Best 27 Inch Monitor for Graphic Design & Art

Best 27 Inch Monitor for Graphic Design dell-p2715q

If you’re an artist or designer (whether you’re doing it for a living or as a hobby) then a monitor is probably one of the most important pieces of kit you’ll ever buy, so it’s worth investing a little time and money, and doing it right. Luckily for you, we’ve already invested the time to save you some of yours*, so have a look at our top three picks of the best 27 inch monitor for graphic design & arty types.
*Sorry we can’t invest any of the money for you, you’re on your own with that one.

What you’re looking for is the classic monitor hat trick of resolution, colour and connectivity options, so if you think you can just stroll into Micro Center and pick the first special offer you see, you’d best think again…

Dell P2715Q 4K Monitor LED – IPS



Dell-p2715q

This Ultra HD 4K Monitor has a very desirable 3840 x 2160 res and IPS. The Dell P2715Q also boasts 99% sRGB straight out of the box, although it wouldn’t hurt to have calibration tools on standby for fine tuning. Connectivity is more than adequate with DisplayPort 1.2 means that you can easily Daisy Chain with other monitors, and this plus the cable control make it all very neat and tidy. Speaking of which, the Dell is a very tidy model thanks to built in cable management, and that allows you to really take advantage of the impressive ergonomics. Obviously the Dell P2715Q isn’t going to be a great choice for those running Mac or Linux, but for Windows users it’s a fine pick. There have been scattered complaints about mouse lag and it’s not the ‘sexiest’ of hardware, but with a RRP of $699 , this monitor is definitely a good, cost effective option for designers.

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ViewSonic VP2780-4K 27-Inch Ultra HD SuperClear IPS LED Monitor



Viewsonic VP2780

Another UHD with IPS, the ViewSonic VP2780-4K gives you a rather impressive 14 bit 3D LUT as well as pre-calibrated Delta E≤2 for truly stunning colour. DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 have prompted the manufacturers to label the ViewSonic as futureproof in their own blurb, and such amazing connectivity definitely makes for a striking refresh time (60hz). Multi picture functionality is definitely a plus for designers, giving you the freedom to view various projects simultaneously and making comparisons with reference images and the like far easier. The price tag is a little heftier than the Dell at $899 and the base is kind of bulky but I’m afraid that’s the price you pay for colour like this!
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Dell UP2715K 27-Inch Ultra HD 5K LCD Monitor



Dell-UP2715K - for Graphic Design

So Dell’s response to the Mac 5k was to bring out this little beauty the UP2715K; a 5120 x 2880, 12 bit LUT, In-plane switching diva with ports in all the right places. The specs are sky high, but unfortunately so is the price, and with a RRP of $2499 it’s definitely not for the feint hearted. Having said that you’ll need to go a long way to find someone with anything really bad to say about the Dell. The biggest downside as far as I can see is that it’s not great for displaying low-res footage (you kind of get the feeling that that sort of thing is below it). Even the monitor’s aesthetics are superior, with sleek lines and a delicate base making it as nice to look at as it is to use.
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Resolution

Let’s be honest here, when it comes to resolution size does matter and anything less than a 2560 x 1440 just isn’t going to cut it. Ideally you want to be looking at an Ultra High Definition (UHD) monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160, but you can go higher, with Apple claiming dibs on the top dog spot with their 5120 x 2880 5k behemoth, until earlier this year when Dell launched a comparable model (see above). Obviously when you go above your standard Full HD you’re immediately looking at a big hike in price, but it’s definitely worth the investment in terms of clarity, and hopefully you’ll be future proofing your purchase to-boot.

Colour

The holy grail of design based monitors is one that shows you colours as close as possible to those that will appear in print and this part is all about performance. Opting for a high spec model is key, so look for features such as Advanced High Performance In Plane Switching panels (AH-IPS) and a minimum 10 bit look up table (LUT). A 10, 12 or 14 bit LUT will allow you to perform frequent calibrations, which means that you’ll be able to keep on top of your palettes (although professional monitors will often come with integrated calibration tools, you’ve always go the option to buy third party if they’re lacking).

Connectivity

You’ll need an HDMI port of course, but remember that if you’re opting for UHD then your graphics card will require two of its own. The card will also need to support Multi Stream Transfer (MST) if you want to get the best resolution with a fast refresh rate. Other ports you’ll require are DisplayPort 1.2 and dual link DVI.

Best 27 Inch Monitor for Graphic Design Summation

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve picked two Dell monitors. Am I biased? Yes. I’ve always used Dell for design and their latest offerings are just as good as they’ve always been. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t shop around, but if the reviews on the wonderful world wide web are anything to go by I’m not the only one who rates Dell. Having said that the ViewSonic is an unexpected but very welcome contender and definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future.
So do we have a winner? Well of course I was always going to go for the P2715Q in terms of definition and, as far as artists are concerned, this one is the full package – looks, performance and specs are all spot on. Unfortunately, considering the price tag, it simply doesn’t offer enough given that the ViewSonic provides only slightly lower specs (and in fact better LUT) for virtually a third of the price. However, my overall favourite is the P2715Q. Call me a Dell groupie but I’d choose this monitor even if it wasn’t the cheapest, and the fact that it is, is just the icing on the cake!

Best Photo Editing Monitor: My 27 Inch Setup In Detail

Best Photo Editing Monitor

The Viewsonic VP2770-LED is the best photo editing monitor you are going to get for your money unless you want to spend out $1500 on a NEC PA272W-BK-SV in my opinion. Want to know why? Read on…

Best Photo Editing Monitor



Best Photo Editing Monitor? Viewsonic-VP2770-LED

If you are serious about photo editing, then you are going to need the right equipment and tools. Back when I first started, I can remember downloading Photoshop CC and trying to use it on my old 19″ TN based monitor. It was horrible. Photoshop is best used with a full Adobe RGB colorspace or at the very least an sRGB capable monitor (if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry – look here for a quick explanation).

IPS and Adobe RGB

So, once I had accepted that the old monitor had to go, I set about researching how to choose the best photo-editing for my budget. I quickly discovered that an IPS monitor (or TPS which is effectively the same thing) is essential for accurate colour reproduction. My price range was $300 – $800 and I soon found that it is not possible to find a monitor with full Adobe RGB colorspace for that money. So that brought a comparison of all the IPS monitors I could find under $800 with sRGB. There is surprising large choice and variety in the market even at that niche level.

Size and Resolution

Ever heard that size doesn’t matter – it’s what you do with it that counts? Well – every inch does makes a difference – up to a point. The majority of monitors on sale now are 27 inch. This is partly because it was one of the first sizes where manufacturers could achieve UHDMI resolution on a single panel. I believe it is also partly due to Apple releasing the iMac at 27 inches and driving the industry trend in that direction.

UHDMI resolution is widely available on monitors targeted at the photo-editing industry. This gives you a whopping 3840 x 2160 pixels. QHD is slightly less at 2560 x 1440 which is four times the coverage of standard HD.

Shortlist

Samsung U28D590D



Best Photo Editing Monitor Candidate: Samsung-U28D590D-1

I really liked the Samsung U28D590D – it has UHDMI resolution, comes with HDMI and Displayport connection and looks beautiful. As a bonus it also has a 1ms response time which would be useful should I ever wish to do any gaming. It has a colorspace of 1 billion, known as ‘1K’ which is reasonable for photo editing. It is a 28 inch size which is of course more than sufficient. I very nearly bought it, but the sticking point which I ultimately paid an extra $100 for was lack of IPS. The Samsung U28D590D has a TN based panel which simply isn’t accurate enough for serious photo editing. It is great for gaming although not my pick of the bunch for best gaming monitor.
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Viewsonic VP2770-LED



Viewsonic VP2770 LED

The other main contender in my price bracket was the Viewsonic VP2770-LED monitor. This has an IPS panel and is therefore much better suited to photo and video editing. It is a pro-level monitor for photo-editing and other color critical applications and there are no extras like built in speakers as you might get with many other similarly priced monitors. It does have a built in USB 3.0 hub though, which I’ve found useful for connecting a graphics pad and other accessories to. The USB hub is no good for frequently used devices as it is rather fiddly to reach on the rear of the monitor.

In the end, I decided the best photo editing monitor for me was the Viewsonic VP2770-LED. It has the Displayport and HDMI connectivity of the Samsung and with the more faithful color reproduction using IPS technology, I felt it was the best monitor for my needs. It was tempting to upgrade to the VP2772 which has 99% ARGB coverage for an extra $300 but I decided to stick to the budget.
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NEC PA272W-BK-SV



NEC Multisync PA272W

If I had the money and had been inclined, I would have invested in the NEC PA272W-BK-SV. It is really aimed at professional printers who need full Adobe RGB colorspace to see exactly the colors they will get on paper and is pretty much the best photo editing monitor out there unless you go for the 32″ version which really is the cream of the cream. The hood accessory for blocking out reflections and light is a nice touch. Although it is easy to make your own monitor hood from cardboard to suit any monitor which will be the subject of a future blog post. It also includes an NEC-specific calibrator “SpectraViewII” which does look very handy. However there are plenty of aftermarket calibrators available that are at least as good and will suit any monitor. I will be doing a blog post on selecting the best monitor calibrator soon.
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Post – Purchase Update

So I’ve had the Viewsonic VP2770-LED for exactly a year now and have done a lot of photo-editing with it. I have found it to be an excellent monitor for the purpose and am very pleased with the purchase. The non-reflective screen is nice and faithful to the image being displayed although some might prefer a more reflective surface such as used on Apple products. I did find the placement of the monitor to be important i.e. away from windows and other non-intentional light sources. I also ended up buying a decent strip lamp to illuminate the wall behind it in order to gain the best possible contrast effect.

Have a comment based on your own experiences? Leave me a comment below, I promise to read them all!

Should You Buy The NEC PA272W?

NEC Multisync PA272W

As the title suggests, this article is about the 27 inch PC monitor, the NEC PA272W. So, should you buy the NEC PA272W? The answer is – sorry I’m not one to spoil endings. We’re going to go over this monitor and see if it holds up across the boards. Can it perform at a high level when it comes to gaming, photo and video editing, every day use, etc?

You may have heard different things about it like that it’s great for graphics-based applications but it’s filthy-expensive and something about something called “SpectraViewII,” but what is that?

Well, let’s get into it.

NEC PA272W Specs

  • The viewable screen size is 27 inches with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. That’s pretty much the best you’re going to get when it comes to a monitor these days.
  • The NEC PA272W weighs a cool 28.4 pounds. That’s not light. In fact when you take a look at one of these things it’s got quite a thick body compared to other 27 inchers. The panel itself is 3.5 inches thick. You’re not getting that sleek, slim look you might be used to with an iMac or Dell UltraSharp U2715H.
  • The NEC PA272W screen display is backlit by LED. This consumes 37% less power than earlier LCD screens including the NEC monitor just before this one.
  • SpectraViewII, which I mentioned earlier, is a very important feature. This is specifically an NEC tech that utilizes a color measurement sensor and calibration software. In a nutshell it creates color-rich graphics that calibrate to whatever you’re viewing at any given moment.
  • It has the typical convenient tilt, swivel and pivot ability with a height-adjustable stand.

What is the NEC PA272W good for?

What is it good for – absolutely nothing! Ok, that’s not true but I couldn’t help quoting that song. This monitor was practically designed with the photo and video editor in mind, not to mention the gamer.

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With its kick-ass screen performance covering 99.3% of the Adobe RGB color space everything seems to pop. Any monitor that performs well in the graphics department will be sure to work well for general office use for simple black on white word documents as you’re looking at sharper imaging for text.

One important factor that you’re also going to want to think with, is whether or not it’s easy on the eyes. If you’re writing code or sitting in front of word docs or excel spreadsheets or working with highly detailed graphic applications, the last thing you’re going to want is to step away at the end of the day with bloodshot eyes looking like you’ve got a major case of pink eye. Luckily this display allows you to customize the brightness and RGB to find the exact right fit for your eyeballs.
Look for the NEC PA272W to be a perfect fit for:

  • Gaming
  • Video editing
  • Photo editing
  • General office use
  • Medical office use
  • Coding

What kind of connectivity are we looking at here?

Unlike the earlier NEC PA272W this newest model has better connectivity issues. And just to answer a question I’m sure a lot of you are burning to know – yes it is Mac compatible. This is what it looks like:

  • 1 DisplayPort
  • 1 Mini DisplayPort
  • 1 HDMI-DVI-D Dual Link
  • 3 USB ports – Downstream (for flashdrives, printers, etc.)
  • 2 USB ports – Upstream (for connection straight to another computer or a USB hub)

NEC PA272W Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • Amazing graphic display
  • Amazing graphic display
  • Amazing graphic display
  • Oh and did I mention graphic display.

That is really what sets this guy apart from the competition. The NEC PA272W was made for this purpose. It was not made to show off other bells and whistles or even to be the prettiest one out there. It was made for robust graphics work and it does its job.

Cons:

  • Bulkier than a lot of other monitors out there. It’s heavier and wider.
  • The price is a little bit higher as well. But if you watch it closely on Amazon the price tends to drop several hundred dollars for a day or two so I suggest you keep your eye on it.

Price


As of this writing it goes for $1299 on necdisplay.com and $1,295.19 on Amazon. But as I said earlier, watch Amazon because sometimes the prices drop for a short period. I’ve seen it drop to just over $1000.

What you’re looking at here is a monitor specifically designed to run the full color gamut and extract the most from it. If you’re willing to deal with a bulky, high-priced monitor that delivers what it promises in terms of quality then this is definitely the monitor for you.

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If price is a concern then keep moving, nothing to see here.

What To Expect With A 27 Inch iMac

27 Inch iMac retina

Ok, so you’ve finally given in and you’re going to treat yourself to a new, sleek, sexy iMac. Apple has finally roped you in with their “hip”marketing schemes on this beautiful monitor/computer combo. But you don’t want to be reckless, you want to do a little research first, don’t you?

Well then, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to lay out the specs as well as the pros/cons of a iMac.

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Retina 5K Display

Introduced by Apple in October 2014, the newest version of the 27 inch iMac features a Retina 5K display, Apple’s supreme high resolution screen. What this basically means is the screen is a whole heck of a lot clearer and crisper than previous screens. In fact its visual excellence is the only major difference between this current model and earlier versions of the iMac.

Compared to earlier Mac screens the pixelation on this screen is barely noticeable if at all. This is what the 5K Display offers. From the desktop to videos you won’t get enough of this vibrant, bright screen.

Yet despite the inclusion of this revolutionary screen tech it’s still only 5mm thin at the edge. To give you a comparison that’s 2 mm THINNER than an iPhone 6. Slick stuff here, huh?

But if you’ve never owned a Mac before you’re probably wondering what the specs are outside of the 5K Display.

27 Inch iMac Standard Specs

The specs, as I said, are the same as previous years so if you’re looking at buying an earlier, used iMac model, specifically the 2013, then these specs minus the 5K Display will be the same.

It’s got 8GB of memory but can be configured up to 16GB or 32 GB. That’s memory now, not storage space. It’s important to know the difference. Computer memory is storage for everything that needs to be accessed quickly by the computer like the programs and stuff you’re currently looking at or working on.

The storage space is 1 Terabyte but can be configured up to 3 Terabytes.

With a high-quality graphics processor and 2GB of dedicated graphics memory combined with the Retina 5K Display this guy is great for graphic design, photo editing, video editing, etc.

From corner to corner the screen is 27 inches and coming in at just 21 pounds it’s pretty lightweight especially considering that the computer and monitor are all in one.

Gaming

Gaming is another thing altogether. Macs have never been highly regarded as great gaming machines. Not to mention the fact that you’ll still find a larger selection of games for PC than you will Mac. But this view is steadily changing and Mac is starting to come into its own with regard to gaming. With better graphic cards and more and more games being supported on the 27 inch iMac you’ll have a decent experience gaming.

But if you’re specifically looking to buy a computer for gaming purposes there are better (and cheaper) options out there than an 27 inch iMac. When it comes to price, graphics and availability of games Mac is not leading the race.

Accessories, Ports, etc

Here’s the kind of configuration you’re looking at in the back of this bad boy:

  • Headphone Jack – This is a little complicated. To explain the headphone jack in layman’s terms it’s – who am I kidding? You know what a headphone jack does.
  • SDXC Card Slot – A fancy looking series of letters that basically means a slot that can read memory cards from digital cameras.
  • USB Ports – 4 to be exact. Ports for USB, obviously.
  • 2 Thunderbolt Ports – Sounds like something you plug into in order to tap into your superpowers. Unfortunately no, it’s just a lightning fast connector port that allows you to connect your iMac to other external devices and monitors and transfer large amounts of data with record speed.
  • Ethernet Connector – You know, so you can connect with a hardline to the internet instead of using WiFi.

 

Pros/Cons

Pros – Robust graphics displayed in an uncanny Retina 5K Display, high durability performance and speed, aesthetic. The 27 inch iMac is great for office or home use.

Cons – Not your first choice for gaming and incredibly pricey compared to others. It is Mac after all, they’re not known for keeping things cheap.

So What Are We Looking At Price-wise?


You can buy a 27 inch iMac for as cheap as $1799 without the retina display or as cheap as $1999 with the retina display. These are base prices and don’t include extra options to soup up your new toy. Of course you can always go for a refurbished iMac sold through Apple if you want to save a few bucks.

So there you have it, the rundown on the 27 inch iMac. Apple continues to up their game and don’t show any signs of slowing. Let us know what you think and your experience with the 27 inch iMac.

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HP DreamColor Z27x – A 27 Inch Monitor Made For Graphics

HP-DreamColor-Z27x

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If graphics are important for you when choosing a 27 inch monitor you might want to consider looking at the HP DreamColor Z27x. Specifically designed with color-critical projects in mind, this monitor can hang with the big boys.

Whether, you’re a graphics designer, a video or photo editor or just someone who works in black on white this monitor should pique your interest.

Follow me now as we dive into it.

Specs

  • A 27-inch viewable screen makes this a perfect size for graphics nuts. The 2560 x 1440 resolution is up there with the great resolution displays of today.
  • It weighs only 19.4 poundswhich is fairly light compared to other 27 inch monitors.
  • The DreamColor Z27x from back to back is 2.5 inch thick (which is pretty thin) while the bezel (basically the screen) is only .8-inch deep.
  • The screen is lit by LED backlights-Anti-glare protection on the screen which will make it so you don’t go nuts trying to make out the display during daylight.
  • The screen is backed by IPS technology. I don’t want to get into anything too technical here but IPS or In-Plane Switching is a tech that allows you to experience a wider viewing angle.
  • Tilt. swivel, pivot and height-adjustment. So basically set it up in any position you want. If you work better while doing a handstand on a chair this monitor will accommodate you.

What are the best ways to use the HP DreamColor Z27x?

The HP DreamColor title is a good sign of what this monitor is good for. Any applications that deserve or requite color-rich content display or vivid imagery would benefit from this monitor.

Here are some of the things this monitor would work great for:

  • Video editing
  • Photo editing
  • High-end graphics applications
  • Gaming
  • General office use
  • Medical office use
  • Coding

Again if you are looking to do anything that requires vibrant colors that just pop out then this is your guy. Again it’s all in the name, “DreamColor“.

Not to mention HP makes it and if they can’t make color pop then they have a serious problem.

What kind of connectivity ports does it have in the back?

 

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This one surprised me as some equally awesome monitors don’t even have the type of connectivity compatibility that the Z27x has.

The ports in the back of the The DreamColor Z27x include:

  • 2 DisplayPorts
  • 3 USB 3.0 Ports – downstream (for flashdrives, printers, etc.)
  • 1 USB 3.0 Port – upstream (for connection straight to another computer or a USB hub)
  • 2 USB DreamColor ports
  • 1 HDMI Port
  • 1 analog and digital audio output

Enough ports for you? You’ll have no issue connecting this one up to just about anything. This should be the standard for connectivity in monitors as it covers pretty much all bases.

Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • The DreamColor Z27x has vivid color imagery that allows you to work with color-critical projects.
  • Not only vibrant colors but a fantastic grayscale with dark blacks
  • Custom color profiles makes this a got-to-have for any graphic designer.
  • Connectivity is jacked way up on this particular monitor. It’s like a normal port hub got juiced up on steroids and this was the result.

Cons:

  • Price is a little high but has come down recently, definitely making it more affordable.
  • No built-in speakers. This really isn’t the end of the world as a lot of professionals like to use headphones or external speakers.

What’s this thing going to cost ya?


As I said the DreamColor Z27x has come down in price recently. It was running around $1500 but now you can pick one up at hp.com for $1,185.99. But you want cheaper I can tell, so go check out Amazon where you can currently pick one up for $1,175.32 with free shipping. Ok, ok, it’s only a little over $10 cheaper but cheaper is cheaper, right?

Summary

If you’re looking to spend some real bucks on a 27 inch monitor that can handle robust graphics applications then this is one you should definitely consider. I’m not going to tell you that the DreamColor Z27x is the best 27 inch monitor out there but I’ll tell you it gets the job done and it does it well.

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