2560 x 1440 vs 1920 x 1080 [Which Is Actually Better]

If you wondering if 2560 x 1440 (1440p) is actually better than 1920 x 1080 (1080p) then you’re most likely looking to buy a new monitor.

How big is the visual difference between a 2560 x 1440 monitor and a 1920 x 1080 monitor? Is it enough to be worth the money?

For this monitor resolution comparison we’ll need to dig into a few monitor concepts and a bit of math.

What aspect ratio is 2560 x 1440?

Let’s start with the basics.

The 2560 x 1440 resolution has a 16:9 aspect ratio. This aspect ratio is the one most commonly found in monitors and TVs nowadays.

The 1920 x 1080 resolution also has this same aspect ratio. If you’re considering an upgrade to your monitor it will have the same shape and won’t be any wider than it already is.

Comparison of 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1080, and 2560 x 1440 resolutions.
Comparison of 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1080, and 2560 x 1440 resolutions.

What exactly is a 2560 x 1440 resolution?

Two very important aspects to understand in monitors are resolution and pixel density.

The resolution of a monitor dictates how many pixels there are and at what ratio (width to height).

For example for the 2560 x 1440 resolution, the number 2560 is the width while 1440 is the height. All resolutions are formatted like this with the width first and height second.

Some simple math helps to understand how much of an improvement a jump from 1920 x 1080 to 2560 x 1440 would be.

  • A 2560 x 1440 resolution, also known as WQHD (wide quad high definition), has 3,686,400 pixels.
  • A 1920 x 1080 resolution, also known as FHD (full high definition), has 2,073,600 pixels.

That means when it comes to WQHD vs FHD there’s a difference of 1,612,800 pixels or a 77% increase in the amount of pixels available.

Pixel Density Example
Example of low, medium, and high pixel densities. Higher density = more pixels = better image quality.

More pixels means that more details can be displayed. As a result of this, the image quality on a monitor will be much sharper and clearer. 

Logically an even bigger resolution would mean an even bigger difference.

Now let’s throw pixel density into the mix.

A monitor’s pixel density tells us how many pixels in a screen there are in relation to the monitor’s screen size. It is measured in pixels per inch (PPI).

Pixel density is calculated by using the formula:

PPI Formula

Where:

  • w = width of resolution (pixels)
  • h = height of resolution (pixels)
  • d = diagonal length of screen (inches)

Luckily there is no need to sit and crunch the numbers yourself as calculators like DPI Love quickly and easily do the work for you.

Below we’ve included the important figures and as you can see the smaller the monitor size and the larger the resolution then the bigger the pixel density will be.

2560 x 1440 vs 1920 x 1080
ResolutionTotal pixels24″ monitor27″ monitor31.5″ monitor
1920 x 10802,073,60092 PPI82 PPI70 PPI
2560 x 14403,686,400122 PPI109 PPI93 PPI

Can you tell the difference between 1440p and 1080p?

This brings us to another important point: will you actually notice the difference?

After all, if you can’t then why bother sinking your money into a higher resolution monitor.

This will be primarily decided by your viewing distance.

In other words, how far you actually sit from your monitor will play a big role in how large the difference between the resolutions.

Everybody’s table size and sitting preference varies but generally if you’re sitting less than two feet away then the difference should be clear.

Regardless for what your using your computer at the moment for you notice the difference at the distance.

Light browsing? Yes, you’ll notice.

Playing a game like CS:GO and sit very close to monitor? Yes, you’ll absolutely notice.

Is 1440p worth it?

Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing between a 1440p monitor and a 1080p monitor is your graphics card.

An increase in resolution means more pixels will need to be rendered and means it will be more intense on your graphics card.

You will take a hit in performance. No doubt about it.

It’s a good idea to check online benchmarks of your graphics card’s performance at both of the resolutions in the games you commonly play to see the difference in average frame rate.

For example, testing Battlefield 1 on a gaming rig equipped with a GTX 1070 (roughly equal to a RX Vega 56) you’re looking at an average FPS drop from around 115 to 85.

That’s around a 30 FPS decrease.

Nothing to scoff at.

So if you’re thinking about upgrading be sure to budget in a new graphics card if necessary.

Is a 1440p 24 inch monitor worth it?

Going from a 24 inch monitor with a 1080p resolution to one with a 1440p resolution, can you even appreciate the PPI difference at that same size?

Our opinion?

Absolutely.

You’re looking at a jump from 92 PPI to 122 PPI. That’s a considerably bigger jump than to a 109 PPI density with a 1440p 27 inch monitor.

Give a 1440p monitor a chance for a few days and go back to your 1080p monitor. You’ll ask yourself how you could even put up with it.

Looking at pictures or Youtube videos of the monitor that you’re interested in won’t show their true image quality or the difference between 2560 x 1440 vs 1920 x 1080. 

Aside from ordering the monitor your eyeing (I couldn’t help it) the next best thing to do is visit your local electronics store and see how it looks in person.

BEST 1440p GAMING MONITORS

AOC Agon AG241QX 24" 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor
Dell S2417DG YNY1D 24" 165Hz G-SYNC Gaming Monitor
ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q 27" 165Hz G-Sync Gaming Monitor

Should you get a 2560 x 1440 monitor?

Yes, but with a few things to keep in mind.

You will notice a bigger difference with a 24 inch monitor at 1440p than a 27 inch monitor since the PPI is higher. You will notice an improvement on a 27 inch monitor also though, but not as much.

First, decide whether a larger screen size or better detailed image quality is more important to you. Keep in mind regardless of which size you choose you are still increasing your resolution.

Second, your graphics card will be processing the same increase in the amount of pixels. So you will have a few scenarios:

  • You have a very good graphics card: take the frame rate hit and carry on as you did before.
  • You have a decent graphics card: lower your in game graphics settings.
  • You have an older or worse off graphics card: it won’t be able to keep up and you will need to upgrade your graphics card.

Ultimately it will all depend on your size vs PPI preference, graphics card situation, and budget.

Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.
Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.

15 Comments

  1. Hi Dan

    I was using two Apple 27inch Cinema display for my audio editing work. (mini display connector) The displays were set at 2048 x 1152. Worked well for me as the text was legible at a 3ft distance and the real estate was workable. Last month my old G5 died on me and I had to upgrade the computer which has only 2 x HDMI 2.0 outs. Now there are hardly any monitors running at 2048 x 1152. If I get a 2560 x 1140 monitor the text is small even though the real estate is great. So do you think running at 1920 x 1080 with two 32 inch monitors would be better for visibility and real estate, more so than my earlier 27 inch cinema display with 2048 x 1152?
    Thanks

  2. Dan-I’ve read through these comments/responses-but still struggling w/ clarity.
    Began my search of curved 34′ (probably were 1920 x 1080-bc was looking for affordable) then started searching flat screen dual monitor setup-2-27″ for FLEXIBILITY-

    after reading more (& yes, I will confess, calling Geek Squad) started researching flat 2560 x 1440 w/ multiple ports. (fyi-I own a multi port hub)
    Have been looking at Dells. (But, also LG/Samsung & others)

    As you can (no doubt) imagine from my non-tech journey-I am SO lost.
    I am hoping YOU can help.

    I have a Surface Pro 5. I need a LARGE screen/for one large image or split into 4-easy on EYES (reduced blue/have injury-blurry vision)-that can be used for ZOOM classes/lectures & VIDEO EDITING. I have invested SO much time in choosing monitors-still stuck. HELP?

    (Budget-is def a consideration-but want long-term solution, may buy one at a time.) Thanks so much! Shelley

  3. Mr Dan,
    I own 2010 HP Slimline 5580t Tower with GeForce 320 graphic card.Its maximal resolution, shown in Manager tab, is 1980×1080.However, on Nvidia website, the specs of this card are listed at 2560×1440.Here is a link which shows that this resolution on DVI input is even higher: 2560X1600:

    https://www.gpuzoo.com/GPU-NVIDIA/GeForce_GT_320_OEM.html

    I recently bought Philips 328B6QJEB and I am using it at 1920×1080 resolutions which looks fine, although each time when I press the power button on that monitor, it informs me that the best resolution to use is 2560×1440.It can also display 2560×1080. I did try to reach that resolution and change it several times, either way using Nvidia set up or monitor set up and I always received a very blurry picture, consisted of hundreds blue horizontal lines. After 15 seconds the monitor reverted to 1920×1080.What should I do to be able to use this monitor at its highest resolution?

  4. Last weekend I purchased a 34″ ultrawide Acer monitor with 3440 x 1440 res to replace 2 x 24″ Dell 1920 x 1080 monitors because one of the died on me. I am thinking of taking it back. At 100% scale it is OK but the font is borderline too small for me. If I go 125% I dont get enough real estate (width) to have Outlook and Edge (with a bunch of tabs open) side by side IMO. I tried setting to 110% through custom but then that screws up my laptop screen (Surface Pro X at 2880 x 1920 at 200% as recommended).
    Was thinking of 2 x Dell P2421 screens at 1920 x 1200 (16:10) to give me a little more vertical or 2 x Dell P2420D at 2560 x 1440 running at 125%. (I can get them both for nearly the same price) This would give me the width I am missing out on currently with the 34″ ultrawide Acer but puts me back to 16:9 again just with a higher res output but same display range as I had to start. Am I correct in my calculations that 1440 at 125% shows the same amount of text as 1080 just clearer?

    1. Hey Randall! I would go with the dual Dell P2420D 1440p monitors in your position. Yes, you’re correct. See my response below to Dave.

  5. Looking for a new gaming monitor, purchased a new everything from the case up, and bought a viotec 27 inch curved Monitor 1920×1080, But not knowing much about them, it did not have a display port and it was only 60Hz. Returning it now, looking for a better one with g-sync. Gtx 1660 super sc gpu, Well definitely choose one with 144hz-165. But there are so many and some are2560x1440, And I assumed that was a wide angle monitor, are you saying they are the same size physically, it’s just the density of the pixels? Would this resolution change much between a curved or flat monitor? I will be sticking with 27, But there are options for a 32. Would I benefit greatly at going up to 1440, or with the higher refresh rate from 60 to 144 make enough difference? Thank you,

  6. Hi Dan. I’m trying to decide whether to buy 1080p vs 1440p. I don’t use monitor for games and rarely graphics, mainly just text/programming where I have several windows open. Although I like the use of screen real estate at 1440p for multiple windows, my aging eyes just can’t take 1440p and, like you, would have to increase 125%. But… doesn’t that put us right back at 1080 resolution? (1440 x .75 = 1080). In my case where text clarity and size is most important, why not just get a native 1080p monitor then rather than scaling approximations with 1440p? Am I missing here where scaling 1440p has advantage over native 1080p?

    Dave

    1. Hello Dave, scaling only compensates for how big things will appear on screen not how smooth or detailed they are. If you have for example a 1080p monitor with no scaling and a 1440p monitor with 125% scaling you are still looking at an increase in pixels. Comparing the two, items on your screen will appear the same size, but they will appear sharper on the 1440p because there are more pixels to produce more detail. Individual text letters will appear sharper as well and will be easier to distinguish especially in your case of programming. Here’s an example from Eizo’s site of a shortcut on a 4K monitor scaled to compensate for the size versus a regular 1080p with no scaling. The sizes are the same but the legibility are worlds apart. The same principle applies in 1440p vs 1080p.

  7. How about on a 14” laptop (thinkpad x1 yoga gen 4) that will not be used for gaming, just basic spreadsheets and documents and general web surfing? I’ve read so many reviews now supporting both options that I’m completely lost! A big concern is battery drain. Will there be a big difference between the two regarding battery life? Is the 1440 visually different enough to be worth it? Probably stupid questions, my apologies. Any input would be hugely appreciated!

  8. Nice article, thanks for sharing.
    What are you basically saying is that the image quality is the same on my 720p 19″ with 1080p 24″ and 2k 30″, only the panel size differs.
    And since at work i have a 27″ and it’s painfully big, i will remain at my 19″.
    Have a good one,
    Andi.

  9. Great article, thanks. Just a note: the title makes it seem like 1920×1080 is better because of where the [x] statement is placed. Not a huge deal. I’m looking at a monitor that will do 1440 so it’s good to know that I’ll see a difference.

  10. 1080 vs. 1440
    If I am not using the monitor for gaming, would it still be a good move to get a 1440 ?
    …research, papers, online shopping, Facebook…

    Thanks

    1. Hey Carolyn, yes even with less demanding things like that you would notice the difference. Text and images will appear clearer and have more detail to them. Since you won’t be using a monitor for gaming you won’t need adaptive sync or a high refresh rate so there’s no need to spend extra for these things.

      I think the best monitor in your scenario would be the ViewSonic VG2455-2K, a nice vibrant IPS panel 24 inch monitor with a 1440p resolution. It has features like a blue light filter that’ll help during long research and writing sessions, integrated speakers so you can listen when on Youtube or Facebook, and great ergonomics so you can pivot it 90 degrees which makes it much easier to read long documents.

      1. Hey,

        A 24′ 1440p monitor?
        The icons on desktop will be too small and unreadable. Or not?
        No need to scale ?

        Thanks

        1. Hey John. You can scale the entire Windows interface all together if you’d like or just change the size of desktop icons. Personally I scale to 125% on my 24” 1440p monitor and set my desktop icon size to medium.

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