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Best 5K and 8K monitors of 2020: Graphic displays for professionals and more

(Image credit: LG)

Multiple monitor setups are out, and high-DPI and ultrawide ones are in. That's the word on the street, and anybody whose eyeballs have clocked the pixel-packed panels appearing at trade shows across the world would probably agree that resistance is futile.

At this moment in time, business pros can choose between a monitor with a regular aspect ratio, or an ultra-wide panel. The former is 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.

For maximum screen space, on the other hand, ultra-wide presents 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.

Let's be honest - you're living in the future whichever you opt for, and the monitor scene is only going to get more advanced and interesting over the next few years. For now, check out out suggestions of the best 5K and 8K monitors of 2019, along with links to outlets where you can purchase them.

(Image credit: Phillips)

1. Phillips 499P9H 49-inch SuperWide Curved Monitor

A mammoth 5K monitor for business and even light gaming

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

Adaptive sync
Good LCD panel quality
VA rather than IPS panel
60Hz 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.

(Image credit: LG)

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

A curved delight with USB-C

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%

Equivalent of two 1440p monitors side-by-side
USB-C port
No DCI color
Low 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.

(Image credit: Dell)

3. Dell UltraSharp UP3218K

8K monitor flaunts more pixels than others

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

Jaw-dropping 8K resolution
Lovely design
Limited 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.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Dell Ultra Sharp 49-inch (U4919DW)

Features a practical and professional design

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

Great image quality
Practical design
Practical Dell Display Manager software

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.

(Image credit: Future)

5. LG 27MD5K-B Ultrafine 27-inch

A 5K monitor for MacBook owners

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

Bright picture
Thunderbolt 3
Drab design
Few 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.

(Image credit: Liyama)

6. Liyama ProLite XB2779QQS

The most affordable 5K monitor has few compromises

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

Great value
Adjustable stand
Large black bezels
Fiddly menu controls

Delving into the world of 5K displays no longer means breaking the bank. The Liyama 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.

(Image credit: Planar)

7. Planar IX2790

A great value 5K monitor with an IPS panel

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: 98% NTSC | Weight: 16.6lbs

Great value
Adjustable stand
Slow response time
Fiddly menu controls

Planar isn't a well-known brand, but its 5K monitor deserves to rub shoulders with others on our list. It's a stylish contender, resembling Apple's iMac Pro (minus the computational guts) if that machine was offered in a sleek black version. Its 98% coverage of the NTSC color space is hardly pack-leading, making it a less-than-ideal choice for professional multimedia work, and its 12ms response time is lower than the competition. But what’s it like to use? Pretty good, considering its affordable price tag. The IX2790 gets by on its sheer resolution alone, and thanks to its IPS panel, its viewing angles aren’t bad either. While you could do better than the IX2790, you could also do much worse.

(Image credit: Samsung)

8. Samsung CRG90 144hz gaming monitor

High-refresh rate ultrawide aimed squarely at gamers

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

 High refresh rate
Great HDR performance
Good DCI coverage
4ms response time
No 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.