Best 5K and 8K monitors of 2021: ultra-high resolution displays for pros and creatives

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Best 5K and 8K monitors of 2021: ultra-high resolution displays for pros and creatives

Welcome to our pick of the best 5K and 8K monitors you can buy in 2021. That’s right, while 4K monitors are often thought of being the pinnacle of high resolution screens, there’s a growing number of monitors that offer even higher pixel counts.

So, why would you go for a 5K or 8K monitor? If you’re a digital creative working in ultra high definition, having an extremely high resolution gives you even greater desktop space to work on, and this can greatly improve your productivity.

For example, if you’re a video editor working on a 4K project, having a 5K (or even 8K) monitor, means you can view the footage in full resolution, without having the entire screen taken up. You’re able to have tools on screen as well, which can help you multitask and edit on the fly – and could prove to dramatically speed up your workflow.

That’s particularly true when you have limited real estate or don’t have the ability to connect multiple monitors to your workstation.

There’s a surprising amount of monitors out there that offer resolution above 4K. For 5K monitors (that’s 5120 × 2880 pixels), you’ve got a choice of regular 16:9 aspect ratio, or ultrawide monitors with 21:9 (or above) aspect ratios. Ultrawide monitors are a great choice if you want a multi-monitor experience, but with just a single screen.

Meanwhile, monitors with a regular aspect ratio are generally better for design work as high-DPI modes in Windows and macOS allow for working in scaled resolutions, which lets users zoom in to manipulate images in incredible detail while rendering pin-sharp text and UI elements. 

However, ultra-wide monitors present an intriguing alternative that ignores pixel scaling to instead give professionals acres of screen space for positioning windows, stretching out video-editing timelines and watching cinematic video as it was intended.

When it comes to 8K monitors (that’s 7680 × 4320 pixels), your choice is far more limited, as currently there’s only one “affordable” 8K screen out there: the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

The good news is that this is an excellent monitor in its own right (as long as you have the budget and the equipment capable of powering it) – and we’re sure we’ll see more 8K screens in the future.

The best 5K and 8K monitors you’ll find on this list – including some of the best curved monitors right now – are essential purchases for creative professionals, as those ultra-high resolutions means you get extra workspace when working with high-definition content.

The best 5K and 8K monitors at a glance

  1. Phillips 499P9H 49-inch SuperWide Curved Monitor
  2. LG 49WL95C-W 49-inch Curved 32:9 Ultrawide with HDR10 and USB-C
  3. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
  4. Dell UltraSharp 49-inch (U4919DW)
  5. MSI Prestige PS341WU 
  6. LG 27MD5K-B Ultrafine 27-inch
  7. Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS
  8. Samsung CRG90 144hz

Phillips 499P9H 49-inch SuperWide Curved Monitor

(Image credit: Phillips)

1. Phillips 499P9H 49-inch SuperWide Curved Monitor

A mammoth 5K monitor for business and even light gaming

Specifications

Screen size: 49-inch
Aspect ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440
Brightness: 400 nits
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
Color support: sRGB 121% / DCI-PC: 94.62%
Weight: 33.6lbs

Reasons to buy

+Adaptive sync+Good LCD panel quality

Reasons to avoid

VA rather than IPS panel60Hz refresh rate

The impressive Phillips 499P9H is one of the more feature-packed ultrawide monitors available today. Its VA panel is 8-bit, rather than IPS and 10-bit, and only supports the DisplayHDR 400 standard – so while it looks fine to the untrained eye, it’s less suited to professional photo and video-editing work compared to its rivals. That’s where our gripes end – this mammoth monitor features plenty of connectivity options including a USB Type-C interface for hooking up a MacBook or other machine, and it goes further than rivals by including a pop-up webcam with Windows Hello Support for snappy face-ID login. The icing on the cake is its adaptive sync support, which makes it suitable for light gaming at 60fps if you have a capable AMD graphics card.

LG 49WL95C-W 49-inch Curved 32:9 Ultrawide with HDR10 and USB-C

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG 49WL95C-W 49-inch Curved 32:9 Ultrawide with HDR10 and USB-C

A curved delight with USB-C

Specifications

Screen size: 49 inches
Aspect ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440
Brightness: 350 nits
Response time: 5ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Color support: sRGB 99%

Reasons to buy

+Equivalent of two 1440p monitors side-by-side+USB-C port

Reasons to avoid

No DCI colorLow refresh rate

This 49-incher is a new breed of ultrawide monitor pitched at productivity die-hards looking to replace their multi-monitor setup. It sports a capacious 5K resolution that gives you the equivalent of two 2,560 x 1,440 displays, making anything from design work to word processing and watching video more practical and enjoyable in the absence of bezels. Its plentiful connectivity options include two bottom-facing HDMI ports, alongside DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 and a USB-C port that carries power and video, making the LG a good fit for owners of modern MacBooks. Handily, two more USB 3 ports and an audio jack can be found on the monitor’s right-hand side. While it has decent sRGB coverage, it’s lacking in the superior DCI support of its rivals.

Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

(Image credit: Dell)

3. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

8K monitor flaunts more pixels than others

Specifications

Screen size: 32-inch
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
Brightness: 400 cd/m2
Response time: 6ms
Viewing angle: N/A
Contrast ratio: 1,300:1
Color support: sRGB 100%
Weight: 8.5kg

Reasons to buy

+Jaw-dropping 8K resolution+Lovely design

Reasons to avoid

ExpensiveLimited 8K content

Two years after first clocking eyes on it, we’re still salivating over the first 8K monitor to hit the shelves. The UP3218K justifies its cost in ways other than its sheer pixel count, which is so huge that finding content to take advantage of it is no easy task. The monitor is adequately bright, features stellar build quality (it’s surprisingly heavy), and its color reproduction is the best in the business. If you absolutely must have the sharpest screen that money can buy, this is it – but beware that it requires two DisplayPorts to run – so pairing it with a beefy GPU is a must.

Dell UltraSharp 49-inch (U4919DW)

(Image credit: Future)

4. Dell UltraSharp 49-inch (U4919DW)

Features a practical and professional design

Specifications

Screen size: 49-inch
Aspect ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440
Brightness: 350 nits
Response time: 5ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Color support: sRGB 99%
Weight: 25.1lbs

Reasons to buy

+Great image quality+Practical design+Practical Dell Display Manager software

Reasons to avoid

No DCI or HDR

Dell’s ultrawide monitor is the most business-like in design and function on our list. Its stand is chunkier than the LG’s 49WL95-W’s and features a circular cable tidy hole for added convenience. This model places its two USB downstream ports along its bottom edge rather than around the side, and it also features a USB Type-C port. That’s positioned alongside two upstream regular USB ports used for hooking up two PCs and using them with a single keyboard and mouse (courtesy of KVM). Handily, Dell’s Display Manager software makes it easy to better utilise that massive display by managing up to six windows at once.

MSI Prestige PS341WU

(Image credit: MSI)

5. MSI Prestige PS341WU

When 4K just doesn’t cut it…

Specifications

USB-C: Yes
Screen size: 34 inches
Resolution: 5,120 x 2,160
Aspect ratio: 21:9
HDMI inputs: HDMI 2.0 x 2
Display ports: DisplayPort v1.4 x 1

Reasons to buy

+Glorious 5K2K resolution+Superb Nano IPS panel+Great feature set

Reasons to avoid

Patchy build qualityMediocre HDR performance

If you’re looking for a monitor that’s a cut above the 4K norm, then you’ve got the MSI Prestige PS341WU. Showing up any impeccable 4K monitor is by no means an easy feat, but this monitor does so with the huge 5K2K native resolution (and 21:9 ultrawide aspect ratio) of its luscious 34-inch IPS screen. It doesn’t come cheap, but it does have a great feature set to make up for that, including a Nano IPS panel with DCI-P3 color gamut, HDR support and comprehensive connectivity. All that packed in a beautiful white aesthetic, and you’ve got yourself one of the best 5K monitors available.

Read the full review: MSI Prestige PS341WU 

LG 27MD5K-B Ultrafine 27-inch

(Image credit: Future)

6. LG 27MD5K-B Ultrafine 27-inch

A 5K monitor for MacBook owners

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 5,120 x 2,880
Brightness: 500 nits
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 1200:1
Color support: 99% DCI
Weight: 14.11lbs

Reasons to buy

+Bright picture+Thunderbolt 3

Reasons to avoid

Drab designFew ports

The closest thing to an official Apple monitor until the Cupertino company’s 6K Pro Display XDR comes out, this 5K monitor is a thing of beauty (and not just because of how bright it can go). It comes equipped with an IPS panel and covers 99% of the DCI P3 gamut, making it an ideal choice for photographers or video editors seeking the best color accuracy. It uses a single USB-C port to transfer video and data the same time, which makes for a tidy setup; on the flip side its port selection is limited to three Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports located around the back – so get your dongles at the ready.

Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS

(Image credit: Liyama)

7. Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS

The most affordable 5K monitor has few compromises

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 5,120 x 2,880
Brightness: 440 cd/m2
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 1,200:1
Color support: 99% sRGB
Weight: 8.2kg

Reasons to buy

+Great value+Adjustable stand

Reasons to avoid

Large black bezelsFiddly menu controls

Delving into the world of 5K displays no longer means breaking the bank. The Iiyama ProLite sacrifices some color accuracy to bring its price point down, meaning that photo or video editors need not apply. This model is more than adequate in other areas; it’s a plenty bright monitor with a glossy panel which helps its vibrancy. It also features a fully adjustable stand that can pivot, tilt and even rotate 360-degrees (rather than the more common 180-degrees). You can even VESA mount the screen. Our only gripe is with its fiddly OSD settings which are found via buttons along the lower edge.

Samsung CRG90 144hz

(Image credit: Samsung)

8. Samsung CRG90 144hz

High-refresh rate ultrawide aimed squarely at gamers

Specifications

Screen size: 49-inch
Aspect ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440
Brightness: 1000 nits
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 3,000:1
Color support: 125% sRGB, 95% DCI
Weight: 32.19lbs

Reasons to buy

+ High refresh rate+Great HDR performance+Good DCI coverage

Reasons to avoid

4ms response timeNo speakers included

Professionals can be gamers too, which is why the CRG90 may prove an enticing option for you. Its 5K display, flaunting Quantom Dot (QLED) tech and 1.07 billion colours, is simply gorgeous – and the monitor also sports VESA DisplayHDR 1000 tech backed up by 1,000 nits of pure room-illuminating brightness. For gamers, the addition of adaptive-sync tech will smoothen out frame rates all the way up to the panel’s 144Hz refresh rate. It goes without saying that you’ll need a beefy GPU to make the most out of this enticing ultrawide. Oh, and deep pockets will be required – as this is one expensive monitor.


Curved monitors and resolutions beyond 4K

Curved 4K monitors do exist and they albeit in much smaller numbers compared to their flatter counterparts. To date though, there are no curved monitors that have a resolution higher than 4K. The size of the market and higher bill of materials means that it is not commercially viable to push for curved 5K or curved 8K monitors.

Brett Barbour, VP at US monitor vendor, Viotek, explains an interesting alternative, the option of adding two 4K curved monitors.

“Working professionals across a multitude of fields can benefit from the extra space afforded by curved monitors – especially if they need (or just want) multiple monitors. Positioning two 27-inch curved monitors side-by-side, for instance, can deliver solid immersion and a more comprehensive field of view that two 27-inch flat monitors, which would just push the end of the screen farther away from you.”

Placing two 27″ monitors side-by-side, with their low side bezels, could provide a comfortable viewing experience that feels natural. And it would do this while taking up less space than two 27-inch flat screen monitors. 

In some cases, a single curved monitor can even replace a couple of flat ones. A wave of “superwide” monitors have recently hit the market. With a 49-inch screen size (horizontal), that’s the equivalent of two 27-inch screens in a single monitor.”

But there’s other factors to bear in mind.  “Possibly another aesthetic preference, but depending on the placement, a curved monitor might not look as good hanging on a wall due to the curve. A flat monitor can sit flush against the wall its mounted on, whereas a curved monitor doesn’t.

More importantly, though, some VESA mounting kits might not be able to connect to the back of the curved monitor. After all, most VESA mounts are flat. To deal with this, some manufactures might offer the means to overcome this issue. This solution might be to include extension post screws with some of their models as seen with manufacturers like LG and Viotek, or it might involve including a mounting adapter of some sort. But if your curved monitor doesn’t come with any of these solutions, you’ll have to hunt some down at your local hardware or electronics retailer.”

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