[Step 2] Talking about trade-offs

Eve Family,

Excited to get started with step 2 of the monitor project! In the previous post we have gotten a good high-level understanding of your needs.

Step 1

The community has shown that they want a monitor with great graphics quality, such as wide color gamut and a high contrast ratio. Though there is a lot of interest in OLED technology, there are also concerns about its longevity due to the static nature of much monitor content. From the remaining technologies, IPS has been the most popular technology by far, winning out over VA and TN.

Though the most-picked use case in the previous round of discussion was ‘professional (photo editing, design work, etc.)’, @Walkop has brought up a valid point: The exact meaning of ‘professional’ use wasn’t made very clear. Will you use it for color sensitive work in a professional environment such as print, in which color accuracy and frequent calibration is a must? Or have you picked ‘professional’ because you would like colors to appear natural and as intended by creator instead of being oversaturated like a ‘Best of CES 2020’ cooking demo reel?

What you may not know, is that we have also asked people r/monitors to participate in an identical survey, where the results were quite different. They showed a heavy interest in true gaming monitors with fast response times and high refresh rates.

Because some of the results are unclear, we’ll be asking additional questions to get a better feel of our target audience.

Step 2

Behind the scenes, we’ve been discussing our options with top-tier panel vendors such as Sharp, LG, Panasonic and BOE. We have a bunch of roadmaps, each offering a variety of monitor panels. Based on the results of Step 1 we have already disqualified many that do not meet your more popular feature requests, but there are still some interesting panels remaining.

We’ve found that the price of the panel almost linearly correlates to the price of the finished product, as the higher-specced panels require higher-specced electronics to drive them. It seems that the panel makes up about 70% of the cost of the entire monitor.

Seeing what panels are available on the market has also given us a substantially better understanding of the trade-offs that exist between the many options. In this round of discussion we would like to find out what type of trade-offs you would make to get the best panel for your needs!

Refresh rate VS. resolution

The term refresh rate refers to how often a display panel can update to show a new image. It is similar to the more commonly known frame rate, but whereas the frame rate determines how many different images per second a video file contains, or a graphics card can generate, the refresh rate determines how many different images per second a panel can actually display. It is expressed in Herz (Hz), with 100Hz referring to the screen refreshing 100 times per second.

Though a static image doesn’t benefit from this, anything that moves does. Higher refresh rates allow for smoother animations like scrolling through a page, or allows you to see more details in a fast-moving game. Note that there is only benefit to high refresh rate when the content you’re consuming or creating actually provides a high frame rate. If a video file only contains 24 frames per second, your monitor will not magically create more frames!

Resolution, when referring to monitor specifications, describes how many unique pixels can be displayed on a screen, usually represented by either the number of pixels across the width and height of the screen (like ‘1920x1080’) or a more marketing-friendly name (like ‘Full HD’). The more individual pixels exist across the surface of the display, the more detail can be shown. This can express itself in sharper text that’s easier to read, sharper images that display more detail, or simply more fitting onto the screen and still being legible.

In most cases, a higher resolution allows for a sharper image and is preferable. In some situations, especially when content has to be generated on-the-fly like in games, a higher resolution can be a hindrance

Click here if you want a numbers example about the impact on gaming

Full HD (1920x1080) consists of (1 920 x 1 080 =) 2 073 600 pixels, each of which the graphics card has to determine the right color for to generate an image. Ultra HD (3840x2160) consists of 8 294 400 pixels, allowing four times as much detail to be shown on the screen. But to do that, the graphics card actually has to do four times the work, which takes four times as long (for the sake of this example we’ll ignore some other factors that influence frame time).

A graphics card that can provide a smooth, 60 frames-per-second gaming experience at Full HD may now provide a stuttering 15 frames-per-second slide show at Ultra HD…

Refresh rate and resolution are not correlated in terms of technical implementation per se. But going over the roadmaps, we find that most higher resolution screens have lower refresh rates. Why? According to suppliers there is not much sense in having very high resolutions at very high refresh rates, since there is no (or hardly any) hardware available with the performance to drive that many pixels.

:fire: Faced with the choice ‘high refresh rate or high resolution’, how would you choose?

  • I would prefer Quad HD (2560x1440) at 144Hz
  • I would prefer Ultra HD (3840x2160) at 60Hz

0 voters

Pixel density requirements

The pixel density of each screen is a measurement of how many individual pixels are shown along a 1" line, and is expressed in pixels per inch (PPI). PPI are an important metric when determining how sharp an image looks, and is directly related to resolution and screen size.

Take a 17-inch laptop screen and a 34-inch TV, both Full HD. They both display the same amount of pixels (2 073 600). But since the 34-inch screen is twice as wide and twice as tall, so are each of its pixels!

In the above example, the TV has a pixel density of 64.8PPI. The laptop, cramming the same amount of pixels in half the height or width, measures 129.6PPI. That means that someone with 20/20 vision might just barely make out individual pixels on the 17-inch laptop if it’s on their lap. But that same person, sitting two meters away from the big TV, might at that distance still not be able to see individual pixels because it’s so far away. If they were as close as they would be to a laptop though, they could definitely see the pixels that make up the image, and it would not look perfectly sharp This shows that high pixel density isn’t always a necessity: the viewing distance plays an important role!

A higher resolution on the same screen size or a smaller screen with the same resolution, will have a higher pixel density, and as a result you’ll be able to get closer to that screen without seeing the pixels that make up the image. Ideally, the balance between screen size and resolution is such that individual pixels are just small enough that you can’t distinguish them.

This website has a nifty calculator where you can enter a monitor’s size and resolution, and it will not only show the pixel density but also a recommendation about the ideal viewing distance. Try entering your current monitor’s specs or play around with it to find what size and resolution (and the associated pixel density) best work for your preferred viewing distance, and then answer our following questions:

:fire: What is the lowest pixel density that you would accept in a monitor?

  • It must be at least 60PPI
  • It must be at least 80PPI
  • It must be at least 100PPI
  • It must be at least 120PPI
  • It must be at least 160PPI

0 voters

Of course at some point, increasing the resolution won’t do anyone any good. Showing more detail than your eyes can distinguish doesn’t benefit anyone…

:fire: At what point does having higher PPI no longer matter?

  • There’s no point in pixel densities higher than 110PPI
  • There’s no point in pixel densities higher than 140PPI
  • There’s no point in pixel densities higher than 180PPI
  • There’s no point in pixel densities higher than 220PPI
  • There is no maximum, the image can never be sharp enough!

0 voters

High resolution VS. low price

Finally, it’s time to talk about price. While a lot of factors affect the panel cost, the single biggest difference comes from increasing the resolution due to higher cost to manufacture.

In general, Ultra HD panels (3840x2160) are around 80% more expensive than Quad HD (2560x1440) panels with similar specs (approx $200 vs. $360 for the panel alone) . As we’ve already mentioned before, the price of the panel is a good indication for the price of the final product. So the total cost of that Ultra HD monitor would be about 1.8x that of its Quad-HD variant. Admittedly that gets you 125% more pixels, so though it’s not necessarily a bad deal, it does cost significantly more money So this trade-off is about higher resolution, or more money left in your pocket!

:fire: Faced with the choice ‘high resolution or saving money’, how would you choose?

  • I would prefer to save money, Quad HD (2560x1440) is high enough for me
  • I would pay 80% more to get Ultra HD (3840x2160), the higher resolution is worth it for me

0 voters

Anti-glare VS. cover glass

iMac, Surface Studio, smartphones and a lot of laptops nowadays use a glass cover, while monitors traditionally use a matte anti-glare film.

Anti-glare doesn’t readily reflect whatever is in front of the display, which is especially useful on laptops where you might not be able to control the environment around you. As you won’t need your screen to overpower any reflections, you may be able to make do at a lower brightness setting which reduces power usage and can be easier on the eyes. That said, color performance is generally reduced, with colors looking more washed out.

A cover glass does make the screen more susceptible to reflections, but in return it generally offers richer colors. It is also a hard surface, making it more resistant to inquisitive fingers, which people with small children might appreciate. It looks very sharp, and is easier to clean.

:fire: Faced with the choice ‘matte anti-glare or cover glass’, how would you choose?

  • I would choose the reflection-free matte anti-glare panel
  • I would choose the rich colors and sturdiness of cover glass

0 voters

In conclusion

This step will give us a much clearer picture about what matters most to you. Based on those criteria we can pick the most promising panels to share panels with you in a future step.

Let’s not forget to pick a codename for our project!

Time to pick a code name for our monitor project! As a reminder, this name will be used to refer to the crowd development project, the final name will be decided later when we know what the end product will actually be.

  • Project: Spectrum
  • Project: Moni Mouse
  • Project: Vision
  • Project: Phoenix

0 voters


I believe we should have a option for 4KUHD with 144 Hz display, technology is there though cost will be high. Acer just announced new monitors one have that option.
Can check here:

ConceptD CP7271K P

  • 99% Adobe® RGB Color space/ DCI-P3 93%
  • Delta E <1/ PANTONE®Validated
  • Adaptive-Sync/ VESA Certified DisplayHDR™ 1000
  • IPS 4K UHD 144Hz



ConceptD CM7321K

  • 99% Adobe® RGB Color space/ Rec.2020 89.5%
  • Delta E <1/ PANTONE®Validated
  • Adaptive-Sync/ VESA Certified DisplayHDR™ 1000
  • IPS 4K UHD


Liking specs of first monitor and design of second.

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Can these support touchscreens? :thinking:


Yes! It would be an additional feature that would require metal mesh layer.


I’m missing a bit more detail on price except for the percentage. Just to play with numbers: an 80% increase of 10$ is 18$ and most people will happily pay that premium, if it gives you 125% of the value. Same might be true for 100$ and 180$, but after 200$ or even 300$ for the QHD panel and 360$ or 540$ for their respective UHD panels things might look very differently.
And to have a specific example from me: I know that there are good 4K monitors with decent to good specs for around 350$ and I’m very much willing to pay that and depending on how good eve’s monitor will be I might pay more, but I won’t pay much more than that since there are already options available in that price range that satisfy my needs. So, I’ll gladly pay that premium over the QHD 200$ monitor. But I’m not sure, if this is the price range you’re referring to above.


Since the product is mostly targeted at content creator and to really offer the best possible resolution it will need to support 5K otherwise there isn’t any reason to pick it over a plethora of monitor in the market.

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Just a note here.

There are PLENTY of 4K monitors out that often go on sale relatively cheaply. I watch monitor prices all the time.

QHD 144hz? They’re very few and far between, and often cost ludicrous prices; even the cheapest start at $350USD. That’s no HDR, no LFC (low framerate compensation, an important part of adaptive sync systems), and most are TN panels so have crap colours.

I’ll have more commentary later, but for anyone that hasn’t actually used 144hz before, it’s very very hard to make an accurate vote on this without experiencing it. 144hz is a far bigger improvement in overall quality than QHD to 4K in my opinion, especially below 32" of size.

I would tend to agree with the above poster; either 144hz QHD, or a large 5k monitor! Touch/pen would be nice at that point as well.


Totally agree with you on that.
80% is just…WEIRD
Something is off.

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Super good point! QHD panel costs around 200 USD UHD of same size is around 360 USD. And that is just the panel cost after that you need to add other parts too like scalar and housing.

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I’ll back up Konsta here, just for possible explanations; UHD panels. We’re not going for second best here. We’re looking to source top-teir panels. TN is not an option, bad colours is not an option; we want good quality everywhere. The denser you go, to harder it is to light, so you need a more powerful backlight etc to compete with less dense panels. The competition is skimping in one of these areas. There’s no way in heck you get HDR in a $400 monitor right now.

You can assume those are IPS, VA panels at worst. If I’m not mistaken, the panel doesn’t determine refresh rate? It’s the accompanying hardware. Not 100% on that though.


Doesn’t the presence (or absence) of the touchscreen drastically change the usage scenario?

For example, if the monitor is Surface Pen compatible, 4K resolution becomes important as this would be the “Surface Studio Monitor” that MS has yet to put out.

If not, then 144Hz becomes a big factor as color-accurate, high-refresh monitors are rare.

Before voting on the resolution, dpi/size and form-factor, I think we should determine if this has drawing capability or not.


I would argue that high refresh rate is also important on pen-input monitor. Buttery smooth pen tracking would be amazing.

But there are some stuff that we don’t know (yet) which will impact the display. In the first poll I voted for color accuracy (design work etc). But I also game quite a lot on my PC and prefer not to move main monitor all the time. So >120hz screen is also quite high on my wishlist.

A while back there were these posts " You get $20,- build your ideal [insert product here]" and every premium aspect cost more money. Maybe something like that would be beneficial to see how the priorities are within the community.
I’m quite specific on what monitor I’d like to buy, I don’t feel that I’m alone in this however.

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But 1440p is that much harder to drive than 1080 : (

Oh well. Still interested.

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A high refresh rate windows ink monitor with a folding stand like the surface studio would be a really unique product. Especially at 1440p it would really be a jack of all trades. If it supported freesync I think it would be my optimal monitor.


There’s a trillion low priced 1080 monitors. 1440p is drivable pretty easily with a RX580 for most games unless you want to max everything. I have an RX580 for my 1440p 75hz panel, drives everything great. I got mine for $115 USD like-new in box ($150 CAD).

Was pretty surprising having majority in every choice.
I wonder if we could have touch/smart stylus support, and if we could what kind of premium would it amount to. If only there was good platform agnostic standard…

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Aspect ratio? Or are we assuming 16:9? I ask because a 3:2 (like Surface) could be interesting, or perhaps the other way like 32:9 (e.g. a resolution like 3840x1080, so basically a dual-screen setup but in a single monitor).


Considering no wacom cintiq has even been >60hz and they’ve been the standard of excellence for pen devices for two decades I’d say it isn’t a huge deal.
I don’t know if the votes were drastically different back then but for me it seems like most votes were going for Quad HD 144hz. I think 120-144hz is definitely enough for ideal pen performance.

I would say that =>120Hz would be quite an improvement over the cintiq. I’ve played around with the Cintiq and the iPad pro (120Hz), it does feel better


Hmmm I got to briefly test Ipad pro with apple pencil but I didn’t pay much mind to that.
Though, I think for Ipad+Apple Pencil the feel of the apple pencil is quite different from cintiq stylus so that might mask a lot of it. Still I’d wager I personally wouldn’t find any benefit past 144hz.

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