In a world of digital screens, resolutions can be a tricky subject. From your cell phone to your TV and from your computer to your gaming console, there is a screen for nearly every activity. Different screens come with different resolutions. And it can be rather confusing to choose which one is the best for a particular screen or purpose. Among the two most popular and commonly known screen resolutions are 4K and QHD. To understand their difference, let’s first define them individually.
What Is 4K?
4K is a generic term. It is used to refer to any resolution that has an approximate horizontal pixel count of 4000. In the cinema industry, the dominant standard is 4096 x 2160 while the television and consumer media sector use 3840 x 2160. In other words, 4K is the preferred resolution for large screens and creative professionals. That’s because it lets you see all the minute details within a frame. Given its increasing popularity, many cable providers today offer 4K channels (although you need 4K TV to view it). So next time you go to the Spectrum bill paycenteror that of any other provider, have a look at how many channels they’re providing in 4K.
Pro Tip: You can access Spectrum live channels by subscribing to Spectrum 4K service.
What Is QHD?
Quad High Definition (QHD) is also known as 2K. This is because it has over 2000 pixels length-wise. QHD is the standard resolution of devices such as phones, televisions and laptops. It has a display resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels.
The terms QHD and WQHD are used interchangeably. When searching for devices, you might see WQHD. The ‘W’ here stands for wide quad high definition and manufacturers generally choose to use this term because it can be a good selling point.
4K vs QHD
4k offers a much more clear picture quality as compared to QHD. Then what’s the debate? Why not simply choose 2160p over 1440. The answer is not as cut and dry as you may think. That’s because there are a number of factors you need to consider when choosing between the two resolutions.
#1. Difference in Hardware
4k resolution demands higher performance from your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit.’ So if you intend to do something more complex, like capturing a video or gaming, you should check whether your hardware is capable of it. When it comes to gaming, you need to see what implications a higher resolution would have for your frame rate. If 4K resolution seems to affect your FPS, then you should probably go for QHD. Similarly, when capturing a video in 4K, you would need a strong GPU as well as a recent Pentium i7 processor. 1440p would let you get by with much less. Also, with hardware assistance from devices like Pearl-2 or AV.io, you can capture videos in QHD easily.
#2. Difference in Cost
Cost is another factor to consider when deciding the resolution for your screen. Monitors with higher and newer resolutions are more expensive. But do you really need to invest in them?
The consensus is that if your computer monitor is just a few feet away from you, the difference in picture quality between 4K and QHD would be noticeable if the screen is 32 inches or more. This would require your GPU to work harder to render a 4K video quality. This usually results in a dip in FPS. Whether or not this is an acceptable loss in return for a higher resolution depends on the preference of the user/viewer. If you’re looking for a solution that works easily across all platforms and doesn’t cause your FPS to suffer, QHD would a good choice. It’s cheaper and not hard to work with. However, if picture definition is the most important aspect for you, it’s worth investing in 4K monitors/screens.
#3. Which One Is Better for Gaming?
While 4k may seem like the best option for cinematic videos and TV streaming, the picture quality of 4K and QHD would roughly be the same on certain monitor sizes. You may think that 4K would bring you the ultimate gaming experience, but the truth is, the difference is only apparent on projector-size screens. Furthermore, 4k is not as widely supported by most games and is also hard to run.
You need an advanced PC (like Crysis) or a new console such as the PlayStation 5 in order to see the full potential of 2160p. At the moment, 1440p is a good enough choice for gaming in terms of support, pixel-density as well as appearance.
4K is cutting-edge technology and thus the way of the future. QHD is perfect for the technology that exists in the present world. While 4k is superior to QHD, it’s also expensive and demands more power from your GPU. If you don’t intend to look very closely at your screens, 4K is the answer. However, if you want a budget-friendly option with a good enough picture quality, QHD would be more suitable. It all boils down to your priorities and preferences as a viewer.