So you’re upgrading your TV and want to make sure that you futureproof it by buying the best available within your budget. Perhaps you’re buying a new monitor for your PC and want to ensure that it’s got at least as much resolution as your latest phone?
Welcome to the world of ultra-high-definition TVs and monitors.
DO YOU REALLY NEED AN UPGRADE?
The first thing to figure out before thinking about a high resolution display is whether you need it at all. While UHD resolution works very well for PC monitors, if you are planning to buy a TV, you have to consider two more factors before buying a UHD TV — the size of the TV and the distance between the television and where you sit. If the size is too small or the distance too large, you are simply throwing money away by buying such a high resolution device.
Let’s look at computer monitors first.
The human eye’s resolution varies between 4000-8800 dpi at a (theoretical) distance of one inch. To take full advantage of your vision and your device, your monitor should match this resolution, adjusted for the distance at which the device is situated.
It is the custom to take the value of 0.6 arc minutes — or 5256 ppi at one inch — as a the normal eye resolution and we’ll work with this number.
Please note that this is resolution is at a distance of one inch, and to get correct resolution for your monitor, you have to divide the above number by the distance at which your screen is located from your eye.
Most people hold their head at a distance of around 27 inches from the monitor. Sometimes, they move in to 24 inches and fall back to 30 inches. But 27 inches is a good average (you can calculate your own with a tape.)
So, let’s get the human eye’s resolution at 27 inches. Dividing 5256 by 27 gives you 195 dpi.
Now we must calculate the maximum size that a UHD monitor can take without crossing this 195 dpi mark. After some calcuations, you can see that the maximum size of the monitor is 22.6 inches. Anything smaller would be a waste of pixels and anything bigger would ‘dilute’ the quality.
In other words, it’s best to go for a 23 inch 4K monitor unless you keep your head more than 27 inches away from the monitor, or you have poor vision.
Many people, for example, have eye resolution of no more than 1 arcminute (also known as 20/20 vision), which translates to 3500 ppi at one inch and 130 ppi at a distance of 27 inches. In their case, their UHD monitor can be of 34 inches without any loss of quality.
Now, let’s come to TVs. Let’s assume that you keep your TV at a distance of 8 feet. At a distance of eight feet, we get an eye resolution of 5256 divided by 96 inches (eight feet), which gives 55 ppi.
55 dpi translates to a 40 inch full-HD TV and an 80-inch 4K display.
In other words, if you are sitting eight feet away and want to benefit from an upgrade to your existing FHD television, you need to buy something bigger than 40 inches to see any difference in picture quality, and can go all the way up to 80 inches with better and better results. The ideal TV size is 80 inches.
Similar calculations can be made for 10 feet and 12 feet too. For 10 feet, the minimum size for a 4K TV turns out to be and 50 inches and the maximum 100 inches. Similarly, for 12 feet, it is 60 and 120 inches respectively.
4K PC MONITORS IN INDIA
The availability of UHD monitors in India leaves a lot of to be desired. Though 4K models were being launched in India as early as February of 2015, actual availability has remained a concern.
Some traders were also directly importing Samsung 4K monitors from abroad and selling them on eBay for as little as Rs 36,000, but currently Samsung’s U28D590D 28-inch display costs Rs 46,000 on Snapdeal. Of course, it comes with Samsung India warranty instead of a seller warranty.
The cheapest UHD monitor in India at present is the Viewsonic VX2475SMHL, which is available on Flipkart at Rs 38,500.
Unlike the Samsung device, which came with a TN (twisted nematic) display, the Viewsonic VX2475SMHL comes with a superior IPS panel. A TN panel has very restricted viewing angles and moving one’s head to the side leads to color shifting. This is a big problem in monitor sizes of 27 inches and bigger as you will always be looking at some parts of the screen from the side due to the huge size.
As such, it’s a really really bad idea to go for a TN panel display if the monitor size is over 23 inches.
Taking this into consideration, the Viewsonic VX2475SMHL is the best affordable UHD monitor in India right now. The refresh rate is limited to 60 cycles per second (Hz).
The higher the refresh rate, the less flicker and strain the eye feels and 60 is certainly a decent rate. Though the human eye cannot ‘see’ flicker once the refresh rates cross 24 hz, it’s still better to buy a monitor with as high a refresh rate as possible.
We also have a very comparable Acer K242HQKBMJDP monitor from Newegg as well.
It’s got the same size (23.6), same panel technology (IPS), same refresh rate (60 Hz) and same brightness 300 cd (which is on the higher side). Globally, the K242HQKBMJDP is slightly cheaper than the Viewsonic VX2475SMHL.
The Acer K242HQKBMJDP is available at just Rs 23,200 on Newegg, but you’ll have to pay shipping charges of $109 and handling and custom duties of around $120. Adding that Rs 15,200 to the product price gives you a total tally of Rs 38,400 — only Rs 100 less than the Viewsonic 4K model. Newegg usually delivers within 4 days to India and ships by DHL.
Given the extreme likeness in terms of specifications, chances are that both monitors contain the same panel.
As such, you should consider other factors to decide between the two. Chances are that Acer India will not honor a US bill from Newegg when it comes to warranty services.
If money’s not a big limitation for you, there are a few more displays as well in the Rs 50,000 range in India.
The 28-inch Asus PB287Q, priced at Rs 47,000 on Askmebazaar, comes with a TN panel, but according to the company, offers 170 degree viewing angle. User reviews indicate that the color shifting problem is there to some extent, even if it’s not there to the degree that you find on really cheap panels.
Next we have the Dell P2715Q, which is a 27-inch panel with an IPS panel and a brightness of 350 cd. Needless to say, in terms of specs, the Dell P2715Q beats all the others we’ve reviewed so far and is available for Rs 56,000 on theitdepot.com in India.
This Dell 4K monitor comes with 5 USB ports and consumes about 50 watts of power typically, which is slightly higher than you’d expect from a full-HD monitor of this size.
A cheaper option to the Dell monitor is the Acer B276HK YMJDPPRZ, which available at a price of Rs 49,707 on Newegg including shipping, import duties, handling and all other charges.
The specifications are almost exactly the same as those of the Dell model and include a 27 inch IPS panel and 300 cd brightness. However, in certain respects, the Acer B276HK is clearly superior to the Dell model. While the Dell display has a response delay of 9 ms, the Acer model has a response time of just 6 ms.
A short response time of around 5 ms is considered a necessity to avoid ghosting etc, especially in games. Typically TN panels have shorter response times than IPS displays, and a 6 ms time is very decent for an IPS screen.
You also have the option of the ViewSonic VX2880ML 28 inch model on Newegg, but it comes with a TN panel and not an IPS one.
Another option, especially for the fans of AOC, is the AOC U2870VQE/WW. The monitor is available for Rs 38,400 from Aliexpress.com with free shipping via DHL. Since the shipping mode is DHL, you can expect delivery in four days.
However, you’ll have to pay import duties and handling charges. The actual duty is only 14.7%, but including handling charges, you can expect a bill of around 20-25%, taking the total price to Rs 46,000-48,000. Besides, the panel type on this 28 inch device is TN.
As we’ve already mentioned, you may also stumble on the Samsung 28D590DS, which was first made available in 2014. However, the TN panel, Rs 45,000 price and considerable age are major drawbacks for the model. Like the Asus PB287Q, the Samsung model also claims a viewing angle of 170 degrees horizontally. There are only 2 HDMI slots on this monitor.
In short, for those who want a smaller 23.6 inch display, the Viewsonic VX2475SMHL offers the best deal in India right now, and for those looking for a bigger display, the Acer B276HK YMJDPPRZ from Newegg may be worth the extra risk of Acer not honoring local warranty. (If the model is subsequently launched in India, you may be able to claim warranty if you have a local bill.)
When it comes to UHD TVs, there are not many in the affordable category that are in our suggested size of 50 inches or more.
For example, the cheapest model in India is the Micromax 42C0050UHD, which is available for Rs 32,990 from Shopclues.
The TV has everything going for it except the size of 42 inches. If you are sitting at a distance of 8 feet from your television, a 42 inch full-HD and UHD TV both will look the same and you need to have an 80 inch TV to actually enjoy the full benefit of the higher resolution.
The native resolution of a 42-inch UHD panel is 105 pixels per inch. To get the ideal distance, you’ve to divide 5256 by 105, which gives you a distance of 50 inches or about 4 feet. The ideal distance for a 50 inch panel is around five feet, and the cheapest here is Micromax 50K2330, which costs Rs 8,000 more.
The next highest size in the affordable category is 55 inches (80 dpi), which gives you an ideal sitting distance of 6-and-a-half feet. The cheapest model in this model is from Vu and is priced at Rs 63,000 on Flipkart.