I’ve Been Using a 5K Monitor for Years. I Still Don’t Understand How the Industry Hasn’t Made Them Mainstream

Manufacturers have gone all-in on gaming monitors. Along the way, they've missed the opportunity to propel a fantastic monitor for work.

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When you spend 10 to 12 hours sitting in front of a screen almost every day, it’s important to have a good monitor. I realized this early on, and since then, I’ve been careful to invest in this peripheral device.

Back in 2007, I bought an HP LP2465 monitor that stood out for one thing: Its 16:10 aspect ratio allowed me to gain some precious vertical pixels when the norm at the time was 16:9 monitors.

I remember that the product worked well, but by the end of 2013, 4K monitors started gaining popularity despite their high cost. In 2015, I decided to upgrade to a BenQ GW2765HT with a 2560 x 1440 resolution to increase both screen size and resolution. By that time, I’d already learned that the phrase “cheap is expensive” was true.

I was still interested in my 4K monitor, but after seeing an iMac with a Retina 5K display, I became interested in a 5K monitor instead. The issue was, however, that monitor manufacturers had few options available at that time. Only a few of them were actually selling devices like this.

Monitor 1 The native resolution is for those with very good vision. For me, the scaled 2,560 x 1,440 pixels is the perfect solution—just half of the original. This “concentrates” the pixels and makes the definition of fonts and on-screen elements spectacular.

In March 2017, I finally got the opportunity to purchase my current monitor, a refurbished Dell UP2715K with 5K resolution (5,120 x 2,880 pixels). I managed to get it for just under $760 and it was in perfect condition. Since then, I’ve been enjoying the wonderful experience of using a 5K monitor.

Although my specific monitor is no longer available in stores, I recommend considering the 27-inch Samsung ViewFinity S9 5K (LS27C902PAUXENY) as an alternative. This 27-inch monitor also offers 5K resolution and comes with modern features such as Thunderbolt 4 and DP ports, as well as an integrated 4K webcam.

Dis 27 Samsung LS27C902PAUXEN Business Premium

What I see doesn’t look like a screen, but more like a sticker.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have an almost perfect work setup. For a few years, I used a Windows PC with a monitor, but in November 2021, I switched to a M1 Mac mini. I connect the monitor to the Mac using a Thunderbolt 3 adapter, and the PC uses a mini DP connector, which doesn’t support 5K resolution but works fine with 4K.

All these years, I’ve always described my monitor as more like a sticker than a screen due to its exceptional quality. It allows me to work with the exact type of resolution I was using when I first heard about 5K monitors: an effective resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 rather than the native 5K resolution.

It’s true that by using a scaled resolution I lose some working area, but that’s not a big deal for me because I have poor eyesight. The native resolution on a 27-inch screen is too small for me to see clearly, and the scaled resolution makes text, images, and other visual elements much clearer. It’s important for me to have high-definition visuals, so the loss of working area is worth it.

I can take advantage of something I was already looking for when I discovered 5K monitors: a scaled resolution.

I spend most of my time reading and writing, so the scaled resolution is extremely valuable to me. The way I work makes having multiple browser windows open completely unnecessary. In fact, I normally only have a couple of them open side by side, and I can easily switch between other apps–like Slack, Finder, Terminal–using Alt+Tab (I use the AltTab utility in macOS for this).

Sure, the monitor isn’t perfect. As seen in its specs sheet, its 5K mode combines two DisplayPort 1.2 inputs, and its speakers don't have a very good quality. Additionally, its refresh rate is 60 Hz, which doesn't make it ideal for gaming. However, it still works for me when I use my PC to play Battlefield 1 on my birthday or occasionally try some other game.

Monitor 2

Although I was happy with the monitor, I became interested in OLED monitors a while back. In 2022, I finally had the opportunity to review the 42-inch LG C2 for Xataka, which, due to its size and features, seemed like a good option for me to replace the Dell monitor.

Text lost some of its definition in my tests of the 42” LG C2 OLED, and the pixels were there again. That didn’t work for me.

What did I think of the experience? The features are remarkable. The contrast, color, and refresh rates are fantastic, and the presence of the HDMI 2.1 port was an interesting choice and allowed me to connect the Xbox Series X. However, I no longer saw everything as sharp. The text lost some definition, and the pixels were noticeable again. That wasn’t good for me.

Monitor 3

As such, I happily went back to using my Dell UP2715K and haven’t looked back since. What makes me angry is that manufacturers don’t offer similar options.

What makes me angry about this situation is that manufacturers don’t have a wider 5K monitor offering.

It seems that 5K resolution monitors, like the Apple Studio Display, aren’t gaining popularity. It’s a shame because, in my opinion, they seem like a perfect choice at 27 and even 32 inches.

Instead of moving towards 5K, it looks like the industry is heading towards 6K and even 8K monitors, with Apple and Dell already offering them. Currently, progress in this area is slow, as monitor manufacturers prioritize and focus on what sells, like gaming monitors.

For a while, we’ve been seeing amazing products with ultra-panoramic formats, curved formats, 4K and 5K resolutions (but not in 16:10 aspect ratio), huge diagonals, OLED panels, and high refresh rates. However, for those of us who don’t play games, these are limited options.

Thankfully, I’ve found my ideal screen, at least for now. My Dell UP2715K has been discontinued, but there are models like the Samsung ViewFinity S9 5K mentioned earlier that offer similar features, along with a few other appealing options.

Dis 27 Samsung LS27C902PAUXEN Business Premium

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