Photo and Video Editing Monitors

Accurate colour output is key when it comes to editing photos and videos or certain design work. We’ll often refer to this as ‘colour-critical work’. Even for editing at the hobbyist level, we consider accurate colour output the key area to focus on. As such, our recommendations here focus on models with IPS-type panels. These are unmatched by other LCD panel types when it comes to accurate colour output, particularly with respect to colour consistency. You want accurate colour representation throughout the screen, not just in a small central area that may be calibrated to perfection. Non-LCD screens such as OLED are very strong in this area, whilst also offering exceptional contrast. Helping to bring out subtle dark details and distinctions. Penetration of OLED into the monitor market is a slow and ongoing process. For now, such models come at a significant premium and are restricted to a select few models. HDR capability is also increasing, with complex backlighting solutions helping IPS models overcome some of their traditional contrast limitations. There is again a premium attached to such ‘exotic’ technology.

 

Our key up to date recommendations are given in the table below, grouped by size.

 

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~24 inches27 inches~32 inches~38 inches

Acer XB253Q GP (24.5″ 144Hz IPS, 1920 x 1080)

 
Acer XB253Q GP

Acer XB253Q GP

 
Key aspects:

  • 24.5″ IPS panel (AUO M250HAN01.3 AHVA)
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD or 1080p)
  • True 8-bit
  • PWM-free (flicker-free) WLED backlight
  • ~sRGB colour gamut and 400 cd/m² peak luminance
  • Medium matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • VESA DisplayHDR 400
  • 144Hz (48 – 144Hz VRR, FreeSync via DP + G-SYNC Compatible)
  • 2ms grey to grey response time
  • 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, DP 1.4, 4 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x 2W speakers
  • Screen is fully adjustable with 100mm VESA support


Why choose this monitor:

The Acer XB253Q GP may be a gaming-focused model, but it’s also well-suited to colour critical work within the sRGB colour space. The monitor offers full sRGB coverage, with just a touch of extension beyond. An effective sRGB emulation setting is also included, cutting down the gamut so it sticks very close to sRGB. Our unit was well-calibrated with respect to gamma, with various gamma settings included. RGB gain and bias controls plus 6-axis hue and saturation adjustment is included to aid fine-tuning. Unlike many competing Full HD models, true 8-bit colour is supported as opposed to the more commonly used 6-bit + FRC dithering.

VESA DisplayHDR 400 support is included, which is only a basic HDR level. The monitor lacks wide gamut support, local dimming or a strong peak luminance by HDR standards. It will still respond to HDR content and supports 10-bit colour processing with the help of GPU dithering, but there’s little ‘HDR’ about this experience. The screen offers solid overall build quality in our view, with a fairly weighty powder-coated metal stand base. Full ergonomic flexibility is also provided and a refresh rate of up to 144Hz is supported with excellent pixel responsiveness for this and lower refresh rates.

Further reading:

Our review

Manufacturer product page

Gigabyte M27Q (27″ 144Hz IPS, 2560 x 1440)

 
Gigabyte M27Q

Gigabyte M27Q

 
Key aspects:

  • 27″ IPS panel (Sharp LQ270T1JG08)
  • 2560 x 1440 (WQHD or 1440p)
  • True 8-bit
  • PWM-free (flicker-free) WLED backlight
  • ~93% DCI-P3 colour gamut and 350 cd/m² (SDR) peak luminance
  • Light to very light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • VESA DisplayHDR 400
  • 170Hz (48 – 170Hz VRR, FreeSync + G-SYNC Compatible)
  • 0.5ms MPRT response time
  • DP 1.2a+ (HDR feature set), 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, USB-C (10W PD, DP Alt Mode, upstream data), 2 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Screen includes tilt and height adjustment with 100 x 100mm VESA support


Why choose this monitor:

The Gigabyte M27Q is a surprisingly diverse monitor, but with a colour-critical focus it’s one of the more affordable models on the market offering good Adobe RGB coverage – we measured 95% Adobe RGB in our review. An sRGB emulation setting is included with adjustable brightness, offering tighter tracking of sRGB. This is combined with a 2560 x 1440 (WQHD or 1440p) resolution, delivering a respectable pixel density that works well with a variety of image and video content. The screen also supports true 8-bit colour without dithering, whilst the light to very light matte screen surface with relatively smooth finish aids clarity and vibrancy. It also keeps lighter content free from obvious graininess.

VESA DisplayHDR 400 is supported, which is only a basic HDR level. There’s no local dimming or contrast enhancement, peak luminance is quite limited by HDR standards and DCI-P3 coverage is incomplete. For non-reference HDR purposes this could be considered adequate, though, and it allows the monitor to put its gamut to good use for HDR10 content whilst allowing 10-bit colour support – with the help of GPU dithering. The monitor supports 170Hz and Adaptive-Sync for VRR, with competent response times. The overall build quality is quite basic, but it ‘does the job’ and fits the monitor which is very affordable given its feature set. The screen also includes tilt and height adjustment.


Further reading:

Our review

Some thoughts on this model with respect to its colour gamut and image editing

Manufacturer product page

ASUS PA278QV/CV (27″ 75Hz IPS, 2560 x 1440)

 
ASUS PA278QV/CV

ASUS PA278QV/CV

 
Key aspects:

  • 27″ IPS panel (Innolux M270KCJ-L5B AAS IPS-type)
  • 2560 x 1440 (WQHD or 1440p)
  • True 8-bit
  • Flicker-free [~20kHz PWM] WLED backlight
  • ~sRGB colour gamut and 350 cd/m² (SDR) peak luminance
  • Light to very light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • 75Hz (48 – 75Hz VRR, FreeSync + G-SYNC Compatible)
  • 5ms grey to grey response time
  • QV: DP 1.2a, MiniDP 1.2a, HDMI 1.4, Dual-link DVI, 4 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream), 3.5mm headphone jack, 3.5mm microphone jack
  • CV: DP 1.2a, DP out (MST Daisy Chaining), HDMI 1.4, USB-C (65W PD, DP Alt Mode, upstream data), 4 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x 2W speakers
  • QV: Tilt (5° forwards, 35° backwards), height (~150mm or 5.91 inches), swivel (90° left, 90° right) and pivot
  • CV: Tilt (5° forwards, 35° backwards), height (~150mm or 5.91 inches), swivel (45° left, 45° right) and pivot


Why choose this monitor:

The ASUS PA278QV and PA278CV offer a colour gamut of 100% sRGB with a bit of extension beyond. We measured 81% DCI-P3 and 76% Adobe RGB coverage, inviting a bit of extra saturation beyond sRGB – but nothing extreme. We deem this acceptable at the hobbyist level, but for maximum sRGB accuracy we’d recommend calibration with a colorimeter or alternative. That’s something we’d ideally recommend with any monitor, though, and in some cases it would be much more vital and impactful than in this case. Our unit was well-calibrated with respect to gamma, whilst the monitor includes a factory calibration complete with printed report. With a claimed DeltaE <2 within the sRGB colour space.

The monitor also features a 2560 x 1440 (WQHD or 1440p) resolution with a light to very light matte screen surface and relatively smooth finish. This provides respectable clarity and detail for a variety of content and keeps lighter shades free from obvious graininess. No HDR support is offered, but the monitor has a 75Hz refresh rate for a bit of a boost over 60Hz and that some will welcome even on the desktop. Pixel responses are sufficiently rapid for a good experience at this refresh rate, whilst Adaptive-Sync VRR support is included. The screen offers excellent ergonomics, with the ‘QV’ model feeling particularly solid with a broad stand neck. The ‘CV’ has a more minimalistic stand neck design which doesn’t offer the same level of support to the screen, but includes USB-C which some may find useful.

Further reading:

Our review of the ‘QV’. ‘CV’ is the same aside from ports and stand design

A comparison with the Dell U2719D

A thread focusing on this model for both gaming and photo editing

Manufacturer product page (QV)

Manufacturer product page (CV)

Acer CM3271K (27″ 60Hz IPS, 3840 x 2160)

 
Acer CM3271K

Acer CM3271K

 
Key aspects:

  • 27″ IPS panel (AUO AHVA)
  • 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD)
  • 10-bit (8-bit + FRC)
  • Flicker-free LED backlight
  • ~99% Adobe RGB colour gamut and 350 cd/m² (SDR) peak luminance
  • Light to very light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • VESA DisplayHDR 400
  • 60Hz (40 – 60Hz VRR, FreeSync + G-SYNC Compatible)
  • 4ms grey to grey response time
  • DP 1.2a+ (HDR feature set), HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C (15W PD, DP Alt Mode, upstream data), 2 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x 4W speakers
  • Screen includes tilt, height and swivel adjustment with 100 x 100mm VESA support
  • Detachable shading hood included


Why choose this monitor:

The Acer CM3271K (CM3271K bmiipruzx) offers 99% Adobe RGB coverage combined with a 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD) resolution. This combination makes it particularly attractive for dealing with high resolution content, with strong detail and clarity. Whilst providing excellent support for the preferred Adobe RGB gamut of some creators. A well-tuned sRGB emulation setting is included (brightness adjustable) with a factory calibration of DeltaE <2. Hardware calibration is supported via Color Calibrator software and a compatible calibration device. The screen also supports true 10-bit colour, with a light to very light matte screen surface helping preserve the clarity and vibrancy potential of the screen better than 'stronger' matte surfaces.

VESA DisplayHDR 400 support is provided, a basic HDR level which allows 10-bit colour support and extended gamut to be put to good use. But local dimming is not required, peak luminance is limited by HDR standards (400 cd/m² specified for HDR) and the monitor targets good Adobe RGB rather than DCI-P3 or Rec.2020 coverage. The monitor also includes a detachable ‘Shielding Hood’ to help aid glare handling. And includes USB-C connectivity plus good ergonomic flexibility, complete with a modern and minimalistic design that should look in-place on many desks.


Further reading:

Manufacturer product page

BenQ SW270C (27″ 60Hz IPS, 2560 x 1440)

 
BenQ SW270C

BenQ SW270C

 
Key aspects:

  • 27″ IPS panel (AUO AHVA)
  • 2560 x 1440 (WQHD or 1440p)
  • 10-bit (8-bit + FRC)
  • LED backlight
  • ~99% Adobe RGB, 97% DCI-P3 colour gamut and 300 cd/m² (SDR) peak luminance
  • Light to very light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • Basic HDR10 support
  • 60Hz
  • 5ms grey to grey response time
  • HDMI 2.0, DP 1.4, USB Type-C (DP Alt Mode, 60W PD, upstream data), 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 USB 3.1 ports (plus upstream), SD/MMC card reader.
  • Screen fully adjustable with 100 x 100mm VESA support


Why choose this monitor:

The BenQ SW270C provides excellent Adobe RGB coverage (99%) and DCI-P3 coverage (97%). A range of factory calibrated presets are included with these plus the sRGB colour space in mind. With appropriate colour space emulation and a specified DeltaE <2 for Adobe RGB and sRGB. Plus integrated Uniformity Compensation (UC) to help improve backlight and colour temperature uniformity across the screen. 10-bit colour is supported (8-bit + FRC) with a 16-bit hardware addressable 3D LUT included to enhance precision. With hardware calibration via Palette Master Element software and a compatible calibration device. The monitor supports a 2560 x 1440 (WQHD or 1440p) resolution, providing a good pixel density to work with.

Basic HDR10 support is provided, allowing the colour gamut and 10-bit colour capability to be used appropriately. The peak luminance and lack of local dimming falls far short of true HDR output. USB-C connectivity is facilitated, with the screen complemented by a solidly-constructed fully adjustable stand. Intuitive OSD control is provided via the ‘Hotkey Puck G2’ wired remote (or forwards-facing buttons on the bottom bezel), whilst a detachable shading hood is included to minimise glare.


Further reading:

Manufacturer product page

BenQ EW3280U (32″ 60Hz IPS, 3840 x 2160)

 
BenQ EW3280U

BenQ EW3280U

 
Key aspects:

  • 32″ IPS panel (AUO M320QAN02.1 AHVA)
  • 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD)
  • 10-bit (8-bit + FRC)
  • PWM-free (flicker-free) WLED backlight
  • ~95% DCI-P3 colour gamut and 350 cd/m² (SDR) peak luminance
  • Very light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • VESA DisplayHDR 400
  • 60Hz (40 – 60Hz VRR, FreeSync + G-SYNC Compatible)
  • 5ms grey to grey response time
  • 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, DP 1.4, USB-C (60W PD, DP Alt Mode, upstream data), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x 2W speakers, 5W subwoofer
  • Screen is tilt-only with 100 x 100mm VESA mounting supported


Why choose this monitor:

The BenQ EW3280U combines a 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD) resolution with a generously sized screen and ~95% DCI-P3 coverage. With this, the monitor delivers a strong pixel density to give a detailed look to suitably high-resolution photos and videos. The strong DCI-P3 coverage will be attractive to some creators, too, whilst an effective sRGB emulation setting is included with adjustable brightness. Our unit was well-tuned with respect to gamma with the default gamut, but gamma was a bit to high (‘2.4’ average) with the sRGB emulation mode. As always, we’d recommend calibration with your own colorimeter or alternative device for best results. 10-bit (8-bit + FRC) colour is supported to enhance precision with suitable workflows.

The screen also includes a very light matte screen surface with relatively smooth finish, helping preserve its strong clarity and vibrancy potential whilst keeping lighter content free from obvious graininess. VESA DisplayHDR 400 support is included, facilitating work with HDR10 content and allowing the colour gamut and 10-bit colour support to be leveraged. The monitor lacks the contrast enhancement of local dimming or a particularly high luminance by HDR standards, though. Pixel responsiveness is good enough for a pretty strong 60Hz experience. The monitor has a fairly unique (‘rustic’) aesthetic, which we found quite charming in person. It is ergonomically limited, offering tilt adjustment only. Although 100 x 100mm VESA holes are included for alternative mounting.

Further reading:

Our review

A post exploring alternatives and explaining our preference for this model

Manufacturer product page

ASUS PA32UCX-PK (32″ 60Hz IPS, 3840 x 2160)

 
ASUS PA32UCX-PK

ASUS PA32UCX-PK

 
Key aspects:

  • 32″ IPS panel (AUO M320QAN02.5 AHVA)
  • 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD)
  • True 10-bit
  • Flicker-free 1152-zone Mini QD LED backlight
  • ~99.5% Adobe RGB, ~99% DCI-P3 colour gamut and 600 cd/m² (SDR) peak luminance
  • Very light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • VESA DisplayHDR 1000
  • 60Hz (40 – 60Hz VRR, FreeSync + G-SYNC Compatible)
  • 5ms grey to grey response time
  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports (1 in 1 out with 60W PD, DP Alt mode, upstream data), DP 1.2a+ (HDR feature set), 3 HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x 3W speakers
  • Screen is fully adjustable with 100 x 100mm VESA mounting supported
  • X-Rite i1Display Pro and detachable shading hood included


Why choose this monitor:

The ASUS PA32UCX-PK features a 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD) spread across a 32″ screen, providing a high pixel density that brings excellent detail to suitably high-resolution content. The Quantum Dot LED backlight solution provides a very generous colour gamut, including; ~99.5% Adobe RGB, 99% DCI-P3, 89% Rec. 2020 and sRGB. This is a Mini LED solution with 1152 dimming zones, which can be used for contrast enhancement under both SDR and HDR. A DeltaE of <1 is specified with factory-calibrated presets including colour space emulation (where applicable). A Uniformity Compensation (UC) feature is also included to help improve brightness and colour temperature uniformity across the screen. Hardware calibration is also supported, with an X-Rite i1Display Pro bundled to facilitate this. Other attractive aspects include; true 10-bit colour, a 600 cd/m² peak luminance for SDR and a very light matte screen surface to help preserve clarity and vibrancy.

The monitor is VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certified, allowing it to put its generous colour gamut and 10-bit colour support to work for HDR10 content. It also allows the 1152-zone local dimming solution to be put to good use, with a peak luminance of 1200 cd/m² provided for very bright light shades. HLG gamma is also supported as an alternative. The monitor includes ‘Off-Axis Contrast Optimization (OCO) to reduce the ‘halo’ effects of local dimming, including when observing the edges of the screen from close up. The manufacturer claims the technology “reduces halo effects by 80% and provides a 7X contrast-ratio enhancement for dark parts of the image when viewing the screen from an angle”. The monitor has an elegant modern design which combines brushed metal and matte plastics, which providing a weighty feel to the screen and full adjustability.

Further reading:

Manufacturer product page

A promotional video showcasing OCO

ViewSonic VP3881 (37.5″ 60Hz curved IPS, 3840 x 1600)

 
ViewSonic VP3881

ViewSonic VP3881

 
Key aspects:

  • 37.5″ IPS panel (LG Display LM375QW1-SSA1 IPS)
  • 2300R curve
  • 3840 x 1600 (UWQHD+ – 21:9 UltraWide)
  • 10-bit (8-bit + FRC)
  • Flicker-free WLED backlight
  • ~99.52% sRGB and 300 cd/m² peak luminance
  • Light matte anti-glare screen surface


Additional points:

  • Basic HDR10 support
  • 60Hz
  • 5ms grey to grey response time
  • USB-C (90W PD, DP Alt Mode, upstream data) 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, DP 1.4, 3.5mm audio output, 3.5mm audio input, 3 USB 3.0 ports (plus upstream)
  • 2 x 5W speakers
  • Screen includes tilt, swivel and height adjustment with 100 x 100mm VESA support


Why choose this monitor:

The ViewSonic VP3881 combines a 3840 x 1600 (UWQHD+) resolution with strong sRGB colour accuracy. The pixel density delivered is very good – similar to a 27″ WQHD model, with extra horizontal real-estate. The monitor is factory calibrated with a specified DeltaE <2 and includes a Uniformity Compensation (UC) feature which can be activated to enhance brightness and colour temperature uniformity across the screen. A 2300R (gentle) curve is included to draw you in just a little bit and potentially aid viewing comfort. 10-bit colour is supported via 8-bit + FRC with a 14-bit hardware addressable 3D LUT to enhance precision. Hardware calibration is supported using a compatible calibrator, including a range or X-Rite and Datacolor devices.

The screen surface is light matte anti-glare with a relatively smooth finish, keeping lighter content free from unwanted graininess and helping preserve clarity and vibrancy. Basic HDR10 support is provided, allowing the colour gamut and 10-bit colour capability to be put to use. The colour gamut and backlight capability is not appropriate for actual HDR output, however. USB-C connectivity is included with a generous 90W Power Delivery. Last but not least, the screen is solidly built with good ergonomic flexibility.

Further reading:

Manufacturer product page

Confused about the terminology? Check out our dedicated guide on the topic.

 

This list is heavily condensed; look out for the recommended badge in our reviews as well. You can sort our reviews by badge status and various other features in the review archive.