We all know that the resolution is one of the most important qualities of any digital display. The resolution, unlike its physical size, is the size of the digital image which can be rendered on the display. So, you can find compact display units with resolutions ranging up to 4K and also large display units with relatively smaller resolutions, such as budget TVs that offer 720p HD Ready display panels. As you can imagine, the overall image quality available on a display is majorly affected by its resolution.
Apart from that, the resolution of the display is also one of its limitations which gives you an idea about what type of content you can view on the display. For example, a 4K video or movie would look significantly better on a compact 4K resolution display compared to a larger display which has a lower resolution. Therefore, you should always check the resolution of the display panel before you buy a monitor, TV, laptop, or even a smartphone.
Right now, a lot of manufacturers use the standard names for the display which you may not be familiar with. Instead of the resolution, you will find the display rating as HD, FHD, QHD, WQHD, or 4K UHD, which might get confusing. So, we have decided to craft this helpful guide where we are going to compare all of these options and try to find out which option is perfect for your needs. But before we compare the resolution, let us first try to understand what display resolution is and why the maximum supported display resolution is pre-defined on a display panel.
So far, you may have already come across various different abbreviations used for a display panel. Here are some commonly used display resolution abbreviations and the resolution that you will get on the respective display.
|Display Resolution Title||Panel’s Digital Resolution|
|8K||7680 x 4320 Pixels|
|5K||5120 x 2880 Pixels|
|4K||3840 x 2160 Pixels (For Monitors)
3840 x 2160 Pixels (Official Cinema Rating)
|UHD||3840 x 2160 Pixels|
|WQHD/QHD||2560 x 1440 Pixels|
|2K||2560 x 1440 Pixels (For Monitors)
2048 x 1080 Pixels (Official Cinema Rating)
|WUXGA||1920 x 1200 Pixels|
|FHD||1920 x 1080 Pixels|
|HD||1280 x 720 Pixels|
|HD Ready||Up to 1280 x 720 Pixels|
Now that you know what the abbreviations used for display resolution stand for, let us understand what these numbers represent and why this is important. The display resolution is simply the number of distinct pixels that can be displayed on a digital panel. It can also be considered a measure of the sharpness and clarity of the visual content displayed on a monitor, television, or other electronic display devices.
Coming to the numbers, the display resolution is typically expressed as the number of pixels available along the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the display. So, a digital display having a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution means that the display has 3840 pixels along its width and 2160 pixels along its height. As you can imagine, more pixels means better sharpness and overall picture quality. Therefore, higher resolution means the display can render sharper and more detailed images, as more pixels are used to display the content.
After understanding what display resolution is and how it works on a digital display, we can now move on to various display ratings and compare each option in detail.
What is QHD?
QHD stands for Quad HD and is sometimes mentioned simply as 1440p in some cases. It is a display resolution that offers four times the number of pixels compared to standard HD resolution (720p). QHD has a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, with 2560 pixels horizontally and 1440 pixels available vertically.
QHD is considered to be the perfect middle ground between FHD and 4K as it brings a better display quality while keeping the cost and power requirements lower than 4K. It is commonly used in computer monitors, laptops, and even high-end smartphones nowadays. The increased pixel density of QHD displays allows for more content to be displayed on the screen, making it beneficial for tasks that require multitasking or viewing large amounts of information simultaneously.
It’s worth noting that there are different variations of QHD, such as QHD+ (also known as 2K) and QHD UltraWide, which have slightly different aspect ratios or resolutions but generally fall under the QHD category.
What is WQHD?
WQHD is not a different resolution rating compared to QHD, but more of a variant for the same. WQHD stands for Wide Quad HD and it is essentially the same as QHD. Both terms refer to a display resolution of 440 pixels available along the height of the display.
The terms QHD and WQHD are used interchangeably to describe the same resolution, but the addition of “Wide” in WQHD emphasizes that it has a wider aspect ratio compared to traditional 16:9 displays where you will get the QHD rating. Where QHD typically has an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10, WQHD can refer to displays with different aspect ratios such as 18:9, 21:9, or many others.
What is 4K UHD?
Right now, you will find almost all TVs, most display monitors, and almost all premium range smartphones rated with the 4K UHD rating for their display. 4K UHD, also known as Ultra HD, refers to a display resolution that offers 4 times higher pixel density compared to Full HD 1080p display. It provides a higher level of detail, clarity, and sharpness, making it particularly desirable for larger screens or close viewing distances. The term “4K” refers to the approximate horizontal pixel count of the resolution. It typically represents a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
4K UHD displays are commonly used in televisions, computer monitors, projectors, and other devices that require high-quality visuals. They offer a more immersive viewing experience, especially when combined with HDR (High Dynamic Range) technology, which enhances the color range and contrast ratio of the panel.
It’s important to note that there is another variant of 4K resolution known as “True 4K” or “Cinema 4K,” which has a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels and is primarily used in the professional film industry. However, when people refer to 4K in consumer electronics, they typically mean the UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.
Which Is Better: QHD VS 4K UHD?
|Properties||QHD Resolution||4K UHD Resolution|
|Abbreviation||Quad High Definition||Ultra High Definition|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440 Pixels||3840 x 2160 Pixels|
|Pixel Count||3,686,400 Pixels||8,294,400 Pixels|
|Costing||Relatively cheaper||Relatively expensive|
Difference Between QHD & 4K UHD
Comparing 2 different types of display panels directly would not make a lot of sense as higher resolution would obviously seem better due to better technical specifications. While a higher resolution is usually better in most aspects, it also comes with some drawbacks which you should know before you decide to buy a monitor or an expensive TV. You need to consider your usage carefully and whether a higher resolution is a better choice. In some cases, you will observe that going with a QHD or WQHD display is much more beneficial. Let us compare both options regarding some common applications.
Regarding gaming, both QHD (Quad HD) and 4K UHD (Ultra HD) resolutions have their own advantages and considerations. 4K UHD offers a higher resolution than QHD, providing more detail and sharpness. So AAA games rendered at 4K UHD resolution will appear more visually impressive due to the increased pixel density and color accuracy. But it also means that your GPU has to handle a much higher load to render almost twice as many pixels as a QHD display. QHD, on the other hand, still delivers a high level of visual quality and can be more easily achieved with mid-range GPUs, resulting in smoother performance and better FPS.
2. Professional & Visually Demanding Work
Regarding professional and visually demanding work, such as graphic design, video editing, or content creation, 4K UHD resolution offers many benefits compared to QHD. 4K UHD offers a higher resolution than QHD, providing a more detailed and sharp workspace. This can be particularly advantageous for tasks requiring precise detail, such as photo editing or fine graphical elements. The increased pixel density of 4K UHD allows more content to be displayed on the screen, providing a larger workspace.
4K panels also offer excellent color accuracy and reproduction. The higher resolution of UHD panels can provide finer details and a more accurate representation of colors and gradients, which is crucial for professionals who work with visual content and require accurate color grading.
3. Media Consumption
Regarding media consumption, the choice between a QHD display or a 4K UHD display comes down to what type of content you are watching or what type of streaming service you prefer for media consumption.
Even though 4K UHD is slowly becoming the industry standard for high-quality entertainment, many lower-budget movies and TV shows are highly popular, but available with the standard 1080p FHD resolution. In such a case, buying a 4K UHD TV or monitor won’t be much of a benefit as the original quality of the video stream can only be improved so much. And on top of that, QHD is not an industry-standard format for movies or TV Shows, meaning you should either go with an FHD panel or a 4K panel for media consumption.
That said, we suggest preferring a 4K display for media consumption since almost all leading content streaming platforms offer 4K streaming, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV, and many others. So, with a 4K panel, you can access these streaming services’ 4K content library. And if not, FHD content still looks pretty good on a 4K panel, especially if it’s a TV that offers a smart upscaling feature.
In comparison, 4K UHD displays are more expensive than QHD displays. This price difference is due to the higher resolution and increased manufacturing costs of producing 4K panels. The exact price difference can vary depending on the brand, panel size, and additional features of the display such as HDR.
Achieving smooth performance at 4K UHD resolution also requires more powerful hardware, particularly in the case of gaming or visually demanding tasks. Upgrading or building a system that can handle 4K UHD smoothly, including a high-performance graphics card adds to the overall cost. And even if we are just talking about content streaming, 4K content is usually available with premium plans.
Drawbacks of Higher Display Resolutions
While higher resolution panels have numerous benefits when it comes to display quality, higher resolution panels also possess some drawbacks which can be a deal breaker for some buyers. So, let us talk about some potential drawbacks of a higher-resolution display which can be avoided if you choose to go with a lower-resolution panel.
1. Human Eye Effect
Having a higher resolution on a display is not enough to set it apart from its competitors or make it a better choice in terms of visual quality. In most cases, you will barely see the difference between a 4K resolution or a QHD resolution, especially when the display’s physical size is smaller. In such cases, the advantage of higher pixel density disappears and both options look almost similar. If the display size is reduced further, you will find the higher resolution slightly disadvantageous. Having an excessively high resolution oversharpens the display and messes up the color accuracy, making everything appear darker than it is supposed to be.
Interpolation is a phenomenon that occurs when a digital image or frame is upscaled or downscaled from its original resolution. But, the effect is more visible in the upscaling process, where a lower-resolution image or video is stretched to fit a higher-resolution display. While interpolation can be beneficial in certain scenarios, it can also have disadvantages, particularly on higher-resolution displays.
Interpolation artificially adds pixels to fill the gaps when upscaling a lower-resolution image or video. However, these interpolated pixels do not contain actual data or detail from the original content. As a result, the image or video can appear softer or less detailed on a higher-resolution display. Interpolation algorithms try to estimate the missing pixels based on the surrounding pixels, but this estimation is not always accurate. In the process, interpolation can introduce artefacts, such as jagged edges, halo effects, or blurring.
3. Performance Impact
Higher-resolution displays also have a potential disadvantage when it comes to performance. As you may already know, there are significantly more pixels in a higher resolution panel, increasing the load on the system and, thus, on the components handling the display and graphics.
So if you are using a couple of years old computer or laptop, you will find it pretty challenging to run a 4K UHD movie or video on the system, let alone play games or render 4K content. More importantly, if you are used to using multiple monitors, the problem will be much more impactful in your case since there aren’t a lot of budget GPUs that can handle more than 2 4K UHD monitors at a time.
If you compare any 2 display units, you will notice that the one with a comparatively lower resolution is almost always more affordable than the other. This is because of the added production cost of higher-resolution panels which adds up to the final retail price of the digital display. And more importantly, it also means that you will have to make some changes in your system to keep up with the display and render the content at a higher resolution.
This usually means upgrading your GPU, CPU, and PSU to maintain a stable power supply to the new and more powerful components, thus increasing the cost even further. And even if we are talking about a higher resolution TV, you will notice that these TVs have a higher power requirement, thus increasing your energy bills. Also, higher-resolution content is a bit more expensive compared to the same in a lower resolution.
We hope you are now familiar with the different resolution ratings provided to the display units and the difference in visual quality and overall display performance. Many buyers are now confused about a QHD or a 4K UHD option. Unlike FHD and UHD, where the visual difference is very easily noticeable, you will find QHD resolution much closer to UHD in terms of quality and sharpness.
But still, QHD remains the preferred choice for gaming as it offers a much better display quality than FHD on larger display sizes while keeping the performance impact to a minimum. But when it comes to TVs, you should always prefer a UHD 4K option to watch the content in the best quality possible and get additional features such as HDR or local dimming to obtain a higher contrast ratio.