Couple of months ago, we reviewed EIZO’s 36.4" (92cm) 4K panel which came with astounding $35,000 price tag. Furthermore, the display weighed almost 28 kilograms (65.1 lbs) and consumed around 350 Watts. Today, Sharp unveiled the latest 4K display bringing the resolution it into a more affordable range. The differences between the EIZO model and the new Sharp model are more than visible. First and foremost, Sharp weighs in 7.5 kilograms and consumes "just" 120 Watts.
Not everything is perfect, as EIZO offered full 4K2K resolution (4096×2160), while Sharp gives you 3840×2160, a 16:9 ratio instead of 16:10 used by EIZO. Recently, the 3840×2160 pixel resolution was renamed into Ultra HD and the PN-K321 marks the arrival of more affordable 4K2K displays. While EIZO wanted 35,000 dollars for their 36.4" (92 cm) display, Sharp is asking "just" $5,500 for their 32 inch (80.1 cm) monitor. The difference in price reminds us of early 2000s, when a 42" plasma display went from 15,000 USD to 5,000 USD in just 18 months, and we all know the prices of plasma panels of today.
Similar thing will happen to 4K panels as well – after costing as much as a hybrid car, the competition is driving the development and driving the prices down to a more manageable range. While it is a bit absurd to suggest that a $5,500 PC component is "affordable", Sharp is making a statement that the time of more affordable 4K panels is coming.
Furthermore, the price of this display was limited by the use of medical-grade anti-bacterial materials, which means this is a professional device that is intended to be used in professional environments such as hospitals, airports and the like.
Sharp’s monitor even comes with two 2 Watt speakers, and for connection requires the use of single-port DisplayPort or dual HDMI link. This also puts to rest theories we heard from AMD engineers, which continuously told us that you can’t drive a 4K display at 60Hz with a single DisplayPort cable. With a refresh rate of 50/60Hz at 3840×2160, this display begs to differ.
Now, if only somebody would take this 4K panel and put it in a better designed enclosure, the device would be a killer…