Whether you're 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's nothing worse than printing your project or sending it to your clients only to find the colors are off because your monitor couldn't display them properly.
We've tested more than 145 monitors, and below are our picks for the best monitors for photo editing, video editing, or graphic design available for purchase. See also our recommendations for the best 4k monitors, the best ultrawide monitors, and the best monitors overall.
The best monitor for photo editing or video editing that we've tested is the Dell S2721QS. It's a great and versatile model that's well-suited for content creation, and best of all, it has an affordable price tag that makes it our current top budget pick. It has a 27 inch screen that allows you to open multiple windows side-by-side, and its 4k resolution lets you see all the fine details of your work. It has good ergonomics and wide viewing angles, making it a good choice for sharing your work with colleagues or clients.
It has an outstanding SDR color gamut. It covers the entire sRGB color space, and its Adobe RGB coverage is great. Gradient handling is superb, and there are no signs of color bleed. Its out-of-the-box accuracy is just okay, so it might be worth calibrating if you plan on doing color work. It can display a wide color gamut for HDR content; however, it has some trouble displaying dark colors due to its IPS panel's low contrast ratio. This also means that it isn't well-suited for dark rooms as blacks appear gray.
Fast-moving scenes look reasonably clear thanks to its good response time. It has an amazingly low input lag if you want to use it for gaming, and it supports variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing. It doesn't have any USB ports for charging, but you do get a pair of integrated speakers, and it has a Picture-in-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals at once, which can be useful for multitaskers using two computers. Overall, it's a simple and wallet-friendly monitor that should please most people.
If you often need to show your work to clients and colleagues, then you should consider a monitor with better ergonomics, especially one with a wider swivel range, such as the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV. Like the Dell S2721QS, it has a large 27 inch IPS screen with wide viewing angles, but its ergonomics are significantly better as it allows for a full 180-degree swivel. That said, there are some compromises. The resolution is 1440p instead of 4k, although it shouldn't be that noticeable as most people need to use scaling on a 4k monitor to make the text big enough to read. Also, while it has an excellent SDR color gamut, it doesn't quite cover the entire sRGB color space. On the bright side, it has better accuracy out of the box, faster response time, and its 75Hz refresh rate provides a slightly more responsive desktop experience than a typical 60Hz panel.
Overall, the Dell is a better choice due to its higher resolution and better color gamut. However, if you need a monitor with better ergonomics, then go with the ASUS.
The Acer Predator X27 is the best Adobe RGB monitor for photo editing or video editing. This is a great 27 inch model with impressive picture quality and outstanding peak brightness in HDR. It has wide viewing angles so that images remain accurate when viewed from the side, great for sharing your work with colleagues. It has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough for most environments, and it also comes with anti-glare panels to further reduce glare.
It's well-suited for those working in the Adobe RGB color space as it has near full coverage, which is the best we've tested on a monitor. It has a great wide color gamut for HDR, with good coverage of the DCI P3 color space, and it gets more than bright enough to make highlights pop. Unfortunately, color accuracy is sub-par out of the box, so you might need to calibrate it first. Also, it doesn't look as good in dark rooms as it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish.
There's a USB hub with four USB 3.0 ports to charge your mobile devices as well as a pair of built-in speakers. Its response time is excellent if you want to game on the side, and it has a 144Hz refresh rate and native G-SYNC support to reduce screen tearing. Overall, although it's designed primarily for gaming, it's a great monitor that most photo and video editors should be happy with.
The Dell U3219Q is the best monitor for photo editing and video editing with a 32 inch screen that we've tested. It's a well-built model with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a sharp 4k resolution. It has excellent ergonomics and wide viewing angles, making it easier to place the screen at your optimal viewing position and share your work with coworkers. Its reflection handling is mediocre, but it gets bright enough to combat glare in most lighting conditions.
It has an outstanding color gamut, with full sRGB coverage and great Adobe RGB coverage. However, it doesn't display dark colors well due to its low contrast ratio, which is typical for IPS monitors. It has exceptional gradient handling, so banding should be minimal, and there are no signs of color bleed. Response time is decent, good enough for some casual gaming, but there are no advanced gaming features like variable refresh rate.
There are quite a few additional features, such as four USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, which lets you display an image from a compatible device and charge it simultaneously with a single cable. There's also a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that allows you to display two input signals at once, which can be useful for those working on two computers. Overall, it's a great monitor that should please most photo and video editors.
The best monitor for photo editing with an ultrawide screen is the LG 34GN850-B. The 21:9 aspect ratio allows you to open multiple windows at once, and the 3440x1440 resolution is great for seeing images clearly. It's a fairly well-built model, but you can't switch it into portrait mode because of its size, and the stand doesn't allow for swivel adjustments.
It has excellent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space and near-perfect coverage of the commonly-used sRGB color space. Its out-of-the-box color accuracy is great, but you may still need to get it calibrated if you need extremely accurate colors. It has a 10-bit panel with superb gradient handling, and there's no color bleed. If you work in bright environments, it gets bright enough to combat glare, and it has decent reflection handling. Additionally, the IPS panel provides wide viewing angles, great for sharing your work with others.
Sadly, this isn't ideal if you work in dark environments. It has a low contrast ratio, so blacks appear closer to gray, and the black uniformity is just okay. On the upside, if you want to watch HDR, it displays a wide color gamut, and it has decent peak brightness in that mode, enough to bring out some highlights. Overall, most people should be happy with this, making it the best monitor for photo editing in the ultrawide category that we've tested.
If you find the LG 34GN850-B too expensive, then check out the Acer Nitro XV340CK. It's a very similar ultrawide monitor with a 34 inch screen, 21:9 aspect ratio, and 1440p resolution. It has an excellent SDR color gamut, but it can't display a wide color gamut for HDR content, and you might want to calibrate it first as its out-of-the-box accuracy is just okay. On the upside, it has much better ergonomics because it can swivel a full 360 degrees, and it has a flat, non-curved panel, which some content creators prefer to curved screens.
Overall, the LG is a better choice for most people because it has a better color gamut and accuracy. However, if you're shopping on a smaller budget, the Acer is a good alternative.
01/14/2021: Minor text and structure changes. Added Dell U3219Q.
12/18/2020: Replaced LG 27UK650-W with Dell S2721QS, removed LG 32UD99-W and AOC CQ27G1, added Acer Nitro XV340CK.
10/27/2020: Added ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV, removed LG 27GL650F-B.
08/28/2020: Replaced the LG 34GK950F-B with the LG 34GN850-B; replaced the Dell U2518D with the AOC CQ27G1; changed the LG 27GL650F-B to 'Wide Angle Alternative' from 'Larger Alternative'.
06/30/2020: Removed the Dell Alienware AW3418DW.
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.