Best Monitor for Photo Editing under $500

Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just getting started, your project must look its best. The first step is to invest in a decent monitor with accurate colors. There’s nothing worse than printing your work or sending it off to your clients only to discover the colors are incorrect because your screen couldn’t show them correctly.

We’ve put through more than 210 monitors to determine which are the best photo editing, video editing, and graphic design displays accessible on the market. Check out our selections for the top 4k displays, ultrawide monitors, and overall monitors.

Our picks:

  • Dell S2721QS – is the best 4k monitor;
  • Dell S3221QS – the best curved monitor;
  • Gigabyte M27Q – Best Budget Monitor.

Dell S3221QS – Best Curved Monitor

Picture perfect performance comes to life on the Dell S3221QS monitor. This 31.5-inch curved monitor with 4K UHD resolution offers an immersive experience for gaming, watching movies, and more. AMD FreeSync technology brings fluid visuals and eliminates choppy gameplay by synchronizing the frame rate of your content with your graphics card. Plus, built-in speakers provide quality audio without taking up any additional desk space.

Dell’s S3221QS monitor is a high-quality, affordable gaming display. It offers stunning visuals, intense colors, and fast gameplay with a response time of 4ms.

The monitor also features built-in speakers, Display Port and HDMI ports, and three USB 3.0 ports. And with a three-year warranty, you can enjoy this monitor worry-free.

Dell S2721QS – Best Monitor for Photo Editing Under 500

The Dell S2721QS is the best monitor for photo editing or video editing that we’ve ever tested. It’s a 27-inch IPS display with a 4k resolution, providing plenty of space to work comfortably and allowing you to make out all the details clearly. It has a clean yet elegant style, excellent build quality.

It’s best for people who work in the sRGB color space since it has complete coverage. Its Adobe RGB coverage is adequate, but it may not be good enough for professional photographers. Out of the box, its color accuracy is only average, so you’ll probably need to calibrate it before doing any serious colour-critical work.

Unfortunately, there are no USB ports, but the monitor includes built-in speakers. It also has a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that allows you to display two input signals at once, which is handy for people who work on two computers. Overall.

Gigabyte M27Q – Best Budget Monitor

The Gigabyte M27Q is the finest photo editing monitor in the Adobe RGB color space. It has near-full coverage of the typical sRGB color space and is one of the few monitors we’ve tested that covers nearly all of Adobe’s color gamut. Even though it’s a gaming display.

The Samsung CHG90 has a 27-inch display with a 1440p resolution, which means crisp text and pictures. It also includes a high 170Hz refresh rate and a quick response time, so fast-paced material appears crystal clear. Right out of the box, it shows excellent color fidelity.

Unfortunately, the contrast ratio is poor, resulting in grayish-looking blacks. It has a BGR subpixel arrangement, which can affect text clarity in some applications, but we don’t expect this to be an issue for most consumers. Thankfully, you should have no issues working in a bright environment since it has good reflection management.

Gigabyte M32U

The Gigabyte M32U is the best monitor for photo editing under 500 with the 32-inch we’ve ever tested for video editing and photo editing. It’s a fantastic 32 inch, 4k display with a brilliant 144Hz refresh rate. The huge high-resolution screen makes it much easier to view more of your work at once, and the high pixel density produces sharp pictures.

It has excellent accuracy after installation, with high color accuracy and good white balance. It has a very good SDR color gamut, with complete coverage of the sRGB color space, but its Adobe RGB coverage may disappoint some consumers. It can also handle HDR if you want to master in DCI P3 or REC. 2020.

Unfortunately, despite its advantages, it has low contrast and the local dimming feature is ineffective, making it unsuitable for a dark room. Despite these faults, it’s a fantastic monitor, in general, that should please most people, and it’s the finest 32-inch display for photo editing and video editing that we’ve reviewed.


The ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B is the best ultrawide monitor for photo editing that we’ve tested. With a big, high-resolution screen, good text clarity, and excellent accuracy out of the box, it’s a great display for media creators. The VA panel provides excellent contrast and black uniformity is adequate.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 features a stunning SDR color gamut, with nearly perfect coverage of the sRGB color space and decent coverage of the larger Adobe RGB color space. It’s also great for HDR content since it covers the DCI P3 color space used by the vast majority of current HDR material.

Unfortunately, curved ultrawide monitors, such as this one, aren’t ideal for everyone since the curve makes straight lines difficult to see. It also has limited viewing angles and poor ergonomics, so it’s not good for sharing your screen frequently. If you don’t mind that, this is a fantastic monitor for video producers.

All Reviews

Our selections of the best monitor for photo editing under 500 are based on the finest graphics design, photo-editing, and media production monitors that are currently available. They’re tailored to be suitable for most people in each financial situation. The rating is calculated using our study, including price and user comments.

If you’d rather choose for yourself, here is a list of all of our best monitor reviews. Don’t get too caught up in the specifics; most monitors are good enough to please most individuals.

The Best Monitor The Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to choosing the best monitor for photo editing, there are a lot of things to consider. You’ll want a display that has a high resolution and good color accuracy so your pictures look their best. It’s also important to find a monitor with a fast response time and low input lag, especially if you’re working on video projects.

You’ll also need to decide what size screen is right for you. While 27 inches is generally considered the sweet spot, some people may prefer larger or smaller displays. And finally, be sure to pick a monitor that fits your budget.

Whatever monitor you choose, we hope you enjoy your new creative workspace.

Panel Type (Display Technology)

The type of panel used in a monitor will have an impact on its performance and price. There are several types available, including TN (TN), IPS (IPS), VA (VA), and OLED (OLED). Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. A summary is provided below:

  • TN Panel – These panels tend to be the least expensive option, but they also have the narrowest viewing angle, lowest contrast ratio, worst color reproduction capability among all display technologies. They’re mostly used for gaming monitors because gamers prefer high refresh rates over top picture quality due to their fast response times as well as low input lag time that makes for better gameplay experience than other displays can provide at any given price point with same specs except for the panel technology.
  • IPS Panel – These panels are considered to be the best all-around performers due to their very good color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and high contrast ratios. However, they often come at a higher price tag than TN panels.
  • VA Panel – VA panels offer the best black levels and contrast ratios of all the panel types and are better than IPS in this regard. They also have significantly wider viewing angles than TN and marginally wider viewing angles than IPS panels. Their color reproduction is usually worse than that of IPS panels, but it’s still much better than what you’ll find with TN panels. One downside of VA panels is that they typically have relatively slow response times, which can cause motion blur in fast-paced games.


The resolution of a monitor is the number of pixels it has on its screen. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the image will be. Most monitors have a resolution of 1920×1080, but there are now some displays with resolutions as high as 3840×1920.

Higher resolutions can be important for photo editing because you’ll want to be able to see all the details in your images. If you’re working on a project that requires a lot of zooming in and out, then a higher resolution may be necessary.

However, keep in mind that not all software supports resolutions above 1920×1080. So if you’re planning to use an ultrawide monitor with a high resolution, make sure your software is capable of taking advantage of it.

Color Space

The color space of a monitor is the range of colors it can display. There are several different color spaces available, but the most common are sRGB and Adobe RGB.

Most photo editing software supports both color spaces, so it’s important to choose a monitor that has a color space that matches your needs. If you’re working on projects that require accurate colors, then you’ll need to choose a monitor with an Adobe RGB color space.

However, keep in mind that not all software supports different color spaces equally well. So if you’re planning to use an Adobe RGB monitor with software that doesn’t support it as well as you’d like, you may end up having to compromise on some aspects of your project’s quality.

When it comes to photo editing, a good monitor is essential for getting the best results. There are a number of factors you’ll need to consider when choosing one, including panel type, resolution, and color space.

LED-backlit technology

Almost all monitors nowadays are LED-backlit, but there are still a few exceptions. If you’re looking for the best possible picture quality, then you’ll want to make sure your monitor has LED backlighting.

LED backlighting is superior to other types of backlighting because it produces more accurate colors and allows for a wider range of brightness levels. This makes it ideal for photo editing, where you’ll need to be able to see both very dark and very light areas in your images.

Additionally, LED backlights use less power than other types of backlights, so they’re more energy efficient. This can be important if you plan to use your monitor for long periods of time each day.


The best way to ensure consistent color accuracy on your monitor is by calibrating it, which means adjusting its settings so that the colors displayed are as close as possible to true-to-life.

While this isn’t essential for photo editing (you can still get good results without calibration), it’s highly recommended if you want the best possible picture quality and consistency across multiple monitors.

Fortunately, there are now many affordable options available to help you do this easily at home. One of these is Datacolor’s SpyderX Pro Colorimeter, which retails for around $160 USD. This device will allow you to quickly and accurately calibrate any LCD or OLED monitor with a USB port using software provided by Datacolor called SpyderX Studio.

Other options include the X-Rite iDisplay Pro Colorimeter and Pantone HueyPRO Display Calibration System, which are also reasonably priced at $120 USD and $100 USD respectively. These devices work in a similar way to Datacolor’s by connecting via USB but require different software for calibration (iDisplay from X-Rite or Huey from Pantone).

Screen Size

When it comes to choosing a monitor for photo editing, size definitely matters. You’ll want one that’s big enough to show all the details in your images, but not so big that it takes up too much space on your desk.

The ideal screen size for photo editing is around 24 inches, although there are some excellent monitors available in larger and smaller sizes as well. If you’re working on a project that requires a lot of zooming in and out, then you may need a higher resolution than what’s available on a 24-inch monitor. In this case, you may want to consider a 27- or 30-inch monitor instead.

On the other hand, if you don’t need to zoom in as much and prefer more viewing space, then a 21- or 23-inch monitor might be better suited to your workflow.

In general, though, 24 inches is the best choice for most people because it provides an excellent balance between price and performance.

Connectivity options

Most photo editing monitors have connectivity options like HDMI, DisplayPort and USB-C. These allow you to connect your computer or laptop directly to the monitor via a single cable.

However, there are some monitors with only one port (usually an analog VGA input) that require a separate adapter if you want them connected digitally instead of through an old-fashioned DVI cable – this limits the number of devices supported by the display but may be sufficient for most users’ needs nonetheless!

Some newer models even include Thunderbolt connectors which can transfer data at up to 12 times faster speeds than regular USB cables do – great news if you’re looking into buying professional equipment like cameras/scanners as well because these often come equipped with such inputs too; thereby negating the need for an extra adapter.

Make sure to check what kind of ports are available on a monitor before you buy it, as this can be an important factor in your decision-making process.

Viewing Angle

Last but not least, always remember to check the viewing angle when buying a photo editing monitor. This is especially important if you plan to use your monitor for collaboration purposes or want to share images with others – nobody wants to see colors looking different from every possible angle!

Generally speaking, most monitors have viewing angles of around 170 degrees horizontal and 160 degrees vertical, which is more than adequate for most people’s needs. However, there are some models that offer wider angles (up to 178 degrees) if this is something that’s important to you.

The viewing angle will also depend on the panel type used in a display – an IPS monitor typically has better angles than TN, for example.

Pixel Density

A high pixel density is another important factor to consider when choosing a photo editing monitor. This is usually measured in pixels per inch (ppi) and the higher the number, the sharper and more detailed the image will be.

Most monitors have a ppi of around 100-120, which is perfectly fine for most people’s needs. However, if you’re looking for even better detail or are working on projects that require very precise color matching, then you may want to opt for one with a higher ppi rating.

There are some monitors available that boast an impressive ppi of up to 400 – these are definitely not necessary for everyone but can be great options if money isn’t an issue and/or you do a lot of highly detailed work.

In general, anything over 250 ppi is considered excellent for photo editing, so keep this in mind when making your purchase decision.

Brightness and Contrast

Finally, always make sure to check a monitor’s brightness and contrast ratios before buying it. A high brightness level is important if you plan to use your display in a bright environment like an office or studio, while a high contrast ratio is great for viewing images with lots of dark tones (like those often found in landscape photos).

Laptop displays are the exception, but keep in mind that to view fine details in dark areas of your photos, you’ll need a high brightness on the best monitor for Photoshop.

Black Levels

A high black level is another important factor to consider when choosing a photo editing monitor. This measures the darkness of the blacks in an image and is typically expressed as either cd/m² (candelas per square meter) or nits. The lower the number, the darker the blacks will be – this is what you want if you’re looking for a monitor that can accurately display shadow details in photos.

Most monitors have a black level of around 0.25-0.50 cd/m², but there are some models available with levels as low as 0.01-0.02 cd/m² which are excellent for detailed editing work.

Just like with pixel density, not everyone needs or wants a monitor with a high black level. In general, anything over 250 cd/m² is considered excellent for photo editing, so keep this in mind when making your purchase decision.

Flicker-free technology

Flicker-free technology is another feature to look for when buying a photo editing monitor. This helps to reduce eye fatigue by preventing the screen from flickering on and off – something that can be particularly problematic if you’re working long hours on detailed projects.

All monitors nowadays come with some form of flicker-free technology, but not all of them are created equal. Some models have more effective technologies than others, so it’s definitely worth doing your research before making a purchase.

Ability to Rotate

The ability to rotate your display is another feature that’s important for photo editing monitors. This allows users more flexibility in how they use their space and helps them get the best view of their work no matter where it’s positioned (e.g., on a desk or wall).

Most monitors nowadays come with some kind of rotating capability, but keep an eye out for models that offer full 180-degree rotation as these are the most versatile options available today.

Response Time

The response time is another important factor when choosing a photo editing monitor. This refers to how fast the screen can change colors in milliseconds (ms), and lower numbers are better here because they allow you to see finer details more clearly without any distortion or lag that might occur with higher values.

Most monitors have a response time of between 0-30 ms, but some newer models claim rates as low as 0-25 ms which should be sufficient for most people’s needs if you’re looking for an ultra-responsive display.

Response time is more important for a gaming monitor than photo-editing.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate of a monitor is one more important factor to consider when choosing an editing display. This refers to how often the screen refreshes in hertz (Hz), and higher numbers are better because they allow for smoother playback at faster rates without any lag or distortion that can occur with lower values.

Most monitors have a refresh rate of between 60-144 Hz, but some newer models claim up to 240 Hz which should be sufficient for most people’s needs if you’re looking for an ultra-smooth display experience while photo editing. Always check these specifications carefully before making your purchase decision so that you know what kind of performance to expect from your new equipment!

The best monitors for photo editing will have a refresh rate of at least 144 Hz.

How to Setup your Monitor for Photography

Start with calibrating your monitor to ensure accurate color representation. This can be done using a calibration tool like the Spyder series from Datacolor, or one of the many software options available on the market.

Once your monitor is calibrated, it’s important to set up your workspace in an ergonomic way that will minimize eye fatigue and discomfort over time. Some tips to follow:

  • Place your monitor at arm’s length away from you and adjust its height so that the top of the screen is level with your eyes
  • Use a glare protector if necessary and position your monitor so that any light sources are behind you or off to the side
  • Try not to stare at your screen for extended periods of time – take periodic breaks every 20 minutes or so to give your eyes some rest
  • If you’re working from home, make sure the room has adequate lighting so that there’s enough light on both sides of your monitor to minimize eye strain
  • Keep any reflective surfaces like windows or mirrors away from where they might reflect glare directly into your line of sight while working

Setup a good workflow for managing multiple monitors – this will help keep everything organized and reduce clutter around it. For example: having one screen dedicated only to photo editing means that other tasks don’t distract you during those times when focus is needed most! Make sure all screens are facing forward (not angled) so as not to cause neck strain over time.

Once you’ve purchased your new photo editing monitor, it’s important to set it up correctly so that you can get the best possible performance from your equipment. Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • First, make sure that your computer is configured to use the full resolution of your monitor. To do this, open up ‘Display Settings’ on Windows and select the ‘Advanced Display Settings’ tab. From here, click on the ‘Monitor’ section and change the scaling to 100%.
  • Next, disable any image processing features that your monitor might have. This includes things like dynamic contrast and overdrive settings as these can interfere with color accuracy and cause artifacts or banding in images. You can usually find these options under the ‘On-Screen Display’ menu on most monitors.
  • Finally, set your monitor’s gamma level to match that of the photo editing software you’re using (e.g., Adobe Photoshop). To do this correctly, make sure that both programs are running at full brightness and adjust them until they appear identical when viewed side by side next to each other with their windows maximized.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, when looking for the best monitor for photo editing under 500 dollars always check the specs for refresh rate (Hz) first. Most monitors have a 60-144hz range, which is great for gaming but may not be suitable for photo editing.

Also, check the viewing angle and make sure it’s good for your needs. A monitor with a low viewing angle will cause color distortion if you aren’t sitting in front of it directly.

Finally, always calibrate your monitor to ensure accurate colors. Datacolor makes some great calibration tools that are easy to use and affordable. After following these simple tips, you’ll be able to get the most out of your new best monitor for photo editing!


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