HD vs Full HD: Choosing the Best Option

Is FHD better than HD?

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HD vs. Full HD

High definition or HD displays are now the gold standard for image resolution, offering unparalleled picture quality, crispness, and clarity. However, the term "high definition" has evolved to refer to multiple image resolutions of increasing quality (and cost): HD, Full HD, Quad HD and Ultra HD/4K.

Most consumer-focused laptops and monitors sold today have HD or, more likely, FHD displays – the higher “Quad” and “Ultra” resolution options are found mostly in higher-end systems. But what, exactly, do the terms HD and FHD mean, and which resolution is right for you? Keep reading to learn more.

What is Full HD?

Full HD delivers 1080p image resolution and is the typical resolution for Blu-Ray discs, digital television, and most high-def videos found on YouTube, Hulu, and so on. Below Full HD is regular or standard HD with 720p resolution – not as good as Full HD but still far better than old-style laptops and monitors. [For more on the higher-resolution display options, visit “What is Quad HD?“ and “What is Ultra HD?”.]

The difference between the various screen resolutions is shown in this list:

  • HD: 720p image resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels – approx. 1 million total)
  • Full HD (FHD): 1080p image resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels – approx. 2 million total)
  • Quad HD (QHD): 1440p image resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels – approx. 4 million total)
  • Ultra HD (UHD)/4K: 2160p image resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels – approx. 8 million total)

The more pixels there are in an image, the better. Why? With more pixels, an image can be displayed at larger sizes without suffering picture degradation. So, a 14-inch laptop display with a Full HD/1080p image resolution will be clearer and shaper than a 14-inch display with a HD/720p image resolution.

What’s the difference between HD and 'HD Ready?’

While it’s not used much anymore, you may still encounter the term “HD Ready." It simply means that the display – typically an external monitor or television – is capable of displaying imagery at a high-def resolution if that’s what your computer, DVD player or cable system provides. “HD Ready” is largely a vestige from the days when HD systems were just coming out and consumers were shopping for display devices to match their new 1080p DVD players, etc.

Also, be aware that as standard HD becomes less common, the term HD is sometimes used interchangeably with Full HD. For clarity, know that while HD may refer to 720p or 1080p, Full HD can only refer to 1080p.

Ready to shop? Lenovo offers a great selection of powerful laptops at all display resolutions, along with a wide range of external monitors to use with your desktop or tower PCs.

HD vs Full HD: comparison

High definition (HD) and full high definition (FHD) are terminologies that you will frequently encounter, especially in digital display technologies. You’ll hear them often when discussing the resolution of screens on devices like TVs, monitors, and smartphones.

Both terms reflect the quality of the images and videos you see on your screens, yet there's a significant difference between them. Below is more information about HD vs Full HD.

Feature HD Full HD
Resolution 1280 x 720 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio 16:09 16:09
Pixels 9,21,600 20,73,600
Color Depth 8-bit 8-bit

What is full HD?

Full HD has a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This resolution is higher than standard or regular HD.

It is commonly the standard resolution for Blu-Ray discs, digital TV, and the majority of high-definition videos available on platforms such as YouTube and Hulu. It's called "Full HD" because it has more than twice the detail of the older standard HD.

With Full HD, you'll get an immersive viewing experience. It delivers highly detailed images that significantly enhance the visual appeal of movies, games, photos, and other forms of media content. However, there are higher-resolution formats like Quad-HD and Ultra HD.

What is FHD resolution?

FHD resolution provides 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high which equates to an approximate total of 2.07 million pixels.

This resolution gives you more than twice the detail of the older HD resolution, which is 1280 pixels by 720 pixels. As a result, one reason you should consider FHD resolution is its capability to deliver sharp and clear images, particularly suitable for multimedia consumption and gaming.

You will hear people using the term "1080p" interchangeably with FHD. The term emphasizes the progressive scanning technique used, which ensures smoother and more stable video playback compared to the older interlaced formats.

What is FHD display?

FHD display provides you with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels offering a detailed image with greater pixel density than a standard HD display.

The aspect ratio in FHD display is 16:9, meaning you get a wide viewing space to improve your viewing experience. This makes it ideal for movies and games that benefit from a larger field of view.

FHD display is typically found in modern high-end devices. These include TVs, monitors, smartphones, and laptops. It's particularly beneficial for watching high-definition videos, playing graphics-intensive video games, or working with visual content where clarity and detail are of the essence.

What is HD?

HD or high definition refers to a resolution that is higher than standard definition (SD) but lower than Full HD. It is commonly used in broadcasting and for smaller screen devices where high pixel density isn't always necessary depending on the activity.

Although the pixel density is lower than full HD you can expect to see increased picture detail and vibrant colors, creating a more realistic and enhanced viewing experience compared with SD. Although it doesn't match the display and resolution of Full HD this is only necessary for activities such as gaming where you're seeking a fully immersive experience.

What is HD resolution?

HD resolution refers to a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels, also known as 720p. HD display consists of 1280 pixels horizontally and 720 pixels vertically, amounting to 921,600 pixels in total. This creates a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, meaning the width is almost twice the height.

While it offers a higher quality than SD, it's less detailed than FHD. However, with more pixels on the screen, you'll get images that are crisper and filled with more detail to improve your experience. This makes HD resolution ideal for playing video games or displaying detailed graphics on your screen.

What’s the difference between HD and ‘HD Ready?’

HD and 'HD Ready' are both terms associated with high-definition content, but they aren't quite the same thing. 'HD' refers to the actual content quality, with a resolution of at least 720p. 'HD Ready,' on the other hand, pertains to the capabilities of your television.

HD Ready is a term often used to describe a display device that can support the input of a high-definition signal but doesn't necessarily have the pixel count of a true HD screen. Essentially, an HD Ready display can process and output HD content. However, it may do so at a lower resolution, usually less than 720p.

Which is better Full HD or HD?

The choice between HD vs Full HD largely depends on the intended use. If your priority is superior image detail and clarity, Full HD, with its higher resolution, is a better choice.

Full HD provides more detail and sharper images because it has more than twice the pixel count of HD. This means that images and videos will look more crisp and detailed on a Full HD display, especially on larger screens or when viewed from close distances. However, the difference may not be noticeable for smaller displays or when the viewing distance is considerable, making HD a cost-effective option.

What is the difference between HD and Full HD TV?

When it comes to HD vs Full HD TV, the main difference lies in their respective resolutions. An HD TV has a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, while a Full HD TV boasts a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. This latter results in a clearer and more detailed image. This becomes more noticeable on larger screens. It can make a significant difference when watching high-quality content or playing high-definition video games. Your choice between HD Full and HD TV will also depend on the type of content you consume and your budget. HD TV is still a very good contender for viewing content. 

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Monitor Sizes

Are you looking for a smaller monitor? At Lenovo, we offer several options in the 23-inch size range These monitors are great for home or office use and are available in a variety of resolutions to suit your needs.

For those who need a bit more real estate on their screen, we also offer monitors in the 27-28 inch range These displays are ideal for professionals who need to view multiple windows or applications at once, or for gamers who want a more immersive experience.

If you're looking for something even larger, we have monitors available in the 29-inch size range as well as monitors in the 31-inch range. These displays are perfect for professionals who work with large datasets or complex graphics.

Gamers, we have you covered too! Check out our 24-inch gaming monitor for a smooth and immersive gaming experience.

Finally, for those who want the ultimate display experience, we offer monitors in the 34-36 inch range and monitors in the 40-49 inch range. These displays are perfect for professionals who need to view complex data or graphics, or for gamers who want to immerse themselves in the action.

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