Is your 1440p PC monitor secretly hiding a 4K panel?

Computer display manufacturers may be using downscaled 4K panels (2160p) within monitors marketed as QHD (1440p), according to a new report.

German website Prad.de claims some display manufacturers are using 4K panels in their 27-inch 1440p screens.

Why would they do such a thing? Well, to save money obviously. The report points out that the 1440p panels are often more expensive than 4K panels. Prad says the 4K screens are “at least as expensive or even cheaper than a QHD panel” and are used as substitutes when supplies are low.

However, while this might appear to be an upgrade for those affected users, that’s certainly not the case.

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Firstly, there’s no way to unlock the 4K resolution because the firmware is locked, according to the report. Secondly, for some users, especially gamers, 1440p monitors are chosen on purpose.

Often these 1440p panels have have higher refresh rates than their 4K counterparts, while they do not demand as much from graphics cards as the higher-resolution options. This gives them more of a balance between smoothness of visuals and clarity of picture.

So how do you find out whether their 1440p monitor is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” as the report puts it? Prad advises users to check for blurry small text, images and icons, when viewed at normal size. You could also take a look at the pixel size of your monitor. A 1440p display will have 0.23mm pixels. 4K panels are sized at 0.16mm.

The report makes no mention of which manufacturers might be guilty of this practice, but advises users who suspect something to contact the manufacturer.

Do you prefer a QHD monitor for gaming, compared to a 4K panel? Have you noticed suspiciously blurry text on your 1440p display? Let us know why @TrustedReviews on Twitter.