Will 1080p Look Bad on a 1440p Monitor?

Atif Liaqat | Last Updated On February 20th, 2022

If you’re buying a new monitor, especially for gaming, your resolution is one of the most crucial aspects to consider. The quality of your graphics card plays a significant role in this scenario. As such, 1080p won’t look very good on a 1440p display if your graphics card can barely manage 60 FPS at 1080p gaming.

So, is it optimal to go for a 1440p monitor if you don’t plan on upgrading your GPU for the foreseeable future? There are several factors to consider if you plan on doing so.

Let’s discuss these.

So, will 1080p look bad on a 1440p monitor?

Although you can run 1080p on a 1440p monitor, the image quality will be negatively impacted. Furthermore, the number of visual artifacts, blur, and so forth will depend on the quality of the monitor’s scalers.

On the other hand, downscaling to 1080p on a 1440p display may increase video game FPS and performance.

Why does 1080p look different on a 1440p monitor?

gaming game play tv fun gamer gamepad guy controller video console playing player holding hobby playful enjoyment view concept - stock image

Although you’ll get a decent image when you set a 1440p to 1080p, it’s certainly not ideal. This is because there are a few aspects that affect how a 1080p image looks on a 1440p monitor. The size of your monitor, as well as scalers and pixel mapping, will play a big role.

Monitor Size

Since pixels become more spread out on larger screens, you’ll see less detail and more blur as the monitor size increases. For this reason, 1080p looks much clearer on a 24-inch 1440p than a 34-inch 1440p monitor.

Even though you will still see noticeable quality decreases on a smaller monitor, the higher pixel density causes fewer image issues.

Monitor Scalers

Another factor influencing how 1080p looks on a 1440p monitor is your computer and/or monitor’s scalers . Scalers are programs that shrink or enlarge images to fit nonnative resolutions. As such, the quality of your scalers heavily impacts how a scaled image looks on your screen.

A high-quality set of scalers can make downscaled or upscaled images look almost as good as on a screen with the same resolution. A low-quality set of scalers will simply downscale or upscale the image without attempting to correct any blur or visual artifacts.

Pixel Mapping

Lastly, the image quality of 1080p will depend on whether you scale the image or go with a 1:1 pixel map . Pixel mapping is when you carve out a 1080p-sized portion of your screen. For this reason, the 1080p image will look just as good as it would on a 1080p screen.

However, it will also leave black bars of empty space around the picture. So, you’ll be underutilizing the space of your monitor for better image quality. This can be a great option if you don’t mind the wasted screen space filled with black bars.

Most computer users find the black bars distracting and unpleasant, so you’ll only want to go with 1:1 pixel mapping if the scaled resolution isn’t up to your standards.

Advantages of 1080p on a 1440p Monitor

Now you may be wondering what the advantages of using 1080p on a 1440p monitor are. As such, this may be beneficial for gaming, streaming, and working.

Impact on Gaming

Although gaming is entertaining and a great way to have fun with your friends, your specific computer build can affect your gaming experience. As such, you may have to tone down your graphics settings (by avoiding higher resolutions) or turning off antialiasing to play a new game on an older computer.

Furthermore, you may have even turned off every lighting system and shadows just to squeeze a bit more FPS (assuming your monitor has the refresh rate to handle it). While 1440p isn’t as graphically intensive as 4K, it’s still significantly more taxing than 1080p and uses much more GPU (see also GPUs Under $1000) power.

For this reason, you may be considering dropping your resolution from 1440p to 1080p in order to get a smoother, more enjoyable experience.

Although this is an understandable idea, there are both benefits and drawbacks of using 1080p on a 1440p monitor.

As you know, lowering your resolution to 1080p is a great way to let your frame rates soar above 100. Furthermore, while higher resolution gaming looks better, 1080p is usually enough for most major gaming titles out right now.

Impact on Streaming

Although you can play many games in 1440p, not much streaming content is available in anything above 1080p. Furthermore, the bandwidth needed to stream in 1440p or above far exceeds most people’s network capabilities.

As such, a monitor with a native 1440p resolution allows you to scale down to 1080p for streaming content. You can then use the standard 1440p resolution as you watch Blu-rays at 1440p.

Impact on Work

Using a 1080p resolution on a 1440p native monitor for tasks such as using an internet browser, working or casual social media browsing won’t bring many benefits. Furthermore, completing work isn’t graphically intensive. As such, you likely won’t need to scale down your resolution for better computer performance.

Having a 1440p monitor is a great way to increase your productivity because 1440p monitors are larger than 1080 displays and give you more pixels and, therefore, more screen real estate.

Why To Avoid 1080p on a 1440p Monitor (Hint: It’s Image Quality)

Gaming game play video on tv or monitor.

There are many negatives to using 1080p on a 1440p monitor – let’s explore.

As we mentioned before, using 1080p on a 1440p monitor will make the picture look worse, cause text and details to be blurry, add visual artifacts, and possibly introduce input lag.

For this reason, it’s usually not recommended to downscale your 1440p native monitor to 1080p.

All modern computer screens are comprised of a specific amount of pixels . Furthermore, a screen’s resolution is determined by how many pixels it has. A 1080p native monitor has 1,080 rows of pixels, and a 1440p native monitor has 1,440 rows of pixels.

This holds true for any screen size. A 32-inch display with 1080p resolution has the exact same number of pixels as a 50-inch 1080p display.

Additionally, the leap from 1080p to 1440p is much bigger than you probably think.

This is because a 1080p display (1920×1080) has 2,073,600 pixels, while a 1440p display (2560×1440) has 3,686,400 pixels. As such, 1440p displays have 76% more pixels than a 1080p display.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does 1080p look blurry on 1440p monitor?

1080p looks blurry on 1440p monitors when you use the wrong scaling settings. If your screen is too large, text will be unreadable and images may look blurry or pixelated.  On the other hand, if your screen is too small then everything will appear big but still sharp because there’s no scaling involved in that case.  Fortunately, most monitors have built in render scaling that automatically uses a lower resolution, scaling your screen to the correct size without as much blurriness or loss in clarity.

How do I enable GPU scaling?

Enabling GPU scaling allows you to increase or decrease the size of an image on your screen while keeping the same aspect ratio. This can be useful if you’re using a resolution higher than your monitor’s native resolution. You can usually find GPU scaling options in your graphics card control panel, or by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting “Nvidia Control Panel” if you have an Nvidia GPU. If you have another brand, you likely will need to download their proprietary software.

What does it mean to upscale 1080p screen resolution to 1440p?

Using an upscaler means artificially increasing the resolution of a video stream. With upscaling, you can take a 1080p stream and upscale it to 1440p. However, this will make the image look blurry or pixelated because you’re artificially increasing the resolution.

Should I game at 1080p on 1440p monitor?

It isn't recommended that you game at 1080p on your 1440p monitor unless your graphics card can't handle anything higher. If that's the case, you should try to upgrade your graphics card to get more graphical horsepower if possible.

What is meant by 'native resolution'?

The native screen resolution of a monitor is the highest possible resolution that the monitor can display without any downscaling or upscaling. When you're using your monitor's native screen resolution, you won't see any blurry text or image artifacts.

Is lower resolution worth getting higher FPS?

If you're a competitive gamer, then you may want to game at a lower resolution in order to get more frames per second (FPS). This will give you a competitive edge by making your gameplay smoother and faster. However, this is only recommended if your graphics card can't handle the higher resolution.


While it’s absolutely possible to downscale from 1440p to 1080p, it usually isn’t recommended. The quality of 1080p on a 1440p monitor depends on the video scalers built into your monitor and/or GPU.

So, it’s something you are required to test on your own setup. For gamers, downscaling to 1080p on your 1440p monitor can be detrimental to the quality of the image. It’s better to lower your in-game graphics and stick with your monitor’s native resolution.

Furthermore, you can also purchase an additional 1080p monitor as their prices have reduced drastically in recent years.

When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.