The Best HDR Monitors (2022 Reviews)

The selection of HDR monitors is nowhere as broad as the selection of HDR TVs. If you want to get the best possible HDR for the money, then check out this HDR monitor buying guide.

If you’re in the market for an HDR monitor, you’ve probably come across terms such as ‘fake HDR’ and ‘pseudo-HDR’ — and now you’re worried that you’ll end up buying a bad HDR display.

We don’t blame you!

Monitor manufacturers put HDR labels on just about anything these days, and that’s why in this buying guide, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about HDR when it comes to monitors.

MonitorSizeResolutionPanelRefresh RateVRR 
27"3840x2160IPS144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
32”3840x2160VA165HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Stable)
34"3440x1440QD-OLED175HzG-SYNC Ultimate
48"3840x2160OLED120HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
42"3840x2160OLED120HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
42"3840x2160OLED138HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
49”5120x1440VA240HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
*Recommended monitor - a review section will be added soon
best overall

Dell AW3423DW

Dell Alienware AW3423DW Monitor
  • QD-OLED panel
  • Infinite contrast ratio
  • G-SYNC up to 175Hz
best value

LG OLED48C1

LG OLED48C1
  • OLED panel
  • Infinite contrast ratio
  • VRR up to 120Hz

In truth, these are the only displays worth buying for the sake of HDR. They feature either OLED or LED panels with full-array local dimming (FALD), which is essential for a good HDR (High Dynamic Range) picture quality.

We didn’t include any monitors with edge-lit local dimming – while there are some great models out there, they simply cannot do justice to HDR.

Here’s why: the beauty of HDR image lies in the display’s ability to produce incredibly bright and vivid details in highlights of the picture while preserving black depth and details in shadows at the same time, thus creating this ‘high dynamic range.’

Of course, a wide color gamut and a high screen resolution are also very important in making the picture look great! 

On the other hand, LED-backlit HDR monitors without proper local dimming solutions simply cannot deliver a ‘true’ HDR picture as for them to produce specific bright details, for instance, their entire screen has to adapt, which leads to overexposing of dark areas.

You can view our changelogs for this buying guide at the end of this article.

The Pros:

  • Cheapest FALD monitor
  • 96 dimming zones, high brightness, wide color gamut
  • High pixel density
  • Plenty of features, including VRR up to 144Hz
  • Ergonomic stand, USB hub, KVM

The Cons:

  • Design lacks swivel/pivot
  • Only 96 dimming zones (very effective in some scenes, not so much in more demanding scenes)
  • Low native contrast ratio and some IPS glow (greatly reduced by local dimming)

About The Monitor

The Sony Inzone M9 is the cheapest gaming monitor that can deliver decent HDR image quality.

Image Quality

While the Sony M9 has DisplayHDR 600 certification, it actually delivers a better HDR image quality than some monitors labeled as DisplayHDR 1000.

This is because both HDR-600 and HDR-1000 certifications only have ‘some sort of local dimming’ as the requirement yet the difference between an 8-zone edge-lit local dimming solution and a 96-zone full-array local dimming system can be drastic!

In fact, the Sony Inzone M9 is the only HDR-600 monitor with a full-array local dimming solution currently available.

Now, its 96 dimming zones can’t deliver as good HDR image quality as the other OLED or mini LED displays with thousands of dimming zones we’ve included in this guide, but they do offer a noteworthy improvement over SDR displays and displays with ineffective edge-lit dimming zones.

Edge lit Dimming vs Full array Dimming

Apart from the decent full-array local dimming solution that allows for bright highlights without sacrificing black depth, the Sony Inzone M9 has a wide 97% DCI-P3 color gamut for vibrant colors and a strong 800-nit peak brightness.

Further, the 4K UHD resolution results in a high pixel density of 163 PPI (pixels per inch) on the 27″ viewable screen of the monitor, meaning that you’ll get plenty of screen space with sharp details and text.

The monitor’s IPS panel also ensures 178° wide viewing angles with accurate and consistent colors, as well as a rapid 1ms GtG pixel response time speed for virtually no visible trailing behind fast-moving objects.

Features

freesync and gsync

Moving on, the Sony Inzone M9 supports variable refresh rate through FreeSync, HDMI 2.1 VRR and G-SYNC Compatible technologies for tear-free gameplay up to 144FPS.

Other features include Black Equalizer (improves visibility in dark scenes by manipulating the gamma curvature), crosshair overlays, various picture presets, on-screen timers and a refresh rate tracker.

Visit our full Samsung Inzone M9 review for more details.

Design & Connectivity

Sony Inzone M9 Monitor Design

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and offers height and tilt adjustment, as well as VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, two HDMI 2.1 ports with 40 Gbps, one upstream + three downstream USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port with DP Alt Mode (no Power Delivery), a headphone jack and a built-in KVM function.

Alternatives

LG’s OLED48C1 TV can be found for around the same price. It offers a better HDR image quality thanks to its OLED panel, but a lot of people find 48″ sized displays simply too big for regular desktop use.

There are a few upcoming 27″ mini LED FALD gaming monitors worth keeping an eye on, such as the Cooler Master GP27FUS, the MSI MEG271Q and the ASUS PG27UQX.

The Pros:

  • Cheapest mini LED FALD monitor
  • 1196 dimming zones, high brightness, wide color gamut
  • High pixel density
  • Plenty of features, including VRR and MBR up to 165Hz
  • Ergonomic stand, USB hub

The Cons:

  • The aggressive 1000R screen curvature won’t appeal to some gamers
  • Minor blooming (in very demanding scenes)

About The Monitor

The Samsung Odyssey Neo G7 is actually the cheapest monitor with a mini LED FALD backlight that delivers the true HDR viewing experience.

Image Quality

In comparison to the Sony M9, the Neo G7 has 1196 dimming zones and a higher native contrast ratio of ~4,000:1, which allows it to produce much deeper blacks with less blooming artifacts. It can also get brighter, with a ~1,200-nits peak brightness!

The 4K UHD resolution looks great even on 32″ sized displays with a pixel density of 138 PPI, resulting in plenty of screen real estate and sharp details.

Further, the monitor has a wide 95% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage and a rapid 1ms GtG pixel response time speed.

Now, the Neo G7 has a steep 1000R screen curvature that some users like, some don’t mind it, and some can’t stand it. So, it comes down to personal preference, but keep in mind it will take some time to get used to in case you don’t like it at first.

Features

Variable refresh rate is supported over HDMI 2.1 VRR and FreeSync Premium up to 165FPS. While the monitor doesn’t have official G-SYNC Compatible certification by NVIDIA, you can use VRR with GeForce cards without issues.

Some units might exhibit some VRR brightness flickering, in which case you can use the VRR Control feature to prevent it (though this can introduce some micro-stutter).

Motion Blur Reduction is available as well, which uses backlight strobing to improve motion clarity at a cost of picture brightness.

Other noteworthy features include Black Equalizer, various picture presets, crosshair overlays, a refresh rate tracker, Picture in Picture, Adaptive Picture (integrated sensors) and CoreSync RGB lighting at the back of the monitor.

Check out our full Samsung Neo G7 review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

Samsung S32BG75 Review

The stand of the monitor is prone to some wobbling, but it has full ergonomic support with up to 120mm height adjustment, +/- 15° swivel, +/- 90° pivot, -9°/13° tilt and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, two HDMI 2.1 ports with 40 Gbps and DSC, a headphone jack and a dual-USB 3.0 hub.

Alternatives

The Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 model has a higher 240Hz refresh rate, but it’s more prone to scanline issues. Considering how demanding 4K UHD is for high frame rates with decent picture settings in most games, we recommend the cheaper Neo G7.

In case you want a flat-screen 32″ HDR monitor, keep an eye on the upcoming mini LED models, such as the Acer X32 FP. However, these IPS models will be more expensive, have fewer dimming zones and most likely more blooming.

The Pros:

  • Infinite contrast ratio, high peak brightness, wide color gamut
  • Instant response time
  • Plenty of features, including G-SYNC up to 175Hz
  • Ergonomic stand, USB hub

The Cons:

  • No MBR
  • Risk of burn-in

About The Monitor

The Dell Alienware AW3423DW is the best HDR gaming monitor you can get right now and the good news is that it’s actually cheaper than many inferior displays!

Image Quality

Based on an OLED panel, the AW3423DW has self-emissive pixels that can individually turn off thereby providing you with true blacks and an infinite contrast ratio without any backlight bleeding, blooming, or glowing.

Another advantage of OLEDs is that the pixels can instantaneously change colors, resulting in no noticeable trailing behind fast-moving objects, making them ideal for fast-paced games.

The Dell AW3423DW is using Samsung’s new QD-OLED panel that’s enhanced with quantum dots for a wider color gamut, higher brightness, and better burn-in resistance.

It covers 99.3% of the DCI-P3 color space and 95% Adobe RGB, which is equivalent to around 149% sRGB gamut size. The colors are vibrant and rich, allowing you to watch HDR content the way its creators intended.

You’ll also find dedicated sRGB and DCI-P3 color modes with adjustable brightness and gamma in case you want to do color-critical work or to view SDR content without over-saturation.

Related:What Is sRGB Emulation Mode And Why Is It Important?

Further, the monitor has a peak brightness of 1,000-nits and it can sustain almost 300-nits when displaying a 100% white window, which is brighter than that of any other OLED currently available.

 100% White Window Max Brightness (SDR)100% White Window Max Brightness (HDR)10% White Window Max Brightness (HDR)1 - 3% White Window Max Brightness (HDR)
ASUS PG42UQ200-nits**120-nits800-nits800-nits
LG OLED42C2180-nits*120-nits700-nits700-nits
LG OLED48C1120-nits120-nits800-nits800-nits
Gigabyte FO48U110-nits110-nits500-nits600-nits
ASUS PG48UQNot TestedNot TestedNot TestedNot Tested
LG 48GQ900Not TestedNot TestedNot TestedNot Tested
LG OLED48C2Not TestedNot TestedNot TestedNot Tested
Dell AW3423DW250-nits250-nits600-nits1000-nits

*PC Mode, Game Optimizer enabled
**Uniform Brightness enabled

The main disadvantage of OLEDs is the risk of image burn-in.

If a static image is left on the screen for too long, some bright elements can become permanently stuck. However, as long as you use a screen saver and the monitor’s integrated features, such as Pixel Refresher and Panel Refresher, you’ll be fine. Dell even offers a three-year warranty that covers burn-in.

Moving on, the Dell Alienware AW3423DW has an ultrawide resolution of 3440×1440 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 110 PPI (pixels per inch) on its 34″ viewable screen. Overall, you get plenty of screen space with sharp details and no scaling necessary, while the ultrawide format provides you with an extended field of view in compatible games. Moreover, it’s not nearly as demanding to drive as 4K UHD.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the monitor has regular RGB subpixels, they’re in a triangular layout, so there’s some colored fringing on small text. For gaming and videos, it’s not an issue, but if you’re looking at text a lot (coding, writing), it might bother you a bit. Hopefully, Windows ClearType and MacOS HiDPI scaling can be updated to address the new QD-OLED panels.

Features

g sync compatible vs native g sync

The Dell AW3423DW is equipped with a dedicated G-SYNC module for flawless VRR (variable refresh rate) performance up to 175Hz/FPS.

The combination of the instant response time, imperceptibly low input lag and G-SYNC up to 175Hz ensures a responsive and enjoyable gaming experience. Unfortunately, MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) is not supported, which could’ve reduced the otherwise unavoidable perceived motion blur via backlight strobing.

Other features include Dark Stabilizer (improves visibility in dark scenes), crosshair overlays, on-screen timers, a refresh rate tracker, RGB lighting and more.

Check out our full Dell AW3423DW review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

Dell Alienware AW3423DW Review

The stand of the monitor is robust and versatile with up to 110mm height adjustment, -5°/21° tilt, +/- 20° swivel, +/- 4° pivot and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

The screen has a subtle 1800R curvature and a semi-glossy finish with an anti-reflective treatment. So, it offers a clearer picture than that of displays with matte anti-glare coatings, but it’s not as reflective or quite as vivid as pure glossy screens.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports (limited to 100Hz), a headphone jack, line-out and a quad-USB 3.0 hub. Due to the lack of DSC support, you’re limited to either 175Hz 8-bit or 144Hz 10-bit.

The difference between both 10-bit vs 8-bit color and 144Hz vs 175Hz is subtle in real use, so you can pick whichever you personally prefer. Most games in which you might actually notice improvements by 10-bit color are usually too demanding to be run at over 144FPS and high picture settings anyway.

Alternatives

Due to its appealing $1,300 price, there are no alternatives, though Samsung is supposed to release a monitor based on the same panel, the Odyssey G8QNB – no word on pricing or release date.

The Pros:

  • Infinite contrast ratio, decent peak brightness, wide color gamut
  • Instant response time
  • Plenty of features, including VRR and BFI up to 120Hz
  • Rich connectivity options, smart OS

The Cons:

  • Risk of burn-in
  • Not as bright as some LED or QD-OLED panels

About The Monitor

If you’d rather have a bigger OLED display with a more conventional 16:9 aspect ratio, LG’s C1 48″ TV is your best bet; here’s how it compares to the AW3423DW.

Image Quality

Unlike the Dell AW3423DW, the C1 is based on LG’s OLED panel without quantum dots. So, it has the same native advantages of OLED technology, such as instantaneous response time and infinite contrast ratio, but it’s not as bright, it doesn’t have as wide color gamut, and it’s not as resistant to burn-in.

In fact, LG’s warranty doesn’t cover burn-in, except for the high-end G1 and Z1 models.

In comparison to the AW3423DW (99.3% DCI-P3, 95% Adobe RGB, 149% sRGB), LG covers 98% of the DCI-P3 color space and ~87% Adobe RGB; 135% sRGB gamut size.

It’s also not as bright with a ~800-nit peak brightness and ~150-nits sustained for a 100% white window. Such low sustainable brightness also causes ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) to be triggered more frequently.

ABL kicks in to preserve the panel. So, if you’re using the C1 at around 250-nits, once you display an image that’s mostly white/bright, ABL will reduce the brightness to ~150-nits. Depending on what you’re watching, this fluctuation in brightness can become annoying.

You can prevent or alleviate this by reducing the brightness (or contrast) setting, but because the Dell AW3423DW is overall brighter, its ABL implementation is not nearly as aggressive.

Even though the LG C1 has a higher 4K UHD resolution, when it’s displayed on its 48″ viewable screen, you actually get a lower pixel density of 92 PPI in comparison to 110 PPI on the AW3423DW.

However, since you’ll be sitting further away from the screen, individual pixels still won’t be noticeable. The C1 is using a WRGB subpixel layout, so small text is not as crisp as that of monitors with the regular RGB layout, but this isn’t noticeable in games or videos.

The OLED48C1 is G-SYNC Compatible and supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, providing you with smooth VRR performance up to 120FPS. It also supports BFI (Black Frame Insertion) for clearer motion at a cost of picture brightness.

Check out our full OLED48C1 review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

LG OLED48C1 TV Design

The stand of the display is not adjustable, but the screen is VESA mount compatible via the 300x200mm pattern. The screen has a glossy finish, so it offers a more vivid (but also more reflective) picture.

Connectivity options include four HDMI 2.1 ports, RJ45, tuner, composite-in, both analog and digital audio jacks, three USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, Bluetooth and dual 10W integrated speakers with a 20W subwoofer.

Alternatives

Note that Gigabyte has a 48″ monitor based on the same panel as LG’s TV. However, it lacks the TV features and doesn’t really offer anything extra yet it’s more expensive. So, consider it only if it’s more affordable in your region. It has a DisplayPort 1.4 input, so it’s also worth considering if you have a powerful graphics card that doesn’t have HDMI 2.1, such as the RTX 2080, and you don’t plan on upgrading soon.

The Pros:

  • Infinite contrast ratio, decent peak brightness, wide color gamut
  • Instant response time
  • Plenty of features, including VRR up to 120Hz
  • Rich connectivity options, smart OS

The Cons:

  • Risk of burn-in
  • Not as bright as some LED or QD-OLED panels
  • No 120Hz BFI

About The Monitor

The LG OLED C2 series also features a 42″ sized model, making it more practical for regular desktop use due to its smaller screen and higher pixel density of 106 PPI.

The C2 also has a bit faster processor, but it lacks 120Hz BFI support and is currently more expensive than the 48″ C1 TV.

Check out our full LG OLED42C2 review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

LG OLED42C2 TV Design

The LG OLED42C2 has a design with legs to better fit on a regular PC desk, but there are no ergonomic adjustments apart from VESA mount compatibility. Just like the C1 series, the LG C2 TVs have glossy screen finish for more vibrant image quality, but it’s reflective.

Connectivity options are identical to the C1 series and include four HDMI 2.1 ports, RJ45, tuner, composite-in, both analog and digital audio jacks, three USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, Bluetooth and dual 10W integrated speakers (no subwoofer though).

Alternatives

The ASUS PG42UQ monitor is based on the same panel with a 138Hz overclockable refresh rate, DisplayPort input and a matte anti-glare coating instead of a glossy screen surface. It can also get a bit brighter than the 42C2, but lacks Dolby Vision support.

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio, impressive peak brightness, decent color gamut
  • Fast response time
  • Plenty of features, including VRR up to 240Hz
  • Ergonomic stand, USB hub

The Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Noticeable blooming in some scenes

About The Monitor

Now, as we mentioned earlier, even though mini LED FALD monitors are brighter than OLEDs and don’t suffer from the risk of burn-in, they offer an overall inferior HDR gaming experience due to the lower contrast ratio, blooming artifacts and slower pixel response time. However, if you want a 49″ super-ultrawide gaming monitor with good HDR image quality, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is your only option.

Image Quality

This gigantic 49″ sized screen has a mini LED backlight that’s capable of reaching up to 1,000-nits of brightness for small windows and a brief time, as well as a strong 400-nits sustained brightness for SDR (600-nits for HDR) with a 100% white window. So, the monitor is overall brighter and can produce punchier highlights.

However, even though it has one of the best FALD implementations with 2048 zones, it still has over 7 million pixels, so those zones won’t be able to always effectively dim parts of the image that are supposed to be dark without some light bleeding into them from the surrounding lit zones, thus creating blooming or the halo effect.

To be fair, this is not a big issue unless you’re looking at a particularly demanding scene, such as a starfield.

The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 also doesn’t have as vibrant colors as that of OLEDs with around 95% DCI-P3 gamut coverage (~85% Adobe RGB, ~125% sRGB gamut size).

Moving on, while the monitor is rather fast for a LED-backlit panel, some minor ghosting and overshoot can be detected with some fast-moving objects, though it won’t bother most users.

The 5120×1440 resolution results in a pixel density of 110 PPI on the 49″ sized screen of the monitor and you get a regular RGB subpixel layout, so text is sharp and clear with plenty of screen real estate available.

Lastly, the monitor supports FreeSync Premium Pro and it’s G-SYNC Compatible with a 96-240Hz range, however, VRR can cause micro-stuttering on some units, which some users might find bothersome.

Other useful features include Black Equalizer, PiP/PbP and RGB lighting.

Design & Connectivity

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 Monitor Design

The stand of the monitor is robust and versatile with up to 120mm height adjustment, -5°/15° tilt, +/- 15° swivel and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility, while the screen has an aggressive 1000R curvature for added immersion and a matte anti-glare coating against reflections.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC, two HDMI 2.1 ports (limited to 144Hz), a headphone jack and a dual-USB 3.0 hub.

Alternatives

TCL/CSOT is apparently working on a 49″ 5120×1440 240Hz panel with a 5000-zone local dimming solution, however, there’s no word on its pricing and release date yet.

Conclusion

Found the best HDR monitor for you?

Feel free to leave us any questions you might have in the comments below!

All in all, we recommend the Dell AW3423DW. In case you don’t like the ultrawide format or have a more limited budget, the LG OLED48C1 offers great value for money.

If you don’t mind the steep 1000R screen curvature, the Samsung Neo G7 is a great monitor for the price, while the Samsung Neo G9 and the LG OLED42C2 also offer an amazing HDR gaming experience, but cost a bit more than they should.

Changelog +

  • July 22, 2022:
    – Added the Samsung Odyssey Neo G7.
  • April 21, 2022:
    – Added the LG OLED42C2.
  • March 11, 2022:
    – Replaced the ASUS PG35VQ, PG27UQ and PG32UQX with the Dell AW3423DW.
  • February 1, 2022:
    – Included upcoming monitors announced at CES as alternatives where appropriate.
  • December 11, 2021:
    – Added review summaries for the monitors that were missing them.
  • November 24, 2021:
    – Checked up on the guide to ensure that our picks are still the best options available.
  • August 10, 2021:
    – Added the ASUS PG32UQX, the Samsung Neo G9, the LG OLED48C1, and the Acer XB323UGX to the table; dedicated review sections will be added soon.
    – Replaced the Philips 436M6 with Gigabyte FV43U, the Acer XB323UGP with ASUS PG329Q, the LG 27GN950 with LG 27GP950, the LG 38GN950 with Dell AW3821DW, and the LG 32UL500 with BenQ EW3270U.
  • December 15, 2020:
    – Added the Dell AW2721D and the Acer XB323UGP.
    – Removed the ASUS CG32UQ as it’s too expensive. The Samsung G7 is a much better option for the money.

Related Reads

Best Gaming Monitors Under 300 USD
The Best Gaming Monitors Under 300 USD (2022 Reviews)
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.