If you have several thousand dollars you urgently need to get rid of, then yes. Otherwise wait (and it may not be a long wait).
What's got everyone talking
It started – more or less – with Dell's February announcement of two new Ultra HD Monitors. A quick summary:
- Dell Ultrasharp 32 Ultra HD Monitor – UP3214Q (http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&cs=19&sku=210-ACBL) 3840x2160 resolution – shipping now @ $3500 (as of 2014/03/19)
- Dell Ultrasharp 24 Ultra HD Monitor – UP2414Q (http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&cs=19&sku=860-BBCD) 3840x2160 resolution – shipping now @ $1150 (as of 2014/03/19)
- Dell Ultrasharp 28 Ultra HD Monitor – Announced but not shipping yet so we'll have to assume 3840x2160. Stated to be less than $1000
And Dell isn't alone:
- Samsung 28–Inch Ultra High Definition LED Monitor – U28D590 (http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-28-Inch-Definition-Monitor-U28D590D/dp/B00IEZGWI2/) 3840x2160 resolution – shipping on 2014/04/18 @ $700 (as of 2014/03/19) – Beware this a TN display and not an IPS display.
- Seiki Digital SE39UY04 39-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz LED TV (http://www.amazon.com/Seiki-Digital-SE39UY04-39-Inch-Ultra/dp/B00DOPGO2G/) 3840x2160 resolution – shipping now @$500 (as of 2014/03/19) – This is listed as a TV, not as an LCD monitor.
The TempationWe simply haven't seen 4K reoslution in this price range. Compare them to the 30” HP ZR30w which offers 2560x1920 at around $1400. If you are a display enthusiast (as I am) this is a price point you can't ignore.
Why you should waitRefresh rate: 60 Hz vs 30 Hz. Many of the current batch of 4K Monitors can only disply at 30 Hz when using their full resolution. Most majority of people are going to be used to getting 60 Hz out of their displays which results in a fluid, smooth experience as windows are scrolled or moved. With 30 Hz most people notice that everything seems “choppier” and this can prove very irritating. The reason for this is that these monitors only support the current HDMI 1.4 spec, not the soon-to-arrive HDMI 2.0 specification. (Note that the Samsung U28D590 is supposed to support 60 hz when using displayport)
Color accuracy. Check out this article and look at the color accuracy section. It's not acceptable if you care about your displays.
It isn't all about the hardware. Software support and compatibility matter. Windows and apps that run on Windows are catching up to dealing with High-DPI monitors like these 4K Displays. At these resolutions you'll almost always want to run with “High DPI Scaling” (or whatever it is officially called in Windows) enabled. However, apps take time to correctly handle these displays, and they still sometimes don't look right. Check out this description of how Visual Studio 2013 has improved its high-definition support and see how complex this can be. If you really do want to try one of these displays, turn on High DPI in windows and make sure you run your favorite applications – you will likely find some don't respond well to it. This situation will eventually fix itself (for most applications) as enough developers start using this hardware an designing for it. If you are running older software – you may find using these displays difficult.
Not all of the 4K displays are IPS. Looking at you, Samsung U28D590.
My Requirements for a 4K Monitor
When it's time (hopefully later in 2014) Here's my checklist:
- IPS Panel. (Remember we hate TN displays)
- LED Backlighting.
- 1” Cabinet Depth
- 3840x2160 at 60Hz (via DisplayPort and HDMI)
- Built-in speakers that can play the audio via DisplayPort and HDMI connections
- At 28” the cost needs to be about $700. (the basis of this cost is that it should replace my current favorite monitor the hp zr2740w – which I believe is a fantastic high-end display at a great price)
- In this post I'm using 4K and Ultra HD as interchangable terms. A more precise term would be 4K UHD (2160p) as seen in the Wikipedia page for Ultra high definition television.