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For an all-around, high-quality 5K experience, you can't go wrong with the LG 34WK95U-W UltraWide 5K2K. The “5K2K” in the name reflects the 5120x2160-pixel resolution — the same vertical resolution as a 4K display but 33 percent wider. This gives it the 21:9 aspect ratio LG dubs “UltraWide.” So with its 34-inch diagonal, it hits a sweet spot between the 27-inch and 49-inch 5K options in terms of actual width, while measuring about the same height. It has a lower pixel-per-inch (PPI) resolution than “full” 5K, but the extra width is great for media editors, content creators, and multitaskers in general.
Picture quality is a top priority, of course, and the LG 34WK95U-W delivers. Its in-plane switching (IPS) panel offers 178-degree viewing angles and rich color representation, listed as covering 98-percent of the cinema-grade DCI-P3 color gamut. It also features LG’s own “Nano IPS” technology, which uses tiny particles to absorb stray light wavelengths and generate extra-intense colors. It supports high dynamic range (HDR), with a max HDR brightness of 600 cd/m2 (or “nits”). Games will look and play great, thanks to its 5ms response time. However, the somewhat sluggish 60Hz refresh rate and absent variable refresh rate features may have serious gamers craving more.
Available inputs include a single DisplayPort and two HDMI connections. Notably, HDMI is limited to 4K, but you can use both HDMI ports to display two separate sources side-by-side. it’s the USB-C Thunderbolt 3 input, though, that makes it shine for Mac users, providing a screen upgrade along with 85 watts of power. The Thunderbolt connection also lets you play audio through a pair of 5-watt speakers.
The LG UltraFine 5K Monitor was created in partnership with Apple, and after resolving some earlier hardware issues, the 27MD5KB-B is here as a stunning 5K display designed to accompany your MacBook Pro. It can connect only to compatible Mac models with a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 input, which also delivers 85 watts of power to keep your laptop charged. There are creative ways out there to connect to other computers (usually not at 5K), though its limited compatibility is enough to keep the LG 27MD5KB-B from taking the “Best Overall” title it might have otherwise earned from us.
The glossy 27-inch monitor’s defining feature is its true 5K native resolution of 5120x2880 pixels — or 218 PPI. It can also operate at a 2560x1440 resolution, enhanced with Retina mode, resulting in a crisp and clear display that many users may actually prefer. The IPS panel offers very wide viewing angles, 500 nits of brightness, and vivid colors in the DCI-P3 standard.
If you’re looking for a stylish Apple design to match, you may be disappointed by the 27MD5KB-B’s fairly basic black plastic exterior with relatively large bezels. It does, however, fit a built-in camera and microphone into the top bezel, along with down-firing speakers at the bottom. There are no buttons on the monitor at all—brightness, volume, and other settings are controlled from your device — and besides the primary Thunderbolt port, there are only three other USB-C ports for additional accessories.
Making the leap to 5K will typically cost you a premium, but the Planar IX2790 gets you there on a smaller budget. As a full 5120x2880-pixel (16:9 aspect ratio) 5K display with a glossy 27-inch screen, it’s like a Windows alternative to the 5K iMac, since it doesn’t support USB-C for today’s Mac connections. Instead, it delivers 5K through a single DisplayPort input — a DisplayPort cable and a Mini DisplayPort adapter are included. There are also three HDMI ports for up to 4K (3840x2160) resolution, and you can display two Full HD (1920×1080) sources at the same time.
Even at a lower cost, the Planar IX2790 doesn’t make many compromises on the 5K experience. Its IPS panel delivers vivid picture and clarity, with 440 nits of brightness and true 8-bit color. It has a decent 12ms response rate and a 60Hz refresh rate. There are a pair of built-in, 2-watt speakers and a headphone jack as well. Some users reported quality control issues in the units they received, so you might want to double down on the warranty and/or return policy.
If width is your main priority in a display, one variation of 5K combines the 5120-pixel horizontal resolution with only a 1440-pixel vertical. Dell’s UltraSharp U4919DW offers the leading example — a colossal, 49-inch IPS screen with a 32:9 aspect ratio. It’s like putting two Quad HD (2560 × 1440) monitors side-by-side. That's a lot of free real estate! And a gentle 3800R curve radius helps you see all of it at once. You’ll have no problem with clarity, image quality, or color accuracy, though you may notice some darker areas in the sides than the center, which makes sense at this size.
Even at almost four feet in total width, the U4919DW occupies a relatively small footprint and less than a foot of depth. It’s sturdily built, thankfully, and the stand can tilt, swivel, and adjust in height. The port selection is impressive, including DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0, seven USB ports, and a USB-C with better-than-most 90-watt power delivery. All of these features — along with the lack of speakers, HDR support, or adaptive-sync technology for optimized gaming — prove that the U4919DW's case as a premium business display.
The Philips 499P9H presents an ultra-wide 5K monitor option with attractive features. Like others in its class, it projects a resolution of 5120x1440 (also known as dual Quad HD) to a massive 49-inch screen with a 32:9 aspect ratio. Because it uses a vertical alignment (VA) panel, viewing angles aren't as wide as those with IPS tech. Nevertheless, the 1800R curvature helps with viewing, immersion, and eye comfort.
The VA panel exhibits vibrant colors and a strong 3000:1 contrast ratio. It also offers fast pixel response times and minimal input lag, which — combined with adaptive-sync support — make for a smoother gaming experience. Games and movies can benefit from HDR on the 499P9H, though DisplayHDR 400 (only requiring 400 nits of max brightness) isn't the best HDR experience you can get.
Other convenient features built into the monitor include two 5-watt speakers, a USB-C docking station for your laptop, and a KVM switch to control two different PCs with a single keyboard and mouse. There’s also a pop-up webcam at the top, with infrared support for extra security through Windows Hello facial recognition.
The Samsung CRG9 is not the first, nor is it the only 49-inch 5120x1440 (dual Quad HD) monitor, but it is the first to tackle a specific niche: Gamers. With it, you get the benefits of an ultra-wide 32:9 aspect ratio along with a 5K resolution, and a 1800R curved screen that puts the action all around you. Samsung’s “super vertical alignment” (SVA) panel offers improved viewing angles over typical VA screens and offers excellent color space coverage boosted by quantum-dot technology. It’s also compatible with HDR10, with great light-dark contrast and a peak brightness of 1000 nits.
Of course, with all this picture quality, serious gamers need performance to match, and the CRG9 seeks to deliver. Its speedy 120Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time are unmatched among 5K displays. On top of this is support for AMD’s FreeSync 2 variable refresh rate technology, which minimizes screen tearing and ensures smooth gaming even at an ultra-high resolution (assuming you have an AMD graphics card). Other features reduce screen flickering and blue light emissions so your play sessions can carry on with greater comfort.
If 5K still isn’t high-definition enough for you, there’s one monitor blazing the trail into the 8K future. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is a 31.5-inch IPS display, graced with a 7680×4320 resolution. That’s 33.2 million pixels — it’s like working with four 4K screens or 16 Full HD screens. And it comes at a pixel density of 280 PPI, a stunning level of detail that runs nearly to the edges with Dell’s InfinityEdge design.
Complementing the groundbreaking resolution is an excellent picture quality to match. The UP3218K boasts 178-degree viewing angles, 400 nits of brightness, and a contrast ratio of 1300:1. With nearly full coverage of the various industry color spaces and a deep palette of 1.07 billion colors, it’s a graphics professional’s dream in terms of image accuracy and realism. PC gamers won’t be overly impressed by the monitor’s so-so 60Hz refresh rate and 6ms response time, but even the best graphics cards can't handle 8K just yet.
Hardware and content, in general, will be limiting factors as most of it plays catchup to 8K, but it’s still a powerful way to experience the world of 4K. If you have the hardware and professional needs to warrant it, the Dell UP3218K is in a class of its own. It comes at a premium cost, but there’s no doubt that your eyes will be feasting on premium technology.