Now-a-days, 4K resolution has become very common in the latest TVs. This trend of 4K resolution is slowly catching up to computer monitors as well. 1440p on the other hand was never a popular resolution with TVs but it is becoming quite common among laptop screens and computer monitors. Which one is better in the 1440p vs 4K battle? Which resolution is best suited for gamers and which resolution is more useful for productivity? Let us try to find answers to all these questions in the epic 1440p vs 4K comparison. So, let’s get started with the basics of 1440p and 4K first.
We already made a comparison between 1080p vs 1440p in an earlier article. Check it out for more information on 1080p and 1440p.
What is 1440p?
1440p is a screen resolution which consists of 2560 horizontal pixels and 1440 vertical pixels. As 1280 x 720 resolution is considered the original high definition or HD resolution, 1440p is called Quad HD as it has 4-times the pixel count as the original HD resolution.
Laptops screens and monitor are slowly leaving the HD and Full HD (1080p) resolution zone and are entering the 1440p resolution as it offers 78% more pixels than 1080p resolution.
What is 4K?
Whether you heard of 1440p or not, you might have definitely come across 4K Resolution as it is one of the popular display resolutions in televisions. Often called Ultra HD or UHD, 4K is the true successor to 1080p with 4-times the resolution offered by 1080p.
A 4K resolution has 3840 horizontal pixels and 2160 vertical pixels. Following the trend of naming the resolutions based on the number of vertical pixels, 4K is also called as 2160p.
The computer monitor sector is still catching up to 4K and manufacturers are slowly introducing 4K monitors to their lineup. But due to the sheer number of pixels in 4K, which is more than 8 million, the hardware (CPU and GPU) has to be top notch as well.
Comparison Chart: 1440p vs 4k
Let us now make a 1440p vs 4K comparison chart.
|2560 x 1440
|3840 x 2160
|Quad HD (QHD) or 2K
|2160p or Ultra HD (UHD)
|144Hz is common
|60Hz is common
|Games, content development
|Recommended screen size
|27” to 32”
|32” or more
|CPU and GPU
|Medium to high-end
|Costly when compared to 1080p but are becoming affordable
Pros and Cons of 1440p and 4K
Pros of 1440p
- A significant upgrade from 1080p with 78% more pixels
- With high refresh rates (144Hz or more), 1440p monitors are very good option for gamers
Cons of 1440p
- Not suitable for watching movies and streaming services at full resolution
Pros of 4K
- 4K has 4-times the pixels than 1080p. So, more real estate to work with
- Very good for watching movies, streaming services as most of the content is being recorded in 4K
- Best suited for console gaming
Cons of 4K
- Very expensive
- Requires top-tier graphics cards and CPU to drive a 4K monitor
- Often available in low refresh rates
- Not preferred by competitive gamers
- Difference between 1440p and 4k
Difference between 1440p and 4K
Let us now list out the differences between 4K and 1440p in terms of resolution, refresh rates, hardware requirement, etc.
As mentioned before, 1440p has 2560 x 1440 pixels horizontally and vertically. These numbers might not seem that huge compared to 1920 x 1080 but a 1440p monitor has 78% more pixels than a 1080p monitor.
These extra pixels definitely come handy as you get more workspace compared to a 1080p resolution. What this means is that for a similar screen size, you get more real estate with 1440p monitor and you can easily put two application side-by-side and work simultaneously.
Even for single applications such as browsers or editing (photo and video) software, you don’t have to scroll that often.
4K resolution is totally in a different ball game. It has four times the pixels than a 1080p resolution. It is very useful in productivity applications such as image and video editing as you don’t want miss out on any details.
The size of the monitor determines its pixels density for a particular resolution. If the pixel density is low i.e., bigger screen with lower resolution, you will get a blurry and unwatchable image on the screen.
Hence, we recommend screen size of 27” to 32” for a 1440p resolution monitor and 32” or more for a 4K resolution monitor.
While modern 1080p resolution monitors offer very high refresh rates (240Hz and even more), 1440p and 4K are still having lower refresh rates. Even if they have higher refresh rates, the price shoots up astronomically.
That being said, most popular combination of resolution and refresh rate is 1440p and 144Hz for all purposes (gaming, watching streaming content, everyday usage and productivity). You don’t have to break bank for this combination and we estimate a decline in prices of 1440p monitors as they continue to grow in popularity.
Driving a 1440p monitor is a significant overhead compared to driving a 1080p monitor. This requires a powerful CPU and graphics card and these must to high-end options if you want to go with a 4K monitor.
Currently, Nvidia’s RTX 3000 Series and AMD’s RX 6000 Series of graphics cards are suitable for 1440p and 4K monitors. Please research a lot about graphics cards and select one based on your monitor resolution, refresh rate and cost.
If you want to watch movies and videos alongside day-to-day use on your monitors, then a 4K monitor offers the best viewing experience. Most of the streaming content such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and even YouTube is available in 4K.
A 1440p resolution monitor is also good for watching content but you have to bring down the resolution for proper pixel to pixel image processing.
The response time of a display is the time in milli seconds (ms) for a pixel to change from one color to another, usually gray to gray (sometimes black to white). Lower response time is better at it means the display can quickly change colors as instructed by the CPU. This is extremely important in gaming and video editing as you don’t want a ‘ghosting’ effect due to slow response from the display.
Response time depends on the type of panel used for the monitor and a response time of 5ms or less is considered good. Generally, TN panels have very low response time but the more popular IPS panels are also available with low response times.
If you observe the trend in TV and monitor displays, 1080p resolution has been the popular option for monitors and both 1080p and 4K resolutions for TVs. This trend seems to be changing due to availability of more powerful CPUs and graphics cards. We are seeing an increasing number of 1440p and 4K monitors, while TVs are being standardized with 4K and 8K.
1440p resolution monitor is a very good upgrade from 1080p both in terms of image clarity and real estate it offers. You can use it for gaming, productivity (photo and video applications), media consumption and everyday use (browsing, office calls, etc.).
The last and the important point is the cost. If you are upgrading from a 1080p to either 1440p or 4K resolution, then be ready to shill out your pockets as there is a significant price jump from former to later. Surprisingly, there isn’t much difference between 1440p and 4K monitors, but still, they are expensive at the moment (prices for 1440p at least may go down as gaming industry is moving towards that resolution).
In addition to cost of the monitor, there is a chance that your existing graphics card cannot drive a 1440p monitor and definitely not a 4K one. So, you have to purchase a latest and powerful graphics card as well, which increases the overall cost of the upgrade.
1440p vs 4K Resolution for Gaming
Both 1440p and 4K resolution monitors are suitable for gaming. If you are a competitive gamer and you have a decently powerful graphics card, then you definitely need a high refresh rate monitor to push those high frame rates from your GPU.
4K resolution, even though has an excellent image quality, lacks in refresh rates. Most 4K monitors are available with 60Hz refresh rate and for higher refresh rates, you have to spend a fortune.
So, for serious gaming a high refresh rate 1440p resolution monitor will not hurt your wallet and at the same time provide you with a very good gaming experience. 1440p monitors with 144Hz refresh rate are quite popular and are available at a decent price as well.
That being said, if you are a console gamer, then a 4K resolution (either TV or Monitor) is more suitable as console games are designed specifically for that hardware. 4K TVs with 120Hz refresh rates are slowly making their way into the market and we expect a similar scene with 4K monitors i.e., affordable monitors with high refresh rates.
Conclusion – 1440p vs 4K: Which is Better?
So, finally, which is better between 1440p vs 4K? The answer depends on your personal need and budget limitations but if you are looking to upgrade your current monitor and doesn’t want to spend a fortune, then a 1440p monitor with at least 144Hz refresh rate is the right fit for you.