Top 4 Best Monitors For Designers, Photo and Video Editing
So as a web developer who dabbles with the design side of things editing photos and videos, I need a good monitor in order to do my job properly. But what goes into making a good monitor and why is it so important for us designers to have these features?
What Makes the Best Monitor for Designers?
So what does actually make a good monitor for designing graphics and websites and do you really need an expensive monitor?
It is shocking just how different colors can look on different monitors. Higher quality IPS displays will display much more accurate colors.
Monitors have a few scales for color accuracy, the main two though are the sRGB rating and Adobe RGB rating. For photo and video editing you will want both of these ratings to be as close to 100% as possible, which just means that it is capable of displaying every visible color accurately if it is calibrated correctly.
Again higher quality monitors that are made for us designers will be brighter, which will make the colors pop more. You want a nice bright monitor which will display uniformly across the monitor with no hot spots.
You also want the brightness to be consistent as you change your viewing angle. Cheaper panels will go dark as you move your viewing angle away from the center. This can affect the color accuracy too which isn’t ideal.
Again these are qualities that are found in IPS panels.
The higher the better for photo and video work. We would certainly recommend a 4k display as this will make fine detail work easier and just makes things look significantly better overall.
Sitting a decent 4k monitor next to a decent 1080p monitor just makes the 1080p monitor look as if it’s broken. The difference is that huge!
The reason the difference is more apparent with computer monitors vs televisions is simply down to the viewing distance. It’s the same with high-resolution screens on phones. The closer you sit, the more easily visible each pixel will be.
This one is more for gaming monitors than designer monitors, but if you are designing games or just enjoy the odd bit of CSGO after work then it is something to pay attention to.
A monitor’s response time is the amount of time it takes for the information sent from the graphics card to be processed and displayed by the monitor.
Contradictory to what you would think though it tends to be the cheaper TN panels which have the lower response times which go as low as 1ms.
High quality IPS displays are generally a little slower at around 10ms or so, which isn’t terrible and is certainly better than your average television.
So unless you are a professional gamer then using a good IPS display is going to suit your needs.
This is another one that is more relevant to gaming. Generally, the higher the better and 144hz is regarded as a sweet spot for refresh rates.
However, getting a 4k resolution IPS display with 144hz and low response times is difficult and very expensive. There generally has to be a trade-off somewhere.
Us designers who are working on static photos and videos don’t need a higher refresh rate and are perfectly fine with a 60hz monitor.
If you also do a bit of gaming and want a high refresh rate/ low response time monitor then buying 2 monitors is almost always better and cheaper than trying to get 1 monitor which can do it all.
IPS vs TN Displays for Editing Videos and Photos
So as mentioned above there are two main monitor technologies (others do exist though).
Both IPS and TN displays have advantages and disadvantages which will be important to your decision making. However, for anyone who needs color accuracy such as us Designers working on Videos and Pictures, IPS displays are going to be the choice. That is of course if you can afford the extra expense that comes with an IPS display.
IPS Display Pros:
- Much better color accuracy
- More uniform brightness
- Consistent brighness and colors at different viewing angles
IPS Display Cons:
- More expensive
- Slower response times
Best Monitor for Designers Period – Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K
Screen size: 31.3-inch | Resolution: 4096 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 1 x VGA | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
So money no object this is the king of monitors for any video and photo editing.
It covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum and 99% of the Adobe RGB spectrum, meaning it can display pretty much every color accurately when calibrated… Which it always will be because this monitor even comes with a built-in calibration tool which is amazing!
Because of the built-in calibration tool, colors are always accurate and everything just pops with this screen. When sat beside an older 1080p IPS display we had laying around, it made the old display look just plain broken!. It was the equivalent to making the change from a CRT monitor to a 1080p monitor.
If you are a professional whose job depends on accurate colors then making the investment into this monitor may well make sense, as it will give you an advantage over the competition by having the best monitor a designer could ask for.
- The best color accuracy.
- Built in calibration tool.
- Includes a monitor hood to avoid glare.
- Could buy a car for the same money.
Best Overall Monitor for Designers – Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q
Screen size: 31.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
So you want to be able to afford a car and still have money left over for a fantastic monitor? The next best choice to the Eizo is going to be this offering from Dell.
Dell, in general, makes some fantastic displays. But this one, in particular, is outstanding.
The Dell Ultrasharp UP3216Q matches the color accuracy of the Eizo monitor with 99.5% Adobe RGB and 100% sRGB. Which considering the price difference between the two is pretty outstanding.
Overall this is just a beautiful monitor, colors pop and it is nice and bright.
Although this is still an expensive monitor it would be considered a sensible purchase for a professional who needs accurate colors.
- Fantastic Color Accuracy
- Beautiful design with thin bezels.
- Still quite expensive.
Best Big Display for Designers – Philips Brilliance BDM4065UC
Screen size: 40-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: VA | Inputs: 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
Most pc monitors are between 23 and 32 inches in size which is generally enough considering you usually sit right in front of them. But having a big display if you are a designer can mean you don’t need to zoom in to see those fine details and with 4k being the standard now, the pixels won’t be the size of golf balls!.
This 40 inch monitor from Philips is an absolute beast of a display and will dominate your desk. If you work in an office though just be careful of size envy!.
This monitor has a unique “PIP” mode (Picture in Picture) which basically means that you can have each input show on each corner of the display. We aren’t sure exactly what this would be useful for, but it’s certainly a cool feature.
- Fantastic Color Accuracy
- It’s Big!
- It’s Big! (Perhaps too big for some?)
Best Bang for Buck Designer Monitor – AOC U3277PQU
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: VA | Inputs: 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x DVI | USB: 4 x USB 3.0
So if you like getting 90% of the performance for 10% of the cost then this designer monitor from AOC is about as close as it gets to offering the best performance for the lowest price.
100% sRGB and 80% Adobe RGB for color accuracy isn’t quite as high as the more expensive monitors but should suffice for most.
Brightness and viewing angles are all still on par with it’s more expensive brethren though and this is still a beautiful display to look at.
Much cheaper than the competition.
Beautiful looking display for the price
Color accuracy isn’t quite on par.
We doubt you would be disappointed with any of these monitors. But it is evident that you get what you pay for and a $200 TN panel would look prehistoric when compared even to our budget IPS display on this list.
The more you pay has diminishing returns though and we would say that the Dell UltraSharp at over a third of the cost of the Eizo is going to be where we would put our money. The Eizo is really targeted at people who need that extra 1% of performance and can afford to pay the price that extra 1% takes.