Most people are aware of the difference between 1080p Full High Definition (FHD) video and 4K or 2160p Ultra High Definition (UHD) video, even if it’s a surface level understanding that 4K has a bigger, clearer resolution worthy of a cinema projector compared to the 1080p FHD standard.
Further reading: Your Guide to Full HD vs. Ultra HD (UHD vs. FHD)
However, what about 1440p? Is it better than 4K? It shouldn’t be, since 4K is 2160p while 1440p obviously has fewer (vertical pixels). With that said, let’s talk about 1440p vs. 4K: Is 1440p better than 4K?
Let’s now compare 4K UHD to 1440p.
|Categories||4K UHD||1440p QHD|
|Also Known As||2160p, 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD), or 4K Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) UHD||Quad High Definition or Quad HD (QHD). In some circles, it’s even referred to as WQHD.|
|Pixel Count||3840 x 2160 pixels (4K UHD) or 4096 x 2160 pixels (4K DCI UHD)||2560 x 1440 pixels (QHD)|
|Comparison||4K UHD and DCI simply use more pixels and has higher resolution overall.|
There’s clearer movement, more picture detail, and wider color range (HDR) possible with UHD.
Some profiles of gamers prefer 4K not because it’s currently the gaming standard, but instead because the next generation of PC and console gaming is moving towards a 4K or even 8K future.
Both 4K UHD 2160p and 1440p resolutions both use progressive scan since interlaced or alternating scanning is a relic of the past for analog video.
|In terms of cost and benefits, 1440p serves as the better upgrade from 1080p compared to 4K UHD.|
There’s simply more support and media available for 1440p QHD, especially in the context of gaming, compared to the still emerging 4K UHD.
1440p along with 1080p remains the current (albeit older) standard compared to 4K even in the 2020s.
Films, TV shows, and games in FHD and QHD still outnumber 4K films, TV shows, and games of this generation.
In fairness though, more media is 1080p instead of 1440p still.
|Display Type||It’s becoming more and more common for huge HDTVs and the latest projectors from the late 2010s to the early 2020s.|
Digital cameras are likelier to have more affordable DCI 4K compared to projectors and HDTVs.
The 2160p resolution is the more common 4K compared to DCI 4K resolution.
|1440p and even 1080p is more widely supported even in 2021 compared to 4K among HDTVs, projectors, monitors and even cameras.|
Legacy systems can scale and edit better with 1440p compared to 4K UHD.
This might change soon once FHD and QHD go the way of 480p and analog displays.
What is 1440p? What is 4K?
As everyone knows, 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) is the bare minimum resolution needed to reach High Definition (HD) while 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) is considered Full HD (FHD). Currently, FHD has been upgraded to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) 2160p Ultra HD (UHD) and even 8K (7680 × 4320 pixels) UHD.
However, projectors can only go up to 4K at present. In between FHD and UHD though is 1440p (2560 x 1440 pixels) Quad HD (QHD). All HD resolutions follow the 16:9 aspect ratio instead of the past CRT TV analog or Standard Definition (SD) aspect ratio of 4:3.
The QHD, WQHD, or Quad HD resolution of 1440p was the original upgrade to 1080p FHD until 4K came along. It’s mostly used in things like social media apps, gaming in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and legacy video editing applications.
Regardless, as far as HD beyond FHD is concerned, 1440p and 2160p are among the latest viable resolution standards. By viable, we mean most of the film, TV, and game industry upgrade to QHD or 4K UHD instead of, say, 8K to 10K.
In What Way is 1440p Better Compared to 4K?
At first glance, the reverse is instead true. 4K 2160p is supposedly better than 1440p due to it having a bigger resolution and more pixel density, which is perfect for larger HDTVs or projectors with huge screens.
However, even though pixel count is an objective and technical method of calculating the difference between the two, the true value of these resolution standards depends mostly on the application of such features. There’s also the fact that 1440p has more support than 4K.
The main point of contention between 4K and 1440p is less regarding gaming projectors or HDTVs and more about gaming PC monitors. To be more specific, when undergoing a cost and benefit analysis, a 1440p gaming monitor is more cost-effective and beneficial.
1440p vs. 4K in Gaming
While 4K might seem like the best option for TV streaming, cinematic videos, and gamers, 1440p has roughly the same quality as the pixel-dense 4K at a certain monitor size. For projector screen size, 4K is the way to go.
4K allegedly brings the ultimate gaming experience, but it’s not apparent with HDTV or PC monitor sizes. That extra 8 million pixels work better with projector-size screens. Furthermore, gaming-wise, 4K isn’t as widely supported and is infamously hard to run.
You need a high-end PC (that can run something like Crysis) or a next-generation console like the PlayStation 5 in order to really see the full potential of 4K. Otherwise, at present, 1440p is good enough appearance-wise, support-wise, and even pixel-density-wise.
4K gaming requires extra GPU and the latest high-end games. Most games can run good enough on a 1440p monitor or even a 1080p projector. This can change in the 2020s as games take advantage of HDMI 2.0+ and more immersive UHD-quality polygonal models.
Here are some supplementary videos discussing the differences between 1440p and 4K.
- Nicolas11x12 English, “1440p vs 4K (2160p) Monitor — What To Look Out For!“, YouTube.com, April 5, 2018
- Optimum Tech, “1080p vs 1440p vs 4K Gaming Monitors – My Experience“, YouTube.com, February 21, 2021
4K UHD is supposedly superior to 1440p QHD in almost every way, such that 1440p is considered merely a midway slight upgrade to the 1080p FHD standard. However, 4K is lackluster in key areas fulfilled by 1440p, particularly when it comes to gaming.
Legacy apps of even the 2010s up to the 2020s either solely support 1080p and 1440p or have options for UHD, QHD, and FHD. Furthermore, 4K in any form (DCI or 2160p) is so pixel-dense that any monitor or screen not theater-sized will not be able to showcase UHD’s full potential.
- “Is a 2160p TV worth the upgrade from 1080p? Is it really a noticeable difference in quality for movies and gaming?“, Quora.com, April 8, 2017
- Bob Ludwig, “1440p vs 4k: Pros And Cons“, PlanetHiFi.com, April 2, 2021