Being kids 20 years ago, spending time in front of the most awesome console on the planet, the PlayStation 1 (yes, I am not older than that) was the best thing in the world. No one cared about how the graphics looked or the resolution of the TV. However, that was 20 years ago and today, resolution and graphics are everything. We want to have the best visual experience in our games that we possibly can.
When it comes to screen resolution, there are three main categories. We have the standard Full HD 1920×1080. Going a bit higher, we have 2560×1440, which is often called Quad HD. Lastly, we have 4K, which is 3840c2160. This resolution has 4 times as many pixels as Full HD and will give you better details but requires a really powerful computer.
1080p resolution has been a word that many gamers have heard about since the release of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. What 1080p actually means is that the game you are playing is being displayed by 1080 lines of vertical resolution and the p stands for progressive scan. Essentially this means that the image you are looking at will look much clearer and crisper than a lower resolution image because of the number of lines used to create the image on your screen is higher.
Some people may think that 1080p and 1080i are the same, but they aren’t. While 1080p uses the full 1,080 lines of vertical resolution, 1080i uses an interlaced image so the image is painted on your screen in two passes of 540 lines each. While it was once the standard, 1080i has all but been replaced by 1080p.
When it comes to gaming, 1080p is a great resolution to get started with. Since the resolution has been on the market for so long, there is a lot of features that can be found in 1080p monitors that you can’t find on higher resolution monitors, the main thing being refresh rate. At 1080p, there are monitors with a refresh rate of 240Hz while 1440p have a maximum of 165Hz and 4K is stuck at 60Hz. This makes 1080p monitors great for FPS games such as CS: GO, Battlefield, Overwatch or PUBG.
The number of devices that can display or upscale an image to 1080p is much greater than 1440p or 4K at this time. While the industry is slowing moving towards 4K as the new standard, there is still a very far way to go. For many people, the cost can be a major issue when choosing what display to use and those with 1080p resolution can be much more affordable because of the lower resolution.
1440p resolution, sometimes known as Quad HD (QHD) or Wide Quad HD (WQHD) adds more pixels to the picture that you are trying to display your game on. 1440p offers gamers four times more resolution than a 720p HD resolution does. While typically a screen with 1440p resolution is found on PC monitors, they are becoming more common on smartphones and other devices. In fact, it was announced that the Xbox One X will support 1440p resolution.
When comparing to a screen that uses 1080p, there can be a lot of different opinions on whether or not the change makes that much of a difference in the image that you are seeing. While a 1440p display provides you with more pixels to use that a 1080p does, it can also be more expensive. However, with many 1440p monitors, it will use more of the screen to display the games than a monitor with a 1080p will.
A 1440p resolution display can be the best of both worlds when comparing them to a 1080p or a 2160p display. It can look somewhat better than the resolution put out by a 1080p monitor and can also perform much better on your average gaming pc than a 4K monitor. For some gamers, it is their go-to resolution for these two big reasons.
When compared to the somewhat affordable 4K monitors that are currently on the market, a 1440p can support higher refresh rates while not as high as 1080p.
4K is the latest and greatest to come from the manufacturers. It is often called 2160p for consistent with the other resolutions but 4K is the word for consumers. A fun fact about 4K is that the resolution isn’t actually 4K. The resolution is only 3840×2160, meaning it’s just below the 4K mark. However, to make it a bit complicated, there is a “real” 4K in the movie industry where the resolution is 4096×2160. However, since that doesn’t follow the standard aspect ratio of 16:9, the consumer version of 4K is only 3840 wide.
A monitor or TV that can produce 4K images is not cheap, as with all new technology. However, it has become very common in TVs to use 4K and today, almost all 49” TVs and bigger come in 4K resolution. For PC monitors, there is a different story as 1080p is still the standard. This is because of the limitations of 4K where the refresh rate can’t go higher than 60Hz (yet).
The main benefit of using a 4K monitor is, of course, the sharpness of the image. A 4K image is much more detailed and crispier than a 1080p image and because of this, 4K is great for open world-games or games where the scenery is more important than refresh rates, such as GTA V or any RPG game. However, you should also be ready to pay a lot since 4K gaming will require a GTX 1080 TI graphics card a minimum if you want to play at a reasonable FPS.
What Resolution Suits You the Best?
For many gamers, the resolution that they choose for their television or monitor can easily come down to the price that they would need to pay, but another way to look at it would be to see what types of games you play.
First-person shooters are as popular now as they were a few years ago when their popularity began, and it doesn’t appear to be waning. While using a 1440p or 2160p screen could help with the clarity and crispness of the images, using a 1080p with a high refresh rate will suit you much better.
If Role-playing games or MMO’s are more your types of game to play where there isn’t a lot of fast-paced action, you may want to consider either a 1440p display or, if the game supports it, a 2160p display. At these resolutions, the game image will be presented with much more detail and clarity.
While there are many different gaming genres on the market, most people will be able to display a quality, high definition image using a 1080p display. However, if 240Hz is not something that you absolutely need for whatever reason, I would recommend going with a 1440p monitor with 144-165Hz refresh rate. That way you get the best of both worlds. If you are playing RPG’s and are ready, 4K is there just waiting for you.