Crispness native 1440p vs. 4k "looks like 1440p" downscaling

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by holger, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. holger macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #1
    Hi there,

    Does anyone have real-life experience how MacOS looks like on a 27" 4k display when scaled? And is scaling to "looks like 1440p needed?

    Based on what I saw at the Apple Store (4k ultrafine 21.5" and 5k ultrafine 27"), my guess is that the settings "looks like 1440p" might be the best compromise in terms of size of the fonts for a 4k 27".
    But I didn't find the fonts to be super crisp - the native "retina" resolution (factor x2) looked much sharper.

    Now I'm wondering. If I'm downscaling from 2160p to 1440p to make MacOS look "big enough", would a native 1440p (e.g. the 27" LG 21:9 ultrawides 3440x1440 ) monitor look much worse in terms of crispness of the fonts? The height of a 27" and a 34" ultrawide are approx. the same.

    Could anyone compare the two setups yet?
    I went to 5 different stores, and while some had the screens side-by-side, they monitors only showed scaled demo videos and the salesmen were unwilling to show me a regular windows or mac desktop on them. :-(

    Would appreciate your opinions.
     
  2. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    Apr 27, 2010
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    Aarhus, Denmark
    #2
    (3440 x 1440 is not 1440p. 1440p is 2560 x 1440.)
     
  3. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #3
    If the 5K display isn’t hooked up to a MacBook Pro at the Apple store, then the display isn’t showing true 5K @ 60hz.

    21” 4K is scaled to look like 1080p. The 5K display is set to 1440p. Both monitors have a scale factor of 2x.

    A 4K 27” display set to look like 1440p will have a scale factor of 1.5. So not as sharp as the LG displays, but still quite a bit sharper than a traditional 27” 1440p display with 1x scaling.
     
  4. holger thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 10, 2009
    #4
    Agree, and it doesn't make a difference to my question, as both 3440x1440 and 1440p have 1440 lines.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 17, 2018 ---
    Good point! The 5k was hooked up to a Mac Mini - which does not support the full 5k resolution.
    (Who's doing something stupid like that in an Apple Store Showroom setup??)

    That might have been the reason why the 5k looked a bit disappointing...
     
  5. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #5
    at the local apple store, the 5k display was connected to a mac pro. Not really sure how that worked.
     
  6. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    Aarhus, Denmark
    #6
  7. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #7
    5k resolution was available with the mac pro, but it wasn't pixel doubled.
     
  8. holger thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 10, 2009
    #8
    Thanks for that answer!
    Hmm, so I might get a 27" 4k now and once the LG ultrawide 21:9 5k becomes available and affordable I might switch.
    Saw it at CES and it looked gorgeous!
     
  9. csurfr macrumors 68000

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    Dec 7, 2016
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #9
    The LG Ultrawide screens that are pushing 3440x1440 are no where near retina quality. I have a 34” curved one, and while it looks nice, the text is not crisp.

    If you go with a native 4K screen and choose 1440p, it should essentially be retina quality, with 2 pixels being used for every one pixel (something like that).
     
  10. jerwin macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2015
    #10
    The crispiest screens are doubled.

    1080p on a 4k screen
    1440p on a 5k screen.
     
  11. SheridanMac macrumors member

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    Jan 13, 2011
    #11
    I used a 32" 2560x1440 monitor for about two years and just last week switched to dual 27" 4k monitors, which most of the time run scaled at 1.5 for the same effective resolution. I had recurring bouts of doubt as to the benefit of the extra pixels at the scaled resolution during this week, but today I spent some time on my old monitor and can safely say the difference is night and day. That text looks awfully jagged to me now and the 4k looks very pleasing. Very happy in my decision to upgrade tp 4k and not spend the extra money to go to 5k.
     
  12. csurfr macrumors 68000

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    Dec 7, 2016
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #12
    I couldn’t agree more. The difference between retina and xxxxxxx ultrawide is night and day. I loved ultrawide for dev work, but staring at code all day wasn’t a lot of fun.
     
  13. jimthing, Mar 19, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018

    jimthing macrumors 65816

    jimthing

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    #13
    Sorry, but to be clear here, you HAVE to get 5K displays for full retina quality at 1440p, with a screen estate of ~27".
    Hence why I have two of the 27" LG 5K's which gave me both retina AND screen real estate (to have several things on screen at the same time in crisp text/image).
    And remember, the larger the 4K's screen size, obviously the less retina quality they become, so it'd be even worse, and you're effectively going back to the standard 1080/1440p resolution again.

    It depends on your budget, as I bought them in Feb 2017 (just after the minor shielding fixes for them were released) when Apple were still selling them for 25% off (£884 then, vs. £1179 now). Although a few Ebay sellers are selling reconditioned ones for a good price, so if I was buying now, that'd be the place I'd go for them.

    I'd certainly not go back to 4K's again, unless I wanted widescreen models for video timeline work or similar, as 5K quality versions of those are a long way off, due to Tbolt 3 connections would have to use two controllers (i.e. on a 16/17 MBP, you'd have to run a cable into the controller on both sides of the MBP, as you have to do now with two separate 5K displays: a cable into each side).
     
  14. SheridanMac macrumors member

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    Jan 13, 2011
    #14
    I went hogwild experimenting with monitors in the past two weeks, buying and returning the LG 5k Ultrafine and a BenQ 32" 4K before ending up with my dual 27" 4k displays. Without a doubt, the LG had the best image quality, but at $1300 from the Apple store, I could not justify the cost given the marginal improvement over 4k to my eyes (of course mileage may vary, A LOT). I was actually pretty happy with 32" 4k scaled to 1440p, but the pricing for dual 27" models ended up actually being less than a single 32" one so went that route, and am very happy.

    Even with the slight degradation from 1.5 scaling, 27" 4k at 1440 is pretty damn good. I'm actually stuck back on my 32" native 1440k monitor today and the difference is pretty huge.
     
  15. holger thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 10, 2009
    #15
    Supplemental: I chose the LG 34UC99-W ultrawide and I'm really happy with it.

    I found a really useful website. Here's the comparison of an LG 27" 4k vs. the LG 34" ultrawide 1440k
    http://displaydetails.com/cmp?u1=309&u2=284

    I really like the graphical illustrations of pixel size vs. physical size. You can easily see that they are the same physical height.
    And it calculates that from 31" (ultrawide) and 21" (4k), respectively, you can't recognize individual pixels anymore.

    That's also what I experience with the monitor now. It's so big that I sit more than 31" away anyway, and then I don't mind the lower resolution, really.
     
  16. y.pencil macrumors newbie

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    Nov 1, 2018
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    London
    #16
    What mac are you using? Didn't you notice any performance hit (UI animations etc.) when going for the scaled 1440p? Is everything as smooth as in the native resolution? Thanks.
     

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