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

If you wondering if 2560 x 1440 is actually better than 1920 x 1080 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.

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, commonly referred to as 1440p or WQHD (Wide Quad HD) or simply as 2K, has 3,686,400 pixels whereas a 1920 x 1080 resolution, commonly referred to as 1080p or FHD (Full HD), has 2,073,600 pixels.

That’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.

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 it worth going from 1080p to 1440p?

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.

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
About Dan Alder
Dan is an avid gamer. He's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6. As an engineering major he's also very experienced in electronics.