Most 'Color-accurate' monitor for $500-1000 USD

Hi there,

I’m in the market for a new monitor(s) (prefer 27"), looking for recommendations for good accurate color spaces that will reproduce consistently in graphics and print for ‘color-critical’ work (photo editing and graphic design). I use Windows/Adobe.

I’ve found that NEC makes decent monitors (the PA series from ~10 years ago) though the color seems a little flat/on the ‘cool’ side even after calibrated with a puck/using the NEC Spectraview II software.

I am currently testing out a BenQ 2725U, marketed as a ‘Designer Monitor.’ The colors pop and look nice, and whites are a little warmer. Wonder how you know if what you are seeing is ‘accurate’ to some universal standard (I know that everyone’s screen is different).

I’ve heard that LG makes the high quality Mac screens.

Would like to hear from some other designers about what monitors you prefer to work on.

I’m very happy with my 27" LG HDR 4K Display. A couple of years ago, I was using a BenQ at work (I can’t remember the model, but I was happy with the color on that too).

Then again, color accuracy is an impossible target to hit. As you said, every display is different, which sort of makes accuracy a moving target for online work. For print work, an additive color RGB monitor will never look like subtractive color CMYK — they’re entirely different color spaces.

My personal opinion is to get something that looks right and has bright whites, neutral grays, and dense blacks. If the neutral grays look truly neutral, the red, green, and blue pixels are displaying in the right combination and will mostly be about right in other color combinations.

For the fine-tuning some people attempt through various calibration efforts, I think our brains automatically do the compensation once we get a bit used to a particular monitor. It’s a bit like how we automatically adjust for the differences in lighting conditions between inside and outdoors without really thinking about it.

Now, if the work involves color matching from supplied samples or calibration to a specific output device, that’s another story.


What model # is your 27" LG? Do you have HDR turned on, and does that significantly impact the colors and contrast? For instance, you might reduce contrast in Photoshop based on the contrast you see on screen, but when you deliver the photo/graphic, it looks really washed out on other monitors?

I just checked. It’s a 32" LG instead of a 27". Sorry. My Mac, for some reason, lists it as a 27" model. The number is 32UL950 (a 2018 model) and was a couple of hundred dollars more (if I remember), than your upper price range. I’m reasonably sure the 27" models would be just as good — just a little smaller.

I do have HDR turned on right now, but I’ve also used the RFT mode. The dynamic range in HDR is absolutely great, but everything is so perfectly vivid and sharp that the default HDR settings looked a bit unnatural to me, so I toned them down a little (everything about the display on this monitor is adjustable). I’m not a gamer, so those concerns are irrelevant to me. I mostly work in print, so I like the monitor settings to reflect more of what I might see when something is printed rather than the widest possible color gamut.

If the newer LGs are just as good as this 2018 model and if I needed another monitor, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to buy another.


Do you have a colorimeter?

I don’t, are they useful?


It allows you to calibrate your display to get the most accurate colors possible.

Even a professional display should be calibrated for color-critical work.

Personally, I have an X-Rite i1 Display Pro Plus (currently sold as the Calibrite ColorChecker Plus).

The subject of monitor calibration has come up several times. Jakub has a different perspective on the matter from most here, including me. If you perform a search for calibration you’ll find a few of those threads.

Briefly, here’s my view.

Back when CRT monitors were the standard, occasional recalibration compensated for the color and temperature drift that occurred as the cathode-ray tubes aged. The color accuracy of CRT monitors varied considerably, and periodic recalibration restored some semblance of accuracy.

Color from LEDs doesn’t change much over time. In other words, LED monitors are calibrated to whatever standard the manufacturer thought was appropriate. Better monitors, come with several pre-calibrated settings for various things from gaming to easy reading to high dynamic range, etc.

Recalibrating LED monitors only makes sense when a change from the manufacturer’s settings is warranted. Examples of this would be prepress monitors that need to be calibrated with the company’s image or platesetter output. Another example would be photographers who own their own photo printer and need to ensure that the monitor matches what comes out of the printer.

In other words, calibration between the LED monitor and the output device makes sense. since the precalibrated settings of the monitor likely differ from the output device. Calibrating the monitor with the output device ensures better accuracy between what’s seen on the screen and what’s output.

Most graphic designers, however, are not in a situation where calibration to a specific output device is practical. A typical designer needs to rely on the printing companies’s color management for accuracy. Since the LED monitors are precalibrated by the manufacturer to various standards, recalibration makes no sense unless the monitor is recalibrated to match the quirks of the output device and printing press.

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I wrestled with this problem so often that I always asked for a printers proof. Then I would be more comfortable knowing what I could expect