Before 4K became the target resolution for all home entertainment, 1440p (WQHD or 2560 × 1440) was a great sweet spot. It's above 1080p (Full HD or 1920 x 1080) and offers great graphical fidelity without burdening systems that cannot handle 4K optimally.
However, not all laptops offer a 1440p setting. Here's why and how to get it back.
Easier use means fewer options
When we asked HP about the lack of 1440p resolution in its ZBook Studio G4 mobile workstation, a representative said the company wanted to simplify the integrated display's advanced display identification information. In other words, even though we found that the panel actually supports 1440p, HP just wanted to shorten the list of resolutions you see in Windows 10.
For example, if you right-click on the desktop, select Display Settings from the list, and scroll down to expand the list of display resolutions, you may not see a 1440p option. This means that Windows 10 will not see the setting in the display's advanced display identification data. The panel may support 1440p, but you will not be able to use it.
"It's worth noting that HP software vendors' pro applications have been optimized for FHD and are now being converted to UHD (3840 × 2160 or 4K)," said a representative at the time. "The company's goal is to make it easy for users to get the best UHD display possible."
We also reached out to EVGA about the SC17 1080 laptop, which doesn't list 1440p resolution, although the 4K screen can clearly support this quite well. A representative said the panel used in the laptop does not officially support 1440p due to hardware limitations. However, the rep couldn't tell us exactly why this was the case.
You can force 1440p
The response from EVGA was interesting as the SC17 1080's screen could clearly handle 1440p. We managed to measure this resolution by forcing it to stop. Here's how we used Nvidia's control panel:
Step 1: Right click on the desktop and select Nvidia Control Panel from the pop-up menu.
Step 2: Under Display on the left, select Change resolution.
Step 3: Click the Customize button below.
Step 4: Check the box next to Enable resolutions not shown by the display. If the 1440p resolution suddenly appears in the list, there is no need to create it manually. Otherwise, go to the next step.
Step 5: In the pop-up window, click the Create Custom Resolution button.
Step 6: Enter 2560 for the number of horizontal pixels and 1440 for the number of vertical pixels. You can also enter the desired refresh rate manually, select the scan type and adjust the timing via presets or manually.
Step 7: Click the Test button to see if your selected settings work. If they fail the test, you will be prompted to adjust the settings and test again. If they pass the test, click the Yes button in the pop-up window to save the settings.
Step 8: Close the Nvidia Control Panel.
On AMD-based computers, do the following:
Step 1: Right click on the desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings from the pop-up menu.
Step 2: The AMD Radeon Settings client will appear on the screen. In the top right, select the Settings gear.
Step 3: Select Display and then Custom Resolutions.
Step 4: Click the "Accept" button to confirm AMD's disclaimer followed by "Create New".
Step 5: Enter 2560 for the number of horizontal pixels and 1440 for the number of vertical pixels. You can also enter the desired refresh rate manually, select the scan type and adjust the timing via presets or manually.
Step 6: Click Save to complete the process. If the settings don't work, you'll need to make adjustments and hit the Save button again. If the settings work, the custom resolution will appear in the Custom Resolutions menu.
Step 7: Close the Radeon Settings.
Set the correct GPU
Even if you still want to move a resolution that is not listed, the laptop manufacturer may not offer the means by default. There is a way, but it may not work for everyone.
With the HP ZBook Studio G4 with the Nvidia Quadro discrete graphics chip, we found in the Nvidia Control Panel that most of the customizable settings were no longer there, including the option to create a custom resolution.
We then looked into the Intel software that manages the integrated graphics and found that the option to create the resolution is gone from Intel as well.
In doing so, we dealt with the laptop's BIOS, the embedded "operating system" that controls all hardware, input and output processes. Here we found that you can set the laptop to use either of the two graphics options by default – the integrated component from Intel or the discrete Quadro chip from Nvidia.
By default, the laptop has been set up to depend on Intel's iGPU. However, after we switched to the discreet Quadro chip and rebooted, Nvidia's administrative board locked its extensive collection of settings. This allowed us to create a customized 1440p resolution for experimentation purposes.
1440p never got a mainstream chance
Eliminating the 1440p resolution seems to be in line with most laptop manufacturers' thinking about laptops today.
Similar to HDTVs, 1080p and 1080p are among the most popular and well-known resolution levels 4K. Contrary to popular belief, the 1440p resolution is not very common outside the realm of PC gaming. You may be shocked to know that even consoles that have skipped from 1080p to 4K because of the TV market don't have that specific resolution. Throw in the fact that 4K panels are the latest trend right now and 1440p certainly seems irrelevant to the standard laptop user.
However, this does not mean that the lack of 1440p is tolerable. Laptop buyers should still have a choice of resolutions when it comes to making a purchase.