Buying a Computer Monitor – a Guide

computer monitor picture

There have been big drops lately in the prices of high-spec computer monitors. It’s now possible for someone on even the tightest budget to purchase a great computer monitor. But what do you need to consider when shopping for a computer monitor?

What type of monitor do I need?

The first decision to make is the type of monitor to buy. An Analog Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor, or a digital Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) monitor?

CRT is the oldest type of monitor. CRT monitors are bulkier. They have good viewing angles and are usually relatively cheap – however they have been more or less replaced by newer, more advanced technologies.

LCD flat panels are more popular than CRTs. They’re slimmer, use less power, and emit less radiation. They’ve dropped substantially in price since they first became available and the refresh picture issues that they use to suffer from have been mostly eliminated.

LED monitors are a further refinement of the LCD flat-panel technology. In general LED panels offer improved colour performance over LCD. They’re also usually thinner and consume less power when operating.

What size monitor is right for me?

If you’re going to be working in a small room or sitting near the monitor then a small screen may be sufficient. However modern operating systems and websites are increasingly designed for large, high-resolution screens. To avoid eye-strain it’s probably best to go for the largest screen size that you’re comfortable with. Screens sized between 20” and 24” are now the norm.

What aspect ratio?

computer monitor picture
Choosing Computer Screens

The aspect ratio refers to the ratio between the horizontal and vertical size of the monitor. Widescreen ratios of 16:10 and 16:9 have mostly replaced the old 4:3 ratio. A widescreen aspect ratio is essential if you’re planning on watching films or other widescreen content on your monitor.

What resolution?

The screen resolution denotes the number of pixels that the screen can show; it’s usually written like this: 1920×1080. The higher the numbers, the higher the resolution, and the more detail the screen can handle. In general bigger screens should have higher resolution.

What connectors do you need?

You don’t want any issues connecting your computer to the monitor, so it’s important to check the monitor’s connectors to ensure that they’re compatible with the selection on your computer. Possible ports include: HDMI, DVI, UDI and DisplayPort. The more connection options the better; it increases the flexibility with which you’ll be able to use the monitor.

Last but not least – the Stand

The stand is something that people often forget when shopping for a monitor. Cheaper stands reduce your movement options, but if you’re certain that you will only ever be sitting in front of the monitor looking at it directly then that may not be an issue. More expensive monitors have additional adjustment options: height, tilt, swivel and pivot.

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