Super Test: 4K HD Monitors
New 4k ultra-high definition monitors up the stakes for viewing and editing your photos. Matthew Richards reveals the top buys
What you need to look for in an HD monitor and six of the best put through their paces in our comprehensive lab test
Your monitor is the cornerstone of your whole digital photography workflow, yet too often it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. But what constitutes a good monitor? There are some big technical differences between an ‘average’ monitor and the kind of display needed for precise photographic work. For a start, budget PCS and laptops generally come with TN (Twisted Nematic) screens which are relatively inexpensive to manufacture yet have fast response times, ideal for gaming. However, poor colour and tonal accuracy along with limited viewing angles make them a poor choice for viewing photos. VA (Vertical Alignment) panels tend to deliver improved colour and tonal performance but can lack colour accuracy.
IPS (In Plane Switching) monitors are the best choice for digital photo viewing and editing, with good colour rendition, tonal range and uniformity across the whole of the screen. All of the panels in our test group feature 10-bit colour depth which, when driven from a suitable graphics card, enable reproduction of practically the entire SRGB gamut (colour space), and most of the Adobe RGB gamut.
A high-resolution 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) monitor will have pixels so small that you don’t even see them, and gives a much better sense of a photo’s sharpness. And given the typical viewing distance when you’re sat in front of a monitor, a 27-inch screen is an ideal size, although we’ve also included a 32-inch screen, as a larger option.