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The best video editing monitors and 4K screens in 2021

best video editing monitors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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:

1. Resolution

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.

4. Brightness

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.

The best video-editing monitors in 2021

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell UltraSharp PremierColor U3219Q

The best all-round video editing monitor

Screen Size: 31.5-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 400cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 99% sRGB, 80% AdobeRGB, 99% Rec. 709, 95% DCI-P3

Excellent video color space coverage
Well priced
Plenty of screen space
AdobeRGB coverage not great
Only 2 display inputs

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 for a 4K screen at this price point.

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?

(Image credit: HP)

2. HP DreamColor Z31x

The best no-compromise 4K monitor option

Screen Size: 31-inch | Aspect Ratio: 17:9 | Resolution: 4096 x 2160 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 250cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 100% sRGB, 100% AdobeRGB, 100% Rec. 709 99% DCI-P3

Supreme display quality
99% DCI-P3 coverage
Cinema 4K resolution
Not enough brightness for HDR footage
Pricey next to some competitors
Bulky design

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.

(Image credit: Dell)

3. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

A value-packed monitor that's great if you're on a tighter budget

Size: 27-inch | Ratio: 16x9 | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Brightness: 350cd/m2 | Contrast ratio: 1300:1 | sRGB gamut (claimed): 100% | Adobe RGB gamut (claimed): Unspecified | Screen Size: 27-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 350cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 99% sRGB, 99% Rec. 709, 95% DCI-P3

Great color space coverage
High 1300:1 contrast ratio
Reasonable price
DCI-P3 coverage could be slightly higher

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.

(Image credit: BenQ)

4. BenQ SW271

A slightly smaller monitor but still superbly specced

Screen Size: 27-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 350cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB, 93% DCI-P3

Superb color accuracy
Hardware calibration
Excellent color space coverage
Max brightness could be higher

If you don't quite have enough desk space for a 30+ inch monitor, BenQ's latest premium 27-incher could be just the ticket. But don't go thinking a drop in screen size also means reduced specs - quite the reverse. For starters, like its larger stablemates, this is also a 4K screen, so you get an even sharper image thanks to those pixels being spread over a smaller area - 163ppi, to be precise.

Reproducible color spaces are also well covered, with 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRGB, and more importantly 100% Rec.709 and a highly respectable 93% of DCI-P3.

BenQ hasn't skimped on extras, either. You get hardware color calibration, pre-calibrated at the factory. There's also BenQ's handy Hotkey Puck remote control for easier monitor settings adjustment, making it a cinch to switch color profiles. A built in USB 3.0 hub and card reader further enhance the appeal of this ultra-versatile yet well-priced display.

Read our full review

(Image credit: Dell)

5. Dell UltraSharp PremierColor UP3218K

4K res not enough? Try an 8K monitor for size!

Screen Size: 31.5-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 7680 x 4320 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 400cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 100% sRGB, 100% AdobeRGB, 100% Rec. 709, 98% DCI-P3

8K res
Almost flawless color space coverage
Factory calibrated
Needs a beast of a computer
Issues with OS scaling

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.

(Image credit: Eizo)

6. Eizo ColorEdge CG319X

An uncompromising pro-spec video editing monitor

Screen Size: 31.1-inch | Aspect Ratio: 17:9 | Resolution: 4096 x 2160 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 350cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 100% sRGB, 99% AdobeRGB, 98% DCI-P3

Stellar build and performance
Cinema 4K resolution
Industry standard presets
Pricey next to similar HP DreamColor Z31x
Max brightness isn't enough for true HDR

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.

(Image credit: Dell)

7. Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved U4021QW

The best ultrawide monitor for video editing

Screen Size: 40-inch | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 5120 x 2160 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 300cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.70, 98% DC-P3

Above 5K res
Superb color space coverage
Practical 21:9 aspect ratio
Not cheap, but price is fair

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.

(Image credit: BenQ)

8. BenQ PD3420Q

A great non-curved ultrawide display for video editing

Screen Size: 34-inch | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 400cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.70, 98% DC-P3

Top-notch color space coverage
Accessible price
Curved IPS LCD panel
Below 4K native res

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.

(Image credit: Samsung)

9. Samsung CHG90 QLED

The widest ultrawide monitor for video editing

Screen Size: 49-inch | Aspect Ratio: 32:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 1080 | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Brightness: 350cd/m2 | Color space coverage: 99% sRGB, 92% AdobeRGB

Width equivalent to two 16:9 monitors
Good color reproduction
High refresh rate
Not IPS
Can't display 4K footage

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.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging labs manager, responsible for all of the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensor, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest smartphones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to bags, filters and all manner of accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography!