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Ah, the wonderful world of sitting in front of a glowing screen all day!
Jokes aside, monitors can make an enormous difference in your computer station. Whether you are a spreadsheet hero, or a professional gamer, there are gains to be had.
Things to Consider
The first thing to consider when looking for the best computer monitor is what you will be using it for.
If it is specifically a gaming monitor you after, then check out our guide to the best computer monitors for gaming. However, if you are after the a more well rounded monitor then stick around!
Other things to consider when Monitor Hunting:
- Screen Size
- Panel Type
- Input Lag
- Glossy VS Matte
- Additional Features
Monitor Screen Size
The size of your monitor is probably one of the biggest things to consider. One of the most common sizes today is going to be a 24″ widescreen monitor. It is big enough to give plenty of working space without being hard to view sitting 2-3 feet away from it.
The resolution of your monitor is another thing to consider. With all the marketing hype around 4k displays, you may think this is certainly the way to go, think of all the pixels!
However, you may be just as happy with a monitor with a resolution of 1440p or even 1080p depending on your needs. If you are able to compare the two in person please do so.
From the distance you will be sitting away from your monitor, chances are you will be quite happy with 1440p for most all use cases.
If you do decide that a 4k display is for you, do keep in mind that a 4k monitor will be more demanding on your graphics card so be sure your machine can provide the resources needed. This is especially true if you plan on playing any games on it.
Monitor Panel Type
The type of panel a monitor uses is not something that is talked about very often, but it can make a big difference in your viewing experience. There are several types of panels used in Desktop Monitors:
TN – Twisted Nematic
VA – Vertical Alignment
PVA – Patterned Vertical Alignment
S-PVA – Super PVA
MVA – Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment
IPS – In-Plane Switching
The two most common you will read about are TN and ISP panels.
TN panels are the most common, and do a good job. They are known for their poor view angels though.
I have 3 of TN panel monitors right now and if I move my head even a small bit side to side I will see the monitor get a bit darker in color due to my view angel.
It is worth noting that VA panel monitors will do a slightly better job of the view angel issue, but no where near as good as IPS panels.
IPS panel monitors currently offer the best viewing angles you can get – and they look fantastic.
Monitor Input Lag
While this may sound like something that only you only need to worry about if you are playing games, it can affect everyday use as well.
Input lag is something that is not readily advertised. Instead, marketers focus on response time. This is a good metric to measure how fast a pixel changes from grey to grey on your screen, but not how long it takes between a button press and it showing on your screen.
In reality you will probably be ok with most monitors these days, but once you start looking toward TV-like displays or very cheap and random monitor brands it is something to consider looking into.
Ah, one of the biggest things to consider when shopping for a monitor is the cost. This can be especially true if you are after a multi-monitor setup.
Most monitors cost between $100 – $200, but there are some above and some below.
A few things to think about here when looking at the price of a monitor:
- Will I be using this monitor everyday?
- How long do I expect to use this monitor?
- Will I be using this monitor for work?
- Will I be using this monitor for gaming?
- Does the monitor have good reviews?
With those questions answered, you should take a look at your budget and feel good about your purchase.
Glossy VS Matte
It is like the battle royale of the century. Would you rather have glares off of every light, or dull lifeless colors?
Ok, really it is not that bad, but it is something to think about.
Glares on a glossy screen can be a huge annoyance. Since most people don’t move their monitor around so much, that may not be as big a deal.
Matte screens though may not offer the same vivid a color appearance.
Both are great in their own way, but I personally prefer Matte.
Additional Monitor Features
What more could you want from a monitor other than to display things? Well, there are a few things that might improve your computer setup.
Built-in Speakers – Though more often than not these do not produce a good sound quality that people enjoy.
Built-in USB Ports – These can be useful for plugging things right in depending on your setup.
Embedded Camera – This is more common to see on laptop screens, but you can find them on desktop monitors as well.
Picture-In-Picture – This will allow you to feature more than one source / input on the screen at a time. Samsung calls this Picture-By-Picture. Be sure to read all the details on how this feature works if you are really after it.
Adjustable Stand – This will allow for viewing your monitor at the right angle or setting the right height for your best ergonomic posture.
Built-in Card Reader – This might be more popular for the photographer type, but not having extra card readers on your desk would certainly be a plus.
Common Monitor Questions
The most common monitor size would probably fall between 22″-24″.
The most common monitor screen size currently is 1920×1080 – Full HD.
Yes, you can use a TV as computer monitor. However, it could have a much slower response time than you are looking for, and could be hard to use for most tasks.