With gaming computers and peripherals, it is always a challenge to find the sweet spot that balances performance with price.
When it comes to monitors, the sheer number of different options can be overwhelming.
Whereas past decades only required you to choose a monitor size, now you also have to select a particular resolution, refresh rate, pixel type, and still manage to stay within your budget. That doesn’t even mention features like variable refresh rates, available ports, VESA mounting, curved screens, eye care, and bezel width.
So, it is understandable that gamers and office workers, alike, are asking whether or not a 2560x1440p monitor is “worth it.”
Here, we will answer this question, both from the standpoint of the gamer and the office worker. We will also look at alternative resolutions you should consider, and ways to maximize monitor performance on a limited budget.
Quick Answer: Is 2560×1440 Worth It?
To determine whether or not 2560×1440 screen resolution is worth it, we first need something to compare it to. Here, the primary competitors are the less expensive, lower resolution 1080p, as well as the more expensive, higher resolution 4K.
A 1440p monitor will run approximately $100-160 more than a comparable 1080p monitor.
As long as your computer and GPU are capable of powering a 1440p monitor without a loss of performance, most (but not all) serious gamers conclude that a 1440p monitor is worth the extra purchase price.
Compared to 4K, a 1440p monitor will save you approximately $250 to $500.
Most users also note that the picture quality increase is more noticeable when moving from 1080p to 1440p than it is when making the jump from 1440p to 4K. Due to the significant price difference, choosing a 4K monitor rather than a 1440p monitor usually isn’t “worth it” unless budget is irrelevant to you. And again, this assumes that your GPU is capable of powering both.
For office workers, the extra resolution of a 1440p will be beneficial for word processing, reading emails, or multitasking with multiple windows. The clearer text allows for smaller windows, therefore resulting in a more user-friendly workstation.
Bottom line: A 27″, 1440p monitor is a great “sweet spot” for almost any use case. For gaming, opt for a 144 Hz refresh rate, too.
Quick Answer: Is 2560×1440 Good for Gaming?
The caveat with any high-performance monitor is that you need a high-performance GPU in order for the monitor to be worthwhile. If your PC is maxed out, there is no point in throwing more money at a 1440p display just to watch your FPS drop.
Even for quality GPUs, a higher screen resolution puts more device on your PC. Sure, you can always downgrade a 1440p monitor to run at 1080p, but that just begs the question — why spend the extra money for 1440p if you can’t use it?
On the other hand, if you spend big money on a quality gaming setup, it makes sense to spend big money on a good monitor, also. If your PC can handle a 1440p, 144 Hz IPS monitor, there is no reason to save $150 by opting for a budget 1080p display.
Bottom line: As long as your PC can support it, 1440p is probably the ideal “middle ground” between high frame rate and high resolution.
Pros of 2560×1440 Display
The obvious advantage of 1440p versus 1080p or 720p is that there are more pixels. This means clearer images with sharper edges and less blur.
Another advantage of this resolution is that text can be displayed smaller (since it is clearer), thereby creating the appearance of a larger screen. For example, if the text is clearer but smaller, you may be able to have your email and word processor both open at the same time. Although a 1440p display doesn’t refer to a particular screen size, the increased clarity will make a screen seem larger.
Finally, the display is simply more pleasant to look at. Whether you are gaming or multitasking or watching movies, a 1440p monitor is going to look better than a 1080 or 720 monitor — again, this is assuming that your GPU can handle the increased burden.
Cons of 2560×1440 Display
The obvious disadvantage of choosing 1440 over 1080 is the price difference. For a standard size monitor, you will be forced to shell out (at least) an extra hundred dollars for a comparable 1440 display.
Another possible, albeit less likely, downside is the compatibility issues surrounding upscaling/downscaling of images. Because many videos and programs are run in 1080p, it is possible to run into compatibility problems during the upscaling to a higher resolution monitor. In other words, a 1080 monitor makes things really easy because there are so many functions that are natively created in 1080.
The final downside that warrants discussion is the impact of your PC’s computing power. If your GPU can’t handle a 1440p display, you will have to downgrade to a lower resolution. Alternatively, you will get a lower FPS, which can impact video quality and especially gameplay.
Most gamers care more about frame rate than resolution. So, if your PC will be nearing its maximum capacity, it would probably be better to upgrade to a higher frame rate monitor (such as going from 60 Hz to 144 Hz) rather than a higher resolution monitor.
How Much More Expensive is a 2560×1440 Monitor?
Although the concept of a computer monitor is simple, the product lineups are not.
In fact, the average brand’s monitor lineup is so scattered and has so much variation in features that it is impossible to find monitors that are equivalent in side-by-side comparisons.
It would be nice if we could look at, for example, a standard ASUS 24″ monitor with a 1080p display and then compare it to a 24″ ASUS with a 1440p display. But there are so many features (refresh rate, IPS vs. other pixel types, size, variable refresh rate, eye care features, etc.) that a side-by-side comparison is tricky.
Therefore, we can only look at price ranges across a wide range of products.
Using a sampling of 10 popular monitors found on various “Best Of” lists, we calculated average prices for 1080p and 1440p monitors.
Within this sampling of “best” 1080p monitors (all of which were 24″ and 144+ Hz), the average price range is $190 to $380.
Within the sample of “best” 1440p monitors (again, all of which were 24″ and 144+ Hz), the average price range is $290 to $540.
On average, a “good” 24″, 1080p, 144 Hz monitor costs ~$280, while quality budget models cost $160-$180.
On average, a “good” 24″, 1440p, 144 Hz monitor costs ~$380, with only a few options available for less than $200.
Moving up to the best 4K monitors, almost any quality product runs north of $600.
The bottom line is that a 1440p monitor costs roughly $100-$160 more than a comparable monitor. However, a 1440p monitor costs roughly $250-$500 less than a comparable 4K monitor.
There are a few final points that need to be mentioned.
First, it is important to recognize that refresh rate has more of an impact on gaming than does screen resolution.
So if you are currently using a 1080p, 60 Hz monitor, it would be better to upgrade to a 144 Hz monitor that is still only 1080, rather than upgrading to a 1440 monitor that is still only 60 Hz.
Second, don’t get bogged down by numbers and specifications only. There are lots of quantifiable features to consider when shopping for a monitor, but don’t forget that your subjective experience is still important.
Whether we are talking about monitors, televisions, or projectors, color reproduction is king. It would be better to have a high-quality 1080p that can accurately reproduce colors than to have a poor-quality 1440p monitor that has dull, washed out, or inaccurate color reproduction.
Ultimately, if your budget can handle another hundred (or two hundred) dollars, and your GPU can handle some extra workload, a 2560×1440 monitor will be worth every penny.
Most users consider the 1440p (“2K”) resolution to be a sweet spot between the affordability of 1080p monitors and the resolution of 4K monitors.