Resolution is a very important feature in monitors, since it will depend on whether or not we have a pleasant and pleasant user experience. 720p, 1080p, 1440p, and 4K are the most commonly used resolutions for computer monitors. In this post we focus on explaining the differences between them to help you choose the correct one.
What is resolution
First of all, let's explain what resolution is. Resolution is the measure of the pixels in an image . The number refers to the pixel height of the image in a 16: 9 aspect ratio. So 720p is actually 1280 x 720 resolution, while 1080p is 1920 x 1080, and so on.
4K is also known as 2160p . The reason 4K has been established as the name for the resolution is that four 1920 x 1080 images can be placed within a single 3840 x 2160 image.
The higher the resolution, the sharper the image . Aspects such as color reproduction and aliasing improve as resolution increases. So if you want the best image quality, your best bet is to get the highest resolution possible.
720p vs 1080p vs 1440p vs 4K: Which is the best?
HD 720p is the "original" HD standard , which was outmatched quite quickly with 1080p. Even so, 720p is still the most common standard for HDTV streaming, with higher resolutions generally reserved for Blu-ray releases or streaming services.
1080p is known as "Full HD," and it's what most people think of in this context. It offers about twice the resolution of 720p. Most web video content will be produced in at least this resolution , but many TV series and the like may not be available at this resolution until a Blu-ray version is released. 24 inches is the most common monitor size for 1080p.
1440p is called “Quad HD” . This is because it quadruples the 720p resolution . 1440p is typically used as a resolution for high refresh rate PC monitors. In addition, some of the higher-end consoles expand the image from 1440p to achieve a non-native 4K image. It is also a widely used resolution on mobile screens. 1440p monitors are typically 27 inches or larger.
The big daddy of today's resolutions is 4K . Sticking with the above standards, you can also call it 2160p (3840 x 2160). This resolution offers the best image quality, and it is increasingly common to find it on televisions and monitors.
Number of pixels and PPI
Each resolution has a defined number of pixels that is not affected by the size of the screen. Since we know that each resolution has a fixed number of pixels, we can calculate how dense the pixels are simply by knowing their size.
With this rule we can connect the numbers and see that a 24-inch 1080p screen has 91.79 PPI while a 27-inch 1440p screen has 108.79 PPI. There are some online tools to calculate the PPI number of a screen.
As the PPI value increases, the sharper a screen becomes . This is because the pixels are smaller and harder to see with the naked eye. On a 40-inch 1080p TV it is quite easy to see the pixels if you zoom in, on a 4K it is much more difficult.
The refresh rate or rate refers to the number of images that a monitor can display in one second . It is measured in hertz. The refresh rate has a 1: 1 ratio to the frame rate that a screen can display. Therefore, only 60 FPS can be seen on a 60 Hz monitor, even if a game is running at 100 FPS.
The most common values are:
- 60 Hz : This is the minimum standard required and the one that most entry-level televisions and monitors usually meet.
- 75 Hz : a small but respectable boost. It is the common overclocking target for 60Hz monitors.
- Over 120Hz - This is a massive increase in image responsiveness and smoothness. They are monitors aimed at eSports players or those who want the best gaming experience.
Once the above is clarified, did you know that you cannot operate a 4K monitor at 144 Hz? Well, actually you can, but to do that you have to reduce the color. This is because HDMI and DisplayPort cables have limited bandwidth . Both resolution and refresh rate require bandwidth, and the higher the value, the more bandwidth is required.
Most high-end displays and GPUs will be able to achieve 10-bit color without any problem, regardless of resolution. However, the sum of a 144Hz refresh rate, plus 4K resolution, and 10-bit color, is too much for today's standards.
Due to this problem, we think it is better to stick with 1440p for 144Hz monitors. This way, you can achieve 144 FPS more reasonably and still have 10-bit color reproduction.
What resolution is better?
A very difficult question to answer. The best resolution for a monitor will ultimately depend on your needs and what your hardware is capable of. 720p monitors are now out of the question, as any current computer can move 1080p without problems.
In general, we recommend opting for a 1080p monitor if you are going to buy a mid-range or entry-level PC , or a more powerful computer, but want to play at more than 120 Hz without spending too much money. This resolution offers the best balance between performance and quality. On a 24-inch TV you will hardly notice a difference in a higher resolution.
You can make the jump to 1440p if you are going to buy a high-end PC with a large graphics processing capacity. It can also be a good idea if you want to prioritize image quality over fluidity.
Finally, 4K monitors are reserved for the most demanding gamers , with a top-of-the-range computer that can move a huge number of pixels. Also ideal for TVs 50 inches or larger.