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The 5 Best Monitors for Photo Editing and Graphic Design - Fall 2018
Reviews

44 Monitors Tested
  • Store-bought monitors; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

Whether you are a professional in the print and marketing industry, or an amateur photographer, your project has to look its best. The first step is to have a good monitor with accurate colors. There is nothing worse than printing your project only to find the colors are off because your monitor couldn't display them properly.

We've tested 44 monitors so far, and below are our picks for the top 5 monitors for photo editing, graphic design, or media creation available for purchase in the fall of 2018.

  1. Best Monitor for Photo Editing and Graphic Design: LG 27UK650-W

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.0

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.0: Fall 2017
    Size : 27 "
    Resolution : 3840x2160
    Refresh Rate : 60 Hz
    LCD Type
    What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the monitor.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
    :
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
    When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
    :
    FreeSync

    The LG 27UK650 is the best monitor for photo editing, graphic design, and media creation that we have reviewed so far. It has good picture quality, with wide viewing angles and great color accuracy out-of-the-box. It has an excellent color gamut in SDR, with nearly 100% s.RGB coverage. 

    Unfortunately, if you work in the wider Adobe RGB color space, you may find the coverage disappointing. Although it supports HDR, there is little benefit, as it doesn't have a wide color gamut and has only decent HDR brightness.

    The 27UK650 is a great monitor for work, as it has a good stand that can be easily adjusted to an optimal viewing position. The large, 27" screen and 4k resolution are perfect for working, as you have more screen real-estate to work with. The LG OnScreen Control software can also be used to split the screen into two or more virtual screens, making it easier to stay organized when multitasking. Overall, it is a great monitor that fits a variety of uses and should please most people.

    See our review

  2. Larger Alternative: LG 32UD99-W

    Size : 32 "
    Resolution : 3840x2160
    Refresh Rate : 60 Hz
    LCD Type
    What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the monitor.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
    :
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
    When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
    :
    FreeSync

    If you like the LG 27UK650, but would prefer something larger, check out the LG 32UD99. Overall, both monitors perform similarly, but the 32UD99 has a larger 32" screen, and has slightly better color coverage. It also has more inputs, as LG has included a USB 3.0 hub, so you can easily connect a drawing tablet or trackpad to the monitor without having to pull out your computer.

    See our review

  3. Best Adobe RGB Monitor: Acer Predator X27

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.0

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.0: Fall 2017
    Size : 27 "
    Resolution : 3840x2160
    Refresh Rate : 120 Hz
    LCD Type
    What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the monitor.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
    :
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
    When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
    :
    G-Sync

    If you work mainly in the Adobe RGB color space, the Acer Predator X27 has the best Adobe RGB coverage that we have measured so far. It has a nearly perfect SDR color gamut and outstanding SDR color volume. In HDR, it has the best color gamut of any display that we have tested so far, and very good HDR color volume.

    It has a decent stand that can be easily adjusted to an optimal position. The 27", 4k screen is great for multitasking, and the fast 120 Hz refresh rate is excellent for gaming. It has a dedicated blue light filter, that as the name sounds filters blue light from the display to reduce eye strain when working at night or in a dark room.

    Unfortunately, the X27 really doesn't come cheap and is outside of most people's budget. But if you need the best, you won't be disappointed with it.

    See our review

  4. Best Widescreen Monitor for Media Creation: Dell AW3418DW

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.0

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.0: Fall 2017
    Size : 34 "
    Resolution : 3440x1440
    Refresh Rate : 100 Hz
    LCD Type
    What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the monitor.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
    :
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
    When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
    :
    G-Sync

    If you would prefer a widescreen monitor for easier multitasking when editing photos, check out the Dell Alienware AW3418DW. The 34" screen, with a 3440x1440 resolution and 21:9 aspect ratio, is perfect for multitasking, or for editing a large workflow. It has nearly perfect coverage of the s.RGB color space and excellent color volume, but unfortunately it doesn't cover the wider Adobe RGB color space as well.

    There is some noticeable banding when working with gradients. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, but if you frequently work with gradients it might be an issue. It also doesn't perform very well in a dark room, due to the limited contrast ratio and poor black uniformity.

    The Dell AW3418DW has a great design, with a futuristic look and a unique stand. The stand itself isn't as good as most Dell monitors, but can still be easily adjusted to an optimal position. Overall, it is a very good monitor that should please most people.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Monitor for Photo Editing and Graphic Design: Dell U2518D

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.0

    Test Benches: test

    • 1.0: Fall 2017
    Size : 25 "
    Resolution : 2560x1440
    Refresh Rate : 60 Hz
    LCD Type
    What it is: Type of LCD technology used by the monitor.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different viewing angle properties.
    :
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    What it is: Feature that allows the monitor to synchronize its refresh rate with the input device's output and reduces stuttering and screen tearing.
    When it matters: Almost every usage, but is most noticeable in gaming where constant fluctuation in framerate cause distracting artifacts.
    :
    No

    If you want a very good monitor for photo editing, graphic design or media creation, but have a limited budget, the Dell U2518D is a great choice. It delivers good picture quality, with wide viewing angles and excellent s.RGB coverage. It also displays color nearly perfectly, with very little banding in gradients.

    Unfortunately, like most IPS monitors, the Dell U2518D isn't great for a dark room due to disappointing black uniformity. Also, while it supports HDR, there isn't a huge benefit to it as it doesn't have a wide color gamut and has disappointing HDR color volume. It also doesn't cover the Adobe RGB color space very well, so if you work in print and use that color space, you might be disappointed.

    Overall, it is a surprisingly good monitor, and it delivers great value, far outperforming similarly priced monitors.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Dell U2718Q. Very good monitor for media creation, but the 27UK650 is a bit better for almost the same price. See our review
  • ASUS ROG PG279Q. Good monitor for picture editing, but the LG 27UK650 is better and cheaper. See our review
  • Samsung CHG70. Good monitor if you want better HDR than the LG 27UK650, but the LG is better overall. See our review
  • ASUS ROG PG348Q. Very good monitor, but the Dell AW3418DW is slightly better overall. See our review
  • LG 34UC69G-B. Decent large monitor, but image isn't very clear due to the low 2560x1440 resolution. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors for graphic design, photo editing, and media creation currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors. 

If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.

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