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QHD vs 4K: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

QHD and 4K are popular screen resolutions used in computers, TVs, and smartphones. Knowing how these resolutions affect image clarity will help you choose the best option for your digital gadgets.

The standard 4K resolution accommodates 8,294,400 pixels on the screen, which produces sharper, better, and crispier images. On the other hand, QHD resolution has 3,686,400 pixels on the screen, almost half the number of pixels as a standard 4K resolution. Therefore, 4K has a better image quality.

QHD vs 4K

In the rest of this article, I’ll compare QHD and 4K resolutions in terms of pixel density, image quality, price, and power consumption. By the end of this article, you’ll know which type of resolution is better for your needs. Keep reading!

Also read: Is It Worth Getting A 4k TV?

QHD vs 4K: The Main Differences Explained

If you are on the market for a new device and you may be unsure of which resolution you should choose. The best way to decide which resolution is better for you is to explore how the 4K and the QHD differ. The main differences are as follows. 

QHD vs. 4K: Number of Pixels

The main difference between QHD (quad HD) and 4K resolution is the number of pixels within the screen. QHD resolution has a screen pixel dimension of 2,560 x 1,440.

These measurements mean 2,560 pixels along the screen length and 1,440 pixels along the screen’s height. In total, a monitor using QHD resolution has 3,686,400 pixels.

On the other hand, 4K resolution has a screen pixel dimension of 3,840 x 2,160. The screen length, in this case, is 3,840 pixels, while the height is 2,160 pixels. In total, a 4K resolution screen has 8,294,400 pixels.

QHD vs. 4K: Pixel Density

Pixel density measures how many pixels are packed into a given area, measured in pixels per inch (PPI). The higher the pixel density, the sharper an image appears. Regarding pixel density— QHD is far behind the standard 4K resolution.

A 27” (685.8 mm) QHD screen has a pixel density of about 108 PPI, while a standard 4K resolution on the same screen has a pixel density of about 163 PPI. That’s a difference of about 50%.

If your primary concern is the density of pixels, then you should go with the standard 4K resolution for sharper and crisper images.

It’s worth mentioning that you can still enhance the image quality on your 4K resolution monitor by varying the refresh rate. For instance, 4K at 60Hz is better for watching movies than the exact resolution at 30Hz.

QHD vs. 4K: Image Quality

Apart from pixel density, several other factors influence the image quality, such as:

  • Color accuracy: How accurately colors display on the screen.
  • Color depth: The number of color shades displayed on the screen.
  • Brightness: The level of light emitted by the screen.
  • Contrast ratio: According to the Optica Publishing Group, the contrast ratio is the difference in luminance between the brightest white and the darkest black.
  • Viewing angles: This process measures how far you can deviate from looking directly at the screen before the image quality degrades.

Regarding image quality, the standard 4K resolution has the edge over QHD. The main reason is that it has more pixels per inch, leading to sharper and better images. Also, the higher pixel density means the color depth and accuracy are better on a standard 4K resolution screen.

It’s worth noting that you may not see any difference between QHD and 4K resolutions due to screen size. Resolution depends mainly on screen size. For example, you’ll not notice any difference between 4K and QHD on a screen whose diagonal is 4 inches (101.6 mm).

Price Difference Between QHD and 4K

The price of monitors and TVs with QHD and standard resolutions has decreased significantly in recent years. However, the standard resolution devices are still more expensive than QHD.

For instance, you can find a 27-inch (685.8 mm) QHD monitor for around $200, while the same size monitor with a standard 4K resolution will cost you $100 more.

You should note that 4K resolution monitors are priced high due to their high-quality images.

The price discrepancy between QHD and standard resolution monitors is not as significant as it used to be. However, you should opt for a small QHD monitor if you’re on a tight budget. Smaller QHD screens display sharper images than large ones.

QHD vs. 4K: Power Consumption

QHD has the edge over 4K resolution regarding power saving.

The 4K resolution uses more power due to its high PPI compared to its QHD counterpart. That’s why most laptops with a QHD resolution have better battery life than those with a 4K resolution.

Besides resolution, screen size also affects how much power the monitor uses. Power consumption is directly proportional to screen size. So, a 27-inch (685.8 mm) QHD monitor will consume more power than a 24-inch (609.6 mm) QHD monitor.

Powering a large screen means there is a large area that you need to power for brightness.

To sum it up, if you’re looking for a resolution that will save you money and have better battery life, go for QHD. But if image quality is your main concern, then the standard 4K resolution is the way to go.

QHD vs. 4K: Upclose Image Comparison

Zooming into content on the screen is when you’ll see the difference between QHD and standard resolution.

On a QHD monitor, pictures and videos appear a little blurrier when you’re up close compared to a 4K resolution monitor.

This lack of definition is because fewer pixels per inch (25.4 mm) on a QHD screen leads to lower image quality.

On the other hand, the 4K resolution has more pixels per inch (25.4 mm). So, when you zoom in, the images appear sharper and more precise.

However, looking at some content on 4K and QHD screens at a distance will not depict any discernible difference.

Therefore, you can go for the QHD resolution if your primary concern is to view content from a distance, like in a living room. In such a case, you’ll save money with a QHD screen with the same image quality as the more expensive 4K one.

Is 4K Better Than QHD?

4K is better than QHD in image quality, with a PPI significantly higher than 1080p HD video. 4k is best for large screen viewing due to its pixel density and the better option for gaming. However, QHD is excellent for screens less than  27-inches (68.5.cm) and is the more affordable of the two options.

Ultimately, the best choice between the 4K and QHD rests on what your particular viewing needs entail. 

The Best Resolution for Gaming

Gaming requires high image quality and fast response time. You want to get fine details to understand how to maneuver the game.

Screen size is a crucial factor when selecting the best gaming resolution. Larger screens are clearer and crispier only when using the 4K resolution. QHD is excellent for screens less than 27 inches (685.8 mm).

The table below shows how the 4K and QHD resolutions compared in gaming monitors:

ResolutionQHD (2560 x 1440)4K (3840 x 2160)
Graphic detailingIt is highly detailed on screens under 27 inches (685.8 mm)It remains detailed even on larger screens
Power consumptionLowHigh
Running graphicsSmoothNeeds high-end graphic cards
Refresh rateMore than 144HzRare and more expensive 144Hz
Purchase costCheaperCostly

Table 1: Comparison between QHD and 4K for gaming screens

According to the above table— if you’re on a budget, you should go for a smaller QHD screen size for gaming. Such a screen eliminates pixelation to give your clear game graphics and images. Going for a larger gaming QHD screen will do the opposite.

If you want a bigger gaming screen than the 27-inch (685.8 mm), 4K resolution will serve you better. The extra pixels will improve image quality and give you a clear display. However, this requires you to have a powerful graphics card that can handle the high resolution.

Image quality is essential for gaming. So, if you have the money to spare, get a monitor with a standard 4K resolution. Otherwise, a smaller QHD-resolution screen will give you an excellent gaming experience without breaking the bank.

Pros and Cons of 4K Resolution

Pros

  • Crisper and quality images: 4K resolution produces high-quality images due to high PPI—four times that of 1080p.
  • Ideal for large screen sizes: A large number of pixels in the standard 4K resolution is perfect for big screen sizes such as TVs and computer monitors.
  • Better viewing experience: You’ll get an immersive viewing experience with a standard resolution monitor.

Cons

  • It’s expensive: Monitors with a 4K resolution are more costly than those with a lower resolution.
  • You need a powerful graphics card: A powerful graphics card is necessary to run games and other high-resolution videos on your computer.
  • Much of the content isn’t widely available: There’s not much content in the standard 4K resolution yet. Most movies and TV shows are still in 1080p.

Pros and Cons of QHD Resolution

Pros

  • Quality images on small-sized screens: QHD resolution produces better-defined images on screens less than 27-inches (685.8 mm).
  • It’s cheaper than the standard resolution: A QHD monitor is more affordable than a standard one.
  • You don’t need a powerful graphics card: A mid-range graphics card can handle the QHD resolution well.

Cons

  • The image quality isn’t as good as standard resolution: When you zoom in, pictures appear more blurry on a QHD screen than on a standard 4K one.
  • It’s not ideal for large screen sizes: The number of pixels in the QHD resolution isn’t enough for big screen sizes.
  • Not the best for gaming: The QHD resolution isn’t ideal for gaming as it doesn’t provide the level of detail needed for an immersive experience.

Conclusion

So, which resolution is better for you? It all comes down to your needs and budget. If you want the best image quality money can buy, then go for a standard 4K resolution monitor. But if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind sacrificing some image quality, then QHD is the way to go.

It’s worth noting that resolution is also affected by screen size. Smaller QHD screens have quality images than larger ones.