1080p vs 1440p vs 4K vs 8K: Everything you need to know

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1080p vs. 1440p vs. 4K vs. 8K: which should you get? If you’re reading this, then the chances are that you are likely on a 1080p monitor (1920 x 1080) as it has become the new standard in monitors.

You might be looking into a new monitor and haven’t been able to decide whether the leap to a 1440p (2560 x 1440) monitor or a 4k (3840 x 2160) monitor is worth it. A bit of number crunching and two fundamental monitor aspects need to be known to find out.

Let’s talk about resolution

A monitor’s resolution and pixel density have a significant role in how good image quality will be – panel type, contrast ratio, backlight bleeding, brightness, etc., put aside. The resolution of a monitor is simply how many pixels there are and at what ratio. A 1920 x 1080 resolution, for example, has a width of 1920 pixels and a height of 1080 pixels. Multiplying the two gives the total pixel count, which in this case is 2,073,600 pixels.

The greater the resolution is, the greater the number of pixels, and as a result, the greater the detail and image quality. The drawback to this, for gamers, is the hit in frame rate performance because of the extra pixels that need to be rendered by their graphics card.

The most common resolutions out there are:

  • 1920 × 1080 (1080p, FHD)
  • 2560 × 1440 (2K, WQHD)
  • 3840 × 2160 (4K UHD)
  • 7680 × 4320 (8K UHD)

Note that all these resolutions have a 16:9 aspect ratio. There are, of course, other resolutions like the 2560 x 1080 resolution, which is commonly used in widescreen monitors and has a 21:9 aspect ratio. 

A word on pixel density too

Pixel density tells us how many pixels there are concerning a specific screen size and is measured in pixels per inch (PPI). A smaller screen size and larger resolution will give us a bigger pixel density. Below you can see the total pixels for the most common resolutions and what their PPI is for 24-inch, 27-inch, and 31.5-inch monitors, the most common sizes.

Monitor resolutionPixel amount24″ monitor27″ monitor31.5″ monitor
1920 × 1080 (1080p, FHD)2,073,60092 PPI82 PPI70 PPI
2560 × 1440 (2K, WQHD)3,686,400122 PPI109 PPI93 PPI
3840 × 2160 (4K UHD)8,294,400184 PPI163 PPI140 PPI
7680 × 4320 (8K UHD)33,177,600367 PPI326 PPI280 PPI

720p monitors have become a thing of the past, and 1080p monitors will surely follow as time goes on. Economically speaking, the current sweet spot for monitors is a 24-inch monitor with a 1080p resolution and a 27-inch monitor with a 1440p resolution. As technology progresses, a new category of 4K and even 8K monitors is becoming increasingly common.