I’ve used a 4K monitor for a year now, for
both gaming and desktop work. In my opinion, the world still isn’t entirely ready for
the jump, but it’s getting there. I’ve already covered gaming at 4K in another video,
this one will focus more on desktop applications. WINDOWS
I never actually had that many problems with Windows 7, but Windows 10 itself works perfectly
with 4K. You’ll want to use its scaling feature, though. If you keep everything at
100% size it’s painful to use, even if you have good eyesight. Onlookers think I’m
joking about when not using scaling… and usually I am. At 200% scaling, it’s like
a much clearer version of 1080p where everything’s got a lot more clarity. I guess most will
choose something like 150%, which is a good compromise. It’s slightly annoying to have
to sign out of Windows every time you want to change this and it resets the position
of everything on my desktop, but hey. Annoyingly, the desktop backgrounds by default are only
HD. There is a 4K version of the original backdrop but it’s hidden away in a strange
folder for some reason. But all-in-all, the Operating System is ready for 4K… although
the text and unrecognised file types look far too similar for my liking.
DESKTOP APPLICATIONS This is the most problematic area. It’s
different for every program, they all work if you have scaling set to 100%, but then
they’re painfully small to use. With scaling, for the most-part they’re still useable,
but some bits of them scale better than others. Take Sony Vegas, for example. Some options
are unavailable because they’re hidden off the side of a fixed-sized box. Some text is
too big for the box that it’s in, making bits difficult to read. You have to be super-precise
with your mouse when editing in this mode, too, since the edges of items remain the same
number of pixels across as in HD mode, making it hard to catch the edges of clips and stuff.
And some programs that were never a problem at HD lag in 4K. Excel’s graphs are slow
to update. There’s a delay when adding text in Sony Vegas. It’s noticeable enough to…
notice, even when using an i7 processor. In short, it’s nice to have more screen-space,
not so nice to have the bugs that go with it.
Just as an example since I have it open, HLSW also struggles with scaling. The text does,
the boxes don’t which leads to everything being pretty damn unusable. Steam and FL Studio
remains the same to look at and to use, only stretched with scaling to make it slightly
blurrier. Microsoft’s Whindows applications like Word and Excel work brilliantly, though
making the charts take up the whole screen can make the program unresponsive, so be careful.
In my opinion, the biggest plus of 4K is text clarity. It makes such a difference, whether
you’re typing up a script in Word or are browsing the internet. And it’s something
that easily scales to 4K! It’s such a jump up that everything looks like it’s a different
font. Your brain’s pretty good at disguising that weird coloured blur at HD, but moving
to the real 4K deal is a treat. But I don’t think anybody’s going to be upgrading to
4K just for clearer text. INTERNET
When using the internet, text looks beautiful but images are a mixed bag. Sites like Facebook
and most news sites are designed with HD in mind and images on these sites look hilariously
jpeg’d or pixelated to the point where you can’t believe you never saw it when using
a standard monitor! Youtube and Reddit are ready though, with crisp, clear preview images.
That being said, no matter how clear small preview images look you’ll still want to
have them take up a sizeable amount of your screen for comfort when viewing them. Size
still matters more than quality when browsing dank memes. Each site supports 4K to a different
extent. What’s Youtube’s 4K option like? It’s
a mixed bag. Most of the benefits of 4K mode can be appreciated even on a non-4K screen,
since the upped bitrate means that surfaces can display more details that would otherwise
look like a blurry mess, regardless of resolution. The only additional benefit of actually viewing
it on a 4K screen is that high contrast edges look a lot clearer, rather than a fuzzy outline
that everything at HD seems to have, but you’ll only actually notice if you’re used to 4K.
RETURN TO GAMING Using anything other than the default 4K resolution
is kind of pointless for most things because it makes everything look worse than you’d
expect. For example, 2560×1440 on a 4K monitor looks far blurrier and blockier than 2560×1440
on a 2560×1440 screen, even if in theory it’s the same thing. Because of this, if I can’t
handle full 4K I usually sacrifice resolution completely, dropping down to 1920×1080 and
opting for higher FPS and detail settings instead. But when I can run 4K, it looks great.
Higher resolutions benefit games that focus on QUANTITY more than QUALITY in my opinion.
This includes tactical ones like Total War, or immersive games with beautiful, expansive
environments like GTA5 and Skyrim. For these I use my ‘special setup’ where I bring
the monitor right up to my face, with the keyboard behind it. You have to be close up
to the screen to really appreciate the increased resolution, plus it gives games a super cool
surround effect. Kind of like VR on a budget and in 2D!
CONCLUSION In conclusion, for most people I still think
a 2560×1440 high refresh rate screen is a better choice, but if you don’t mind regularly
switching resolutions and scaling settings, buying 4K will reward with one of the most
flexible and future-proof devices around. I can use my 4K screen as a standard full
HD monitor, or get a little more screen-space by upping to 2560×1440. Or, when Windows software
lets me, I can move to full 4K and reap the image quality benefits it offers me. Once
the rest of the world has caught up, I really believe 4K is a big enough leap become the
next big standard whilst still not being too difficult to run. I don’t see 8K being feasible
any time soon. And I predict that 5k will become the new pretentious standard that people
will go out of their way to use just to feel slightly superior to everybody else. But the
joke’s on them because I’ll only be making my videos in 4K! Hahaha.