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4K monitors - is it worth making the switch?

4K monitors with 4x full HD resolution for detailed and razor-sharp images on the PC and Mac

While 4K is slowly but surely moving into the TV sector and the available sources are becoming more and more numerous, PC users have been enjoying QFHD, four times the resolution of Full HD, for a long time. Graphics cards from around five years ago were able to display such a high resolution without any problems, but the type of connection used and the low availability of compatible monitors meant that this trend was only now slowly gaining ground. 4K UHD monitors are the future and the early switch can already be worthwhile if the right conditions are in place.

The current bestsellers among the 4K UHD monitors on Amazon

57,04 EURBestseller no. 2
BenQ EW3270U 4K Monitor | 32 inch HDR USB-C | Compatible for MacBook Pro M1
BenQ EW3270U 4K Monitor | 32 inch HDR USB-C | Compatible for MacBook Pro M1
LED monitor with 31,5 inches and 4K UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels; USB Type-C
479,00 EUR −57,04 EUR 421,96 EUR
117,80 EURBestseller no. 5

Away from DVI and VGA

While VGA should have been obsolete for a long time, the Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is still preferred by many PC users. For a full HD resolution at a maximum of 120 Hz this is also completely sufficient, a 4K Ultra HD monitor However, even with DVI-I in dual-link mode, it cannot be operated at the full refresh rate. Although it is possible for some graphics cards to send a 4K signal via the DVI interface, in practice this is paid for either by reduced refresh rates or by the interlacing process. As alternatives come both the already widespread HDMI as well as the newer Displayport in question.

4K Ultra HD monitor for PC and Mac

4K Ultra HD monitor for PC and Mac - Photo: ucadp / Bigstock

HDMI stands for "High Definition Multimedia Interface", has existed since 2002, but has only gained acceptance in the TV sector since the spread of full HD resolutions. Over the years, HDMI has been improved and expanded again and again, which is why there are now a number of different revisions. With the introduction of HDMI 2.0, the interface is now capable of displaying 4K resolutions at 50 or 60 frames per second. Displayport is much newer, was only officially announced in 2007 and is mainly used in Apple products, preferably as a "mini displayport", for example in the Apple MacBook and MacBook Air. All specifications of the display port are also fully integrated into Thunderbolt. The current version supports resolutions that are eight times that of Full HD and twice that of 4K.

The advantages of the higher resolution

On the PC, you benefit from the much higher resolution, because the distance between the seats is usually much smaller than, for example, on a TV. Monitors with Ultra HD also have a higher DPI value, i.e. more pixels with the same size of the image area. This makes it possible to display elements larger without losing the smallest details or to adjust the scaling so that more elements fit on the screen. In the office area, for example, more information can be accommodated on the screen. Fonts also appear much sharper and can be read without any problems even with a smaller font size. Gaming enthusiasts appreciate the higher level of detail and the more realistic representation that this makes possible.

Examples of good 4K UHD monitors

In the 4K monitor test, the Eizo EV3237-BK has already proven his skills several times and often emerged as the test winner. No wonder, because its exceptionally short response time of only 5 ms, the high contrast and the good lighting of 300 cd / sqm of the IPS panel make it perfect for demanding users who are looking for a special experience. The fact that the manufacturer Eizo is primarily targeting professional users with this device can be seen in the color rendering. Instead of the usual 8 bits, the so-called "look up table" (LUT) in this case has 10 bits and can therefore be controlled much more precisely.

Eizo EV3237-BK 80 cm (31,5 inch 4K UHD) monitor (DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, 5ms response time, ...
  • 31,5 inch 4K UHD monitor with IPS technology and 16: 9 format; 3840 x 2160 pixels with 60Hz and 30Hz
  • 5ms switching time gray with overdrive function
  • Contrast 1000: 1; Brightness 300cd / qm; 178 ° viewing angle; Auto-EcoView, EcoView-Index, Sense and Optimizer for maximum ...

4K doesn't have to be expensive because with the Philips 288P6ljEB / 00 you get a 4K-capable monitor at an absolute entry-level price. It also has decent values ​​and a response time of just 1ms. However, there are slight reductions in terms of the panel, because instead of LEDs or even IPS, only a "normal" TN panel is installed here.

Philips 288P6LJEB - 28 inch UHD monitor (3840x2160, 60 Hz, VGA, DVI, DisplayPort) black
  • Ultra-fast response time of 1ms: ideal for gamers
  • TN panel, UHD, matt display with 1 ms response time, 150 mm height adjustable, loudspeaker
  • Brightness / contrast: 300 cd / m² 1.000: 1, connections: VGA (analog), DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB hub

Auch der LG IT Products 27UD58-B is priced in the lower sector, but has a modern IPS panel and, thanks to Black Stabilizer and Dynamic Action Sync, can also convince with a good black value, which unfortunately often falls short on many monitors, but especially in multimedia and gaming -Applications is quite relevant. Free sync and game mode also ensure that there is no input lag, tearing or ghosting in action-packed scenes, which also makes it clear which target group LG is targeting with this monitor, although the split screen with the up to four sources can be displayed at the same time, would also be suitable for professional use.

The future today?

Whether the Switch to an Ultra-HD monitor already worthwhile today, depends above all on personal requirements and whether you are willing to make some compromises. In the last few years, technology has moved a long way in the right direction. HDMI 2.0 and Apple's Thunderbolt or Displayport provide good and compatible connection options. 4K is also usually supported by graphics card manufacturers, unless you use the entry-level products.

Apple shows how it can work: The American manufacturer has been relying on the successor to Full HD for years, which is why products from 2013, such as the MacBook Pro Retina, Mac Pro and iMac, were all 4K-capable and native via the display port or Thunderbolt connection decreed. Of course, this is also the case with newer products and Apple has even set up a special support page where you can find out about the compatibility of your devices in connection with 4K.

4K display compared to other resolutions

4K picture with comparison of other resolutions. Ultra HD on TV and computer - Photo: scyther5 / Bigstock

It looks a little different with the software: Windows itself is fully compatible with 4K in its current version, but the programs executed there do not have to be, so it can happen that fonts and graphic elements are not displayed properly. This is especially the case with older office applications. MacOS also copes with higher resolutions without any problems, but the same restrictions apply here as with the Windows software.

In the games or gaming sector, the support looks much better here. Almost all modern games are either natively 4k-capable, can be patched or at least upscaled, so that gamers can already get their money's worth today. If you want to take the step, you should definitely do some research before buying whether problems can be expected with your favorite game or desired applications so that 4K enjoyment does not turn into 4K frustration.

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