4K is a theme at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and the ultra-high-definition resolution is nearly within reach. Vizio and Polaroid will sell 50-inch 4K televisions for $999, and the entry-level price of a 4K desktop PC monitor has also dropped to just $699 this week.
30Hz is half of what you're probably used to
Dell is the company selling a 4K monitor at that price: the Dell P2815Q. It's a 28-inch, 3840 x 2160 resolution screen with HDMI 1.4, multiple DisplayPorts, a bunch of USB ports, and the ability to charge a smartphone and display its content with MHL connectivity. Dell cut a few corners to get to that price, though: it's a standard TN panel, and it comes with one potential dealbreaker: when displaying 4K content, it only runs at the dismal refresh rate of 30Hz. Most 1080p monitors run at 60Hz or better, and recently some PC gamers have been adopting screens of 120Hz or above.
That new Dell Ultrasharp 4K monitor for $699 will only have a 30Hz refresh at full resolution. Alas.— loydcase (@loydcase) January 8, 2014
However, if you're willing to spend an additional $100, there are two other 28-inch 4K screens nearly as cheap: the new Asus PB287Q, and the Lenovo ThinkVision Pro2840M. Each will cost an estimated $799, and we've confirmed with both companies that their screens run at 60Hz when displaying content at native 4K resolution, just so long as you're connecting over DisplayPort with a supported video card.
Out of the two, the Asus is probably slightly better for gamers, with a faster 1-millisecond response time, while the Lenovo claims to have advanced color reproduction thanks to its 10-bit panel, although its 72 percent color gamut won't impress many professionals. All three screens have ergonomic stands that tilt, swivel, lift, and pivot the screen to stand vertically.
Dell is planning on a January 23rd release for its monitor, while the Lenovo won't ship until April. Asus says its monitor should appear in the second quarter of the year.