For professional purposes and everyday use, 4K monitors are worth it since they’ve become very affordable lately.
When it comes to PC gaming, we don’t recommend them unless you have a high-end GPU as the 4K UHD resolution is very demanding and the improvement in image quality over a good 1440p display is rarely worth the performance hit.
For console gaming, whether a 4K monitor is worth it will depend on your console, games you play and personal preference regarding visual quality and performance.
With more and more content being available in 4K resolution each day, getting a 4K monitor seems inevitable.
Higher resolution means more details and better image quality for your favorite TV shows, movies and games, as well as more screen real estate for your spreadsheets and web-surfing.
Whether getting a 4K monitor for PC is worth it or not depends on what you’re doing on your computer.
Do you play video games, are you a content creator, or do you just want everything to be crystal-clear and sharp? Whatever it is, we’ll help you decide.
4K Monitors For Console Gaming
If you have the Xbox One X or the PS4 Pro, then getting a 4K 60Hz display is a no-brainer for you since you are already locked to 30 or 60 FPS at 4K UHD anyway. These displays are also rather cheap nowadays and can be found for around $300, such as the ASUS VG289Q and the 32UL500.
The Xbox One X also supports 1080p/1440p 120Hz, but the console is not actually powerful enough to output 120FPS in most games. However, if you are mainly playing competitive and undemanding games, such as Rainbox Six Siege or The Division 2, getting a 1080p 120Hz display will be better.
With the PS5 and the Xbox Series S/X consoles, you’ll ideally want a 4K 120Hz monitor with HDMI 2.1.
The PS5 supports 120Hz at three resolutions – 1080p, 1440p and 4K UHD. It also supports HDR at all resolutions, but it requires HDMI 2.1 VRR for tear-free variable refresh rate performance.
The Xbox Series consoles also support 120Hz at all resolutions, but they only support HDR at 4K UHD. Besides HDMI 2.1 VRR support, they also support AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate.
So, if you want a good HDR gaming monitor for the Xbox, a 4K monitor is worth it, although there are exceptions – for instance, the LG 27GR95QE is a 1440p 240Hz HDR monitor, but it has an HDMI 2.1 port that allows it to upscale to 4K 120Hz.
In case you just want a budget SDR gaming monitor, we recommend getting a 1440p 120Hz display with FreeSync for smooth performance.
In truth, determining whether a 4K monitor is worth it for console gaming is very difficult as it all comes down to your budget, HDR, the type of games you play and your personal preference regarding panel type, screen size, etc.
Moreover, there are a lot of exceptions (1440p monitors with 4K upscaling, HDMI 2.0 displays with HDMI 2.1 VRR support, etc.). Therefore, we recommend visiting our buying guides mentioned above for the best options and more information.
4K Monitors For PC Gaming
When it comes to PC gaming, it depends on your PC configuration and the type of games you play. For instance, in a game such as Anthem, a high-end GPU like the RTX 3080 would provide you with ~60FPS at 4K or ~100FPS at 1440p.
We find that the performance difference between 60FPS and 100FPS is much greater than the difference in image quality between 4K and 1440p on a 27″ monitor, for example.
Of course, the image is still a bit clearer at 4K UHD in games and videos, and if you plan on using the monitor for photo/video editing and productivity work, the extra screen space and much sharper text are worth getting a 4K monitor – provided that you have a high-end graphics card.
4K Monitor For Professional Use
If you are a content creator, getting a 4K monitor can certainly sound tempting as you’d be able to provide your viewers with impeccable picture quality.
In fact, video and photo editing will also be more enjoyable due to the higher image quality with more vivid details and more screen real estate.
One thing you should take into account is your hardware. Rendering 4K content requires a lot of RAM, a strong GPU/CPU and you will need extra storage — depending on how complex your videos are and what format you’re using.
So, even though you can get a 4K monitor cheap nowadays, hardware to properly power it for some purposes is still expensive.
And when you consider that most of your viewers will still be watching your content in 1080p, as it’s still the standard and the most widespread resolution, you might want to ask yourself whether it is all really worth it.
In conclusion, if you can afford to edit in 4K, then getting a 4K monitor is worth it, but at the same time, you shouldn’t feel like you have to rush to get one since 1080p is still the most popular resolution; you might also want to consider an ultrawide monitor as an in-between option.
4K Monitor – Everyday Use
Simply put: if you’re just looking for a monitor to watch 4K movies and TV shows, to web surf and for other basic multimedia activities, a 4K monitor is a viable choice.
In fact, some 4K monitors are even cheaper than some 1440p displays! Unless you are gaming, you won’t need a powerful system either.
The HD 630 integrated GPU of Intel’s 7th Generation Core processors (or newer) supports 4K resolution, and you will be able to watch 4K movies without any issues.
You should also keep in mind that to watch 4K content online via streaming, you need a decent internet connection, at least 25 Mbps.
What’s the bottom line?
Getting a 4K monitor can be worth it since there’s an abundance of compatible content available nowadays.
However, if you want to play video games, you need to make sure your hardware will be able to handle it before you go out and purchase the monitor.