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Screen resolutions: 720p vs 1080p vs 1440p vs 4K vs 8K

By November 13, 2016 9 Comments

ASUS PB278Q - High Quality 4K Monitor

Short Answer

Higher resolution is always better right now, as the monitor is most likely close to you and you will be able to differ from the different resolutions, so aim for 4K right now, as 8K monitors do not exist right now. Do not get a 720p monitor by all means.

A very important aspect of choosing a new monitor is the maximum supported resolution (native resolution). The resolution is basically the amount of pixels in the width and the height. A 1920×1080 resolution means that you have the width consists of 1920 pixels and the height consists of 1080 pixels, totaling 1920 * 1080 = 2073600 pixels. The most popular resolutions are:

  • 1280×720 (HD, 720p)
  • 1920×1080 (FHD, Full HD, 2K 1080p)
  • 2560×1440 (QHD, WQHD, Quad HD, 1440p)
  • 3840×2160 (UHD, Ultra HD, 4K, 2160p)
  • 7680×4320 (FUHD, Full Ultra HD, 8K, 4320p)

Okay, you might not find an 8K monitor anywhere, but hopefully we will see them around in 5-10 years.

Which resolution is best?

Higher resolutions means more pixels to get you a clearer and better image, and since we are in 2015, you shouldn’t get a 720p ever. Not even a used one. 1080p is fine for gaming purposes because you can hit 144FPS easier (if you have a 144Hz monitor of course), but falls flat on all other purposes. If you are looking for a monitor for console gaming only (PS4, XBOX One, etc.) then 1080p is also the best choice, because you can’t get higher resolutions in any games anyways since the consoles do not support it. They currently also support up to 60Hz refresh rate only. 1440p seems to be the sweet spot between resolution and frame rate, as you can get 144Hz refresh rate too and it is easier to hit the desired 144FPS with current-gen graphics cards.

1440p is the shortened title for the 2560×1440 resolution. It’s also referred to as QHD (Quad HD) because it features a resolution four times as large as a 1280×720 HD resolution. Besides QHD, 1440p is also known as WQHD (Wide Quad HD).

4K is currently the best resolution you can get on a computer screen, but if you are on a budget, you might consider a lower resolution. A budget 4K monitor, such as the Samsung U24E590D which costs $399, which is more than most budget builders are willing to spend.

So generally speaking, higher resolutions are always better. The only things you have to worry about are limitations that the panel brings and the added price. For example, you can not get a 4K monitor with 144Hz refresh rate, but you can get a WQHD monitor with one. That’s one important thing to consider, so you have to prioritize what you need in a monitor the most.

Refer to the image below, for example. It’s for TV, but it also applies for monitors. Since your viewing distance is short because it’s a monitor and not a TV, you can see that higher resolutions are always worth it and even higher than 4K (Ultra HD). 8K anyone? Asus? Samsung? LG? No? Okay then.

720p vs 1080p vs 1440p vs 4K vs 8K comparison and worth it

For entertainment purposes only, we found this video useful and at the same time very entertaining. Nothing against consoles, by the way. It should be noted that consoles are catching up to 4K and the new PS4 Pro and XBOX One S support 4K video playback. Be sure to get a proper 4K UHD gaming TV or console gaming monitor with 4K resolution if you want to get the full experience that these new consoles have to offer.

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  • Shredder Orokusaki

    Does these gaming monitors also have a webcam bulit in? I have a LG
    2MP55 21,5” 1080P(2014 mid range 1080p monitors) but n the future when
    economics bexome better i will consider bying a gaming one. But i would
    prefer one with webcam included so i can use skype to talk with people
    instead of connecting a

    use my pc mainly for gaming i play all fps, tps,action rpg fighters
    platformers evrything that comes evry month on pc that is in these
    genres mentinoned. EH?

  • I dont think ANY “Gaming” monitors have webcams built in. That’s the kinda feature that something like an HP or a Dell monitor would come with, with an intended use as an internet lurking/Office computer. Just get a webcam, they’re cheap.

  • Streetguru

    Built in webcams are usually terrible anyways.

  • (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    For gaming higher rez is pretty much universally better normally but for video that’s fixed and then stretched (usually very poorly with no post processing in most players) to fit it can be an issue. I upgraded to a 4k a while ago and now 720p (which is very common for TV shows) look like crap fullscreen where as on my old 1080p monitor the loss of image sharpness wasn’t really all that noticeable despite both monitors being the same size. For gaming I’m glad I upgraded but for watching TV/Movies not so much. Well at least till more are available in native 4k. I mean The image sharpness is great when I window the player to the show/movie’s native resolution but that kind of defeats the purpose of having a nice large monitor.

  • MetalQuintessence

    And better quality than the build-in.
    Plus the option to plug it out is essential for me, call me paranoid if you want, but that’s a deal breaker for me. 😛

  • MetalQuintessence

    Indeed, my thought exactly.
    Imo best option is to get 1080p monitor and use stuff like the resolution scale feature, offered by both AMD and nVidia. That way you get sorta the best available from both worlds.

    Another thing is that tho you can notice the difference, mainly bcs of the greater pixel per inch density, that’s all. Resolution wise you’ll need 100″ + display till you need anything higher than 1080. Many professional reviewers have written articles about it. For anyone who wants to get into the details of that can have a google search.

    The main reason why there isn’t nearly as any difference between 720 and 1080 is bcs the two resolutions aren’t that far from 1 another and bcs even 720 is more or less good enough for a 20 – 23″ display.

    4K gaming is also quite exclusive niche atm, you’ll need a powerful CPU and latest generation GPU and/or SLI/Xfire set up, to many games are shit at multi GPU set ups. So 1440p is getting accessible now, tho 4k is a bit far away except you can invest like 3000$ for the entry level. But even then you’ll mostly have to play the games with low to high details and 30-60 fps at best. Mostly like 33-35 fps average. Tho I’ve seen some with sub-30’s. I guess it’s a matter of preference. And where what are the prices where you live.

  • MetalQuintessence

    That chart does some minimal job to represent the potential benefit from higher resolution vs distance and size, but you have to also compensate for personal vision acuity. E.g. how well do you see from certain distance, 20/20 chart.

    I am quite short sighted, unfortunately, so I always sit quite near the display, however with myopes you have the conflict of higher res vs smaller image. The higher you go in resolution on the same/similar display size, the smaller the images/fonts become. The harder for you to read if you’re short sighted. So I guess that for ppl that are much less shortsighted or perfect vision this will be much different, not to mention ppl with far sightedness, whether normal hyperopia or due to presbyopia.

    Other than that it depends on the person itself, some ppl are not bothered by motion blur or/and ghosting, while others don’t care about color accuracy or other stuff that goes with LCD panels. For me a bigger nerf is the increased blue levels of LED backlight, couldn’t they just use a neutral white LED instead of blue? Some manufacturers have done some effort into this, like Samsung, but I’ve recently had to return a display bcs it had such a high blue radiation it even had a blue gamma spike, and I felt tired within minutes of use, solely bcs of this “feature”. I found that this wasn’t exactly limited to a single brand neither, rather the panel maybe. Tho with LED monitors it’s a matter of model/panel/manufacturer dependency and there’s not many reviews that bother putting attention on that factor.

    All in all, the theory is that higher res = more sharpness and better picture quality, the truth is this can be achieved not only through raising the resolution, tho that is the most natural and easy way to do I guess. However when you can notice difference in sharpness and picture quality between two monitors with the same resolution and size you realize things aren’t that simple when it comes to display technology.

  • deemon

    OP obviously didn’t watch the video himself. Buying lower res displays isn’t because human eye can’t see more pixels, it’s because the hardware to be able to render the 4k game picture in full glory ultra (okok, at least very high) settings and remain at least at minimum 60Hz, costs ridiculous amounts of money and 8k is just absurd at this day and age.

  • This article is treating QHD compared to 1080p like 720p to SD. I mean at least with 1080p (or even 720p for that matter) everything is crisp, unlike SD.