB screens if possible. The monitor with the best price value ratio is the Dell UP2716D. If you're more discerning, then the NEC PA272W and Eizo ColorEdge CG277 may be suitable for you. Personally, I don't know if they are worth a few hundreds more than the Dell monitor.

For other creative professionals, digital artists, those working with video and photos, a 100% sRGB screen will suffice. Again, the monitor with the best price value ratio is the Dell U2715H. If you really have to get the latest, then the Dell U2717D. Other options are the BenQ’s GW2765HT and ASUS PB278Q.

Availability

You can compare the prices on Amazon.

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