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Screen resolution is simply the number of pixels the display shows. The standard 1920×1080 Full HD resolution, for example, has 1920 pixels horizontally times 1080 pixels vertically. The higher the resolution, the better the picture.
If you are thinking of buying a new TV or a monitor, you’re probably overwhelmed with all the different specifications and features you have to deal with, such as the panel type, response time, refresh rate, etc.
Screen resolution is arguably the most important specification as it’s the basis of the picture. For instance, with a 1920×1080 resolution, you get 2,073,600 pixels. All of these pixels change color in order to create the image.
The pixels also get refreshed a certain number of times per second according to the display’s refresh rate. So, the higher the refresh rate and the resolution of a display, the more powerful computer rig you’ll need.
Screen Resolution & Screen Size
Another important thing to consider is the display’s size in relation to its resolution which is referred to as pixel density. Since displays of different sizes can have the same resolution, the picture won’t look the same on all screens.
For instance, a 1920×1080 resolution on a 24-inch monitor will have 91 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) whereas that same resolution on a 27-inch monitor has 81 PPI.
Therefore, due to the higher pixel density, the picture will be more detailed and spacious on a 24-inch monitor.
In general, displays with over ~90 PPI will have a decent image quality, whereas anything less than that results in smudgy details and insufficient screen real estate.
Many find a pixel density of 110 PPI to be the sweet spot for monitors as it provides both maximum detail and plenty of screen space without any scaling necessary.
TV Size/Viewing Distance
Since TVs are bigger than monitors and you watch them from a distance, it’s important how far away you are sitting from the TV according to its size in order to be able to see the extra details of a higher resolution.
Common Resolutions & Abbreviations
- 1920×1080 – Full HD, 1080p
- 2560×1440 – WQHD, 1440p
- 2560×1080 – UWHD, 1080p ultrawide
- 3440×1440 – UWQHD, 1440p ultrawide
- 3840×2160 – 4K, Ultra HD, 2160p
Screen Resolution – Gaming
If you are looking for a gaming monitor, make sure that its resolution and refresh rate are suitable for your PC.
Most of the affordable CPU and GPU components are sufficient for gaming at 1080p and 60 FPS with decent settings. However, if you want to play at higher frame rates or resolutions – or both, you will need a more powerful system.
For more thorough comparison between different screen resolutions, visit our 1080p vs 1440p vs 4K article.
Joseph has probably spent thousands of hours learning about displays in his free time and prior work experience at HP. He now writes and manages DisplayNinja to ensure it stays as the people’s favorite resource.