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Jeff Jackson
Jeff Jackson

How To Buy A Computer Monitor

If you do buy a curved monitor, understand curvature specs. An 1800R curvature has a curved radius of 1800mm and a suggested best max viewing distance of 1.8 meters -- and so on. The lower the curvature (as low as 1000R), the more curved the display is.

how to buy a computer monitor

If you want ultimate speed that's also not too taxing on your GPU, FHD (1920 x 1080) delivers the highest frame rates (you won't find gaming monitors today with lower resolution). But avoid stretching that resolution past 27 inches, as you may notice a dip in image quality, with pesky individual pixels being visible.

There are many confusing choices and even more confusing marketing terms to sift through when buying a new gaming monitor. Let's break down the features that actually benefit gamers. Note that some factors depend on a player's skill level.

Competitive gamers should prioritize speed, which calls for high refresh rates (144 Hz or more), as well as the lowest response time and input lag (see our gaming monitor reviews (opens in new tab)) possible. This will likely limit you to 25 or 27 inches, possibly with lower pixel density and without extended color or HDR.

Gaming monitors usually have Nvidia G-Sync (for PCs with Nvidia graphics cards) and/or AMD FreeSync (for running with PCs using AMD graphics cards). Both features reduce screen tearing and stuttering and add to the price tag; although, G-Sync monitors usually cost more than FreeSync ones.

No matter what PC you have, your monitor choice has a dramatic effect on everything you do. That makes buying a new monitor a worthy investment and one that can benefit you immediately, whether your playing games or doing work, with the right selection. Just make sure you don't waste money on a screen with excess features or without the specs you need to help your PC shine.

Every personal computer needs a display in order for us to use it and computer monitors have come a long way from the heavy, unwieldy CRTs of a few years ago. With the introduction of flatscreens and LED technology to the latest curved monitors for gaming, there are considerably more options for a monitor than there were even a decade ago. But not everybody knows how to buy a monitor that's right for their computer setup.

Whether it's a high-performance gaming monitor with low-latency, the best 4K monitor out there, or one of the best USB-C monitors that can plug into your work laptop so you can enhance your productivity, here's how to buy a monitor to fit your needs.

Whenever you're shopping for any computer hardware, knowing your budget is the first thing you should do. Monitors can vary considerably in price and some features are simply not going to be found below a certain price point.

That said, if your budget is about $200/160/AU$300, the best monitor you're going to be able to buy might just be a large LED TV, in which case, buy the biggest and highest resolution TV or monitor you can afford. You won't get any special features, but at least it will look as good as it can.

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

While laptop computers have pretty much replaced tower PCs over the last decade, the humble computer monitor continues to be a staple of various trades, from graphic design and eSports to book editing and reception desks. Even the cheapest $200 laptops have video out ports.

But whether you're buying at home or for the office, for work or for play, buying a monitor online can be a daunting task. From people who have never even assumed they needed one, to buyers who have narrowed their choices down to two standout picks, the question is the same: What do you do when you can't see them in person?

You check the specs, of course! With a bit of knowledge, can make a lot of safe guesses about what you need in a computer monitor based on its specs, features, and price point. Here's some tips I've learned after a modest career of reviewing screens.

24 inches: You'll find 24-inch computer monitors most often. While there are 22-, 23-, and even less than 20-inch monitors available online, a 24-inch monitor is usually a better value. Because it's the most common size, it's widely manufactured, making it inherently cheaper to utilize regardless of manufacturer.

27 inches: If you've already got a really big laptop, are upgrading from a 24-inch monitor, or plan to use your new purchase for something that would particularly benefit from a big screen (like Powerpoint, photo or video editing, or watching Netflix or YouTube), a 27-inch monitor is the most common next step up.

32 inches: For most people, these huge, often curved monitors are in the "why not just buy a TV?" range (though we'll get into that in a bit), but if you want a very high-end way to do the same kinds of things you'd do with a 27-inch monitor. These are especially popular as gaming peripherals.

Which size do you need? It just depends on what you want to do with it. This will also affect things like resolution, price, and quality. If you just want a step up from your smaller laptop screen, I would go with a simple 24-inch monitor.

You should also, if you can, track down your laptop's maximum output where resolution is concerned. If you have a $200 laptop, the image it can send to a 32-inch monitor with 4K resolution might not actually look very good.

The size/resolution "debate" is not one that I will claim to have finished or solved, but it is a common discussion in the realm of both TVs and computer monitors. In any case, resolution refers to the amount of pixels in the screen. The key thing to understand about resolution is that screens of the same size can have different resolutions.

Let's assume you are considering a 27-inch computer monitor. I'm of the opinion that many resolutions aren't high enough to look good on a 27-inch monitor. I once had a 27-inch monitor with 1080p (full HD) resolution, which meant 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

However, by that same logic, you probably don't need 4K resolution on a 24-inch monitor if all you're doing is browsing the web or using it at work. If you take "24 inches at 1080p" as a kind of soft baseline for resolution to screen size that's good enough, it's easier to reason out the affects of sliding up or down in terms of resolution versus the same screen size.

4K: So called because it's 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, 4K resolution is the next major step up. Both 4K and 1080p describe a "16:9" aspect ratio, so the screens look the same (same as TVs), but 4K resolution gives you twice the horizontal and vertical pictures. For most general purposes, even gaming, you probably don't need to pair a 4K monitor with something like a laptop. While some gaming laptops and Apple Macbooks have the power to "drive" a 4K monitor, most don't.

TN: This means "twisted nematic." These are the cheapest panels, and they tend to have the worst color and contrast but the fastest response time. These are often used in smaller, speed-focused eSports and competitive gaming monitors.

If you're buying the monitor for everyday use, you probably don't need to spring for IPS. Also, if you want deep contrast for the occasional movie, you should go with VA instead. However, if you're using the monitor for graphic design purposes or want a flexible stand or articulating mount and need the best viewing angles, IPS is a better choice.

What can we figure out from this? Tons! This monitor is only $90, which explains why hundreds of people have bought it. It's 21.5 inches, which is definitely on the small side as monitors go, but if you're working with laptops in the 11/13/15 inch screen size range, 21 inches is still a big step up.

Right in the image, it says it's an IPS panel. While I wouldn't use a monitor this small to watch TV/movie content or play video games (personally), plenty of people would. Even with the shallow contrast, the bigger size and higher brightness are going to be a big step up from your laptop.

I have to be honest: I didn't know what was going to pop up when I searched Amazon, and now I kind of want to buy this monitor. It's small but not tiny; has enough resolution for its size without over- or under-serving on pixel count; tilts and is almost bezel-free; and most importantly, has an IPS panel, which will give you a bright, pleasing image most of the time.

If I needed a monitor right now, I'd probably buy this one. Like most people, I don't have $90 just sitting around, but getting a 22-inch Full HD IPS-equipped computer monitor for that price is an awesome value.

DVI: The white one. This is video only, but it does support resolutions upwards of 1080p, so it will be fine for most general purposes. Some DVI cables support 4K, and some even transmit audio, but the one included with your monitor will be a basic one.

While there's no way to protect yourself entirely from overpaying or missing out on a feature you end up needing, knowing a bit about how you'll use your new computer monitor can be enough to help determine what size, resolution, panel type, and so on you might want or need.

Formerly known as video display units (VDUs), the earliest monitors first implemented lights for computer engineers to be able to monitor the power state of their components and know whether their devices were working properly or not. As technology has advanced, computer monitors have come a long way in relation to what they can display and how they go about doing so.

To put it simply, the monitor you need to purchase is reliant on what you will mainly be using your computer for, and this can be broken down into three overarching categories: general/business use, professional visuals, and gaming. Not every monitor is created equal, as certain physical features and integrated technologies on a certain product may provide the best results for running gaming applications as opposed to office tools or professional graphic-design/video-editing programs. 041b061a72


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