DPI: Too High?

The real question with a 24” UltraHD display is how well can you see/use it at native resolution? To me, it’s simply not usable at 3840x2160 resolution without DPI scaling. If you want to try and use it at this resolution you can, but I imagine you will stop after a short period of time. Scaled to 150% (or 2560x1440, which OS X Yosemite also supports as an option) it is easy to read and use everything. With applications that support DPI scaling correctly, like Lightroom, you can also have elements that are scaled while images utilize all the pixels that UHD offers.

Talking to NEC, they also realize that most people will be scaling images on the display. One issue, beyond OS support, is that applications that use custom UI elements take more work to improve for HiDPI and UltraHD displays. Those applications that only use standard OS elements (normal menus, no icons or images like Photoshop or Paint.NET) can migrate to supporting HiDPI far more easily.

There are many areas where UHD displays, even a smaller 24” one, are very valuable for their larger screen area. Content creation, including images and videos, can utilize the extra space. Financial users, who always want as much data on hand as they can have, are another large market. NEC includes DICOM support so the UHD display works for examining x-rays in as much detail as possible.

As I mentioned before, SpectraView II now works with the EA-series displays starting with the EA244UHD. Compared to the PA-series there are a few limitations to what SpectraView can do. It will calibrate the grayscale and color using the internal LUTs, but your only color gamut target is native. Since the EA244UHD has a large gamut that covers AdobeRGB, this causes issues. SpectraView II will create an ICC profile that lets ICC-aware applications see colors perfectly, but non-ICC applications will have a blown-out gamut. Since the EA244UHD also has an sRGB emulation mode, you can still use non-ICC applications and get an accurate gamut, but you must do so without calibration.

SpectraView II also now supports the BT.1886 gamma curve that is becoming more common in home theater use. One feature I was hoping to see, but NEC says will not be there, is support for 4:2:0 chroma subsampling over HDMI. Since HDMI 2.0 chipsets are just now becoming available, fitting a 60Hz UltraHD signal into the HDMI 1.4 bandwidth requires use of this chroma subsampling. For video content this is perfectly fine, Blu-ray and DVD content has always used it, and some vendors have used it with HDMI 1.4 chipsets. The NEC does not so the highest refresh rate you can achieve with an UltraHD signal over HDMI is 30Hz.

Meet the NEC EA244UHD Brightness and Contrast


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  • MrSpadge - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    I agree, I'd rather give 24" at 1440p or 1600p a try, maybe also 1600p at 27", than any 4k display. At this point I could probably avoid scaling and make good use of the added pixels while avoiding all the drawbacks of 4k displays. Reply
  • know of fence - Friday, August 8, 2014 - link

    4K at 24" is not nearly enough that is needed for sharpness, what's needed for sharpness is un-discernible pixels seen from the minimum distance (~12") that an eye can still focus, famously branded "retina".
    The TV/PC market is quadrupling pixels because it is the integer multiple (9x;4x) of 720p and 1080p, thus allowing artifact free scaling of both. Mr.Heinonen, the reviewer, should have scaled dpi to 200 %, not 150 %. But at least these monitors offer the option to have really small font/symbols, for some, IMHO crazy people. The goal is to have scaled font, video but native high res pictures.
  • MrSpadge - Monday, August 11, 2014 - link

    "what's needed for sharpness is un-discernible pixels seen from the minimum distance (~12") that an eye can still focus"

    That's only needed for sharpness if you're watching your 24+" screen from 12". BTW: minimum focal distance is around 10 cm, give or take a few depending on the age of the person. That's just a few inches.
  • npz - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    "The real question with a 24” UltraHD display is how well can you see/use it at native resolution? To me, it’s simply not usable at 3840x2160 resolution without DPI scaling. "

    This is what I've been saying and why the push for HiDPI especially on small devices like phones is ridiculous. I'd say my eyes are very good, better than everyone I know and everyone at the office who needs to sit close to their monitors and use big fonts that I can easily read from a few feet away. Yet of course even I wouldn't be able to use any mega-HiDPI device without scaling.

    But the point of higher resolution is to give you the extra ability to *resolve detail*. Thus its real utility comes from screen estate. However if you can't distinguish the details between pixels down at that level and need to scale, then higher resolution for a given area is completely wasted on your eyes. Also scaling distorts images, so it's pretty ironic that what is supposed to give you more detail ends up destroying it.

    I think a 4k monitor would be comfortable without scaling at 27" - 30" (for good eyes anyways)
  • Nuno Simões - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    The issue is in the fact that the OS can scale right, not with the resolution itself. Mobile OSes usually scale fine, no matter how much pixels you throw in. Reply
  • Nuno Simões - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I meant 'can't scale right'. Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    It's not a question about ultra high res screens at all, just above the average is enough to make it uncomfortable, even the Surface Pro 3's 2160x1440 means that most of the built in functions such as the device manager, MMC snap-ins and the like is actually bitmap scaled, so it's all blurry at even 150% and a lot doesn't work (scaled) at all at 200%, adobe's stuff looks ridiculous. Plus there is no way to run different screens at different DPI-levels independently, which means you need to adjust and log out and back in when doing stuff like attaching a projector or a TV. On multiscreen setups it means that everything is bitmapscaled from the primary monitors settings and essentially determined based of EDID-info. At least that's how it works on Windows up to 8.1 U1. Microsoft's own documentation doesn't make it look promising for the future either. Even if you can make apps that makes the most of it. OS X is a better choice with these screens when it comes to desktop computers. Neither is perfect though. Even 27-30-inch (or 28-31.5) UHD-monitors will probably be used with scaling, even if just at ~125%. But the real problem is then multiscreen as your probably running it of something like a laptop which probably need scaling if it has a somewhat high-res screen and a screen of smaller size. Even if you can see and use those screens at 100% dpi your surroundings will probably think your crazy in doing so. Reply
  • psonice - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I think a lot of people miss the point with these monitors. It's not to get higher resolution / screen space, but to get a much clearer screen with the same space.

    As such, I'm looking to get a 24" 4K screen specifically. I'll run it at 1920x1080, with 2x scaling. That will give me a standard 24" screen res (and 1920x1080 is big enough for my needs, and easy on my eyes) but it'll be *crisp*.

    As a coder, I'm staring at a screen full of text all day, and having worked on a retina macbook pro for a while I can say that the screen on them makes text a lot more legible - it really is a huge improvement. So I want that, but bigger :)

    (And yes, I'd like a 27" screen even more, but I'd want >4K resolution then..)
  • Stephen Barrett - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    this! i do the same on my xps 15. 2x scaling works great Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, August 9, 2014 - link

    I'm a little confused, I thought that if you run a 4K screen at 1920x1080, then it will basically pixel double and therefore be indistinguishable from a 1920x1080 screen running at native resolution.

    So you would be completely wasting the 4x pixels on the screen, and could save a lot of money by just buying a 1920x1080 screen.

    I wonder if you are confusing this 4K screen with Apple's implementation, whereby they render text at full resolution, thus giving you high resolution and crisp fonts, but then can double scale bitmaps so they are at least not blurry.

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