Monitor Buying Guide
Considering we spend so much of our time tapping away on keyboards, it’s increasingly important to choose the best monitor to suit our individual IT needs. This guide will make it easy to suss out your computer monitor options.
Questions answered in this monitor buying guide:
For simple tasks & basic computing:
For simple tasks like emailing, using social media, surfing the web and paying your bills online, you probably don't need a high-performance monitor with lots of sophisticated features. Many lower-priced monitors are available, and you don't have to settle for a small screen. Even average-sized monitors (23"–24") with Full HD are probably more affordable in DeviceDeal than you think.
Read on this buying guide to be aware of other factors that might drive your chocie from the budget monitors.
For graphic design, photography editing, video production and other multimedia work:
Photographers, graphic designers, video production artists and other multimedia professionals need a monitor designed for content creation. This means a larger screen with at least Full HD or Quad HD resolution for more screen space and highly detailed images. Also, you can't go wrong with an IPS panel with its deep blacks, accurate colors and wide viewing angles. If you're editing movies and videos, look for a monitor with a response time of 5ms or less, to reduce motion blur and ghosting, a faint trail left on the screen from previous images. You might also consider getting an adjustable stand or dual-display mount for easy, ergonomic viewing.
Whether you’re crashing an engagement party on The Sims or destroying a town centre in Age of Empires, it’s crucial that your monitor can provide you with the optimum visuals and specs to suit your budget. Hard-core and casual gamers alike can benefit enormously from investing in a screen without flickering, blurriness, or frustrating motion artefacts. Paired with a powerful graphics card, a good monitor can truly transform the way that you game!
Bigger isn’t always better, but for gaming, it is. If your piggy bank is full, a 4K or Ultra-High Definition monitor is the real deal. picture quality, these high pixel count monitors allow for an unrivalled gaming experience. Other factors IPS/TN monitors and FreeSync/G-Sync monitors should also be considered. Read on to know more about these factors.
Curved monitors are a unique innovation that allows the computer screen to completely fill your field of vision. Whether you’re interested in purchasing one for work or play, curved monitors have the potential to create a more immersive experience than traditional flat-screen monitors. Their extra-wide screens make it possible to work easily across multiple programs and windows simultaneously, which is ideal for work purposes, while the all-encompassing curve and killer graphics are a gamer’s dream. They are great because they create a sense of depth and perspective. Their broad field of view and unique curvature also allow for fewer light reflections, and they feel quite organic to work with. The most obvious con of curved monitors is the price point and the fact that you cannot use multiple curved monitor screens at once, like you can with traditional flat screens. That being said, if you can afford them, they’re definitely worth the extra dollars.
Are you so comfortable working across multiple screens that it’s impossible to operate from a single-screen laptop when you’re on the go? Look no further than a portable monitor, which makes it possible to add a second, or even third screen to your laptop’s display when you’re out of office and need to switch between multiple windows at once.
USB portable monitors can be liberating for those of us who enjoy working in cafes or shared spaces but need a little extra breathing room on our screens. Whether you’re a digital artist, journalist, academic researcher, or web designer, it’s definitely worth considering the attractiveness of a portable monitor and the logistical impact it could have on your day-to-day working life.
TN Monitors (or twisted nematic monitors) are a type of LCD (a form of LED) panel display technology. TN panels are faster and cheaper than IPS (in-plane switching) panels. For that reason, they work great for gaming monitors and gaming laptops. Main advantages of TN monitors is their minimal power consumption, better response time and better refresh rate.
However, TN panels offer worse viewing angles and color reproduction when compared to IPS panels.
IPS (in-plane switching) monitors deliver more precise colour and deeper blacks than most of the LCD or LED monitors. This makes them the best monitors for digital content creation, whether that's photo editing, graphics work. This also makes them great for gaming as they give better gaming experience. The picture on IPS monitors looks perfect even if you are not sitting right in front of the monitor, thanks to the wider-viewing angles these monitors offer.
This also makes them great for gaming as they give better gaming experience. The picture on IPS monitors looks perfect even if you are not sitting right in front of the monitor, thanks to the wider-viewing angles these monitors offer.
Touchscreens aren’t reserved for smartphones and iPads. There are a number of benefits that come with investing in a high-quality touchscreen monitor, whether it’s to supplement the purchase of a desktop or laptop computer. Aside from the novelty of issuing touch-based commands with your finger or a stylus, touchscreen interfaces open up a whole new array of commands that simply aren’t possible on traditional computer screens.
Touch commands can be highly intuitive. For example, you can pinch the screen to zoom in, run your finger along the side of the screen to scroll, and easily navigate between tabs without the struggle of moving a computer mouse or laptop touchpad. Touchscreen monitors can be particularly useful for saving desk space, travelling, and working with digital art, and it won’t be long until they are optimised for gaming, too.
LCDs, or Liquid Crystal Displays use thousands of tiny squares called pixels. Each pixel is comprised of multiple different layers, with liquid crystals being in the middle. LCDs are good quality monitors that you can get at affordable prices. They are flat-panel display or other electronically modulated optical device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly, instead using a backlight or reflector to produce images.
All LED (light-emitting diode) monitors are LCDs, but not all LCD monitors are LEDs! LED monitors are more advanced than LCD monitors, mainly due to the advanced Light Emitting Diode backlighting. They produce brighter and neater image quality by enhancing the contrast and enriching the range of colors.
LEDs consume much less power than regular LCD monitors. LED monitors also have thinner designs and lighter weights in most of the cases.
Monitor screen size is measured diagonally. In most of the cases, as the screen size goes up, the price does the same. This means that you should consider how much you want to spend as well as how much space you have, when deciding about your new monitor's size.
20 inch monitors and under
These reasonably priced monitors can deliver quality performance for simple tasks such as checking emails and social media, sharing photos, using MS Office applications and surfing the web.
21 inch to 26 inch monitors
This screensize range is great for multipurpose home and office use and other non gaming entertaniment such as watching movies and TV shows, playing games and viewing multiple-page documents.
27 inch to 33 inch monitors
Monitors this size offer a bigger viewing area for serious gamers and professionals in photography, graphic arts and video production.
34 inch monitors and above
These are are a special breed of huge. With such big size you won't need a multiple-monitor setup and will save of time and effort when doing any type of multitasking, such as running multiple applications.
Widescreen and Ultrawide Monitors
Nowadays, almost all monitors are widescreen monitors. Widescreen monitors are far better for viewing large spreadsheets, having multiple windows or apps open at the same time or keeping your desktop's sidebar open while searching the web. Indeed, they're also perfect for movies and gaming. Widescreen monitors have a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio, which is a measurement of the width of a screen compared to its height.
Ultrawide monitors, have a 21:9 aspect ratio. They make it easier than ever to view multiple documents next to each other and at the same time or place multiple browsers side by side. Some ultrawide models come with split-screen software that lets you arrange your content on the screen in different ways. Ultrawide monitors also offer an ultimate immersive gaming experience.
Have you ever experienced screen tearing while enjoying your computer game? You can imagine how annoying can be those gross horizontal lines and the screen stuttering. V-Sync should be able to deal with this, however, if you don’t have super high end system, it will affect the performance.
AMD and Nvidia solved this issue while preserving framerates by offering FreeSync & G-Sync respectively and by using adaptive refresh technology. G-Sync and FreeSync are both designed to smooth out gameplay, reduce input lag, and prevent screen tearing.
In most cases, you cannot mix and match between the two technologies. While the monitors themselves will work irrespective of the brand of graphics card, the FreeSync and G-Sync features specifically require an AMD and Nvidia GPU respectively. You have to choose whether you want to go with Nvidia or AMD, and then purchase a monitor accordingly.
G-Sync is a technology developed by Nvidia, the global leader in graphics processing units. It has been on the market for longer than FreeSync and functions by locking the frame rate of games to your monitor’s highest possible limit.
Monitors with G-Sync modules are more expensive than your typical monitor because each G-Sync monitor manufacturer has to source their hardware directly from Nvidia. But higher
price equals higher performance – adaptive refresh technology completely eliminates screen tearing and leads to the ultimate 4K gaming experience.The other good news is that G-Sync modules are growing more and more affordable now that they’ve been available for five years. If you’re interested, but put off by the high price point, you should consider purchasing a low-end G-Sync card for a compatible monitor. It will probably still make a significant improvement to your computer’s gameplay graphics.
Unlike G-Sync, monitor manufacturers do not need to pay to use FreeSync, another form of graphics processing hardware developed by AMD. It’s completely free, which explains why
the vast majority of gaming monitor developers harness this technology and don’t demand a much higher price for their product.
FreeSync has traditionally required an AMD graphics card or APU processor to work, but this is no longer always the case. Some Nvidia cards can now support FreeSync technology. This competitor crossover is all thanks to a recent driver update that allows FreeSync monitors to accommodate GeForce GTX 10-series, GeForce GTX 16-series, and GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards. The catch is that Nvidia cards with FreeSync processing are only guaranteed to function properly on certified ‘Nvidia G-Sync Compatible monitors.
Screen resoultion is an important factor to consider when shopping for your next monitor. Here is a quick idea about the different screen resolutions and their best usage:
HD (1366 x 768) and HD+ (1600 x 900)
HD and HD+ resolutions, available on 15"–20" monitors, provide a quality picture at affordable prices.
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Full high definition monitors have a resolution equivalent to 1080p HDTVs. The crystal-clear picture is great for both everyday use and watching movies and videos.
Quad HD (2560 x 1440)
Also known as QHD, Wide Quad HD or WQHD, this technology gives you four times as many pixels as 720p HD. It delivers extraordinary image clarity, ideal for demanding applications like CAD and graphic design
4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160)
The superior picture quality of 4k monitors is undisputable. They offer the best resolution currently available. With four times as many pixels as Full HD, 4k monitors deliver immersive gaming, high-resolution photo and video editing and a lot more space for multi-tasking. They are great for gamers, graphics pros and movie fans who want to see the a super fine image quality.
High-definition screens sent shockwaves through the IT market when they first hit the shelves, but rapid advancements in technology have doubled the potential resolution for computer monitors. While 1080p is considered the ‘standard’ screen resolution, 2160p monitors – better known as 4k or UHD – are now available everywhere. While they tend to be placed at a high price point, their affordability is slowly increasing, and it is inevitable that they will soon replace their HD forebears as the new industry standard. With images that are twice as sharp, twice as detailed, and twice as impressive, 4k monitors should not be written off as an indulgence.
It's important to mention that some games and apps are not yet optimised for such a high resolution, so gamers should check for 4k content before they buy a 4k monitor.
4k monitors are also brilliant for working with graphic design or editing high-resolution images. The detail is simply stunning, if you can afford it, and there’s never any harm in investing in the future of technology.
Does your graphics card need to be updated?
Before you update to Quad HD or 4K Ultra HD, you should make sure your graphics card can support your new monitor. If you buy a top quality monitor but have an older computer, you won't have the best picture quality. Check the monitor's hardware requirements to see if your computer or graphics card needs to be updated.
Connectivity is an important consideration nowadays. It's not only about hooking up your new monitor to your PC, but also for plugging in other devices such as your smartphone, camera, Blu-ray player, or other devices.
VGA is an old analog technology. It is not a digital connection such as HDMI, DVI and Display Port. VGA can carry fairly high resolutions and frame rates, but you won't get the crystal clear images that you do with DVI.
Monitors that have USB ports enables you to plug in your smartphone, digital camera, Blu-ray player, camcorder or other devices. This makes it possible to view content on your monitor without turning on your computer.
Most computer monitors can connect via HDMI. HDMI carries both video and audio signals and it's excellent for playing HD content from your computer, gaming console, Blu-ray player or other devices.
This is the best choice for if you are seeking the highest resolutions and frame rates. Just like HDMI, Display Port connectors carry both audio and video signals. However, HDMI can only carry 4K Ultra HD at 30 fps (frames per second), while Display Port can handle this resolution at 60 fps, leading to a much smoother picture for fast-moving games and movies.
DVI connections provide a video signal similar to HDMI, but they usually do not carry audio. The resolution they support varies. Some types of DVI connections can carry 1920 x 1200 resolution, while other types can carry more.
The standard of IT infrastructure in a small business has a direct impact on its employees’ ability to work to their highest potential. It is important for businesses to keep up with rapid developments in monitor technology, not only in order to deliver the best material for their clients, but also to help mitigate the risks that so often come from working behind a screen: blurry vision, dry eyes, and headaches. The best computer monitors for business offer ergonomic design paired with high-resolution screens and ultra-low blue light to ease sore eyes and have employees working at their very best.
The first step in choosing your ideal office IT setup is to gauge whether your employees require single or multi-screens. Multiple monitors should include bezel-less displays so as not to compromise the ease of transition from screen to screen. In regard to single-screen monitors, 24-inch screens are the industry standard, but that’s not to say you should shy away from 27-inch monitors if your office has a large amount of desk space or if you require a more than average amount of screen real estate.
TN monitor panels are also cost-effective if your computer work is not visually complex, but IPS monitors provide higher accuracy and are recommended for general day-to-day use. All in all, the ideal IT fitout for your business will rely heavily upon a combination of factors including average screen time, visual requirements, desk space, and budget.