17 32-inch QHD monitors review: Big size, nice pixels

Surprisingly high quality for surprisingly low prices

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Introduction

Presumably you've made up your mind: your next monitor will be a 4K model. But still, if you want to buy a new screen right now, you shouldn't forget WQHD models. We tested 17 screens with a diagonal of 32 inches.


The monitor manufacturers are focusing on 4K on a massive scale, resulting in continuous price reductions. A 27-inch copy with IPS panel can be found for well under 480 dollars. Of course, four times as many pixels as full HD sounds like a nice upgrade, but you may wonder if ultra HD is the best choice at the moment.

4K disadvantages

The sharpness and thus the detail of 4K resolutions are beyond dispute, but there are also disadvantages to this amount of pixels. The most important thing is that not even in 2018 all software scales properly: the principle that for each pixel of an interface (a menu, an icon, etc.) not one pixel of the screen is used, but several. This is necessary to prevent image elements from being displayed too small to be usable. That's actually a requirement on all diagonals smaller than 32 inches, and even on that size 125% scaling is no superfluous luxury. When scaling works well, it is not a problem, but there are still a lot of applications (such as software from mouse and keyboard manufacturers, to name but one) that do not scale properly. This is then displayed too small or simply ugly. It is possible to control a 4K screen with a lower resolution, but this does not make everyone happy. For example, QHD (2560x1440) cannot be mapped 1-on-1 to the 3840x2160 pixels below it, which causes a certain degree of blurring. If you're sensitive to that, it's just annoying - it's like your screen isn't sharp.

This disadvantage is less noticeable with games than with text and high-contrast transitions, but that is a good thing. The second disadvantage of 4K screens relates precisely to games: for the delivery of a sloppy 8 million fresh image points sixty times a second, a great deal of graphic processing power is required. Only the very latest, and therefore the most expensive, video cards are capable of such a feat.

In addition, the current interfaces of 4K monitors, Display port 1.2 and HDMI 2.0, do not provide sufficient bandwidth for greater colour depths and higher refresh rates. The first one can be equipped with some tricks, the second one really needs faster interfaces. If you want a 'real' HDR 4K monitor, you'll have to wait a few more months (and save a lot, because they won't be cheap).

That brings us to the last point, price. It is true that nowadays you already have an ultra-hD monitor for around 360 dollars, a model that also offers some image quality quickly costs 120 dollars more. If you also want to avoid the problem of image scaling and thus a 32-inch 4K screen, you have to count on a few hundred dollars more, apart from a single unboxed show model.


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