This blog was updated in July 2022.
You may be completely content as you read through this blog on your 22” 1080p monitor, but a higher resolution can help you in ways you never imagined. A ‘HD’ but not ‘Full HD’ resolution such as 1366×768 – which is one of the standard resolutions for monitors commonly found on low-end laptops – may be adequate for general use. But when you get up to 2560×1440 and above, your computing will become that much more manageable. Hi-res brings big advantages, so let’s see how they’ll affect you.
Pros and cons of a high-resolution screen
- More screen real estate.
- Less scrolling, zooming, and alt-tabbing.
- Better productivity.
- Easier to set up and less cumbersome than a multi-monitor set-up.
- See more detail in 4K content and games.
- High-spec PC need to run games at their native resolution.
- Higher cost.
What is resolution on a monitor?
On a monitor, resolution describes how many pixels can be displayed. It’s measured by vertical resolution and horizontal resolution. For instance, a 1080p monitor has a vertical resolution of 1,920 pixels, and a horizontal resolution of 1,080 pixels. As you’ll find out in this blog, a higher resolution has many advantages.
What is high resolution?
A higher resolution doesn’t just mean images appear sharper. That’s the most well-known advantage, but there’s more to it. Upping the resolution also lets you display more content on the screen at one time. As a monitor’s resolution increases, the more you can view your content on it in its entirety.
More screen real estate
For example, say you’ve got an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a large one, with several columns and rows, so you need a decently sized window to navigate it properly – a 1920×1080 pixel window. On a Full HD 1080p monitor – that’s a 1920×1080 resolution – this Excel window would take up the entire screen.
This isn’t efficient if you’re a multi-tasker. Having to constantly minimise and maximise the Excel window whenever you switch to and from another program quickly becomes a hindrance, slowing your productivity down.
More efficient multi-tasking
At a 3840×2160 resolution, a 4K monitor gets you four times as many pixels as 1080p. This transforms the user experience, giving you considerably more screen real estate to work with. You’d be able to snap four of these 1080p-sized windows into each quadrant of a 4K monitor.
Or, you could have the Excel spreadsheet nestled in one corner, your email in another, and so on. This lets you load up all your programs on one screen, eliminating the need to slowly switch between them. As another example, an artist could have their main Photoshop window snapped to the left half of a 4K monitor, with their reference materials and tools bars on another.
View more content
Alternatively, maximising the window on a 4K monitor gets you an even greater view of it. In our Excel example this could mean many more columns and rows, but it’s advantageous for countless other use cases.
Programmers could display and read through hundreds of lines of code, video editors could more easily manage their stacked timelines, and more. You also see advantages in basic, day-to-day tasks, such as web browsing and word processing. Scan back and forth over a document, without touching your mouse wheel. You won’t have to scroll nearly as much through long reports.
You’ll want a larger high-resolution monitor
Less scrolling, zooming, alt-tabbing – a higher resolution monitor makes all the difference in productivity and ease-of-use. However, to make the most of a higher resolution, you’ll want to get a larger monitor accordingly. Otherwise, things can appear too small to be legible at a comfortable distance.
As such, most 4K monitors on the market come in at least a 27-29” form-factor, while 30-32” or larger is considered the best. For context, the largest recommended size for a 1080p monitor is 24” as detailed in our Gaming Monitor Guide.
High-resolution monitor vs. multi-monitor set-up
There’s more than one way to achieve a higher resolution. The most obvious and easiest one is to get a single, standalone high-resolution display, such as a 1440p, 4K or ultrawide monitor. Or you could instead get multiple lower-resolution monitors to form a multi-monitor set-up. For instance, two 1080p monitors side-by-side results in a 3840×1080 resolution.
This doubles the horizontal resolution to the same as a 4K monitor, but the vertical resolution stays the same. While it’s not as large as a native 4K, it’s a decent alternative if you’re on a budget as two 1080p monitors could work out cheaper than one 4K monitor.
However, there are caveats to consider. As it’s not one seamless display, you’ll have bezels breaking up each monitor. Even on a slim-bezel monitor it’s distracting and breaks immersion when gaming.
However, having a clear divide is actually preferred by some users. Rather than relying on your operating system’s window manager to snap programs into place, it lets you have one monitor dedicated to a particular program, a secondary monitor dedicated to another, and so on.
Even if it’s your preference, you’ll still need enough desk space to support a multi-monitor set-up. You must not only account for the extra width or height, but how you’re going to mount two, three or sometimes more monitors. If you use their included stands, that’s going to take up a decent amount of space. For a more streamlined set-up, you could install them onto a monitor arm.
What’s more, you also must ensure that your PC has enough display outputs. Each monitor in a multi-monitor set-up requires its own connection. This shouldn’t be a problem if your desktop PC is equipped with a discrete graphics card, as most models offer a reasonable selection of HDMIs and DisplayPorts.
However, those using a desktop PC or laptop with integrated graphics may not have enough outputs to go around. To make up for a PC’s lack of functionality, you could use a dongle or docking station in its place.
Desk space, monitor arms, docking stations – as you can see, a single, high-resolution monitor is easier to set up and less cumbersome than multiple lower-resolution monitors.
Of course, it’s possible to have multiple high-resolution monitors for the ultimate in productivity, but it’ll be costly and overkill for most users.
1440p and 4K monitors are the new standard
While it might’ve had a slow start, 4K content is everywhere nowadays. You’ll be hard pressed to find content that isn’t delivered in 4K.
From Amazon Prime Video to Netflix, streaming services have embraced 4K movies and TV. We upload videos to our Ebuyer YouTube channel in 4K – check out our monitor unboxings and reviews. And even the smartphones in our pockets can take pictures and shoot videos in 4K, with some flagship models boasting 8K recording! To enjoy all this content at its fullest, you need a high-resolution monitor.
Modern games are designed for a high-resolution monitor
If you’re using a HD or Full HD monitor, you’re missing out on sharpness, detail, and clarity in all sorts of content. This is particularly relevant to gaming. 1080p has fallen out of favour ever since 2016, when the 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro was introduced.
Modern game assets and rendering techniques are designed with a high-resolution display in mind. Simply look at how large game file sizes have got. It’s due in part to them using ultra-high-res textures and pre-rendered videos intended to be viewed on a high-resolution display.
While you can certainly run these games at a lower resolution – many choose to do so for FPS – the graphics won’t be nearly as impressive.
That said, you need high-performance PC to drive a high-resolution monitor – 1440p and especially 4K is harder for your PC’s graphics card to drive than 1080p. Here’s how to build your own 1440p gaming PC for 2022.
High-resolution monitors at Ebuyer
A high-resolution monitor is practically a must-have as it’ll not only boost your productivity but make consuming content all the more enjoyable too. Ebuyer stocks a wide range of 1440p and 4K monitors from all the biggest brands, including Samsung, LG, AOC, and more.