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Finding the right 4K monitor for your PC while on a limited budget can be challenging. It’s not as easy as grabbing the cheapest one available on the shelves. Ideally, it would be best to look for a monitor with all the feature sets you need but do not tear a hole in your pocket.

To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of affordable 4K monitors to suit your gaming or productivity needs. We covered monitors using all panel technologies, panel sizes, and relevant features that distinguish each monitor from its contemporaries for a more informed choice.

How to Choose the Right 4K Monitor

Whether it’s for gaming, work, or a mix of both, the monitor you choose must suit your desired application. A gaming monitor with low response times and high refresh rates at 4K resolution may not be suitable for productive tasks, vice versa. While you can technically get the best of both worlds, this situation can quickly get you way over your budget.

In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a monitor for gaming, go for the monitors with high refresh rates and lower response times. Conversely, ultrawide panels with exceptional color quality are ideal for productivity tasks. Since this is a quick guide, we will stick to each monitor’s essential features necessary for productivity, gaming, or general use.

Panel Type

A monitor’s display panel defines the monitor since it is essentially the heart of the device. Display manufacturers use different kinds of panels for their monitors and call them by different names. Panel types can be narrowed down to three: TN (twisted nematic), VA (variable angle), and IPS (in-plane switching).

TN panels are inferior to the three due to their narrow viewing angles and subpar image quality. TN panels, however, have an advantage over VA and IPS panels; they’re cheaper, have faster response times, and support high refresh rates. TN panels may soon lose these advantages as display technology progresses. We’ve already seen IPS panels capable of 1ms response times and high refresh rates.

Of all the panel types, IPS panels are superior due to their wide viewing angles, striking colors, and overall image quality. The big downside of IPS displays is that they are not ideal for gaming due to their slow response times and refresh rates. However, IPS display technology has significantly improved over the past few years. IPS panels are now capable of refresh rates as high as 360Hz and fast 1ms response times.

VA panels are sort of a compromise between TN and IPS panels. VAs have better viewing angles and better color reproduction than TN panels but slightly worse than IPS displays. VA panels have the best contrast of the three types, making them ideal for productivity and general use.

Panel Size

When it comes to monitors, size does matter. Large panels capable of high resolutions deliver better viewing and gaming experience than smaller displays. The extra real estate is especially handy when it comes to productivity tasks. They allow for multiple windows, sharper texts, and clearer images, and better details. Large screens also offer better viewing and gaming experience simply because it provides you with a wide viewing area.

Response times and refresh rates

Monitor response times and refresh rates matter most when it comes to gaming. The general rule of thumb when it comes to response times is that lower is better. As for the refresh rate, the higher the number, the better. For casual and productive workloads, the typical 5ms response time and 60Hz refresh rate are just fine.

A monitor’s response time determines how fast each pixel can transition from black to white. Longer response times lead to blurring and ghosting, adversely affecting image quality and clarity.

Refresh rate measures how many times in a second a monitor can update the image displayed on the screen. Faster refresh rates result in a much smoother transition between images, reducing stuttering and flickering.

The Best Cheap 4K Monitors Compared

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
Acer Nitro VG270K bmiipx on Amazon
Acer Nitro VG270K bmiipxResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27"
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 1ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 300 cd/m²
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 x 2
Features: AMD FreeSync, HDR
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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Philips 328E1CA on Amazon
Philips 328E1CAResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 32”
Panel Type: VA
Response Time: 5ms
Refresh Rate: 75Hz
Brightness: 250 cd/m²
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 x 2
Features: Adaptive Sync
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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Philips Brilliance 272P7VUBNB on Amazon
Philips Brilliance 272P7VUBNBResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27”
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 5ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 350 cd/m²
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1. 2, HDMI 2. 0, USB-C 3.2
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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AOC U2790VQ on Amazon
AOC U2790VQResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27"
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 5ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 350 cd/m²
Connectivity: HDMI 1.4 x 1, HDMI 2.0 x 1, DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, VGA
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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LG 27UL500-W on Amazon
LG 27UL500-WResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27”
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 5ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 300 cd/m²
Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 x2, DisplayPort 1.2 x1
Features: AMD FreeSync, HDR10
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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Dell S2721Q on Amazon
Dell S2721QResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27”
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 8ms, 5ms, 4ms (Variable)
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 350 cd/m²
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x1, HDMI 2.0 x 2
Features: AMD FreeSync, HDR
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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Philips 276E8VJSB on Amazon
Philips 276E8VJSBResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27”
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 5ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 300 cd/m²
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 x 2
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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BenQ EL2870U on Amazon
BenQ EL2870UResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 28”
Panel Type: TN
Response Time: 1 ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 300cd/m²
Connectivity: HDMI (v2.0) x2, DisplayPort (v1.4) x1
Features: HDR, AMD FreeSync
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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Asus VP28UQG on Amazon
Asus VP28UQGResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 28"
Panel Type: TN
Response Time: 1ms
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 300 cd/m²
Connectivity: HDMI 2.0 x 2, DisplayPort 1.2 x 1
Features: Adaptive Sync / FreeSync
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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ViewSonic VX2776-4K-MHD on Amazon
ViewSonic VX2776-4K-MHDResolution: 3840x2160 UHD
Size: 27”
Panel Type: IPS
Response Time: 14ms (typical), 4ms (overdrive)
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Brightness: 350 cd/m²
Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x1, HDMI 2.0 x2
VESA Wall Mounting: 100x100 mm
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1. Acer Nitro VG270K bmiipx – Best Cheap 4K Gaming Monitor

The Acer Nitro VG270K bmiipx has just everything you need for a 4k gaming monitor: fast response times, IPS panel, Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync, and HDR support. The VG270K is one of a handful of 4K IPS gaming monitors that feature a 1ms response time. This fast response time is achieved via Acer’s VRB technology, which effectively lowers its native 4ms response time to just 1ms.

The VG270K uses an IPS panel for superb color quality and excellent viewing angles. The VG270K is also HDR-capable, providing greater contrast and highlights when playing games or watching videos. Furthermore, the VG270K’s included Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync support reduces screen tearing and stuttering for enhanced gameplay.

While the Nitro only has a 60Hz refresh rate, it is adequate for playing both fast-paced and graphically intense games. While 4k 144k displays are out there, they are beyond this guide’s scope since they do not qualify as “cheap.”

The LG 27UL500-W is a close second; were it not for the LG 27UL500-W’s 5ms response time, this would have been a tie. Both monitors have the same feature: they are both 4K, have IPS panels, supports FreeSync, and HDR-capable.

OUR TAKE
The Nitro VG270K is arguably the best 4K gaming-oriented monitor on this list. The Nitro display has all the bells and whistles that you can only find in premium gaming displays sans the high refresh rates. At its price, the VG270K is a steal. All in all, the VG270K is a solid choice for an immersive 4K gaming experience on a budget.
PROS

  • 1ms response time
  • IPS panel
  • AMD FreeSync
  • HDR Ready
CONS

  • None
 

2. Philips 328E1CA – Best Cheap 32″ 4K Display

The Philips 328E1CA is the cheapest 32-inch monitor that natively supports 4k resolution on this list. The 328E1CA comes with a VA panel with a 1500R curvature. The monitor has a default refresh rate of 60Hz that can be overclocked to 75Hz. Combined with Adaptive Sync technology, the 328E1CA promises to deliver tear and stutter-free gaming.

Productivity-wise, the 328E1CA has a lot of real estate with its 697.3 mm (H) x 392.2 (V) viewing area. Color coverage is excellent at 120% sRGB and 97.8% NTSC, making the 328E1CA suitable for photo and video editing tasks. The extra real estate of the 328E1CA makes the display perfect for multi-window applications.

The monitor is equipped with two downward-facing speakers rated at 3W each. As for connectivity, the 328E1CA has two HDMI 2.0 ports and a single DisplayPort 1.2. If only Philips included a USB-C port, the 328E1CA would have made a great jack-of-all-trades monitor.

OUR TAKE
Based on its specs, the Philips 328E1CA is sufficient for both gaming and productivity workloads. However, its 5ms response time is less than desirable as you may experience ghosting while playing games. Overall, the 328E1CA is an excellent entry-level monitor for 4k gaming and workstation monitor.
PROS

  • Cheap
  • Supports Adaptive-Sync
  • 4-year warranty
CONS

  • No HDR support
  • No height and pan adjustment
 

3. Philips Brilliance 272P7VUBNB – Best Cheap 4k Productivity Monitor with USB-C

Of all the 4k productivity monitors in this list, the Philips Brilliance 272P7VUBNB at the top of the heap. The 272P7VUBNB is surprisingly affordable, given its feature set. At its price range, a monitor with similar specs is hard to find.

The Brilliance 272P7VUBNB lived up to its name with its bright 350-nit display. At 27″, the 272P7VUBNB’s panel is just the right size to maintain a high pixel density of 163 PPI. Color coverage broad at 122% sRGB and 97% NTSC. All of these features make the 272P7VUBNB suitable for photo editing and other production workloads.

The 272P7VUBNB stands out on connectivity. With a USB-C 3.2 port, the 272P7VUBNB is essentially a docking station. The monitor also comes with an Ethernet port that allows you to provide internet and network connectivity to devices without suitable adapters.

OUR TAKE
We highly recommend the 272P7VUBNB for production tasks. While the monitor has its downsides, such as the lack of HDR support and VESA mounting capability, its features are so well-rounded that they make up for its shortcomings. If you are looking for a similar monitor with USB-C but with added HDR support, expect to pay more for the LG 27UK850-W.
PROS

  • Affordable
  • Bright display
  • USB-C 3.2 port
  • Ethernet port
CONS

  • NO HDR support
  • VESA mounting not supported
 

4. AOC U2790VQ – Budget 4K Monitor King

We purposely placed the AOC U2790VQ alongside the Philips 276E8VJSB because both monitors are at the same price point and perform roughly the same. This AOC and the Philips displays use the same LM270PF1L IPS panel from Panda. That said, both monitors’ panel-related specs are the same across the board except for the 5mm response time of the U2790VQ.

The U2790VQ has a few extra features that gave it an edge over the 276E8VJSB. First, the U2790VQ is not short on ports. It has two DisplayPort 1.2 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a single HDMI 1.4 port, one VGA port, and a 3.5mm Audio Out jack.

Another advantage of U2790VQ is its VESA-mounting capability. The plastic monitor stand only allows for tilt adjustment. Given its price, AOC had to cut some corners here and there. However, AOC compensated by adding VESA mounting holes to overcome this limitation.

OUR TAKE
You can never go wrong with the AOC U2790VQ. We highly recommend the monitor over Philips 276E8VJSB. The U2790VQ offers more connectivity and supports VESA mounting. Although the U2790VQ costs slightly more than the Philips display, the price difference is justified and worth it.
PROS

  • Great value
  • 10-bit IPS panel
  • Lots of input ports
  • VESA mountable
CONS

  • No HDR support
 

5. LG 27UL500-W – Cheap 4K Gaming Monitor Alternative

The LG 27UL500-W has all that it takes to be a gaming monitor. The 27UL500-W, however, falls short of expectations. The LG 27UL500-W is a close competitor of the Acer Nitro VG270K bmiipx as the cheapest 4K gaming monitor on this list. What prevented the LG display from taking the crown is its slow 5ms response time.

On paper, the 27UL500-W is a solid budget gaming monitor. It has an IPS panel, is HDR-ready, and supports AMD FreeSync. However, the 27UL500-W’s 5ms response time just couldn’t match the VG270K’s 1ms VRB response time. The 4ms difference between the displays may not sound much, but each millisecond of response time matters when it comes to competitive gaming.

The 27UL500-W has a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is on par with the Nitro display. The display’s color gamut stands at 98% sRGB, which is acceptable. Peak brightness is at 300 cd/m² on the 27UL500-W while its contrast ratio is average at 1000:1. Connectivity is provided by two HDMI 2.0 ports and a single DisplayPort.

OUR TAKE
We recommend the 27UL500-W only as an alternative to Acer Nitro VG270K. Both displays are similarly priced, but the 27UL500-W’s slower response time is just a dealbreaker. Altogether, the LG 27UL500-W is still a great 4K gaming monitor with most of the boxes checked out.
PROS

  • IPS panel
  • AMD FreeSync support
  • HDR10 ready
CONS

  • Slower response time than the competition
 

6. Dell S2721Q – Best General Purpose Monitor

The S2721Q is one of the three displays recently released by Dell. As with the other monitors in the S-series, the S2721Q is designed for home and office use. The monitor sports a 27″ IPS panel with a refresh rate of 60z. Its color range is average at 99% sRGB, brightness is capped at 350 cd/m², while the contrast ratio is at 1300:1. Response time is a bit low at 8ms in the default setting, but can be tuned to 5ms and up to 4ms.

Connectivity is provided by two HDMI 2.0 ports and a single DisplayPort 1.2. The S2721Q comes with two speakers rated at 3W. Display position adjustments are limited only to tilt and swivel, so you might want to use a VESA mount for added adjustability.

What’s great about the S2721Q is that Dell offers a limited hardware warranty to replace monitors even if it only contains a single defective pixel. Most display manufacturers require at least three dead pixels for a panel replacement.

OUR TAKE
We can easily recommend the Dell S2721Q for home and office use. With its HDR feature, the S2721Q would be an excellent display for watching videos and casual gaming. The S2721Q may not have the best gaming and productivity features, but the S2721Q is more than sufficient for everyday use and less demanding tasks.
PROS

  • Supports AMD FreeSync
  • Limited hardware warranty for at least one dead pixel
  • HDR-ready
CONS

  • Slow response time
  • No swivel, tilt, and pivot adjustment
 

7. Philips 276E8VJSB – Basic Budget 4K Monitor

Philips’ E-series has surprisingly good monitors in its lineup. They are affordable but not short on features. The 276E8VJSB is the second monitor on this list from the same series, the other being 328E1CA.

The 276E8VJSB features a 10-bit IPS panel for crisp and vibrant images. The monitor’s color coverage is terrific at 108% sRGB and 91% NTSC. Refresh rate and response time are typical at 60Hz and 4ms, respectively. As for connectivity, the 276E8VJSB is equipped with two HDMI 2.0 ports, a single DisplayPort, and one 3.5mm Audio Out jack.

The 276E8VJSB and AOC’s U2790VQ are essentially cut from the same cloth since both use the same IPS panel. However, 276E8VJSB’s lack of VESA mounting capability and its limited ergonomic flexibility are its main drawbacks. While this won’t matter to some users, it does for others who prefer multi-monitor setups.

OUR TAKE
It’s easy to recommend the 276E8VJSB for users who want a cheap 4K monitor with an IPS panel. At its price point, the 276E8VJSB’s closest rival is the AOC U2790VQ, which also sports the same IPS panel. Just bear in mind that the 276E8VJSB does not support VESA mounting, and its stand only allows for tilt adjustments.
PROS

  • Great value
  • 10-bit IPS panel
  • 4-year warranty
CONS

  • No HDR support
  • Lacks VESA mounting capability
 

8. BenQ EL2870U – Competitive 4K Gaming Monitor with HDR

On paper, the EL2870U has all the boxes checked out for a 4K gaming monitor. It has a fast response time, FreeSync support, and is HDR-ready. The EL2870U’s 1ms response time doesn’t come as a surprise from a display that uses a TN panel. But the HDR-TN combination is a bit odd considering TN panels are notorious for their narrow viewing angles, low brightness, and poor color quality.

The only advantage the EL2870U has over its equivalent ASUS VP28UQG is that it supports HDR10. The EL2870U’s panel features a 10-bit color depth and a color gamut of 72% NTSC. The display’s refresh rate is capped 60Hz, which is kind of understandable for a 4K gaming monitor at this price point.

Moving on from panel specs, the EL2870U comes with two built-in speakers rated at 2W each. Connectivity-wise, the EL2870U has two HDMI 2.0 ports and a single DisplayPort 1.4. Stand adjustment is limited to tilt, with no height and swivel adjustments here. But at least the monitor supports VESA mounting.

OUR TAKE
The BenQ EL2870U is an excellent choice for gamers who prefer to play fast-paced racing games and first-person shooters. Its 1ms response time and FreeSync support promise to reduce ghosting, stuttering, and tearing in games. The EL2870U is not the best gaming monitor, but it is still a good buy given its feature set and price.
PROS

  • Fast response time
  • AMD FreeSync support
  • HDR-ready
CONS

  • TN panel
 

9. Asus VP28UQG – Competitive 4K Gaming Monitor

Aimed primarily at gamers, the Asus VP28UQG features a 1ms response time that reduces blur and ghosting. Paired with Adaptive Sync technology, the VP28UQG delivers tear- and stutter-free gaming experience.

The downside to VP28UQG is its TN panel. TN panels are great for gaming but cannot match the picture quality provided by VA and IPS panels. The VP28UQG is no exception. Another significant limitation of the VP28UQG is its 60Hz refresh rate. High refresh rates and fast response times go hand in hand when it comes to gaming. However, at its price point, the 60Hz response time is justifiable.

The VP28UQG features Low Blue Light, which comes in handy when playing games for hours. The stand offers limited functionality, only allowing for tilt adjustments. You may have to use a VESA mount for added ergonomic flexibility.

OUR TAKE
The VP28UQG is an excellent entry-level monitor for competitive 4K gaming. Its fast response time makes it ideal for playing racing games, first-person shooters, and other faced-paced games. If you are more into non-competitive and graphics-oriented games, opt for IPS or VA-based displays instead.
PROS

  • TN panel
  • Supports Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync
  • Fast response time
CONS

  • TN panel
  • No HDR support
 

10. ViewSonic VX2776-4K-MHD – Basic 4K IPS Monitor with HDR

What made us include the VX2776-4K-MHD in this list is its bang-for-the-buck factor. The VX2776-4K-MHD’s main selling point is its HDR support, making it ideal for watching videos and general-purpose use. Other than HDR, the monitor is as basic as it gets.

The VX2776’s IPS panel is mediocre at best. The monitor uses an 8-bit IPS panel with a 350 cd/m² brightness and a static contrast ratio of 1,300:1. The display has an extremely slow response time of 14ms. However, this can be reduced to 4ms by setting the monitor to overdrive. The out-of-the-box response time rather disappointing since most monitors in its class have a response time of 5ms by default.

OUR TAKE
If you are looking for a monitor for home and office use, the VX2776-4K-MHD may just be a good fit for you. While it doesn’t have the fast response times to play games, nor a high color gamut for graphic-intensive workloads, the VX2776-4K-MHD is a great monitor for watching movies and light workloads.
PROS

  • IPS panel
  • HDR10 ready
CONS

  • Slow response time
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which panel technology is best for gaming?

It depends. If you’re playing first-person shooters and racing games, TN panels with high refresh rates and low response time are the best. For visually-oriented games, IPS or VA panels are ideal for a more immersive gaming experience.

What should I look for in a productivity monitor?

For productivity tasks, look for large-panel, high-resolution displays with exceptional color quality and accuracy. Also, look for monitors with flicker-free and low blue light technologies to avoid straining your eyes when working long hours.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It is a display technology that highlights the contrast between the brightest and darkest areas in an image to enhance image quality.

Categories: Reviews