At CES in Las Vegas, Dell introduced a new 32” monitor with 8K resolution (7680×4320) and full (yes, 100%) coverage of the AdobeRGB color space. That’s over 33 million pixels and more than 1 billion colors. The UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD features aluminum construction, 2 display ports and 3 USB 3.0 ports. The expected price of the unit will be around $5,000.
Impressive, right? The headline feature here is clearly the ridiculous resolution numbers and I use the word “ridiculous” quite deliberately. Who among us has been working on their 4K or 5K monitors and thought to themselves “I wish this monitor was sharper.” Anyone? Bueller?
The pixel density of the new monitor will be 280ppi, which is approaching the sharpness of high quality prints. The difference, of course, is viewing distance. If you have near-20/20 vision, you’ll need to examine your work on this monitor from about 12 inches away to appreciate its full resolution. Hold your hand a foot away from your face. Now imagine that it’s a 32” monitor instead of a hand. Feels pretty close, right? I’m sure there are some photographers, video editors, graphic designers, etc. who may prefer to physically move closer to a monitor rather than just zoom in to a particular area, and assuming they have five grand handy, their monitor has arrived.
I believe that the true emerging trend that this monitor showcases is the inclusion of its wider color gamut. With monitors, as with cameras, we’ve been obsessed with resolution for a very long time, and I believe that we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns. Rather than dedicating extra data to producing ever-more pixels, we could choose instead to expand the color depth in our images, and gain deeper, brighter, truer colors, and smoother gradients.
[REWIND: How Much Resolution Do You Really Need?]
It’s also worth noting that you’ll need a computer with an incredibly powerful graphics card to make the most of this unit. In fact, PC World reported that, according to Michael Turner, product launch manager for displays at Dell, “[8K] is not practical, not yet.” GPUs are just not capable of supporting 8K at a reasonable refresh rate. Turner added “When the next round of graphics cards refresh, they’ll get to the point where 8K is mass consumable.”