Panasonic’s 20-inch, 4K IPS LCD will someday make the best monitor ever

toshiba 4k 20 inch monitor

Considering Panasonic used to be the company best known for breaking size records with ever-larger plasma panels, it came as some surprise to us that this year, one of the main draws was a paltry 20 inches. Of course, when you see it in person, it quickly becomes evident why.

panasonic 20 inch 4k IPS LCD ces 2012Despite its diminutive physical size, this freak-of-nature prototype screen has full 4K resolution – four times as many pixels as 1080p. That gives it an astounding pixel density of 216 pixels per inch. From a distance, it looks close enough to an ordinary 1080p screen when viewed side by side, but gets closer, and the level of detail is eye popping – almost printlike. A city map is represented in perfect detail, all the way down to razor-thin byways and squint-worthy print. A field of grass blowing in the wind takes on an almost 3D quality – you can pick out the individual stems. Within a bustling fish tank, you can still pick out the antennae on a tiny shrimp as it feels its way along a rock.

We’ve seen pixels this tiny before (Apple’s common Retina screen sports 326 pixels per inch) just not this many. The cumulative effect is truly gawk worthy and impressive.

Of course, if you need to get within feet of it to appreciate the level of detail, the number of applications gets a bit more limited. We have our fingers crossed for 4K computer monitors, which would dwarf even the 2560 x 1440 resolution found in high-end displays like Apple’s 27-inch Thunderbolt Display.