What happened to those 5K monitors and a fantastic idea that has almost disappeared from the map
At the end of 2014 Apple launched its first iMac with a 27-inch Retina 5K display. This seemed like the next step in the evolution of monitors for our PCs, and the advantage was clear: suddenly we could have a native resolution of 5,120 x 2,880 pixels, but it could be scaled to 2,560 x 1,440 pixels with spectacular detail and definition.
I took some time to realize of what that supposed, and even more in taking the leap. I bought a Dell UP2715K 27-inch with 5K resolution and I have not looked back, but the funny thing is that the revolution raised by these monitors came to nothing and it is almost impossible to find a conventional format monitor with that resolution.
Manufacturers please: we want more 5K monitors
I suppose that as in many other things, we have what we demand. Users were not asking for 5K monitors to see things (theoretically) better, but monitors at 144, 240 or 360 Hz to play (theoretically) better.
Manufacturers have focused on precisely that trend of gaming monitors and have almost completely forgotten the benefits of a 5K monitor. They are obvious to me, especially since I think that a diagonal of 27 inches and a resolution of 1440p is the “sweet spot” nowadays when working with a screen connected to a computer.
If, in addition, that 1440p resolution is not native but is scaled from a monitor to 5K resolution, the advantages are obvious: with that scaling (at 200%) four native pixels are combined for each scaled pixel, and since it is possible to adjust the color of each pixel in that matrix, the result is a pixel that gives a lot of play. So much so that the images and texts have a spectacular definition. It’s almost like seeing everything as if it were a sticker on the screen.
Manufacturers do not seem to have taken this advantage too much into account, and those great options that higher resolution monitors give in scaling have been reduced because what we have above all are 4K monitors, which allow us to achieve that same scaling at 200%, but with an effective scaled resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. It looks great, yeah, but the 1,080-pixel vertical resolution falls a bit short. At least me.
Alternative solutions have of course appeared. Ultra-wide monitors offer “pseudo-5K” resolutions, and for example the spectacular Samsung Odyssey G9 has a resolution of 5,120 x 1,440 pixels that of course give a lot of room for maneuver … if we don’t play with scaling.
There are other similar monitors that offer that resolution in 32: 9 formats like the Odyssey G9, but the options for a “pure” 5K monitor are very rare and difficult to find. In fact, I have gone around to review how the market is and I have not been able to find any currently available models. There may be (perhaps with a second-hand model there is better luck), but they seem to have disappeared from the face of the Earth.
Apple has stopped selling the screen LG Ultrafine 5K in Spain – although that points to rumors that they will launch their own monitor in that line— and we have for example models like the Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS or the HP Z27q on the market with 5K resolution, but finding them available is quite a challenge.
It is, I think, a real shame. It is true that there are options that alleviate the absence of 5K monitors: the ultra-wide ones give a lot of play and a good 4K monitor too, of course. If you have money to spare, you can go for the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K –4.359 euros on Amazon— with 8K resolution, but 5K monitors seemed like a great option for all of us who play games, but mostly write and read. Doing it in that scaled 1440p resolution, believe me, it’s almost priceless.
Just left wait for the market to realize how useful these panels can be, and that Samsung and LG – which are the ones that produce them and then integrate them into monitors from other brands – decide to bet much more on a technology that deserves a second chance.