2K Monitors – What You Need to Know

The Utter Confusion of 2K Monitors

Dell-U2715HI’ve recently been looking at buying a new 2K monitor. For those not in the know, 2K equates to a maximum resolution of 2560×1440 as opposed to HD’s standard 1920×1080. There’s nothing wrong with my current Asus PA248Q which is a high-end 24″ IPS LED monitor with fully adjustable stand, but my great granddaughter managed to get loose in the workshop and gouged a little mark into the screen. It’s not a big blemish but it’s right in the middle of the screen and is a damn nuisance whenever I’m typing or scrolling through a web page – it always seems to be in the way.

Why is 2K So Much More Expensive

Anyway, I decided that if I was going to purchase a new monitor it should be an upgrade so started looking into 27″ monitors which support the 2K resolution. The first thing that struck me was the additional hit to the wallet, with 27″ 2K resolution monitors averaging out at around $200.00au more than the equivalent in 1920×1080. However, I really wanted a bigger screen and the consensus among those who know a lot more about monitors than I is that 1920×1080 looks pretty crappy at 27″ and 2K is by far the preferred option.

Don’t Forget about the Graphics Card!

I wasn’t long into my research when I realized that my current graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce GT 740) does not support 2K at 60Hz – I am not a gamer so a low-end to middle of the road GPU has always sufficed. I looked into the options and a new graphic card supporting 2K at 60Hz is going to set me back around $180.00au. So now I’m looking at around $600.00au for the monitor PLUS another $180.00au to upgrade my GPU – this is becoming a rather expensive exercise.

Not All Connections Support 2K

geforce-gtx-portsI always thoroughly investigate each option before making a major purchase, reading reviews and hunting around forums, and it was there that I came across another potential trap for new players. Most modern monitors come with several connection options including DVI, HDMI, and display port, as do the more up market graphics cards. However, apparently not all connections support the 2K resolution. I read many complaints from buyers who’d thought, as I did, that 2K would be available across the board, and were mystified when hooking up their new monitor via HDMI only to find that they weren’t able to display at maximum resolution. Needless to say, most were not impressed.

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s the graphics card or monitor which is causing the issue over HDMI. However, I have also learned that there appear to be no such problems when connecting via display port to display port. Which brings us back to the graphics card. Most older GPUs do not include a display port connection so, even if an existing card supports 2K and HDMI, achieving the desired result may still be problematic.

I’ve been procrastinating over this for several months now and have pretty much decided that an $800.00au outlay is pretty difficult to justify merely to upgrade a monitor – heck, I can buy a whole new desktop PC for that sort of money.

Korean 2K Monitors

crossover monitorThere are a number of 2K monitor brands from Korea which are available at a considerably lower price – Crossover and QNIX probably being among the best known. However, these suppliers’ warranties do not generally cover black light bleed or dead pixels up to and including 3, which are probably two of the most common faults in new monitors. Plus, their returns policy includes the standard – return postage is at the buyers cost. Which, considering the weight and distance, is almost certain to be prohibitively expensive.

User reports of these monitors tend to suggest that they are pretty much a hit and miss proposition, with many having no problems while others end up in monitor hell. To my way of thinking, even at the reduced price, there is still enough outlay involved to represent a significant gamble, especially considering the practically useless warranty.

A Minor Rant – Connection Hell

monitor ports-outward facing

I’ve always hated where monitor manufactures choose to position the various connection ports – toward the bottom of the back panel facing downward. Which is all well and good when setting the monitor up for the first time but woe betide if one needs to change the connection type. It’s as if they thought…”now, where can we place these connections where they’ll cause the most inconvenience and irritation“.

One of the 27” 2K monitors I’ve been considering is the BenQ GW2765HT, not only are the connections downward facing at the rear but the OSD menu buttons are also at the rear of the panel – what genius thought that was a good idea!? Some manufactures, but not many, are now starting to position the connections facing outward from the back panel, which is a MUCH more sensible idea.

Glossy vs Matte Screen

glossy vs matte

To finish up; a word about the glossy vs matte screen debate, which, it now seems, is no longer relevant.

The previous article I wrote regarding monitors, published back in January last year, elicited comments from a couple of readers wondering why I didn’t discuss Glossy vs Matte screens. As I explained at the time; this choice is purely subjective and largely dependent on ambient light in the monitor’s working environment. Glossy screen monitors offer a more vibrant display but are also more reflective, so are more suited to a dark(ish) environment. On the other hand, a matte screen will diminish the display’s vibrancy but also cut down on glare – more suited to a bright(ish) environment.

That said; matte technology has moved on since then with almost all manufacturers now opting for a superior matte finish which is anti-glare while still allowing for a vibrant display. This is not only the perfect compromise but also completely negates the glossy vs matte debate.

Anyway, I do not profess to be any sort of expert on monitors or 2K, but I hope that maybe someone thinking about upgrading to 2K might read this and at least learn something from my own research. If you have had experience with a 2K monitor, please enlighten us via the comments.

7 thoughts on “2K Monitors – What You Need to Know”

  1. Drool. I too have a make on my primary monitor, an accident of my own making. Luckily it is off to the side and not too bothersome.

    I noticed when checking the cost of 2K monitors here in Canada that two resolutions are given, 2560 x 1440 and 2560 x 1080. Cannot see why anyone spending that kind of money would do the smaller.

    Here is to winning a lottery. 🙂

  2. After reading your article Jim, I did a quick search and found that newegg (don’t know if you have stores like this down under) carries both 2k and 4k models. The price between the two is low, and 4k offers a 3840 x 2160 resolution. Then I started reading some of the comments from users. Some were happy, but the bulk of what I read were very disappointed with their purchase. My wall bracket supports up to a 27″, but I’m satisfied with 24″ HD. As a non gamer, I fail to see spending a larger sum, as the price on 24″ HD monitors has dropped below $200 CDN. Cheers mate, Mindblower!

    1. Hey MB – Surprisingly, the pricing difference between 2K and 4K is minimal. In fact, some 4K monitors are less expensive here than 2K monitors.

  3. Just to confuse matters even more…. You should really check out ultrawides.

    I did the ‘doggy wants a biccie’ drool for a few months and was bought one by the wife – she couldn’t take any more sad faces and sighs…

    LG 2560 x 1080 34″ – sounds a bit odd but it’s like having a 24″ with another half stuck on the side.

    It is really functional. At the moment I’m surfing on a 24″ whilst keeping an eye on my downloads (ftp) and still have room to see my gadgets even further over.

    I think ‘resolution’ is becoming a bit of a *^($” measuring contest these days. A few years back I had a 27″ 1080 and couldn’t see a problem (I worked in the print industry for many years) especially with ‘older’ eyes the extra pixels are wasted.

    The price was £315GBP in March (UK) for an LG 34UM57 with ports pointing backwards from Amazon.


    P.S. 21:9 ratio is really great for Avatar and Lord of the Rings to name just two!

    1. Interesting alternative Jon. Thanks for your input here. It’s always good to hear the views of someone speaking from experience, appreciated.

      1. The other thing I forgot to mention was that the format was originally brought out to provide a larger screen (width) that could be coped with by the (then) basic graphics cards for gaming. It was an alternative to a large 4K screen.

        You’d know better than me but it may just be a case of not needing a card upgrade as well. BUT better check as some cards/drivers/programs don’t support the format.

        Personally, I am over the moon with the monitor. The shape is just right to fit my glasses :o)

        The only downside is it being ‘borrowed’ when we watch a 21:9 movie it really does improve things when the full screen is image and there aren’t black bars top and bottom. Viewed at 6ft away every hair is visible.

        I’m not sure of the exchange rate GBP:AUD (hope that’s right) but it seems a cheaper option.


        P.S. Herself bought me a gigabyte brix at the same time which just hangs on the back – it makes a great ‘all in one’ combo, running well off the onboard intel graphics.

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