Choose the right computer monitor

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Computer Monitor

A good desktop computer system is as much about a good computer monitor or screen as it is about other components. A well-performing monitor serves to enhance the computer performance manifold. Identifying the right computer for your desktop can be a tough call, considering the large variety of monitors you can choose from. Price, of course, is a key consideration in choosing the best buy. But if price is not a constraint, there are other important factors you should consider before making your selection.

Be sure of your requirement

What is it that you want to use your desktop for, the most? That would eventually dictate your choice of monitor or screen. Where and how much you are going to use the system is important in deciding the size and display settings of the monitor. If you’re looking for something that will protect your back and hands while working at the system, then an ergonomic design is what you need.

Display settings

Basically, computer monitors come in two broad types. The traditional type is the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) while the newer variety is the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) type.  LCD monitors have more or less replaced the CRT ones.

Within the LCD range, there are further categories to choose from, depending on the panel technology. The Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the most affordable with a good response time but have poor brightness and viewing angles, and the color reproduction is also not good. The Vertical Alignment (VA) LCD monitors enjoy the benefits of better color reproduction and good brightness but are slower than the TN panels.

Though the In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitors are quite expensive (except the e-IPS ones), they  give the best viewing angles and the best color accuracy. Unfortunately, they are really slow in terms of response time and input lag. You can also opt for the latest technology (Plane-Line Switching or PLS) that cost less while giving exceptional brightness and viewing angles.

Though generally considered different, the LED monitors are in fact a kind of LCD screens. The only difference is in the type of backlight used. The backlights may vary from white LED (WLED) to RGB LED. The latter is more expensive and doesn’t permit a slim design, and is hence less preferred.

Screen size and resolution

Screen size is critical to the selection of a monitor, whichever the type you decide to opt for. The smallest screen size – 17” – is not for you if you’re used to a wide-screen display. The 19” and 20” screens are better in terms of width but the resolutions are not the best.

For a somewhat better resolution (1,920×1,080), your best bet would be the 21.5” and 22” monitors which are compatible with HDMI and Display Port. Then there’s the 24” monitor, with the flexibility of being able to function at the resolution of the 21.5”-22” monitors as well as the smaller ones (1,920×1,200).

If your requirement is somewhat more professional, it may be a good idea to opt for monitors in the 27” to 30” range, with their relatively higher resolutions – going up from 1,920×1,080 to 2,560×1,600 pixels.

Connections

As far as connections go, the DisplayPort is the newest kid on the block. Since it provides higher bandwidth connection, DisplayPort helps make the monitor lighter and thinner. Monitors that are still made to function on the old technology may be designed to DVI (Digital Visual Interface) or HDMI connectivity. The HDMI is a better choice for connectivity with a high-definition source, and thus ideal if you want to use the monitor to double up as a television screen. Check out both the glossy and the matte screens to ascertain which suits you requirements the best.

Tips to finding the best buy

Before finalizing on a monitor, here are a few quick checks you should make to ensure that your choice is really the right one.

  • Look at the monitor from various angles to see if there’s any change in the screen color or brightness. Ideally, there should be no such change when looking at the monitor from an off angle.
  • Change the font size of any website to a small size and check out its readability. Reading black text on white background should also not give any legibility problems.
  • Color accuracy is best checked by looking at a digital photo of some person you see regularly and trying to spot the differences, if any. Black display should really be good if the monitor has good color accuracy.
  • Be sure that the graphic card of your computer is aligned to the monitor’s resolution to give the best image quality.

Finally, before you take the plunge, do check out the warranty of the monitor. The monitor should ideally come with a 90-day return policy and should cover all the components, including the backlight, as well as labor costs.

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