Initially, 4K monitors were expensive and we had limited content to watch, and games to play in 4K resolution. Now in 2023, there are millions of 4K videos on YouTube alone. Most importantly, 4K monitors are cheap now. You can easily get a 4K monitor under $300 but is a 4K monitor worth it? Should you buy a 4K monitor? Let’s find out.
Do you Need a 4K Monitor?
It completely depends on the usage of the monitor. If you are someone who just wants a crispy and sharp picture quality while surfing the web, or watching movies or TV shows, a 4K monitor is definitely worth it. Many programmers, developers and coders also prefer to have a 4K monitor because of its higher pixel density. The higher pixel density means a more crispy and sharp picture that ultimately helps them to see small text, alphabets, and characters while writing codes.
If you are a coder or programmer and looking for a monitor, check out best monitor for programming where you will find some of the best 4K as well as 5K monitors for comfortable coding sessions.
There are a lot of cheap 4K monitors available in the market that are capable of offering your extra crispy, sharp picture quality without any issues.
On the other side, if you are into gaming and looking for a 4K monitor for gaming, you might need to stop and go through the GPU and CPU of your gaming rig. Rendering 4K gaming even at 60FPS requires powerful hardware. A 4K monitor is only worth it when your gaming PC/Laptop or gaming console is capable of running games at 4K resolution.
There is one more use case for 4K monitors and that is for professional usage like photo editing, video editing, graphic designing, etc.
Now, who needs a 4K monitor and is a 4K monitor worth it in 2023? Let’s talk about it one by one.
4K Monitor for PC Gaming
There are 2 kinds of gamers, one who plays on PC and a second, who plays games on a console like Xbox or PS5. First, let’s talk is 4K monitor worth it for PC gaming.
The need for a 4K monitor for gaming entirely depends on the specifications of your PC and the expectations of gamers. For 4K gaming on PC, there should be a powerful GPU like RTX 3080, RTX 4090. Any other RTX 30 series GPU will also work fine but the frame rates will remain limited up to 60FPS only. Along with a powerful GPU, and a powerful CPU, RAM is also required for 4K gaming.
Check out the Frame Rates (FPS) of Forza Horizon 5 at 1080p Full HD resolution using RTX 4070 GPU.
The need for a 4K monitor for gaming also depends on the expectations of the gamer. Some competitive gamers crave those extra frame rates at higher refresh rates for smooth, fluid gaming performance while story-mode gamers crave extra pixels for sheer clarity and sharpness.
Check out the FPS of Forza Horizon 5 at 4K resolution using RTX 4070:
You can clearly see that Forza Horizon 5 when played at 1080p resolution gives 186FPS while the same game with the same GPU gives 102FPS which is a significant difference.
So if you need higher frame rates like 200+ FPS or even more, there is no point in getting a 4K monitor simply because the hardware it requires to render 200+ FPS at 4K resolution would be ridiculously expensive. Instead, go for a 360hz monitor that comes with Full HD 1080p resolution and enjoy the high FPS gameplay at Full HD resolution without spending a fortune.
But if you are satisfied with 50-100FPS at 4K resolution, go for a 4K monitor for gaming. The 4K resolution will give the most gorgeous-looking graphics for best visual experience. Here are some good 4K monitors you can check:
But if you are someone who needs a balance of good frame rates and good resolution, better go for a 1440p QHD monitor which is also considered as the sweet spot for gaming. Here are some monitor recommendations you can check for 1440p monitors
4K Monitor for Console Gaming
Data says that among ~1.8 Billion gamers around the world, ~56% of gamers play games on Console like Xbox, Playstations, etc. That is a huge number but not everyone needs a 4K monitor for gaming.
The new generation of consoles like PS5, and Xbox Series X supports 4K resolution at 120FPS but for that, you need a 4K monitor with an HDMI 2.1 port and at least 120hz refresh rate with VRR. There are enough HDMI 2.1 4K monitors available in the market that are ready to give 4K 120FPS gaming on new-gen consoles.
But, not everyone needs a 4K HDMI 2.1 monitor for console gaming. If you are using an old-generation gaming console, you don’t need to incline towards a high-end 4K monitor with an HDMI 2.1 port simply because those consoles are not capable of pushing beyond 60FPS. In that case, a good 1440p or even 1080p monitor will work fine for you.
In a nutshell, the need for a 4K monitor entirely depends on the console you are using and what you want to drive from the console. There are a lot of PS5 users who are using 1440p gaming monitors to enjoy the gameplay. The 4K HDMI 2.1 monitors are still expensive as compared to 1440p and 4K HDMI 2.0 monitors. Console gamers can also consider a TV for gaming like LG C2 which also comes with 4K resolution and HDMI 2.1 port. Here is more about TV vs. Monitor for gaming.
4K Monitor for Daily Use
Now if you are not a gamer but a casual user who is planning to get a 4K monitor for web surfing, watching movies/tv shows, watching 4K YouTube videos and another casual usage, Is a 4K monitor worth it? Should you get a 4K monitor for everyday use?
The answer is Yes. For casual usage, a 4K monitor definitely worth it. You get the crispy, sharp picture quality no matter what you do. A 27-inch 4K monitor has a pixel density of ~163PPI which is 108PPI in QHD 1440p resolution. More pixels on the same size of the screen means more detailing and crispy picture quality.
Most streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO NOW, etc. already have the 4K content to stream, and a 4K monitor will do wonders for you. The immersive, detailed picture quality is what you can expect. For an even better experience, you can also consider a 4K monitor that comes with VESA DisplayHDR 400 or DisplayHDR 600 certification for an ultimate HDR visual experience.
There would be a big price difference but if you need high brightness, more colors and a contrast ratio, a 4K HDR monitor is good to go. The good thing is, a decent 4K monitor is not even expensive in 2023. You can easily get a good 4K monitor for under $500 and if you want a bare minimum 4K display, you can get it for under $300.
Any decent laptop or PC is capable of streaming 4K content however, you definitely need a strong and fast internet connection of 25Mbps-50Mbps for smooth, buffer-free 4K streaming.
So, if you are in a dilemma should you get a 4K monitor for everyday use, go for it, It is totally worth it.
4K Monitor for Professional Usage
When we say professional usage, it means video editing, photo editing, graphic designing, LIVE Streaming, 3D modeling, Writing, Coding and programming and other similar professionals where you need to interact with on-screen software on a computer. If you are planning to upgrade to a 4K monitor and wondering if a 4K monitor is worth it for your use case, here is a short and simple answer.
Well, that depends on the person, their audience, and also the computer or laptop they are using. For example, 4K video editing is not an easy task for a decent computer. It utilizes a lot of RAM, GPU, and CPU resources to edit and render a 4K video. If your rig is not powerful enough, there is no point in getting the 4K monitor in the first place.
Another thing is if you are into LIVE Streaming on Twitch, Youtube or any other online platform and thinking of streaming, 4K videos but your audience is only streaming at 1080p, in that case, you don’t need a 4K monitor. Also, 4K streaming needs a lot of hardware resources without which the stream will buffer. For 4K streaming, make sure you have the best laptop for streaming as well.
A 4K monitor makes complete sense if you have a powerful rig and you are into photo editing, and graphic designing. For crafting the deepest detailing of any graphic or photo, you need a higher resolution and dense pixel density which the 4K monitor checks.
A 4K monitor is also suitable for coders & programmers, writers etc. because it gives sharp and detailed text which definitely improves the overall working experience.
So, it comes to the same point. Is a 4K monitor worth it for professional usage? The answer would be Yes as well as No. You have to analyze the whole work scenario and if you have the right audience to consume detailed content, and have a powerful computer to render 4K content, a 4K monitor definitely worth it.
Is a 4K Monitor Worth it – Final Verdict
A 4K UHD monitor has 3840 x 2160 pixels and it is a heavy task for a computer/laptop to process all these pixels to generate a final image. Things get even harder when it comes to gaming. In gaming, a computer has to work on rendering the graphics, at the same time dealing with GPU and CPU to power the game.
If you are into gaming and asking if you should get a 4K monitor for gaming, just make sure you have a powerful gaming rig for that. This same thing goes for a 4K monitor for professional usage.
Next-gen Console gamers can still move to a 4K monitor but make sure it has an HDMI 2.1 port otherwise HDMI 2.0 will limit the resolution to 1440p making the console underperforming.
For everyday use, a 4K monitor is totally worth it. Whether it is 4K movies or tv shows, or web surfing, a 4K monitor will give you the best picture quality for everyday use.