In the ever-active PC gaming community, resolution retains a special place of honor. After all, as hardware continues to evolve one of the easiest metrics to gauge your PC’s prowess by is the number of pixels it can put up on display. So with 4K UHD rapidly becoming the dominant resolution most gamers aspire to maintain, you may also be tempted. But who says you have to go with 4K? Are there no other options? Of course there are. Over the last five years, QHD, aka 2K or 1440p (2560 x 1440 to be exact) emerged as a great midpoint between 1080p and 4K, and for many good reasons. Let’s consider why that’s the case.
Let’s say you’re considering a 4K monitor. But you game on a desk that’s not all that big or you prefer to sit very close to your monitor. Or maybe you’re on a moderate budget, which is fine as that’s likely one of the most important considerations for any of us when committing to a major purchase like a monitor. So, you’re now at the “what size monitor should I get” phase. To be blunt, if you want 24” then stick with 1080p. With that out of the way, you may be tempted by 27”/28” 4K monitors, and for many people those are fine. But 4K looks and works much better on bigger displays, namely 32” and bigger, as we detail in this article.
Taking into account overall pixel density, 4K on a 27” panel just seems too dense. Text appears tiny so anything related to the operating system needs to be scaled up artificially to be readable, leading to compromised image quality. This can also affect the games you play, especially if you’re a fan of RPG, 4X, or any other genre that tends to be text-intensive. Keep in mind, even action games will cause major eye strain when forcing 4K onto a 27” screen. It’s doable, but not advisable. That mighty 3840 x 2160 resolution is just too much for that size of monitor.
Don’t despair! You needn’t commit to a massive monitor that’ll drown out your workspace or cramp your style if that’s not what you want. Of course big monitors can be great, but we know they’re not for everyone. You can go for a 27” display and enjoy awesome gaming without feeling left out. That is because 27” happens to be the sweet spot for 1440p or QHD. And while this resolution isn’t UHD it’s still a VERY noticeable step up from 1080p. While full HD delivers just over 2 million pixels per frame, QHD goes up to 3.6 million, or nearly twice. That’s very respectable. Also, a 27” QHD monitor has a pixels per inch rating of 108, an ideal figure. The same screen with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 has a PPI/DPI of over 160, which is just too much detail for the eyes to comfortably resolve. That invariably leads to fatigue and isn’t what you want from a serious gaming monitor.
In short, 27” and QHD/1440p/2K were made for each other, as our very own EX2780Q demonstrates.
With a 27” QHD screen you can sit close to the action, relish every detail, avoid tired eyes – and actually access faster framerates. And if truth be told, for the near future hardware able to run 4K games in ultra detail at rates over 60fps will remain either non-existent or barely there, at prices that your bank account will definitely feel.
Switch to QHD though and even mid-range graphics cards and CPUs can run pretty much any game with good detail settings and impressive refresh rates. If you go with a 4K monitor you’ll definitely need to pay a premium for 144Hz panels, but on QHD those rates are much more attainable. The EX2780Q has a 144Hz panel so you’re not limited to 60fps or even 120fps. If you enjoy twitch gameplay or competitive gaming, a faster panel is a definite plus. Ditto for response time – keep in mind the bigger the screen the slower the response because it literally takes longer to refresh every pixel. While the difference between 32” and 27” may not sound like much it can be a determining factor for latency. Again, there are many situations where a large 4K screen would be appropriate. We just want you to know a 27” monitor is a perfectly viable option with distinct advantages.
While on the topic of framerate, we suggest going with FreeSync enabled monitors, like the EX2780Q. With AMD FreeSync technology your display source and monitor always synchronize so you don’t need software v-sync and can effectively say goodbye to screen tearing no matter what refresh rate you have going on.
Taking the EX2780Q as our baseline, it’s obvious 27” QHD monitors can deliver the same high quality image output much more expensive larger displays provide. You get HDRi (our intelligent HDR design that auto adjusts based on image and room conditions), a 10-bit panel, and 95% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. That means the EX2780Q can easily handle 4:4:4 content. So you’re not compromising by going with a smaller monitor. You’re optimizing, and actually getting great value for your money.
To drive home the point that 27” monitors don’t force any compromises on you, just look at the I/O on the EX2780Q. It’s the same as the layout on pricier 4K monitors that we’ve already established aren’t for everyone. You get dual HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, and USB-C. So you can plug your PC via DisplayPort, then your Xbox and PlayStation to the HDMI ports. Or maybe your Switch, or Apple TV. Your choice, because all of those devices natively support 2560 x 1440 QHD. So that seemingly humble 27” monitor can be the heart of your gaming and entertainment station without requiring acres of desktop space.
The key takeaway from all this should be that a 27” QHD monitor offers a golden ratio in many respects. Resolution-wise, the screen size is ideal for its resolution. Cost-wise, QHD monitors remain more affordable than 4K. Every game and console supports QHD, and you get the same features with a better framerate. So sure, if you’re really, really keen on resolution than go with 32” 4K. But if you’re interested in something smaller, don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. You’re not, you’re in the sweet spot.