Top 5 Monitors, You Need To Buy

Top 5 Monitors, You Need To Buy In 2021

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, upgrade your computing experience by purchasing the greatest monitor 2021 has to offer. Computer displays, like everything else, come in a variety of designs, sizes, and, most importantly, quality.

And, while a mediocre display may suffice, an outstanding monitor will improve the way you interact with your PC, whether it’s for work and play or one of the top gaming PCs available. Top-of-the-line monitors add a lot more to the table. They are also gentler to your eyes, have superior features, and have excellent viewing angles, in addition to increased resolutions and visual quality.

So, whether you’re playing the most graphically demanding PC games, creating content, or just performing ordinary productivity work from home, investing in one is a good idea. We recognize that picking the right monitor for your needs can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look for.

That’s why we’ve gathered all of the top displays we’ve tested in 2021 and put them all on this list, along with our price comparison tool, so you can save money on a monitor while you’re at it.

1. Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is one of the best gaming monitors. For excellent visual quality, it combines Nvidia’s G-Sync technology’s fast refresh rates with 4K resolution and HDR (high dynamic range) capabilities.

HDR 10 and DCI-P3 color gamut support are included, as well as a high 144Hz refresh rate for seamless gameplay and an ultra-high resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is a truly amazing monitor if you have a gaming setup that can keep up – and it’ll have to be big.

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is now available for $1,999 (£2,299, roughly AU$4,000), which is a hefty sum for a gaming monitor. It will be more expensive than other 4K gaming monitors, but keep in mind that you’ll be receiving Nvidia G-Sync, 144Hz refresh rates, and HDR, which is a combo of technology that very few monitors presently have.

The Acer Predator X27, which has a similar specification, will cost £2,199 (approximately $3,000, AU$4,000), so the extra money for the ROG is primarily for the Asus design and build quality. However, at this price, the ROG Swift PG27UQ is a monitor that only enthusiasts and pro gamers willing to pay that much money will be interested in.

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ boasts the eye-catching design we’ve come to expect from the ROG (Republic of Gamers) brand from Asus. If you enjoy the looks of Asus’ ROG brand, the extra money spent on this monitor over the more conservative Acer Predator X27 may be justified.

The 27-inch screen is a good size for a gaming monitor, and it has a typical widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, so it’s large enough to immerse you while not dominating your desk like larger gaming monitors.

The screen is surrounded by a medium-sized bezel, with the ROG logo at the bottom. A larger, illuminating ROG logo appears on the rear of the screen’s body, along with designs that resemble circuit boards. The Asus Aura Sync software can regulate the luminous ROG logo, so it can match other ROG gadgets with AURA lighting.

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ closely resembles the design components of other ROG devices, so if you already own some, the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ will blend in nicely. With a blade-like form that feels strong and an LED light that shines down towards the desk, the stand is also eye-catching. An on-screen menu will guide you through the process of customizing the lighting when you first power on the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ.

There are also buttons on the back of the display for managing the on-screen menu. If you’re a fan of the ROG series, the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ will appeal to you, and even if this is your first ROG product, the monitor’s design isn’t too garish. The real star of the show, though, is the technology underlying the screen of the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ.

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is capable of providing incredibly amazing visuals thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, 4K UHD resolution, and G-Sync HDR technology. It has a dynamically regulated LED backlight with 384 zones that creates outstanding contrast between light and dark scenes. It also incorporates quantum-dot technology and a DCI-P3 color gamut, which provides a 25% broader color spectrum than sRGB monitors, allowing for far more accurate color reproduction.

This latter feature, in our opinion, has the potential to significantly improve the image quality of the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ. This will benefit not only games and media that support the DCI-P3 color gamut, but it will also make the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ a good monitor for film and photo editors, which may help justify its high price tag. Even with a powerful PC (with an Nvidia Titan Xp graphics card), the strain of displaying 4K resolutions at such high refresh rates is visible.

You should be sure you have a rig that can keep up with the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ before spending so much money on it. Many people will have to spend even more money as a result of this. With Windows 10 scaling nicely to 4K, the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ makes a great productivity monitor. We found that scaling the desktop to 120 percent was still comfortable to work on (without text and icons being too small), while also providing extra desktop space, thanks to its 27-inch size.

Because of its ability to reliably reproduce colors, the larger DCI-P3 color gamut makes this a great monitor for photo and video editing. If you’re looking for a monitor to work as well as play on, this can help explain the price (though you’ll probably want to turn off the colored LED lights when in an office). The screen is an IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel, which provides good viewing angles and allows you to watch the screen from a variety of angles without sacrificing color fidelity.

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ has a response time of 4ms (Gray to Gray), which isn’t the fastest, but it still feels very responsive, with no discernible lag. Playing games in 4K with HDR enabled and G-Sync technology delivering high refresh rates is truly great. This display will be a worthwhile investment if you seek the best gaming graphical experience possible. You may also use the onscreen menu to activate several options.

Around the back, there’s a joystick button for navigating the menus, as well as four buttons for opening different areas of the menu system. It’s simple to use, and several of the gaming-specific features, such as an FPS counter and onscreen crosshairs for improved accuracy, are very useful.

2. Dell 4K S3221QS

The Dell 4K S3221QS curved display stands out from the crowd. Although most displays have kept up with increased refresh rates and resolutions, their aesthetic has been, to put it bluntly, inadequate. In truth, most displays are homogeneous, except for a logo or perhaps some RGB lights.

That isn’t the case with the Dell 4K S3221QS, which appears to be inspired by the Dell XPS in arctic white.

Of all, it provides more than simply a pleasing appearance. The Dell 4K S3221QS curved monitor has a high-resolution panel and unique multitasking features that are great for productivity-oriented customers. With surprisingly good built-in audio, this monitor is almost ideal for any workplace environment.

For a display that is ostensibly geared at working professionals, the monitor does have several terrible drawbacks. Not only does it miss a USB-C connector, but it also lacks genuine HDR. Anyone thinking about using it for Esports will be put off by its poor response time.

If you don’t need such features or your media consumption is limited to movies and intense games like Red Dead Redemption 2, the Dell S3221QS is a solid choice.

It’s also competitively priced, costing $499 (£462, AU$748).

While the BenQ EW3270U with USB-C and HDR 10 is available for a similar price, it lacks the curved screen and Dell’s suite of multitasking functions. The somewhat larger AOC CU34G2X, which sells for $564 (£463, around AU$750), has several outstanding gaming-related features such as a 1ms response rate and a 144Hz refresh rate. It isn’t 4K, though, and it lacks Dell’s feature set.

Other monitors at this price point lack Dell’s combination of design, performance, and features. With the Dell S3221QS, it’s clear that Dell intended to do something a little different. Sure, it has the same matte black plastic bezels as every other monitor, but that’s where the similarities end. The back panel is made of high-quality, woven white plastic that matches the Dell XPS laptops’ arctic white finish.

Its stand and base are finished in a light silver that complements the back panel nicely. While the lack of USB-C is a disappointment, the inclusion of good speakers is a pleasant surprise.

Not only does their presence allow for a more minimalist desk design, but these speakers also sound fantastic and provide adequate loudness at 5W apiece. Are they anywhere close to being audiophile-quality?

Of course not, but these Waves MaxxAudio-tuned speakers sound better than most monitor speakers and are adequate for most people.

The 31.5″ VA panel, which has 99 percent sRGB and 90 percent DCI-P3 color, a 3000:1 contrast ratio, and, of course, 4K resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate, looks fantastic. The colors are realistic and rich, and the screen is as clear and detailed as you’d expect for a screen of that resolution.

Even after hours of use, there is no eye strain due to the 1800R curvature. It’s bright enough at 300 nits, though we’re sad that it doesn’t have the 500-nit brightness of the new XPS.

It’s not very fast, with a 60Hz refresh rate and an 8ms response rate that can be overclocked to 4ms (though this is hardly unsurprising considering it is a 4K screen.) Esports gamers, for example, will want to search elsewhere for a fast display. It works well for watching movies and playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Metro Exodus.

While we did see some stuttering when using an RTX 3080-equipped PC, turning on V-sync almost completely solved any performance concerns, indicating that the problem is more with the PC than with the monitor.

When it comes to connectors, the assortment is adequate but not exceptional, with one display port and two HDMI ports for connecting to a visual source, an audio line out, and a USB hub with two downstream ports, albeit only one, is capable of charging. Aside from the connectors’ inaccessibility, the lack of a USB-C port on this display is a missed opportunity. Adding a USB-C connector seems like a no-brainer given the popularity of Ultrabooks, with Dell’s own XPS being one of the most sought-after.

Unfortunately, while Dell claims that this monitor supports HDR content, it merely adds a little blue to the picture without actually improving the dynamic range. This isn’t surprising, given that it isn’t Vesa-certified DisplayHDR and lacks an in-house certification. If HDR is important to you, you should search elsewhere.

Fortunately, the Dell 4K S3221QS’s multitasking capabilities more than make up for its flaws.

These features are serious boons for anyone needing to streamline their digital workflow, whether it’s the ability to use Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture to view visual information from two different computer sources or the EasyArrange mode to organize and snap all your tabs and apps into place and in up to 38 configurations.

EasyArrange is accessed through the Dell Display Manager app, which also allows you to fine-tune your monitor usage by automatically changing the screen preset mode (for games, movies, and so on) depending on the app you’re using. It also allows you to build PIP and PBP shortcut keys.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to change all of your monitor’s settings using the app, which is a feature we’ve enjoyed on other monitors we’ve reviewed. Having said that, the Dell 4K S3221QS is a fantastic monitor that looks beautiful, has a clear and rich 4K screen, and has some very useful multitasking functions. While it may have a few flaws, for the price of admission, you get a lot of monitors.

3. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

Are a gorgeous 34-inch curved LCD panel with a 144Hz rate, adaptive sync, and HDR support enough to make a difference in today’s congested gaming monitor market?

The new MSI Optix MPG341CQR provides all of this, as well as several gamer-friendly extras, at a price that appears to be competitive when compared to many prominent competitors.

To begin with, MSI has chosen VA over the near-obligatory IPS screen technology found in most premium LCD panels. MSI has also added some pretty beautiful RGB LED lighting to the Optix. In addition, there’s an embedded camera in the lower bezel, as well as the amount for your camera for gamers who want to broadcast their gameplay. However, as a 34-inch super-wide gaming monitor, this panel will have to deliver on its fundamental promise. While the accessories help to sweeten the deal, the Optix MPG341CQR will face stiff competition from Asus and Acer in this category.

It’s game time.

The MSI Optix MPG341CQR’s UK price is currently a little odd, at $799 and £869 (approximately AU$1,200 – official Australian pricing has yet to surface). So, if you’re tempted, we recommend waiting a month or so, as we believe the UK level will drop slightly. However, MSI has priced this panel aggressively in general, even if it is still a significant investment in a screen.

Asus’s ROG Swift PG349Q is several hundred dollars more expensive, but it can’t match MSI’s 144Hz refresh rate. The Asus PG348Q is similar in price but only has a 100Hz refresh rate. The LG 34GK950F can equal the 144Hz but will set you back several hundred dollars or pounds. When compared to other options, the MSI Optix MPG341CQR may appear to be a good deal.

However, because it is still pricey in terms of the purchase price, you would expect a high-quality product. That is exactly what you will get. The design is elegant and expensive-looking. The stand is sturdy and has a wide range of height, tilt, and swivel adjustments.

The aesthetics are also rather nice, given to the panel’s narrow bezels on three sides. The “Mystic Light” RGD LEDs that run along the lower bezel are another eye-catching element. They don’t improve the performance of the MSI Optix MPG341CQR as a monitor in any way. However, if you’re like this sort of thing, it’s a creative design that’s programmable and adjustable, with smooth transitions as the colors move smoothly down the individual LED segments. It’s incredibly polished.

The MPG341CQR’s basic feature set starts with a 34-inch VA panel with a 1800R curve and 144Hz refresh rate.

This is unusually fast for a VA panel, raising concerns about the monitor’s pixel responsiveness. Although it’s rated at 1ms, pixel response hasn’t always been a strong suit for VA. The majority of the competitors in this sector uses IPS panel technology, however, VA technology has one distinct advantage: static contrast. This monitor has a static contrast ratio of 3:000:1, which is significantly higher than any IPS panel. We’re talking 3,440 by 1,440 pixels in terms of resolution, which is the current standard for this type of 21:9 aspect monitor.

Adaptive sync is also supported in FreeSync 2 rather than Nvidia G-Sync. HDR400 certification is the final truly important attribute in terms of image quality. It’s the most basic HDR support available, and it doesn’t feature local dimming.

It also implies that the MSI Optix MPG341CQR has a brightness of 400 nits, which is bright by traditional standards but nothing near the 600 or 1,000 nits generated by real HDR displays.

DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C connections provide good communication in other areas. MSI has also included a camera in the lower bezel of the Optix MPG341CQR. That camera was the foundation of several so-called AI functions, including facial recognition for switching between OSD menu presets, when MSI showed this screen off at trade events earlier this year.

The sweet spot for high-end gaming right now is a 34-inch superwide panel with 3,440 by 1,440 pixels and a 144Hz refresh rate. Higher resolutions and refresh rates are possible, but the benefits decline quickly. The biggest benefit of the MSI’s unique combination of specs is that it allows for a lot of detail and highly fluid frame rates in practically all games, thanks to today’s graphics cards. It’s all very well to have 4K at 144Hz. However, try playing a game like Metro Exodus in 4K and full detail.

To break 30fps, much alone 144fps, you’ll need a powerful graphics card. Regardless, the MSI Optix MPG341CQR appears vibrant and punchy right out of the box thanks to the usage of VA technology. The colors are bright, and the dark levels are excellent. The HDR400 designation is, admittedly, a poor man’s HDR.

By normal standards, though, this is still a brilliant and lively display. Imagine turbocharged SDR rather than genuine HDR, and you’ll get the idea, even if the ability to handle an HDR stream is useful. It implies that when you watch HDR material, whether it’s video or games, you’ll see the exact colors.

The default calibration of the Optix MPG341CQR also earns MSI points. Compression is barely visible in either white or black scales, which is quite astounding. As a result, the overall image quality is good.

What about video games?

Pixel response is available in three levels from MSI. The quickest is a little too rapid, with some overshoot and inverse ghosting as a result. However, the intermediate setting provides excellent reaction with no discernible drawbacks.

Yes, there are LCD screens that have a modest reduction in motion blur. However, MSI’s achievement with VA panel technology is outstanding. There’s also a zero-latency mode, but in standard mode, we found little subjective evidence of lag. Of course, if you have the graphics power, the 144Hz refresh makes everything feel incredibly fluid and slick. It’s also worth mentioning that the adaptive sync on the MPG341CQR works with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

The Nvidia control panel recognizes it as ‘G-Sync compatible,’ and adaptive refresh is enabled automatically without the need to turn it on manually. Finally, USB Type-C compatibility is a plus.

All of the MPG341CQR’s essential functions worked well over USB-C in our tests. That means you can use USB-C to connect a gaming laptop and get 144Hz and adaptive sync. The MPG341CQR is a great option for gamers who use laptops yet want a desktop monitor at home.

4. Acer Predator X34

Acer has re-entered the gaming market with a new Predator range of laptops, desktop computers, and now gaming monitors. The Predator X34 is a curved, ultrawide gaming monitor with a 3,440 x 1,440 quad high-definition display. As if that wasn’t enough, this 21:9 screen uses Nvidia’s G-Sync technology to smooth out any graphical flaws.

When you consider that Acer has chosen an IPS panel, the X34 appears to be the ultimate display for gamers and video creators. The Acer Predator X34 isn’t ideal, and it left me wanting more in key areas, such as networking and audio, for a hefty price of $999 (£899, AU$1,899).

The bezels around the display are barely a centimeter thick, and even the thickest one, down the bottom, is only an inch thick. It won’t matter, because you’ll be too preoccupied with all the pixels filling your range of vision. The monitor’s front face is quite clean.

Aside from the red-edged Predator marking in the middle, the X34’s bottom lip has a linear feel and is painted in a subdued gray. The rest of the bezels, on the other hand, are matte black to match the actual display panel. Thankfully, Acer chose physical buttons rather troublesome touch sensors, and they were all hidden on the underneath edge.

The display panel is additionally enclosed in a metal frame around the edges of the screen to help protect it. Unfortunately, the monitor’s back is made of basic glossy black plastic. It makes sense, though, because a denser material might have drastically increased the weight of this 21.8-pound panel. Acer kept things as simple as possible for the base, opting for a metal skeleton.

The monitor is supported by two long metal “feet” arranged in a wide “V,” with a third peg in the back providing additional support. While I like the aggressive foundation, the design ends up taking up a lot of workspaces. Even if your keyboard is little, the metal legs are long enough to tread on your mousepad, and you can’t truly tuck it behind the display.

However, the completely exposed metal base is a pleasant contrast from other monitors, such as the Asus ROG PG348Q, which have superfluous plastic shrouds. Furthermore, the base has a handy handle that can be used to carry the screen around when needed. Overall, the X34’s design appeals to me.

However, I wish Acer had used red LEDs instead of blue ones, which appear to clash with Acer’s Predator line’s crimson-tinged color scheme. The Acer Predator X34 has several tech features, including quad high-definition resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, gentle curve, and G-Sync technology.

However, beneath all of these eye-catching elements is a very stunning IPS panel.

Whether you’re editing movies or exploring the beautiful forest in FireWatch, Acer’s panel displays 1.07 billion colors (100 percent of the sRGB color range). At the same time, the contrast ratio is set to 100 million to 1, resulting in some of the darkest blacks I’ve ever seen on a monitor. Of course, when you’re gaming, this gaming display comes to life.

I can take in the expanse of the city when prowling Gotham as Batman in Arkham Knight. When you can view the full circuit at a glance, driving simulators become even more realistic. What’s even more impressive is how uniform the entire image appears. Everything seems consistent from corner to corner throughout the 34-inch ultra-wide monitor’s screen, from the colors to the dark levels.

There’s no trace of a bleeding backlight or IPS glow even when the frame is dark. There are also a few useful built-in features, such as a blue-light filter to protect your eyes from the strain of staring at it for long periods — not that you should do so for the sake of your eyesight.

The monitor doesn’t quite wrap around your head thanks to the slight curvature, but it is curved enough to press the screen’s edges around your eyes, bringing the entire picture into focus. If you wanted to see the complete display on a flat 21:9 panel, you’d have to either walk back or constantly twist your head.

Because the screen’s edges are so far away from the center, they enter a separate plane of focus, therefore sliding them forward puts them back into your field of view. The Predator X34 doesn’t have a lot of inputs for such a large panel.

Except for a USB 3.0 hub, you’ll only have a DisplayPort and HDMI on hand. You’ll only have enough ports to connect one PC and possibly a set-top box for watching movies and TV. Given the display’s size and stunning visual clarity, I would have preferred the opportunity to connect even more devices, and there is no picture-in-picture mode.

Another flaw with the display is its mediocre speakers. Because of the Predator X34’s rear-facing design, you won’t get a good audio experience unless you park it against a wall and have it reflect the music to you.

5. BenQ SW321C PhotoVue

A growing number of photographers understand the value of a dedicated picture monitor for image editing and print preparation, but the high cost of professional monitors has deterred many. BenQ has emerged as the category’s affordable champion, and the PhotoVue series SW321C is the company’s latest 32-inch 4K UHD offering.

The pixel density of 137 balances greater detailing with comfortable viewing characteristics, making this an increasingly popular combination of display size and resolution. BenQ improves the performance of their photo monitors with each successive generation, and the SW321C includes several major advances.

There’s a new micro-fine anti-reflection coating called ‘Advanced Reflectionless Technology’ (ART) and a revision of the ‘Uniformity Technology’ to solve color and brightness variations that were previously a concern. ‘Paper Color Sync,’ a piece of software geared specifically for photographers, allows the construction of a customized color setting based on the printer model, paper type, and color space.

The SW321C comes with factory calibration and then enables hardware calibration with a 16-bit LUT to more accurately manage the subsequent color correction curves, which is independent of the computer’s video card. For video editors, the monitor features CalMAN support for LightSpace video calibration, as well as HDR10 and HLG video input for color grading in post-production.

In terms of functionality, the SW321C includes a helpful collection of connections (and four cables), including USB-C with 60W power, which means you only need one cable to connect to the computer for doing hardware calibration.

You also receive a modular hood and the ‘Hotkey Puck G2,’ a wired remote controller with configurable keys that bypasses the on-panel menu buttons. The ability to quickly switch between pre-assigned color spaces is probably the most useful feature.

The ‘GamutDuo’ display, which presents mirrored pictures in two different color spaces, is also useful (i.e.via two different inputs). The SW321C’s brightness and color uniformity are the greatest we’ve seen on a BenQ photo monitor so far, and on pace with what we’d expect from a far more costly model.

The new anti-reflection coating is extremely effective, ensuring that color accuracy and contrast are maximized. Physically, this is a well-built monitor with a variety of features that translate to improved operational efficiency. Upgrading to a 32-inch 4K display will never be cheap, but BenQ has just made it a lot more accessible.

The SW321C has the same dark grey color as the rest of BenQ’s current SW series monitors, as well as an ultra-thin bezel and an easy-to-assemble stand. The base plate is pretty small for a 32-inch monitor, so it doesn’t take up much space on the desktop, but the screen does require some movement.

You’ll need some viewing space as well, but not as much as you would without this screen’s excellent anti-reflection coating. If you’ve been using a smaller monitor, don’t worry; it won’t take long to become used to a 32-inch display. In terms of clear reproduction of fine detailing and intelligibility of smaller text, the 4K UHD resolution is undoubtedly the sweet spot.

‘ BenQ made its name with low-cost high-performance video and gaming monitors, but a few years ago it shifted its focus to photo displays, where it is now garnering a significant following. A few product design honors have aided the SW321C, including the most recent from the TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) for Best Professional Photo Monitor.

Given how competitive this category has been in recent years, this is quite an accomplishment. However, BenQ has worked hard to pack its latest generation with features tailored to photographers, such as ‘Paper Color Sync,’ a valuable piece of software that simulates the basic color of inkjet media for more accurate screen-to-printer matching.

This was a print-making component that has previously been difficult to successfully manage. The SW321C also comes factory calibrated with BenQ’s AQCOLOR – a color display technology designed to improve color fidelity – and a 16-bit 3D LUT (look-up table) to manage input data and ensure screen uniformity and consistency. Another BenQ-developed technology is at work here, and it’s termed, logically, ‘Uniformity Technology,’ even though this model is the next-generation version.

It works by fine-tuning the hue and brightness of hundreds of sub-regions or locations across the panel to reduce any color changes that could otherwise appear. Similarly, there are no discernible differences in brightness. The reduction of reflections and glare on the screen is an important feature of a dedicated photo monitor.

The SW321C has a modular hood, but it’s more notable for its ‘Advanced Reflectionless Technology’ (ART), a particular micro-fine matte surface coating that deflects reflected ambient light significantly more efficiently than before.

As a result, BenQ believes that clarity, color, and contrast are all more correctly portrayed, which is especially important for Paper Color Sync to work properly given that we’re talking about such modest and subtle color and contrast fluctuations here.

In practice, we found ART to be so effective that we didn’t even need to remove the hood from the test monitor (although BenQ recommends that you do when using Paper Color Sync and we certainly would with longer-term use).

In addition, the box includes a unique screen cleaning roller, which is supposedly better suited to the new surface covering. In more detail, Paper Color Sync – which is free software that you can download to your computer – allows you to input the printer model, paper type (brand, surface finish, etc.), and color space, all of which are then adjusted into a color configuration. As a result, it’s essentially a soft proofing feature.

The list of compatible printers and papers is by no means exhaustive, as BenQ creates these profiles itself (it has to, take into consideration the monitor’s features as well), however future software upgrades will add newly-released printers and media.

‘GamutDuo,’ which operates with the monitor’s picture-by-picture (PBP) display and delivers mirrored images in two separate color spaces, is another highly helpful function (i.e.via two different inputs).

Each image may be adjusted separately, and this is a feature that would normally necessitate the use of two displays side by side. CalMAN support for LightSpace video calibration and Pantone certification for graphic designers are available on the SW321C.

It accepts HDR10 and HLG video sources and can display native 24/25fps video without distortion or ‘pull down’ thanks to a quicker processor (also supporting uncompressed 10-bit 4:4:4, 4:2:2, or 4:2:0 color). It can, of course, handle native 4K UHD as well. The display of the SW321C is an IPS panel with LED backlighting, just like the other monitors in the PhotoVue series. With a display area of 708.48mm x 398.52mm and a 4K UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, it boasts a pixel density of 137ppi.

It contains a palette of 1.07 billion colors, leading to smoother shading, color transitions, and tone gradations. In-Plane Switching allows for a fast response time of 5.0 ms and a broad viewing angle of 178 degrees, which is important for video makers. As previously stated, the SW321C reproduces 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color space and 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, which is a cinematographic color system.

It’s displacing sRGB – or, more precisely, its video equivalent, Rec. 709 – as the color standard for transmissive screens, such as tablets and smartphones.

Each SW321C monitor is individually calibrated and comes with a written factory report, although the hardware calibration – using an external colorimeter – can be done afterward using BenQ’s Palette Master Element software (which is supplied on a CD-ROM).

Hardware calibration on a photo monitor has the advantage of bypassing the computer’s video card and color management in favor of the significantly higher color precision of 16-bit processing in this case (giving 65,536 levels per color).

As a result, hardware calibration is often preferred over software calibration (which also necessitates the use of a colorimeter), but the latter will still keep the monitor within specs over time.

Buying Guide

1. Resolution

There is no difference between 4K and Ultra HD; they are simply two different marketing labels for the same resolution measurement. Screen images are made up of thousands of tiny dots called pixels, and resolution is simply the number of dots in the picture. As a result, resolution is linked to the clarity of text and images on the screen.

Full HD resolutions of 1920×1080 pixels will be found on the cheapest monitors. The resolution of Ultra HD or 4K screens is quadrupled to 3840×2160 pixels, allowing for a substantially crisper image. You can also choose for a compromise with Quad HD at 2560×1440. Due to multiple aspect ratios other than the standard 16:9, including ultrawide monitors, there are many more resolutions available.

2. Technology for displaying information

If you look at older monitors, you may still see TN (twisted nematic) displays instead of the more current IPS (in-plane switching), PLS (plane line switching), and AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays.

TN panels are less expensive and can provide the fast response speeds required by gamers, but they may have limited viewing angles, lower brightness, and less brilliant colors.

The considerably increased color accuracy of IPS and PLS will appeal to creatives, while AMOLED is a terrific choice for entertainment because of its rich contrast and vibrant color palette.

3. Contrast, brightness, and color

Because display manufacturers tend to overstate some specs, brightness and contrast measurements taken from independent evaluations and matched with the study of real-world performance are frequently more credible. Low brightness (less than 200 nits) is an issue in too bright or dark surroundings, especially when contrast is weak. As long as the contrast ratio is greater than 500:1, you should be able to distinguish between the brightest and darkest images that a screen can display.

4. Connectivity

All of the displays we’ve looked at have at least two inputs, which limit the types and number of peripherals you can connect. Some displays still include VGA ports, but we recommend sticking with digital inputs like DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort. For power/charging and data transfer, the newer models may include USB-C or Thunderbolt ports.

HDMI and DisplayPort should be high on your list of objectives because they can transfer both digital image and audio data over a single wire. DisplayPort is a superior alternative for 4K or high-refresh-rate monitors and is becoming more ubiquitous on Macs and Windows PCs, but less so on home AV equipment.

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