Best High-End Monitor For Artists and Designers

This article was last updated in June 2017.

Here's the list for the best monitors for graphics and video work, written for designers, artists, photographers and video production staff. I will continue to update this list throughout the year.

The best monitors cost money so I'll assume you have a decent amount of budget. For budget monitors, visit this instead http://www.parkablogs.com/content/budget-monitors-artists-and-designers-...

For this article, I only look at monitors with the following features:

  • IPS panel: They have good colour accuracy and wide viewing angles
  • Wide colour gamut: So that it can display a a wide range of colours
  • 2560 by 1440 resolution: You'll get more workspace for your software and desktop
  • Screen size larger than 24-inch: You'll see the details more clearly and have more working space for the OS
  • LED backlight: Lasts longer, has lower power consumption, less warm

It's important to check your graphics card first to see if it supports the monitors at the resolution and frequency you want.

Color space

sRGB vs Adobe RGB? Know those colour spaces?

You generally work with the ending colour space in mind. If you're a videographer, then your videos are meant to be view on screen, hence you need to get screens that support 100% sRGB. If you're a designer who works with a printing lab, you might need to work in Adobe RGB or sRGB. Adobe RGB is the colour space created to replicate colours of CMYK printers. However, there are printing labs that also accept sRGB files. Hence it's important to know what type of files your printer will accept. If they can print sRGB, there's no point working in a wider colour space such as Adobe RGB. Also when Adobe RGB is converted to sRGB at the printer, colours will shift and the colours you see on your screen are not going to match those that come out from the printer, especially so when you don't even have the printer's colour profile settings installed in your Photoshop.

Alright, the monitor options

By process of elimination, we're down to a few monitors and they are as follows:

Dell

For Dell, I've narrowed down to the following monitors

Dell has added a few more monitors compared to the ones I've listed for last year. The new additions are the UP2516D and UP2716D which have similar specs with only difference in screen size.

All the monitors above are noted for their wide color gamut support. It's advertised to display 1 billion colours as compared to typical IPS panels' 16.7 million colours.

They support a wide variety of ports: DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI and have four USB 3 ports build in. They also have full adjustability in terms of height, tilt and swivel.

Some notable difference would be UP3017 and U3415W for their size and resolution, 2560x1600 and 3440 x 1440. The 30-inch monitor has more screen estate but at that high resolution compared to the 2560 by 1440 resolution, but the lack of 160 vertical difference is not a major issue because the screen already has very high resolution. The U3415W is interesting because it has a curved screen. If you want a flat screen, then that would not be a wise choice — great for watching widescreen movies though.

All the monitors are terrific for graphic and 1080P video work. Dell has good reputation with their monitors, just check out the reviews on Amazon (links above).

My recommendation
My vote goes to the UP2716D which is the new monitor Dell released for 2016. You can save a hundred or more by getting the smaller UP2516D that features the same specifications.

Basically the specifications of those two monitors are great. However, there is no SD card reader. If you need the SD card reader, consider the BenQ SW2700PT.

Quick specs UP2516D and UP2716D

  • 25 and 27" Diagonal Viewing Size
  • 2560 x 1440 Resolution
  • 6 ms Response Time
  • 1,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 300 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • In-Plane Switching Technology
  • Supports 100% Adobe RGB, sRGB, REC709, 98% DCI-P3
  • 1.074 Billion Color Support
  • DP, mini-DP, DVI-DL, HDMI Inputs, USB3

Quick specs U2715H

  • 27" Diagonal Viewing Size
  • 2560 x 1440 Resolution
  • 6 ms Response Time
  • 1,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 350 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • In-Plane Switching Technology
  • Supports 99% Adobe RGB & 100% sRGB
  • 1.074 Billion Color Support
  • DP, mini-DP, DVI-DL, HDMI Inputs, USB3

Quick specs UP3017

  • 30" Diagonal Viewing Size
  • 2560 x 1600 Resolution
  • 6 ms Response Time
  • 1,000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 350 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • In-Plane Switching Technology
  • Supports 99% Adobe RGB & 100% sRGB
  • 1.074 Billion Color Support
  • DP, mini-DP, HDMI Inputs, USB3

Dell 4K

Dell added a new 4K monitor since my last year's article. That's the Dell UP3216Q 4K.

Dell's 4K monitors are all marketed at graphics and video professionals. They are IPS panels with the ultra-wide colour gamut that supports at least Adobe RGB 99%, sRGB 100% and 120% (CIE 1976).

You'll need a powerful graphics card to drive these monitors. Many 4K monitors are connected with the DisplayPort which is able to utilize the full colour gamut offered by the monitors.

If you need 4K, check out the following monitors (with some features highlighted):


The 5K-capable UP2715K (99% Adobe RGB) is still the most awesome monitor with 5120 x 2880 at 60 Hz (Dual DP cable required). You can edit a 4K video and still see the application interface. Unfortunately for Mac users, this monitor is not compatible even with the most expensive Mac Pro.

One major downside of using 5K resolution on a 27-inch monitor is if you're using old software that do not support such resolution, the user interface is going to be too small and frustrating to use. If you are using Adobe CS6 and older software, this means you have to upgrade to their subscription based Adobe CC. Even so, I read that not all software in CC supports such high resolution. So if you do intend to get this monitor, I recommend you check on Adobe forums for any complaints or just ask around there first before spending so much money.

If you're not into 4K video production, you can save a lot of money by going for the 2560 x 1440 monitors. I feel that for 4K, it is best to use a monitor that is at least 30 inches.

Dell provides 3-5 years warranty for their monitors.

NEC

NEC monitors are also noted for their colour accuracy and they cost more than competition. But ultimately, they are worth the money.

The models to check out are the PA272W (2560x1440), PA302W (2560x1600) and the new EA304W (2560x1600).

Check out the full specifications of the two monitors at

NEC monitors are often sold bundled with colour calibrators. If you already have a calibrator, take note of this.

NEC provides 4 years warranty for their monitors.

Eizo


Eizo is the other high-end monitor manufacturer. The following models have the 10-bit colour displays (just like the other brands above): CG277, CX271 and CG248-4K and CG318-4k

Links to full specifications:

The 4K monitors are Eizo's most recent monitors and have the USB 3 hub as compared to the slower USB 2 on their smaller size and older monitors.

These monitors have built in spectrometer that can perform self calibration. Incredibly convenient. What you see on screen will be able to match the colour proofs closely in terms of colours. Their monitors come with monitor hoods.

Eizo provides 5 years warranty for their monitors.

BenQ

The two monitors that catches my eye are the BenQ SW2700PT (27-inch) and the BenQ BL3201PH (32-inch)


The BenQ SW2700PT supports 100% Adobe RGB and is designed and marketed specifically for photo and video editing. It's a direct competitor to the Dell UP2716D and from the 290+ favorable reviews it seems that the quality control is fantastic. It even comes with a hood to prevent unwanted light sources.

I'm currently using the BenQ SW2700PT as my main monitor. I chose this over the Dell UP2716D because it's cheaper, comes with the hood and build-in SD card reader.

The larger BenQ BL3201PH supports 100% sRGB and is great too if you don't need the requirements of 100% Adobe RGB.


Should you need 4K resolution, Benq SW320 is a true 10-bit 4K monitor that also supports 99% Adobe RGB.

ASUS

Asus also has two great monitors that support 99% Adobe RGB, and they are the ASUS PA279Q and the larger ASUS PA329Q. Both have pretty favorable reviews too.

For photographers, the build-in SD card reader and USB 3 ports by the side are going to be helpful.

Conclusion

The two monitors that I personally would get if I need an upgrade would be the Dell UP2716D or the BenQ SW2700PT. If you don't have that much budget, consider the Dell UP2516D or see if you can get any good deals with the Dell U2715H.

My personal preference is towards Dell monitors because of their aggressive pricing. BenQ's monitor is a surprise to me. I don't know they make colour critical monitors but apparently they do. EiZO and NEC are great but they are also more costly. Quality comes with a price.

Now, having such high end monitors means you should also invest yourself in a colour calibrator also. If you want something that can actually measure the colour gamut, I recommend the Spyder5 Pro. If you just need a simple way to calibrate, then go for the cheaper X-Rite ColorMunki Display.

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