Looking for the best video editing monitor? With video resolution, color fidelity, bit rate and dynamic range constantly evolving, you need to make sure you're viewing and editing your footage on a monitor that can keep up with the recording quality of your camera. In this guide we rank the best monitors, prioritizing key features like color accuracy, resolution and brightness uniformity, so you can be sure you're getting the very best view of your footage.
There are four key things to look out for when picking the best monitor for video editing:
With 4K now the resolution standard for cameras and even camera phones, the time has come when a 4K monitor is all but essential for viewing and editing footage. Just bear in mind you'll also need a pretty potent computer to drive a 4K screen.
2. Color accuracy
Resolution is only a small factor in picking a quality monitor. Color accuracy is also paramount - look for a display that has an advertised color accuracy, preferably a factory-calibrated model with an accuracy tolerance of less than Delta E 2. Built-in hardware color calibration is also desirable for ensuring that accuracy is maintained through the life of the monitor.
3. Color space coverage
High definition digital video is now recorded in two main color standards: Rec. 709, and DCI-P3. Ensure your chosen monitor can display as close to 100% of the colors in these recording standards as possible. DCI-P3 has the wider color gamut (more colors) and therefore you'll need to splash out on a higher quality display if you want near-full reproduction of this color space.
Retina-searing brightness isn't actually that desirable for prolonged editing stints - around 150cd/m2 is usually enough for most viewing environments. However, if you need to edit HDR footage, a monitor needs to be capable of displaying localized highlights very brightly. A minimum brightness rating of 400cd/m2 is required for basic HDR compatibility, and to be fully HDR-capable, a monitor needs to be as bright as 1000cd/m2.
• See also: Best monitors for MacBook Pro
The best video-editing monitors in 2021
Dell produces several excellent monitors for video editing, but the U3219Q offers the best value of them all. This 31.5-inch panel can display 99% of the sRGB color space, but more importantly for video, there's 99% Rec. 709 coverage and 95% DCI-P3 coverage - the latter being exceptional.
Factory color calibration ensures a Delta-E accuracy of less than 2 and the monitor is capable of displaying HDR content as it just meets the 400cd/m2 brightness needed for HDR playback.
Add an excellent, highly adjustable stand, and a USB 3 hub and you really won't find a better quality monitor for video editing without spending considerably more.
A 27-inch version of this monitor is also available - the PremierColor UP2716D. Its color space coverage is just as impressive as the U3219Q, at it's significantly cheaper, but its QHD 2560 x 1440 native resolution means you'll have to sacrifice 4K resolution.
Read more: What are aspect ratios?
A rarity in the monitor sector, the Dreamcolor Z31x's native resolution isn't typical 'consumer' 4K (3840 x 2160), but rather the professional Cinema 4K standard of 4096 x 2160. Useful if you'll be editing commercial footage, and also for adding a little more lateral screen real estate to make room for extra software panels next to normal 4K video.
Color space coverage is very well catered for, thanks to 100% sRGB, 100% AdobeRGB, 100% Rec.709, 99% DCI-P3 and even 80% of the huge Rec.2020 color space. Further pro features include the ability to overlay variable opacity mattes for 1.85 (16:9) and 2.39 (21.9) cinema aspect ratios, as well as scope to show various on-screen framing markers.
The only drawback here, apart from the fairly hefty price tag, is the max 250 cd/m2 brightness, which is some way short of the minimum 400 cd/m2 figure needed to qualify as an HDR-capable display.
Here's proof that the best monitors for video editing don't have to cost mega bucks. This BenQ display comes out swinging with its huge 31.5-inch screen size, 4K (3850x2160) resolution, and excellent 3000:1 contrast ratio. But where this monitor really shines for video editing is its top-notch color space coverage. 100% Rec.709 and 95% DCI-P3 coverage are on par with screens costing considerably more, as is the EW3270U's HDR 10 support. The only compromise here is the screen's core LCD technology, which is VA rather than the more premium IPS tech. This means color and contrast won't be quite as consistent if viewed from different angles, but live with that and this BenQ screen is really quite a bargain.
Not so long ago 4K was the next big thing and a 4K monitor would set you back an arm and a leg. Now 8K is taking centre stage, with an increasing number of cameras capable of shooting this gargantuan 7680 x 4320 resolution. 8K monitors are still a rarity, but this Dell display is actually quite well priced for such bleeding-edge tech.
Despite this being a large 31.5 inch display, containing the equivalent of 33.2 megapixels means you get an unusually high pixel density of 280 ppi, resulting in a near-Retina effect.
And it's not only that headline resolution figure that impresses. You also get first-class color space coverage, with 100% Rec. 709 capability and a hugely admirable 98% DCI-P3 coverage. Factory color calibration ensures a Delta-E color accuracy of less than 2, while a modern, slim bezel case design means this monitor looks the part even when it's switched off.
The only potential issue here is you'll need a real powerhouse of a computer fitted with a top-notch graphics card to pump this many pixels to the monitor without stuttering.
The BenQ PhotoVue SW271C is an outstanding 27-inch 4K monitor which performs almost flawlessly - it's incredibly color-accurate and is generally very hard to fault. If you're after an exacting and reliable screen for precise image or video editing, this is a superb choice. However, the price you pay for this level of imaging fidelity is high. The equally impressive BenQ SW271 (non 'C', listed above), is almost identical to the SW271C but costs around 20-40% less. You'll have to do without 60W USB Power Delivery and BenQ's third-generation color Uniformity Technology, but if they're not deal-breakers for you, then the SW271 is a better value proposition for most users.
Eizo monitors never come cheap, and this 31.1-inch 4K beast commands a fittingly monstrous price tag. However, that buys you uncompromising build and performance quality from one of – if not the – most trusted name in the business, backed up by a 5-year on-site warranty in some markets.
Like HP's DreamColor Z31x, this is also a 17:9 aspect ratio panel with a native 4096 x 2160 resolution for displaying Cinema 4K footage. 99% AdobeRGB coverage and 98% DCI-P3 coverage ensure you're seeing a near-flawless color reproduction of your video and images, and there are preset modes for all common video color space standards.
Naturally at this level, hardware color calibration is present, and the panel can display HDR footage thanks to being compatible with the Hybrid Log-Gamma standard. However it's maximum 350cd/m2 brightness isn't quite enough to qualify this as a true HDR monitor.
The Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor (U4021QW) is a gargantuan 40-inch 21:9 curved ultrawide display with an equally huge 5120 x 2160 resolution. The 2500R screen curvature radius (2,500mm) means that even though the U4021QW has an immense 929mm viewable screen width, the corners of the display will still be comfortably visible.
Curved monitors often use VA (Vertical Alignment) LCD tech, which can't provide the color, contrast and viewing angle consistency of an IPS (In-Plane Switching) LCD display. But Dell has pulled out all the stops and equipped the U4021QW with a 10-bit curved IPS LCD panel with 178/178-degree viewing angles.
Dell has also paid particular attention to color accuracy, as the U4021QW can display 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.709 and a very respectable 98% of the DC-P3 color space. What's more, Dell claims a Delta-E <2 color accuracy right out of the box thanks to factory color calibration.
The PD3420Q is relatively unusual in the ultrawide sector as it's a flat (rather than curved) display, as this ensures lines displayed on screen don't bend or skew as they would on a curved ultrawide.
What's more, where most curved ultrawide screens are based around VA panels - an LCD technology which tends to trail IPS screen tech when it comes to color and contrast consistency - the PD3420Q's superior IPS LCD panel boasts 178/178-degree viewing angles, a 5ms GtG response time, and it can display 1.07 billion colors.
Factory color calibration and Pantone/Calman verification ensure accurate colors right out of the box, while VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification means the monitor can produce a peak 400cd/㎡ brightness for previewing HDR10 content. The PD3420Q covers 100% of the sRGB and Rec.709 color spaces, and an impressive 98% of the DCI-P3 color space, while BenQ's Uniformity Technology helps iron out any uneven back-lighting.
With such impressive specs, it's perhaps a little disappointing that the PD3420Q 'only' has a resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels, which is some way short of 4K (3840 x 2160), and results in 109 pixels per inch. But considering the sub $1,000-dollar price tag, it's an acceptable compromise.
The 16:9 aspect ratio used to be considered wide in the monitor world, then we got 21:9, and now this, the widest ultrawide monitor on the market, with an eye-popping 32:9 ratio. This is a monitor targeted mainly at gamers, but it also makes sense for videographers.
Keen fans of mathematics may have worked out that the 32:9 ratio makes this screen twice as wide as a 16:9 panel, meaning you could display full width 16:9 footage in one half of the screen, while editing software comfortably on the other side.
Not all monitors really need to be curved, but being a whopping 49-inches wide, the CHG90 really benefits from its 1800R curvature. Video color space coverage isn't quoted, but 99% sRGB and 92% AdobeRGB from this wide-gamut 10-bit display are respectable figures. Less appealing is the monitor is based around a VA-type panel, which won't quite have the color and contrast uniformity of an IPS screen. But that's the trade-off for getting so much screen real estate.
The best monitors for photo editing
Best 8K monitors so far
Best curved monitors
Best monitor arms
Best portable monitors
Best touch screen monitor
Best TV for a computer monitor
What are aspect ratios?
The best photo editing tools and accessories
The best headsets
What to look for when choosing a monitor
Best USB-C monitors for photo editing
Best keyboard for video editing
Everything photographers need to work from home
Best broadband deals in the UK in 2021
Best webcam for home working
How to edit videos: video editing tips
Luminar AI review
Sure, this screen isn't exactly 'cheap', but if you're serious about video editing, you need wide color space coverage so you're able to see as much color as possible in your footage. Seriously cut-price screens just can't display enough colors for accurate color grading, but with 99% Rec. 709 and 95% DCI-P3 color coverage, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q comes close to much pricier displays for color accuracy. It also packs full 4K UHD resolution, 10-bit color depth and an excellent 1300:1 maximum contrast ratio, all inside a smart case with an ‘InfinityEdge’ ultra-thin bezels. Video ports include HDMI, DisplayPort, plus there's a built-in USB 3.0 hub and 2x USB-C ports, one of which can supply up to 90w of power to an attached laptop.