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The best 8K monitors: supersize screens that go extra, extra-large on resolution

The best 8K monitor
(Image credit: Future)

8K cameras like the Canon EOS R5 show the future of video capture, but to make the most of it, you really need the best 8K monitor on which to view and edit your footage. Trouble is, even in 2021, the selection of 8K computer monitors you can actually buy is just as limited as the selection of 8K-capable cameras on the market. At present, only Dell offers an 8K monitor, with ViewSonic due to release a rival screen soon.

What is 8K?

8 is twice as big as 4, right? Well when it comes to 8K video/screen resolution, that's only partly true. 8K resolution most commonly equates to 7,680 by 4,320 pixels, which is twice the horizontal resolution and twice the vertical resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160). But as all you math geniuses may have already calculated, that results in a 4x increase in total pixels. Imagine four 4K screens positioned in a quad arrangement and that's what an 8K image looks like - quite simply, HUGE!

We've already seen a number of 8K TVs come to market, and while these would make for a stunning 8K playback display, actually editing 8K footage on a screen this gargantuan really isn't a practical prospect, unless you position your desk about 20 feet away.

So with only a single 8K monitor to chose from right now, it costing a small fortune, and requiring one of the best desktop computers costing another small fortune to run it, the question is:

Do you really need an 8K monitor?

Well, if you just want to stay ahead of the curve and future-proof yourself, yes, of course you do! But for the rest of it, the answer is: probably not.

Not only are 8K cameras very rare, so too is pre-recorded 8K footage, so actually finding content that will need the full res of an 8K monitor will be tricky. 8K content is also much larger in file size than even high frame rate 4K video, requiring significantly more local storage space, or a mighty fast internet connection to stream, further restricting 8K's practical appeal at the moment.

Given these limitations, settling for a 4K monitor looks a whole lot more appealing. A 4K monitor will still display 99+ per cent of the video content available today, there are plenty of color-accurate panels out there, and even a big 32-inch 4K screen will still have a pixel density tight enough for images/video to look super-crisp at a typical viewing distance. Oh yeah, and there's the small bonus that some of the best monitors for video editing can cost as little as one tenth the price of Dell's 8K monitor.

So with all that in mind, unless you really want to impress your friends, don't buy an 8K monitor, yet.

UP3218K

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

Simply the best (an only!) 8K monitor you can buy

Screen size: 31.5 inches | Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320 | Brightness: 400 cd/m2 | Contrast ratio: 1,300:1 | Color space coverage: 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709 and 98% DCI-P3

True 8K resolution
Stunning color space coverage
Factory color calibrated
No Thunderbolt connectivity
Eye-watering price tag

If you’re after a genuine 8K monitor, then the Dell UP3218K is currently your one and only option, but thankfully it’s a good one that impresses in every area. Its headline 8K (7680 x 4320) screen res gives you unparalleled image sharpness - even on a screen as large as this - as it results in an incredibly fine 0.09mm dot pitch, and a whopping 280 pixels per inch pixel density. Then there’s the almost flawless color fidelity: 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709 and 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage ensures your images or video will displayed with complete accuracy, regardless of the color space you shoot in. Factory color calibration ensures each and every monitor displays Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces to an accuracy of Delta-E less than 2. The 31.5-inch IPS LCD panel is capable of an impressive 400 cd/m2 brightness for displaying HDR content. It’s a pity there’s not Thunderbolt connectivity, but you do get multiple USB ports, and dual DisplayPorts. The latter is necessary though, as you’ll need to use both to enable the full 8K resolution, so make sure you’ve got a might powerful graphics card to connect to this beast.

ViewSonic 2021 ColorPro monitors

(Image credit: ViewSonic)

2. ViewSonic ColorPro VP3286-8K

ViewSonic's first 8K monitor is mouth-wateringly well specced

Screen size: 32 inches | Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320 | Brightness: TBC | Contrast ratio: TBC | Color space coverage: 99% Adobe RGB

Stunning screen res
Thunderbolt 3 connectivity
Great color space coverage
Pricier than Dell UP3218K

The tantalizing new ColorPro VP3286-8K goes large on screen res, and price. It's one of a very rare breed of true 8K computer monitors, with its 32-inch screen sporting a native resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels. Not only that, the VP3286-8K's wide-gamut screen can display 99% of the Adobe RGB color space, and it packs up-to-date connectivity including Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort and a USB hub. The only thing that can dwarf the VP3286-8K's resolution is its price - a cool $5,000. Start saving now, as availability is set for summer 2021.

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