When it comes to gaming, choosing between 2560×1440 and 3840×2160 comes down to the type of games you play and what frame rate your system can maintain.
A higher resolution offers sharper details, but it’s also more demanding. Screen size and refresh rate should also be taken into account, as we explore in the article.
For other uses, 4K UHD is not nearly as taxing, so you should go with the highest resolution you can afford without sacrificing other important monitor specifications and features.
Not sure if you should buy a monitor with 2560×1440 or 3840×2160 resolution?
To be fair, it’s not an easy decision to make as there are many things to keep in mind. Don’t worry – we’ll cover everything you need to know to make the right call!
3840×2160 vs 2560×1440
Note that the 3840×2160 resolution is also referred to as 4K UHD (Ultra HD) or 2160p, whereas 2560×1440 also goes by QHD, WQHD (Wide Quad HD) or 1440p – it’s sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘2K’ – but this resolution actually stands for 2048×1080.
Before deciding which screen resolution you should go for, you need to take into account other monitor specifications, such as screen size, panel type and refresh rate as well as your budget, PC components and use case.
Note that it’s actually pixel density (pixels per inch) that determines how sharp or dull the image quality will be.
Let’s start with the most popular screen size for 1440p and 4K monitors.
With a 27″ 1440p monitor, you get 108 PPI (pixels per inch), resulting in crisp details and text with plenty of screen space and no scaling required.
On a 27″ 4K display, you get 163 PPI – the image is a lot sharper and there’s even more screen real estate.
However, things like small text will be too tiny to read, forcing you to apply scaling, which will increase the size of the user interface, but also make it even sharper.
So, on a 27″ 4K monitor, you can get everything to be the same size as on a 27″ 1440p display but with sharper text and details.
That difference in detail clarity, however, is much less noticeable in video games, and because 4K UHD is a lot more demanding on your GPU, the performance hit won’t be worth the difference in picture quality for most people.
For other uses, such as photo/video editing and office-related tasks, 4K is the way to go. If you don’t need a high refresh rate, you can even find 27″ 4K 60Hz monitors for around the same price as the 1440p 144Hz models.
In case you plan to do some gaming on the side, a 4K 144Hz monitor is considerably more expensive (double the price) than a 1440p 144Hz variant. Also, you’ll need to make sure your GPU will be able to provide you with a satisfactory frame rate in your favorite games.
When it comes to 32″ monitors, 1440p resolution starts to show its weakness. You get the same pixel density as that of 24″ 1080p displays – roughly 92 PPI.
In contrast, 4K UHD still looks very sharp on 32″ sized screens with around 140 PPI.
So, the bottom line is that if you want crisp image quality, you can get away with 1440p on 27″ monitors, but for 32″ displays, 4K UHD is preferred.
Of course, if you really want a 32″ screen but can’t afford a 4K UHD model or the PC specs to run it properly, there are great 32″ 1440p monitors available too.
If you play a lot of competitive eSports titles where you can maintain ~200FPS+, 1440p 240Hz is the way to go, whereas if you prefer more graphically oriented games and have a powerful GPU, 4K 144Hz will suit you better.
Other things to keep in mind include HDR, response time and VRR performance. For a proper evaluation of these, you’ll need to check out individual reviews after deciding which resolution/screen size is for you.