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What You Need to Consider When Buying a Computer Monitor

Source: PCMAG

Usually, when it comes to buying a monitor, everyone wants to buy a perfect monitor as it requires a huge one-time investment. We always want to buy a monitor that comes with high-tech specs, extraordinary design, and the latest technology. With the advancement in technology, there are lots of easy-to-customize, user-friendly monitors available in the market. But due to a countless number of options available, it becomes difficult to decide which monitor will suit their needs the best.

However, a little research can make a huge difference. One can easily get a user-friendly screen if the user has the right knowledge about the specs and technology behind it. A screen matters a lot in gadgets. You can save a lot by being educated about some facts about the monitor. There are a number of things that one needs to consider in their mind while starting their monitor purchase hunt. In this guide, we are going to give an in-depth analysis of some of the core features of a monitor that can help you to buy the best one at an affordable price point.

1. Panel Type:

There are three types of panels available in the market – TN, VA and IPS panel, differentiated on the basis of their response time and color accuracy. They have their own strengths and limitations, making them best for different kind of users.

IPS: IPS or In-Plane Switching Panels are the most expensive, but the quality you get is worth the money you spend on it. They offer very accurate colors and wide viewing angles. They are best for photographers and graphic designers but not for gamers as they don’t offer fast response time as TN panel.
While they are designed to meet the requirements of every user, which type of panel you choose for your monitor, it depends on your budget and the time you are spending in front of your monitor. Hence, it is recommended to know your needs before finalizing your decision.

2. Pixel size and Resolution:

Pixel size and resolution is something that confuses many new buyers. In-depth clarity about the same is required if you don’t want to duped with some sub-standard monitor. Resolution refers to the number of pixels a monitor can display easily. The pixel density of display attributes towards its quality. If the density is good, you’ll get some good zooming quality.

· 1080p: In the past, monitors with 1080p resolution were considered as the best monitor, but today, there are many monitors that come with better resolution. But, if you want reasonable clarity at affordable prices, then 1080p resolution can turn out to be the right option.

· 1440p: Those who are ready to spend a little bit higher and don’t want to compromise on display quality like casual gamers can go with 1440p resolution. It offers improved visuals as compared to 1080p. It is also an ideal option for those who are looking for a high refresh rate.

· 4K: 4K resolution monitors are the best monitors for anyone as they offer the best quality and detailed picture quality. However, they are much more expensive than any other monitor. Moreover, you need a powerful graphics card to run a system at 4K resolution.
However, too much resolution on a too small screen or vice-versa can be annoying as it will produce a blurred image. Make sure you buy a monitor whose resolution, aspect ratio, monitor size are compatible with each other.

3. Response Time:

Response time is referred as the time taken by the monitor to receive a signal from the CPU and react accordingly. It is measured in milliseconds and can range from 1ms to 6ms. Though a response time won’t affect a casual user, it will definitely affect a gamer. Because longer response time can cause motion blur while gaming or watching high-paced videos. Shorter the response time is, better the gaming experience will be. Hence, if you are a gamer, make sure you choose a monitor with the lowest response time.

4. Refresh Rate:

Calculated in hertz (Hz), a monitor’s refresh rate is referred as the number of times a monitor refreshes and updates the information in one second. Like response time, refresh rate also plays a vital role during gaming. Higher the refresh rate will be, the better it will be. Normal monitors support up to 60Hz of refresh rate whereas some professional gaming monitors offer higher refresh rates up to 240Hz. However, make sure that your monitor has got a high-powered graphics card to back it up as well.

5. HDMI vs. DisplayPort:

In the past, monitors come with either a VGA or DVI port, but today, most of the monitors come with an HDMI port or a DisplayPort. So, before you shop a monitor, make sure it has the same inputs as your CPU.

HDMI port carries both video and audio signal. It means if your monitor has built-in speakers and a headphone jack, you need not spend on external speakers. On the other hand, a DisplayPort is similar to HDMI port as it also carries both audio and video signals over a single cable, but it can handle 4K content up to a resolution of 240Hz refresh rate. It makes it for gamers and video editors. Hence, if you are an avid gamer, make sure you buy a monitor with DisplayPort. Otherwise, an HDMI port is okay for casual users.

6. Screen Size:

Monitors come with different screen size, ranging from 14-inches to 34+ inches. Having a wide monitor screen allows you to view more data while reducing the need for scrolling, but you should always choose the one that can fit on your desk with ease. Not only the right size monitor will add charm to your workspace interior, but it will not burn your pocket as well. Large screens are ideal for graphic designers, photographers, etc. Remember that screen size is always measured diagonally and with a too large screen, you may have to struggle to find the media that can match its native resolution. For most of the users, a screen size between 24-35 inches is sufficient.

7. Aspect Ratio:

The aspect ratio of a monitor is defined as the ratio of the display area’s width and height. Full HD monitors come with a typical standard aspect ratio of 16:9 that is enough to handle HD content, watch movies or play games. Some fancy monitors such as curved monitors come with an aspect ratio of 21:9, giving you feel like you are watching a movie or playing a game in reality. However, these monitors are very expensive and only necessary for pro-level work or hardcore gaming. Hence, it is recommended to know your needs before making a purchase.

8. Viewing Angle:

It is defined as how readable the screen is and what is the consistency of colors when it is looked form the side. Though it is not necessary for the gaming monitors, but for computer teachers, photographers, graphic designers, it matters a lot. Higher the viewing angle will be, more the number of people will be able to see the monitor from the side. 178-degree viewing angle is sufficient for normal users.

TN monitors have the worst viewing angles whereas the VA monitors offer better viewing angle than TN panel but worse than IPS panel. IPS panel ensure that the picture looks uniform even viewed from the side. Those can skip this factor who are going to use their monitor while sitting straight in front of it. But if you prefer to watch your favorite TV shows on your PC with a group of friends, aim for a bigger viewing angle in your monitor so that the individuals at the corners of a room could see the screen perfectly.

9. Pixel Pitch:

Measured in mm, pixel pitch is referred as the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of adjacent pixels. It means lesser the space between two pixels is, better the resolution will be. It influences the optimal viewing angle of the display. Laptops with lower pixel pitch allow the user to view the screen more closely with distorting its pixels. While higher pixel density is intended to deliver improve visual quality, it loses its significance when viewed from a greater viewing angle and enhances the cost of the display.

Hence, make sure before you make any decision, you know what pixel pitch will suit your requirements. You can be sure that you are choosing the right pixel pitch monitor by using the 10x Rule. All you need to do it multiply the pixel pitch with 10; if it is approximately equal to the viewing angle in feet, it means you have chosen the right monitor.

10. Brightness:

Luminance or brightness is the level of the amount of light emitted by the display. Brightness is measured in nits or candelas per square meter (cd/m2). One nit is equal to one cd/m2. Usually, monitors come with 250cd/m2 that is enough for you if you are going to use your monitor in a room.

Brightness can be a concern if you’re working in a very well-lit area or next to massive windows as many screens are dimly lit in bright light that makes it difficult to do your work. In that case, you need to choose high-end monitors that have brightness around 300-350cd/m2. Remember that an excessive amount of brightness can cause severe eye strain. However, if you wish to have a monitor with HDR support, you can surely enjoy the additional peak of brightness but at a higher price point.

11. Budget:

Before you go ahead, it is always suggested to decide how much you want to spend on a monitor. As there are countless numbers of monitors available in the market; it is not possible to check-out every monitor. However, when you set your budget, not only it will reduce the number of options, but also help you in buying the right monitor that will fulfill your needs without burning your pocket.

12. Curved or Flat:

There are two types of monitor screens – Curved and Flat. Curved monitors are designed to deliver an outstanding experience to the users. It has larger viewing space, aspect ratio, resolution, as compared to flat monitors. However, they are very expensive. Hence, if you are on a limited budget, you should definitely give a second thought to buying a curved monitor. However, keeping your mind set on quality over price can save you a lot of unnecessary hassles later and can be gaining experience in the long run.

13. Monitor Base:

The stand of a monitor is as important as any other technical specs. Many monitors allow the user to tilt the display a few degree angles back, but the advanced monitors allow you to tilt, swivel left and right, adjust the height as per your convenience. Monitor with swivel base makes your job much easier when it is placed on a desk. However, some monitor comes with VESA compatible that allows you to mount it on the wall. Regardless of the type of monitor you choose, make sure you know your needs before finalizing your decision.

14. Glossy or Matte Screen:

Choosing between a glossy or matte is a confusing task as both have their own advantages and limitations. While glossy displays produce more vibrant and vivid color images, they are not suitable for using outdoors or a room with lots of light. On the other hand, a matte display can handle glare in light without putting any strain on your eyes but are expensive than glossy ones. Hence, before you decide on, it is advisable to check out the light density where you are going to use the monitor.

15. LED Backlight:

In the past, monitors use cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology to illuminate the screen, but nowadays, a wide array of LEDs are used to improve the display quality of the screen. Not only due to LED backlighting, a monitor can produce brighter images, but it also consumes less power. Though the CCFL displays are less expensive than LED-backlight monitors, its improved image quality and less power consumption justify its price.

16. Free-Sync or G-sync:

Games on a PC run at a variable refresh rate, but monitors have a static refresh rate. Due to which it leads to screen tears. In order to reduce tearing and stuttering, gaming monitors come with G-sync or AMD FreeSync feature. Though both perform the same function, AMD FreeSync monitors are less expensive than G-sync monitors. Hence, before you make a purchase, decide whether you want a Free-sync monitor of G-sync monitor.

While these were the factors that can help you in buying the right monitor for you, before you step out, make sure you know why you want to buy a separate monitor. Knowing your needs will help you in making the right decision.

Your monitor is not a toy. It is a cutting edge gadget that will go on to help you with your work for years to come. If your requirements are simple like you want a monitor for generic work or surfing the net, then a 27-inch flat screen monitor with 4K resolution will easily suffice you. You can go for a cheaper variant at 24-inch monitor size or a costlier alternative with IPS display. But if your requirements are little more demanding and you are willing to put a thought or two in your buying decision, then you can keep the above-mentioned points in your mind.

Moreover, many monitors these days come with fancy terms like low blue light technology that vendors claim are easier on eyes, but the reality is far from it. One should know that when you turn down the blue light, you reduce the characteristics of other colors that result in unnatural graphics and viewing experience. So, don’t get carried away with fancier terms – Blue light, DCR, etc. are just namesake specs to attract buyers, but usually, they don’t carry much weight and shouldn’t weigh much in your monitor buying decision. For more information, explore the internet.

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