Hardware

The Best Cheap 4K Monitors of 2020: Complete Guide

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Monitors with 4K support are still not as popular as expected due to the fact that many gamers still rather prefer to play PC games at 1080P resolution, and at higher refresh rates. This, however, doesn’t mean that 4K monitors can’t be used for more serious purposes, such as video and photo editing, as well as web design. In this article we are reviewing best budget 4K monitors that are available on the market in 2020.

Although 4K monitors started to appear on the market more than 10 years ago, their adoption by the mainstream users has been rather slow. There were multiple causes for that. First of all, at that time big streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, didn’t support streaming of 4K content. Secondly, even high-end graphics card were to weak to render digital content in 4K resolution at satisfying pace, and thirdly, many 4K monitors at the time were way too expensive.

Must read: Best Selling Nvidia Graphics Cards in 2020

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Things have changed drastically from then, and for the better. Nowadays, 4K monitors have become extremely affordable, and many of them are even cheaper than some mid-range 2K monitors. Resolution scaling techniques have also significantly improved, so there are no more problems with UI scaling in various programs and games inside Windows OS environment. Many modern 4K monitors now come with a wide variety of features – from stands that enable you to rotate or pivot the screen, to adaptive synchronization technologies, such as AMD FreeSync, and support for HDR and image upscaling. Many of these monitors are also now very affordable to buy, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to play video games in 4K resolution, or perform video and photo editing with high quality image panels.

In short, if you use your computer for writing various types of documents, or comparing multiple spreadsheets, or you edit photos and compile videos, then buying a 4K monitor proves to be a worthwhile investment. Besides getting a big working desktop, with 4K monitor you also acquire an impressive image precision and sharpness, as well as an enhanced user experience. If you are a gamer, then buying 4K monitor makes even more sense, since such device will enable you to perceive much more graphical details, as well as enable you to be more competitive in games which require a wide field of view.

Before continuing with our review of best budget 4K monitors in 2020, here is a short recap of essential terms whose meaning you have to know before buying any kind of monitor:

  • Color Gamut – every monitor can reproduce a certain range of colors. This “color space” is usually represented through standardized terms such as sRGB, or Adobe RGB. Higher percentages indicate that monitor is capable of reproducing the wider range of colors.
  • Gamma – describes true pixel brightness. Too high screen gamma results with washed out colors, while too low gamma results with darker image, and indiscernible details.
  • Input Lag – delay between physical movement of mouse, and movement of mouse cursor on screen. High values indicate larger delay, while lower values indicate faster screen response time.
  • Variable Refresh Rate – technology which prevents screen tearing. The VRR technologies, such as AMD FreeSync, or NVIDIA G-Sync, prevent screen tearing in certain refresh ranges (for example between 30 and 60 Hz), but also make picture much more fluid and smooth. This is especially useful for gamers, as graphics cards produce new frames at variable rates, and VRR-capable monitors can adaptively adjust their screen refresh rate in accordance with the graphics card.

The Best Cheap 4K Monitors of 2020

With all things said, now is the time take a look at our compiled list of best budget 4K monitors that you can buy in 2020. Most of the monitors on our list have display size bigger than 27 inches, or smaller than 33 inches. These sizes are more than enough to provide comfortable use of these monitors, as well as to ensure optimum pixel density to provide clear and sharp image. Also, most of the monitors on our list have support for AMD FreeSync technology, and work perfectly with NVIDIA 1000 series graphics cards, or newer. This is excellent for gamers how want to avoid screen tearing, as well as achieve smooth gaming experience, even when their average frame rate is below 60 FPS mark. Since these are budget 4K monitors, you shouldn’t expect from them superb image quality, or a variety of features, but they are more than enough for everyday multimedia users, as well as casual gamers.

MonitorAvailabilityDisplay SizeResolutionLCD TypeRefresh RateResponse TimeContrast RatioHDR SupportConnectors
AOC U2879VFCheck price28"3840x2160TN30-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync)1 ms1000:1NoDisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, DVI, VGA
AOC U3277PWQUCheck price31.5"3840x2160MVA60 Hz4 ms3000:1NoDisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, DVI, VGA
Dell P2415QCheck price23.8"3840x2160AH-IPS60 Hz6 ms1000:1NoDisplayPort, Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI
LG27UK850-WCheck price27"3840x2160IPS40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync)5 ms1000:1YesDisplayPort, 2x HDMI, USB Type-C
LG 27UL650-WCheck price27"3840x2160IPS40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync)5 ms1000:1YesDisplayPort, 2x HDMI
Philips 278E1ACheck price27"3840x2160IPS60 Hz4 ms1000:1NoDisplayPort, 2x HDMI
Philips 328E1CACheck price31.5"3840x2160VA48-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync)4 ms2500:1NoDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Samsung LU28E590DCheck price28"3840x2160TN40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync)1 ms1000:1NoDisplayPort, 2x HDMI
Samsung LU32J590UQNXZACheck price32"3840x2160VA40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync)4 ms3000:1NoDisplayPort, 2x HDMI

After taking a quick look at our table, in the section below you can read a detailed description of each monitor from our list, and decide which one better suits your preferences.

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AOC U2879VF

Display Size: 28″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: TN| Refresh Rate: 30-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync) | Response Time: 1 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 170/160 | Connectors: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, DVI, VGA

Although AOC U2879VF isn’t designed to be used primarily as a gaming monitor, it, nonetheless, performs very well for gaming purposes. Due to its display size of 28 inches, and support for 4K resolution, its image sharpness is splendid. The U2879VF also supports AMD’s FreeSync adaptive synchronization technology, which prevents screen tearing at refresh rates between 30 and 60 Hz, and it also works flawlessly with NVIDIA cards. This cheap 4K monitor also comes with picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture capabilities, as well as with a wide variety of video connectors, such as DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA. The U2879VF, however, does come with its own caveats. First of all, its TN panel doesn’t offer very good viewing angles, which in turn causes the white color to look different from various viewing positions. Secondly, this monitor has no VESA mount holes, can’t be rotated left or right, and it only support up and down tilting to up to 30 degrees. Overall, this is a very solid cheap 4K monitor, which offers great image sharpness and adaptive sync capabilities, but its viewing angles and rather high input lag leave a lot to be desired.

AOC U3277PWQU

Display Size: 31.5″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: MVA | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response Time: 4 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, DVI, VGA

This 32-inch AOC’s monitor is very similar to the company’s cheapest 4K monitor, the U2879VF. However, the U3277PWQU features a massive, rectangular stand which offers a wide range of angle adjustment capabilities – from tilting and rotating the screen to left or right, to pivoting and height adjusting. This monitor also comes with a USB hub, comprised of two USB 3.0, and two USB 2.0 ports. Compared to the U2879VF, this monitor is technologically more advanced. It features a MVA panel, which reproduces colors much better than standard TN panel, and is on par with IPS panels in terms of color reproduction and viewing angles. This monitor also offers great image contrast, with vibrant display of colors, and a very deep black color reproduction. By default, this monitor offers good image quality, however, it is not suitable enough for professional users who need a monitor for video editing or web-design purposes. Color precision is below average, as well as the uniformity of colors across the whole screen. In terms of gaming performance, this monitor disappoints with its high input lag, so overall, this monitor is only suitable for users who want to buy a cheap and big 4K monitor.

Dell P2415Q

Display Size: 23.8″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: AH-IPS | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response Time: 6 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort, Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI

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Today, it unusual to stumble upon a 24-inch monitor with 4K resolution support. Dell P2415Q is one such screen which, despite its age, still impresses a lot. With a pixel density of 185 PPI, this monitor offers an outstanding image sharpness which will be perfect for designing various graphical elements, such as fonts or vector graphics. Windows will automatically recommend to set display scaling to 200% with this monitor hooked up to your PC, but 150% will be just enough. Besides having a high-quality AH-IPS panel, which offers great color precision, this monitor’s stand also impresses a lot, as it enables you to tilt, rotate and pivot the screen in various directions. This monitor also has a very nice range of input and output connectors, such as are Mini-DisplayPort, DisplayPort, HDMI and three USB 2.0 ports. For its price, however, Dell P2415Q disappoints in terms of screen brightness and color uniformity across the screen. For average users, these shortcomings won’t be noticeable, but professional users might want reconsider purchasing this monitor. Overall, Dell P2415Q offers great image quality, and will also be suitable for gaming, despite lacking any kind of adaptive frequency technology.

LG27UK850-W

Display Size: 27″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync) | Response Time: 5 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, USB Type-C

LG 27UK850-W is an outstanding budget 4K monitor which features support for AMD’s FreeSync adaptive synchronization technology, as well as USB Type-C connector which can deliver enough power to charge a notebook computer. Speaking of its design, the 27UK850-W features modern elegant design with thin frame bezels, which make the screen appear even larger than it is. The monitor’s stand enables you to pivot, tilt and adjust the height of the screen, however, rotating the screen to the left or right is not possible. Performance-wise, this monitor offers great image quality with an IPS panel covering 99% of sRGB color gamut, and pixel density of 163 pixels per inch. Having precise and vibrant colors, this monitor will also be appealing to video and photo editors, while gamers will be pleased with support for HDR. The support for AMD FreeSync technology comes in range between 40 and 60 Hz, and variable refresh rate also works fine with NVIDIA graphics cards. Speaking of monitor’s extra features, the 27UK850-W comes with two 5 watt MaxxAudio built-in speakers, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, dual USB 3.0 hub, and one USB Type-C port. The USB Type-C port is able to deliver 60 W of power, which is more than enough to charge your mobile phone, or transfer 4K video, audio and data at the same time. In short, LG 27UK850-W is an amazing 4K monitor, which for a slightly higher price than its competitors comes with a variety of features.

LG 27UL650-W

Display Size: 27″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync) | Response Time: 5 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI

LG 27UL650-W offers almost everything what would someone expect from a 4K monitor. This monitor features a very modern and elegant design, along with a very thin outer frame that makes screen appear almost bezel-less. Monitor’s stand, comprised from a semi-circular foot and a cylindrical pillar, is cleverly covered with plastic whose color looks like metal. The stand allows height adjusting, pivoting and tilting, however, rotating the screen left or right is not possible. At the back of the monitor you can find a DisplayPort connector, as well as two HDMI connectors, and a 3.5 mm audio plug. Gaming-wise, the 27UL650-W has a very low input lag and as such is a perfect choice if you are looking for a cheap 4K gaming monitor. This monitor also supports AMD FreeSync technology, which also works perfectly with compatible NVIDIA graphics card (GTX 1000 Series and newer). The overall image quality of monitor’s IPS panel is amazing. Image is quite sharp, and color precision is slightly above average. Screen brightness of 397 cd/m2 also impresses, so this monitor will also be suitable for advanced users who perform video and photo editing. In short, the LG 27UL650-W is an amazing budget 4K monitor which has very few flaws and should satisfy a lot of casual and professional users.

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Philips 278E1A

Display Size: 27″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: IPS | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response Time: 4 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI

Like LG’s fantastic 27UL650-W monitor, the Philips 287E1A also comes with an IPS panel and support for 4K resolution, but costs significantly less. However, there are a few caveats. First of all, monitor’s stand doesn’t offer the ability to rotate the screen left or right, adjust its height, or to pivot it. You can only tilt the screen up and down, or mount the whole monitor to an external stand using VESA mounting points. Second flaw of this monitor is its uneven backlightning. Mainstream users won’t notice this, but advanced users who deal with video and photo editing won’t be satisfied with this monitor. Other than that, the Philips 287E1A is an outstanding budget 4K monitor. The color reproduction is precise, the IPS panel covers 100% sRGB color gamut, static contrast is above average, and overall screen brightness is 381 cd per square meter. This monitor is also very suitable for 4K gaming, as it has a relatively low input lag. A bit disappointing is the fact that this monitor doesn’t feature any variable refresh rate technology, but nonetheless, it is a great monitor for a bit more demanding users, as well as gamers.

Philips 328E1CA

Display Size: 31.5″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 48-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync) | Response Time: 4 ms | Contrast: 2500:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0

Philips 328E1CA is probably one of the cheapest 4K curved 32 inch monitors available on the market. Despite the fact that it uses VA panel, this monitor offers great image reproduction capabilities, as well as low input lag, which is great for gamers looking for an affordable 4K monitor. The 328E1CA offers great color precision, which makes it an ideal buying choice for advanced users who deal with video editing and digital design. Color uniformity across the panel is also great, as well as screen backlightning which is well above average. The VA panel covers 100% of sRGB color space, as well as 85% of Adobe RGB color space. Image contrast is also very good, and maximum brightness goes up to 270 cd/m2. This is also great monitor for gaming, as it features AMD’s FreeSync technology, and can work at adaptive frequency in range between 48 and 60 Hz. The variable refresh rate tech on this monitor also works perfectly well with NVIDIA graphics cards, which recognize this monitor as G-Sync capable. This monitor’s input lag of only 15,5 ms is also very impressive, especially when considering the fact that many 4K monitors come with input lag of 40 ms or more. In terms of its aesthetics, the 328E1CA is a very attractive monitor since it’s curved, and features almost bezel-less frame, which makes this monitor to appear even bigger. Overall, the Philips 328E1CA is an outstanding budget 4K monitor, and is certainly our favorite monitor on this list of best budget 4K monitors in 2020.

Samsung LU28E590D

Display Size: 28″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: TN | Refresh Rate: 40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync) | Response Time: 1 ms | Contrast: 1000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/160 | Connectors: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI

Samsung LU28E590D is one of the cheapest 4K monitors produced by Samsung. Its main competitors are AOC’s U2879VF, and G2868PQU monitors, which, like this one, also feature a 28 inch screen with TN panel. This monitor by Samsung comes with AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, as well as with a very low input lag of only 11,5 ms. The variable refresh rate of this monitor is in range between 40 and 60 Hz, and it also works perfectly fine with NVIDIA’s 1000 series graphics cards, and newer. From the outside, this monitor looks very generic. The screen is surrounded with rather wide, but neutral metallic frame. Monitor’s stand only enables you to tilt the screen up and down, while rotating and pivoting is not possible. On its back, you can find VESA mounting holes, as well as DisplayPort, two HDMI ports and one 3.5 mm headphone jack. This monitor also comes with Samsung’s proprietary Magic Angle technology which tries to nullify the low visibility effects of looking at TN panel form high angles. Another special thing about this monitor is that it comes with hybrid backlightning, which some users might notice through image flickering. The screen covers 96% of sRGB color space, however, the color uniformity on it is quite bad. Despite its flaws, this is very solid 4K monitor, especially if you are look for something on a tight budget.

Samsung LU32J590UQNXZA

Display Size: 32″ | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Panel Type: VA | Refresh Rate: 40-60 Hz (AMD FreeSync) | Response Time: 4 ms | Contrast: 3000:1 | Viewing Angles: 178/178 | Connectors: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI

If you are looking for a good and affordable 4K monitor that has a display size larger than 30 inches, then Samsung LU32J590UQNXZA is a good choice. This monitor is well suited for causal PC gaming, watching movies, as well as other multimedia uses. Despite being advertised as QLED monitor, the LU32J590 (shortened name) covers only 99% of sRGB color space, instead of 125% or more. Nevertheless, this monitor comes with good image quality, high contrast, 270 cd/m2 brightness and 10-bit color support. This monitor features very low input lag of only 10 ms, and it also comes with great image upscaling module, which will be ideal for console owners. Despite the fact that it comes with VA panel, this monitor offers very good viewing angles, however certain users might notice screen flickering due to the fact that this monitor uses hybrid backlighting technology based on pulse-width modulation (PWM). The LU32J590 also comes with support for AMD FreeSync technology, which also works perfectly with NVIDIA graphics cards, as well as with Xbox One gaming console. Speaking of its design, the LU32J590 features simplistic and elegant design, with thin bezels and rather slim body. Monitor’s stand only offers you the ability to tilt the screen up and down, but you can mount the monitor to any VESA-compatible stand if you require more mobility. Overall, the Samsung LU32J590 is a very solid 4K monitor which is able to redeem its flaws with the magnificent 32 inch display size.

Conclusion

4K monitors prove to be a great choice for performing various professionals tasks, like writing various types of documents, video and photo editing, as well as casual gaming. Nowadays, most 4K monitors have become very affordable, and come with a wide variety of features. Some monitors feature stands that enable tilting, swiveling, pivoting and height adjustment, while some of them come with extra features, such as audio speakers and USB 3.0 hubs. Most monitors also come with support for AMD FreeSync, and they can perfectly work with NVIDIA graphics cards. Even though cheap 4K monitors don’t offer the same color precision as professional monitors, they are more than enough for mainstream users, as well as casual gamers. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.

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