How to Choose the Best Computer Monitors — Monitor Buying Guide
This blog was updated in June 2022.
Although we spend ages deliberating our PC choices, poring over ray-tracing GPU benchmarks and head-to-head SSD drag races, the monitor it’s used with is rarely given as much thought. Which seems strange, considering we’re sat staring at our monitor every day, for hours on end. So, it only makes sense to invest extra time into researching the best monitor for our needs.
As there’s such a wide range of monitors on the market, however, it’s hard to narrow down what exactly is the ‘best’ model. At any one time, there are over 400 monitors listed on Ebuyer, each with a different display size, resolution, refresh rate, and more. 4k, 144Hz, IPS – where do you begin? So you can pick out the best monitor, let’s break down the key specs in our monitor buying guide.
How much is a monitor?
Bear in mind, what is a monitor used for will determine what model you end up choosing. For example, while a quick-reflex esports gamer can take full advantage of a high refresh rate gaming monitor, someone who’s just catching up on their email won’t. It would be largely wasted on them; a basic but high-quality 1080p 60Hz monitor gets the job done at a lower cost.
When buying computer monitors, it’s best to set yourself a clear and strict budget. Placing a limit on your spending clamps the range of monitors to a more manageable amount. It filters out the pricey monitors and leaves a smaller selection, which you can then narrow down further to find the best monitor.
Even if you’ve got a low budget, the good news is that high-quality monitors are more affordable than ever before. Technologies have advanced and prices have dropped – so now you can get far greater value for money.
How to choose a monitor
When thinking about what to look for in a monitor there is more to consider than price. Let’s look at the tech-specs themselves…
Resolution – 1080p vs.
1440p vs. 4K
The first tech-spec you’ll come across is a monitor’s resolution. It’s the one you must think about most, as it depends entirely on what your PC’s graphics card is capable of. For example, it’s pointless picking up an ultra-high-res monitor if your graphics card only handles 1080p. Check out our blog What is a graphics card… for more information.
In today’s market, there are three main monitor resolutions: 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Here’s a quick guide to them all.
1080p – Best budget monitor
The humble 1080p ‘Full HD’ monitor has stuck around for the longest time. While it’s largely outgrown the TV market – 4K TVs are the new norm – 1080p has retained a strong place in the monitor market even today. At 1920×1080 pixels, it’s a respectably sharp resolution when used in a more compact 22-24” form-factor. Blow it up to 27” and beyond, however, and the low pixels-per-inch results in soft, undefined image.
What 1080p lacks in sharpness compared to 1440p and 4K it makes up for in price and performance. 1080p monitors are the cheapest around and can be easily driven by entry-level graphics cards. As a result, 1080p is far and away the most popular resolution, despite the growing trend of 4K. When thinking ‘what monitor should I get’ bear in mind well over half of the monitors listed on Ebuyer are 1080p.
1440p – Best gaming monitor
You may not have heard of this resolution as it never made it way to TVs. For monitors, however, it’s considered by many to be the sweet spot between 1080p and 4K. At 2560×1440 pixels – that’s 78% more pixels than 1080p – 1440p gets you an appreciable boost to clarity, without going as far as the extremely hardware-intensive 4K.
Nonetheless, 1440p gaming demands a decently fast graphics card – mid-range cards like the NVIDIA RTX 3070 and AMD RX 6700 are good options. The increased resolution of 1440p makes it better suited to a 27-32” form-factor, which is on the largest side for monitors. This all comes at a cost, however. While you’re able to pick up a 1080p monitor even on the strictest budget, a 1440p monitor is a step up in price.
4K – Best productivity monitor
4K, also known as Ultra High Definition or UHD for short, has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. This provides four times as many pixels as 1080p for pristine, razor-sharp images. You’d think this supreme clarity would make a 4K monitor a must-have, but it’s not so simple.
Streaming 4K videos isn’t that demanding on hardware, but rendering AAA games at a native 4K resolution is another story altogether. If you’re going to game on a 4K monitor, you’ll need some serious hardware to back it up. We’re talking high-end cards like the NVIDIA RTX 3080, AMD RX 6800 and above.
This, alongside a 4K monitor’s steeper price tag, makes 4K a questionable choice. Is a 4K monitor worth it, or is a 1440p monitor plenty sharp already? The greater pixel density of 4K delivers undeniably great videos, and it also gets you more screen real-estate for productivity. But for gaming, we’d opt for a 1440p monitor, unless you’ve got a top-of-the-line rig.
For those looking to expand their screen real estate for increased productivity or heightened immersion, without going the multi-monitor route, then ultrawide monitors are extremely popular.
While your standard widescreen monitor comes in at a 16:9 aspect ratio (that’s 16 horizontal pixels for every 9 vertical ones), an ultrawide starts at a 21:9 aspect ratio. Some models, dubbed ‘super ultrawides’, push this to an even narrower 32:9 aspect ratio.
The ASUS ROG STRIX XG43VQ 43” super ultrawide monitor gets you the same screen real estate as two 24” monitors, but as it’s one large panel, you won’t have any bezels or mismatched colours. As you can imagine, a monitor that greatly expands your field-of-view makes for a great gaming experience, thought there are caveats to consider. For more information, check out our gaming blog Ultrawide Monitors for Gaming…
Whenever curved monitors are brought up in discussion, you’ll probably hear the phrase “immersive experience” at least a couple times. That’s because a curved monitor wraps around your vision, placing you in the centre of the action. For productivity, curved monitors are ideal for a multi-monitor set-up as they appear as one continuous display with more natural viewing angles, making it easier on the eyes.
However, curved monitors are quite contentious; some barely notice the curve, some think it’s a gimmick, and others find them unenjoyable to use. For more information, check out our blog Curved Monitor Buyer’s Guide…
How to measure a monitor
We’ve talked a lot about form factors and screen size but how do you measure a monitor? Many assume that you measure across the screen but the correct way a monitor is measured is from one corner of the screen to the diagonally opposite corner. Bear this in mind when assessing the size of monitor you need.
Panel Type – TN vs. IPS vs. VA
Most, if not all, monitors nowadays use an LCD panel. There are several LCD panel types, however, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. When browsing Ebuyer’s range of monitors, you’ll come across three main technologies: Twisted Nematic (TN), In-Plane Switching (IPS), and Vertical Alignment (VA).
Whilst we won’t go into too much technical nitty-gritty – that’s reserved for our Gaming Monitor Guide – we’ll give a brief summary of each technology here.
TN – Fast, but inaccurate
An old technology, at least in regard to LCD, TN is now a panel type that’s mainly used on budget monitor. This doesn’t strictly mean TN is inferior compared to IPS and VA – it’s used on some esports-focused monitors – but it isn’t the best choice.
The biggest strike against TN is its poor viewing angles. While a TN panel looks alright from dead-on, even a slight tilt results in a noticeable drop in image quality, with nasty colour inversion and washed-out colours. As you can imagine, this makes TN monitors a no-go if you’re building a multi-monitor set-up.
However, a TN’s response time – how long it takes pixels to change from one colour to another – tends to be faster than the other panel types. So, if you’re after pure speed and colour accuracy doesn’t concern you, then a TN monitor has its place.
IPS – Vivid, but weak contrast ratio
IPS sets out to remedy the shortcomings of TN. Regardless of viewing angle, IPS’s image quality stays excellent. You can look at an IPS monitor from a near side-on angle and the image would remain uniform. This makes IPS monitors arguably the best choice for a multi-monitor set-up, as images hold up even in your periphery.
IPS used to be behind TN in regard to response times. While they’ve yet to catch up in like-for-like response times, modern technology inches it very close. You can get ‘fast IPS panels’ with 1MS response times, for instance. It sounds all good so far; why wouldn’t you get an IPS panel?
One downside holds IPS back from being a universal recommendation – contrast ratios. They just are not that great on IPS monitors, turning blacks into more of a dark or even light-grey. This can be particularly noticeable in films with black bars or games with dark environments, as the whole monitor appears to ‘glow’.
VA – Deep contrast ratio, but bad smearing
Most curved monitors use a VA panel. This technology wins big where contrast ratio is concerned, but it has one glaring flaw. For context, while your average IPS monitor has a 1,000:1 contrast ratio – or sometimes lower – most VA monitors starts out a 3,000:1 contrast ratio and there are models which go even further.
The deep blacks of a VA panel lend still images a genes sense of depth. However, it’s when the images start to move that VA falls apart due to their poor response times. Every VA monitor suffers smearing, it’s inherent to the technology. Things will become a blur whenever there’s fast motion.
As you can imagine, this is detrimental to fast-paced esports gaming. Perhaps you could get away with a VA monitor if you’re not gaming, but the smearing can be distracting evident even just swinging the cursor around.
Which is the best monitor panel type?
There isn’t one ‘best’ panel type, each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you’re using a monitor for. At present, IPS monitors are the most common choice. As while they don’t have the rich contrast ratio of a VA, or the quickest response times compared to a TN, IPS monitors are a good option across the board.
Do monitors include speakers?
Unlike TVs, most monitors do not include built-in speakers. That’s not to say there aren’t some models which do, so when considering what does a monitor do make sure you carefully look at the spec-sheet to see if it has speakers.
Also, consider that monitors are primarily used in a work environment, where speakers are not needed. When they are present, don’t expect much from built-in speakers due to size, weight and cost considerations. They’ll do in a pinch, but you wouldn’t want to watch a lengthy video on a monitor’s speakers. For a considerably better audio experience, pick up a standalone speaker system or a headset.
One, two, or three monitor set-up?
Most people get along fine using a single monitor set-up. But, increasingly, people are realising the advantages of a dual or even triple monitor set-up. Fujitsu Siemens conducted a study to find out if a multi-monitor set-up aided in productivity. It revealed that dual monitors saw a 25% increase in productivity, while triple monitors saw a 35% increase over a single monitor.
A dual monitor set-up lets you run several programs simultaneously, without having to constantly alt-tab or minimise them. For example, you could have your emails open on one monitor and your documents on another. Of course, you’ll need enough desk space to accommodate dual monitors. But as far as costs go, you don’t have to spend much for a dual monitor set-up. You can get two 24” 1080p monitors for relatively cheap nowadays.
A triple monitor set-up maximises your productivity, but it requires even more room. If you’ve got a laptop as your main PC, don’t forget you can use its built-in display alongside an external one, adding another display to your set-up. To make it a secondary display that’s easy and comfortable to use, however, you may want to pick up a laptop riser and docking station.
Do I need a fast graphics card?
When you’ve decided on a monitor, you need to make sure your graphics card is able to handle it. Regardless of if it’s an integrated or discrete model, graphics cards are an integral part of any PC. However, most PCs aren’t equipped with gaming-grade graphics cards.
Programs such as video streams, web browsers and word processors are not exactly demanding on hardware. Modern CPU integrated graphics, like you’d find on a laptop, should be enough to drive even an ultra-high-res display in basic programs.
It’s heavier programs like AAA games where the graphics card needs to be up to task. Otherwise, images displayed on the monitor can appear to stutter, ruining gameplay. If you’re buying a 1440p gaming monitor, for instance, you need a graphics card that’s capable of rendering games at a 1440p resolution.
How to choose a general-use monitor
If you’re a gamer, skip to the next section. For those needing a monitor for day-to-day tasks such as web browsing and email, a general-use monitor is perfectly adequate. If you don’t need a massive display or a pin-sharp resolution, or you simply don’t want to splash out cash, you’ll be able to find some amazing monitor bargains.
TN monitors are the cheapest, but lower-spec IPS and VA monitor are also a great value. Keep in mind that while TN comes cheap, it isn’t that suitable for a multi-monitor set-up.
How to choose a gaming monitor
We’ve got a dedicated gaming monitor guide to answer this question, so make sure to check it out. In short, TN monitors often feature the lowest response times and highest refresh rates, ideal for esports gamers.
However, if you care about how your games look, then a vivid IPS gaming monitor lets you immerse yourself in richly detailed game worlds. A VA monitor isn’t recommended for gaming. However, they can be a decent option for a mixture of tasks; some light gaming, some video streaming and some productivity.
What resolution you choose depends on your graphics card. A 1440p monitor is a strong middle ground, but requires a suitably powerful graphics card to run 1440p. Budget gamers and those chasing the fastest FPS will opt for a 1080p monitor. At this resolution, however, don’t go beyond 27” as you’ll lose clarity.
How to pick a new monitor for working from home
Part of /
The Verge guide to working from home
The shift to remote work has sent millions scrambling to improve their home office. There are many ways to do this, but the most important upgrade is the most obvious: the monitor.
A monitor is key. You’ll use it hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Monitors even have the audacity to resist obsolescence, so the monitor you buy today might be the one you’re still using in a decade. (My editor and I both have decade-old Dell U2412 monitors that are still going strong.)
It’s an important decision, but not a difficult one, as there are dozens of great monitors to choose from. This guide will help you pick the best for your home office.
The sweet spot
I’ve reviewed monitors and laptop displays for over a decade. While different monitors suit different owners, I believe the ideal home office monitor has a 27-inch screen and 4K resolution. It uses an IPS panel, reaches a brightness of at least 250 nits, and can display 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut. Around back you’ll find a USB-C port that can deliver enough power to charge a laptop, along with HDMI and DisplayPort, plus an ergonomic stand that can adjust for height and attaches to a VESA mount.
For $550, LG’s 27UP850-W is a 27-inch 4K IPS monitor that can also provide 96W of power to a USB-C connected laptop. Image: LG
Finding a monitor that ticks most of these boxes won’t be too difficult. LG’s UltraFine line, Dell’s USB-C hub monitors, BenQ’s PD2720U and PD2725U, and HP’s U28 can check them all. Only the price may be higher than you hope; snagging any of the above will cost at least $450.
But like I said, different monitors suit different owners. These monitors are ideal for work, but they’re expensive. They also lack features you’ll crave when it’s time to clock out and fire up a round of Valorant. This guide will help you navigate the monitor world’s many caveats and find one that’s a fit for you.
Size: 27-inch is best for most
A monitor’s most important trait is its most basic: the size.
Most standard-width monitors come in one of three sizes: 24-inch, 27-inch, and 32-inch. Bigger is not necessarily better. A large display may look more impressive, but I find it uncomfortable when placed close to my eyes. There are also practical considerations like perceived pixel density. A big monitor will look fuzzier than a smaller monitor of the same resolution unless you move it further away — which isn’t always an option.
That’s why a 27-inch monitor is my go-to recommendation. It’s large enough to look impressive on a typical home office desk but isn’t excessive. In my experience, 32-inch monitors should be reserved for unusually large and deep desks, or corner setups where it’s possible to position the display around four feet away from your face. This is especially true for 32-inch monitors with a resolution below 4K, which look grainy to me at a distance of three feet.
The HP 24mh is a decent entry-level 24-inch 1080p monitor for $175. Image: HP
For the same reasons, 24-inch monitors work better if you have a small, slim desk (say, around 24 inches deep or less) or otherwise bring the monitor closer to your face. A 24-inch monitor may sound small, but it’ll look reasonably large because it’s so close. They’re also a great way to save money. You can buy a decent all-around monitor like the HP 24mh for less than $200. It won’t wow you, but it works in a pinch.
You can be creative with size if you mount a VESA-compatible monitor to an arm, as this will let you move it to your preference (including the proper ergonomic height). If you’re just doing it to move a large monitor farther away, though, give it a second thought. Why spend more for a larger monitor, and a monitor arm to position it farther away, instead of buying a smaller display to start?
If you’re looking to stretch more screen across your field of view for multitasking, you might consider an ultrawide monitor instead. There, I think the choice is clear: go for a 34-incher.
Smaller models lack vertical space. A 29-inch ultrawide has less vertical display space than a 24-inch widescreen. Larger models generally have the opposite problem. Many are too big for a typical home office desk, not only because of their screen size, but because of the large stands used to stabilize them (some are several feet wide). You might need to rearrange your desk around a 38-inch or 43-inch monitor or add a top-tier monitor arm to make it work.
What about super-ultrawides, like the 49-inch Samsung Odyssey G9 series? These monitors can offer a commanding view and are a good alternative to a double or triple monitor setup but, like big ultrawides, you’ll need to build your setup around it.
You might need to rearrange your entire desk around a super-ultrawide like the Samsung Odyssey G9.Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge
Resolution: 4K is great, 1440p is practical
Resolution is key. A higher resolution means more pixels, and more pixels means a sharper, crisper image. More pixels also adds flexibility. You can use scaling features in Windows and MacOS to increase content size for readability, or crank it down to show more content at once.
4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160) looks fantastic and is widely available on 27-inch and 32-inch displays. It’s not that expensive, either. Budget 4K 27-inch monitors like the Dell S2721QS can get you 4K for $350 or less.
The Dell S2721QS is a solid budget pick for a 27-inch 4K IPS monitor at under $350. A USB-C version costs a good bit more.Image: Dell
With that said, settling for 1440p (2,560 x 1,440) can save money. It’s a bit disappointing on a 32-inch display, unless you move it far away, but it’s workable. A 27-inch 1440p display can look reasonably sharp and is a good choice if you personally don’t care about having the sharpest picture possible.
You should probably avoid 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) in a 27-inch or 32-inch monitor, however. It will look grainy and pixelated. Small fonts and interface elements (such as buttons) can become difficult to see.
Twenty-four-inch monitors are a different story; 4K is rare, and 1440p is often the premium option. In fact, most monitors of this size are 1080p. It’s not ideal but it’s acceptable, as decreasing size increases pixel density. A 24-inch 1080p monitor is noticeably sharper than a 27-inch 1080p monitor.
Want a 34-inch ultrawide? Look for 3,440 x 1,440 resolution. This leads to a pixel density nearly identical to a 27-inch 1440p monitor (about 109 pixels per inch). A handful of super-budget ultrawides use 2,560 x 1,080 resolution which, like 1080p on a large monitor, isn’t pleasant. LG’s 5K Ultrawide line is the sole option if you want 4K-equivalent pixel density in a 34-inch ultrawide, but you’ll typically pay $1,500 or more. LG’s well-reviewed 38-inch with 3,840 x 1,600 resolution costs even more at $1,600 and, though it might offer more screen, is equal in pixel density to a 3,440 x 1,440 ultrawide.
Super-ultrawides also don’t offer much choice. All 49-inch super-ultrawides I’m aware of use the same 5,120 x 1,440 resolution which, again, roughly equals the pixel density of a 1440p 27-inch display.
Connectivity: USB-C is excellent but expensive
Most monitors have HDMI and DisplayPort. There’s no great reason to prefer one over the other for remote work. The huge majority of monitors sold today offer both, so the port you use will likely come down to what’s available on your PC.
This LG monitor has four video inputs, from top left to bottom left: Thunderbolt / USB-C, DisplayPort, and a pair of HDMIs.Image: LG
What about HDMI 2. 1? It’s not necessary for remote work, and productivity monitors with HDMI 2.1 aren’t yet a thing. Be warned that HDMI 2.1 could get messy in 2022 due to the standard’s lax certification. It’s key only if you want to connect a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X game console.
If you’ve got extra cash to spend, the galaxy-brain move is to ignore HDMI and DisplayPort entirely and leap to USB-C and/or Thunderbolt. USB-C and Thunderbolt are great because they allow a single-cable solution for modern laptops that support the standard. You can plug in the laptop and charge it from the monitor while sending video to the monitor simultaneously. The best USB-C monitors even act as a hub with multiple extra ports like USB-A, USB-C, and ethernet.
The underside of this 27-inch Dell USB-C Hub Monitor is bristling with connectivity, much of it accessible via a single USB-C cable that also provides 90W of charging.Image: Dell
Just make sure you check the fine print. Look for USB-C with DisplayPort Alternate Mode and Power Delivery, or Thunderbolt with Power Delivery (the standard has DisplayPort baked in). Those sorts of USB-C ports aren’t exactly uncommon on laptops: even the modest ThinkPad E545 I bought a few years back includes them.
But you’ll also need to make sure the monitor you buy provides enough electricity. Power Delivery currently maxes out at 100 watts, so even the most powerful monitors can’t fully power laptops like a top-spec Razer Blade or high-end MacBook Pro 16, but a monitor that delivers 60 watts or even 45 watts might be enough if you have a thin-and-light laptop like a Dell XPS 13 or MacBook Air. The higher the better, but if the USB-C monitor doesn’t deliver as much power as your laptop’s power brick, your battery might only charge when it’s idle or even powered off.
USB-C monitors are also expensive. The benefits often add several hundred dollars to the price when compared to an otherwise similar monitor that lacks USB-C. It’s worth the money, though: in 2019, I purchased a Viewsonic VG2455-2K for a sweet one-cable connection to USB-C capable laptops, and find it ideal for swiftly connecting my laptop to a larger screen.
Ergonomics: The height has it
Any monitor worth your attention will have a stand that at least adjusts for height, usually along a range from 100 to 150 millimeters. Sure, you can stack it on books or buy a plastic riser, but that’s added hassle and clutter.
Many monitors also adjust for tilt and swivel, and some pivot 90 degrees into portrait orientation. That can be particularly handy when a monitor is used as a second display. For example, you could swivel a monitor to directly face you while doing detailed work, like editing a photo, and swing it away when it’s just displaying Slack or Discord. Tilt is similar but on the vertical axis, and especially handy if you have a standing desk, as you may need to tilt the monitor up while the desk is standing.
The $129 Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm is a well-reviewed arm with a 15-year warranty.Image: Fully
But if your monitor doesn’t have enough range of motion, or you want to free up space on your desk, you could instead add a VESA-compatible monitor arm to get it off the ground. Look for monitors with a 100mm x 100mm VESA spacing pattern. This is an extremely common feature found in all but the most affordable monitors, and you only need to worry about the 100mm spacing pattern. Others exist, but are relevant to other types of displays (like televisions).
A monitor arm is rarely a necessity, but it’s great for multi-monitor setups that place secondary displays around and above your main monitor, or for positioning an especially large and bulky monitor. Unfortunately, monitor arms can also be a bit expensive. A basic monitor arm off Amazon can run $30 to $50, but I’ve been burnt on their quality in the past. A good arm like those from Jarvis or Ergotron will start around $130.
Larger, heavier monitors will need a beefier, more expensive arm: the model Ergotron recommends for the 49-inch Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is currently $379 (and, at the time I wrote this, sold out!)
Color accuracy and gamut
Color accuracy is critical to image quality. An inaccurate monitor will look unnatural, flat, and dull, with strange swings in quality depending on what you’re viewing and the precise colors that are inaccurate (it’s common for monitors to be less accurate in blue or cyan than other colors, for example). A monitor with terrible color will disappoint you every time you sit down to use it.
The good news? Accuracy is low-key the greatest advancement in monitors over the last decade. Noticeably inaccurate displays were common when I began testing monitors well over a decade ago. Today, most midrange monitors have reasonable accuracy straight out of the box.
If color is key for work, you probably already know you can buy a calibration tool like this $160 Spyder. Image: Datacolor
Still, there is a difference between midrange and premium monitors. Those who want great color accuracy should look for a “factory calibrated” monitor, which typically includes a calibration report in the box. This doesn’t guarantee color accuracy is perfect, but it at least shows the company put the monitor through an extra layer of quality assurance. Also check reviewers to see if the monitor lives up to its claims.
Color gamut, which describes the spectrum of colors a monitor can display, is also good enough on most monitors. The majority of content on a computer targets a color gamut called sRGB. Modern monitors display at least 95 percent of this gamut, and many display it all. Other gamuts also exist. DCI-P3 is the most advertised, though you may see Rec.709 or Adobe RGB as well. These gamuts are important if your work requires them, though if that’s the case, I’m guessing you know that. As with color accuracy, buyers concerned about gamut should read reviews to verify a monitor lives up to its claims.
Brightness and HDR: 250 nits or bust
Odds are your home office has some form of light control, whether it’s shades or simply a room that’s naturally a bit dim. The ideal brightness will vary based on the lighting in your home office, but a monitor’s brightness rarely needs to exceed 200 nits. In fact, most monitor calibration tools (like a SpyderX Elite I use) have a built-in luminance sensor used to recommend a brightness based on ambient light. I’ve never seen it recommend more than 200 nits.
That’s not a big ask, but budget monitors can’t always manage it, so be careful if you’re shopping on a tight budget. Manufacturers also tend to choose a best-case scenario when quoting brightness, so the listed brightness may not always be available. Buy a monitor that promises a maximum brightness of at least 250 nits (aka cd/m2).
Why would you want a brighter monitor? Well, if you’re viewing SDR content, there’s no particular reason (aside from using a monitor in a very, very bright room which, though rare, does happen). Viewing SDR content at a high brightness (say, 300 nits or more) might look nice at a glance, but can cause image quality issues like disappointing dark levels and reduced overall contrast.
High Dynamic Range, aka HDR, is a different story. This standard supports a way higher range of luminosity than SDR. HDR10, the most common standard, technically allows for a peak brightness up to 10,000 nits. Brightness does matter for HDR because the content includes additional luminance data that only HDR-compatible displays can show.
If you are looking for an HDR monitor, DisplayHDR certification labels could help, but know that “peak luminance” means “a tiny region on screen can get that bright,” and DisplayHDR 400 is barely HDR at all. Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge
However, HDR is a bit of a minefield on the PC and can be counterproductive for work. Turning on HDR in Windows will often block a number of monitor controls you may need, including brightness, color gamut, and color temperature settings. The resulting image can appear eye-searingly bright and you’ll have less leeway to adjust it to your preferences.
Also, most content viewed in Windows or MacOS is not designed for HDR. You can still view it, but the result will be less accurate than if you stuck with SDR.
Entertainment and gaming is where HDR redeems itself. Most streaming platforms now offer a method for viewing HDR content on a PC and many new 3D games include HDR support. Windows 11 even has an auto-HDR feature that can add HDR to games that don’t officially support it. This makes HDR a nice addition to a monitor that you’ll use for work and play — though I’d recommend leaving HDR off until you clock out.
Panel type: IPS rules the office
Nearly all monitors sold today use an LCD panel based on one of three technologies: twisted nematic (TN), in-plane switching (IPS), and vertical alignment (VA).
The least expensive monitors often use a TN panel. Avoid them. TN panel monitors will display an image, but that’s about it. They look achingly dull next to IPS and have astoundingly bad viewing angles.
Here’s a rough sense of how colors can shift off-angle with a TN panel, from an earlier Verge review.Photo by James Bareham / The Verge and Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
A majority of monitors use IPS. Monitors based on IPS have very accurate color and can support a wide color gamut at a reasonable price. IPS struggles with dark scenes, however, because it can’t achieve a convincing shade of black. This is the dreaded “IPS glow” you may have heard of, which can look unappealing when watching movies or playing games. However, gamers still enjoy IPS monitors because some IPS panels have low response times and very high refresh rates.
What about VA? This panel type has the best contrast ratio and dark scene performance of the three, which makes VA a great go-to choice for entertainment and gaming. This is especially true of high-quality, modern VA panels, which have mostly solved the color accuracy and motion smearing issues of some past VA monitors.
The choice between IPS and VA has no clear answer, as both have their perks. When it comes to work, though, you may find the choice is made for you. A huge majority of productivity monitors use an IPS panel. VA is an option, but you’ll want to lean your search toward gaming monitors if you crave the high contrast a quality VA panel can provide.
Refresh rate: Higher is better, but there’s a compromise
AMD and Nvidia have successfully convinced gamers that a 360Hz monitor is ideal. But what if your day includes more Excel than Counter-Strike? You might still see some benefits from a refresh rate higher than the traditional 60Hz.
Gaming is often the reason to buy a monitor with an enhanced refresh rate. Higher refresh rates lead to smoother, more fluid motion and reduces input lag. That said, the benefits of refresh rate are not restricted to games. Higher rates make motion feel more fluid on the desktop as well, which is why Apple’s newest MacBook Pro 14 and 16, and many Windows laptops, now offer a refresh rate of 120Hz or more.
I feel it’s nice to have, but far down on the list of features you need to consider. Also, you probably shouldn’t pay extra for a 75Hz monitor — it’s not much gain over 60Hz.
High-refresh gaming displays aren’t especially expensive, with 24-inch, 144Hz models sold for as little as $200. But you’ll typically trade something away for refresh rate: that $200 monitor might use an iffy TN panel (rather than IPS or VA) or feature a low resolution. It’s possible to snag a 4K display for a reasonable sum, or one with a high refresh rate, but going for 4K at 144Hz means looking at monitors that cost as much as big televisions.
Also, USB-C with Power Delivery is rarely found in gaming monitors, and I haven’t seen a USB-C gaming monitor that doubles as a USB-C hub. That could be an issue if your work setup involves a lot of wired peripherals.
Mini LED and OLED
Nearly all monitors sold today use an LCD panel with an LED backlight behind it, a tried-and-true setup that has existed for decades.
Mini LED adds a twist. The fundamentals remain similar, but the backlight is divided into hundreds of zones that can turn on and off independently. This allows extra brightness but also convincing contrast in shadowy scenes. Mini LED is also outstanding for HDR movies and games, where its class-leading brightness provides an edge.
OLED? It flips the table, using an array of organic elements that create their own light. This provides pixel-level lighting control for truly unparalleled contrast you have to see to believe. OLED is also susceptible to burn-in, though there are ways to mitigate it from affecting a display prematurely.
We tried a 48-inch OLED TV as a monitor this past year with mixed results.Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge
Neither of these are necessary for working from home, and you’ll likely have to spend thousands to snag a monitor with either tech. Alternatively, you could buy a television with Mini LED or OLED technology, but televisions still have their downsides as monitors.
If you demand the very best from a monitor, however, I recommend Mini LED. OLED’s burn-in worries are legitimate on the PC which, compared to a television, will display static images more frequently. Mini LED can’t match OLED’s contrast, but it’s still a major upgrade over a backlit LCD screen. There’s also the emerging category of quantum dot OLED (QD-OLED) screens, but manufacturers haven’t announced prices for those yet.
What about monitors with built-in webcams?
Do not buy a monitor with a built-in webcam.
Webcams are small, easy to move, and can be used with multiple devices. Attaching a webcam to a monitor removes these perks. It also means you can’t upgrade your webcam in the future; you’ll have to replace the entire monitor.
Our webcam guide has several recommendations. Most are less than $100.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MONITOR FOR YOUR COMPUTER
Buying a good computer monitor does not have to be something terrible. Good equipment is determined very simply, it is inexpensive, and it will last a long time. It must meet expectations, and nothing more. Some buyers use a computer only for work, others are looking for gaming displays, and others need a screen to watch movies or videos. The main thing here is not to make a mistake. About which is better to choose a monitor for a computer, below in the article.
How to choose a monitor for your computer
Of course, the system unit is the key to power. But, the user is looking at the screen. Therefore, it is just not to be underestimated. It is advisable not to ignore the 10 parameters, which are described below. Along the way, this will be a detailed guide on the topic «Monitor for a computer — which is better.» This article will be focused exclusively on a simple user, and narrow-profile modifications should be chosen individually.
Diagonals and aspect ratios
Before thinking about which monitor to choose for your computer, you need to look at its diagonal. It is measured in inches: 1″ = 2.54 centimeters.
Newfangled displays are available with a diagonal of 17-35 inches. It is not surprising. On voluminous products, the text field will visually increase, you can make 2 or 4 components of the desktop.
For office work it is better to look towards average models. Because you have to sit close to the display and constantly «run your eyes» across the screen. Due to overvoltage, visual acuity decreases, the user will get tired faster. Before choosing a diagonal, you need to determine for yourself the purpose of use. nine0003
1. For the office: the optimal diagonal is 20-24″. It’s enough to focus. After all, the screen is in a constant field of view. Such models are considered compact and at an affordable cost. But! If a designer, engineer or designer needs a display, it is worth looking at large screens that display good color reproduction and a voluminous picture.
2. Home use : Just right for 24-27 inch units. They impressively broadcast games, movies, photos. However, before purchasing such screens, you need to think about where to put it so that it is comfortable to watch. If on a computer desk, you need to adjust to the size of the niche. On the cabinet — calculate the distance from the place where you will sit, so as not to «break» your eyes. nine0003
3. For gamers: screens from 27″ are good. The more impressive the size, the more atmospheric it will be to play. Well, of course, you also need to take into account the capabilities of the video card in your computer. No huge output devices will stretch the game if it works with less than 1 GB of memory. We do not recommend buying a screen without 4K support at all. The same goes for the strong component. When the vidyukha supports 4K format, the usual Full HD will disappoint the user.
4. For specific work and play : A diagonal of 28-30 inches is sufficient. For photographers, designers, people who want to set up a mini home theater, these displays are a must have. They open in multi-window mode and support multiple programs.
An interesting article: Which monitor frequency is better: how to choose the right one
But the diagonal is far from the main parameter that you need to pay attention to. What else to look for and how to choose a monitor for your computer is described below. nine0003
Matrix: types, varieties
The liquid crystal matrix is the main component of the display. It displays information that is pre-processed by the system. Frames are converted to graphics. The range of color reproduction and the clarity of the glow depend on the production.
The matrix is almost the main component when buying a good product for displaying information. There are three of them on our market: TN (TN + Film) — outdated, IPS, giving a colorful image and VA — with the latest visualization. More details below. nine0003
- TN (TN+Film) shows acceptable but not the best clarity. Colors are not very bright. According to the review, it also “lames”, there are a lot of dead pixels. But the performance of the picture is at the level: it is comfortable to play on such a monitor, and watch movies, and work.
- IPS in terms of «price-quality» — the best technology. The picture is bright, saturated, does not light up from the sun’s rays. The viewing angle is optimal. Detailing is abysmal. But against the background of all this beauty, an increased response time. The display freezes intermittently. This is especially noticeable in games and films: the sound track goes forward, and the picture “hangs”. nine0050
- VA (PVA, MVA) — an alternative to two. «Pros» bold: excellent color reproduction, low response, good viewing angle. There are also “minuses” (where without them?) — it poorly conveys halftones and too contrasting color balance.
If the future buyer is interested in more technological parameters, it is worth reading the text to the end. Then the question is: «How to choose a monitor for a computer in 2020?» will fall off by itself.
Useful article: How to make a TV out of a monitor — what you need for this
Visibility (viewing angle) is the maximum distance from which a storyboard can be seen clearly on screen. There is a figure for the correct transmission of the picture from bottom to top and vice versa. Often, clarity is maintained at a shift relative to the central axis by 10%, no more.
This parameter is calculated from the furthest points of the horizontal viewing angle. In the description of the technique, it is indicated in degrees. The higher the deflection angle settings, the more contrast the view from anywhere in the room. nine0003
Worth reading: How to find out the monitor model on your computer: 5 options, where to look Such a storyboard is measured in hertz.
When the computer is turned on, this function can be viewed on the start screen. You need to do three things:
- right-click anywhere where there is no shortcut;
- select «Screen resolution»; nine0050
- go to «settings» and look at the «Display» tab.
If desired, these figures are changed at our discretion. This point is actually not so important when choosing. Indeed, even on a liquid crystal screen at 60 Hz, the smoothness of movement can be higher than at 120 Hz. It all depends on the power of the video card. That is, if a display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz is selected, the video card should give this parameter with a margin.
Flicker should be set at 72-75 Hz to maintain good vision and minimize eye fatigue. It has been scientifically proven that this range is the maximum comfort zone for vision and the nervous system as a whole. nine0003
Read: Which monitor is better to take: glossy or matte — features of 2 types of screens and recommendations for choosing
In the guide, which monitor to choose for a computer in 2020, this parameter is far from being the main one. And those who choose an office monitor will not need it at all. But, if the buyer wants to purchase the perfect product, you should ignore this characteristic.
The response (or rather its time) shows the maximum possible frame playback. If the numbers are small, the image changes smoothly and quite nicely. High — distorts the broadcast on the display. nine0003
3 to 5 milliseconds is considered optimal. For gamers who prefer dynamic toys, 2 milliseconds is ideal. Actions on the screen will change almost instantly.
Monitors are characterized by two types of coatings:
- glossy are characterized by rich color reproduction and a bright picture. But in the sun the image fades;
- matte ones have a not too saturated image and the color reproduction is worse. But it is equally comfortable to work on such a display in well-lit and darkened rooms. On such a coating, the rays are scattered and do not create color spots. nine0050
Image brightness and contrast setting
Contrast depends on how the peak light and dark points on the screen are related. Brightness is manifested by the amount of light that comes from the switched on screen. It is measured in candela per square meter. Almost all newfangled devices are produced with a value of 200-700. The higher the number, the clearer the picture. Even with sun glare across the screen.
The brightness is adjusted according to the light in the room. If you plan to place the monitor opposite the window, you should purchase a model with readings from 350 cd / m². On high contrast monitors, white will be true white and black will be black. The same story with halftones. nine0003
- The optimal contrast ratio is 1:600.
- If the user wants the best color reproduction, it is worth paying attention to 1:1000.
- Gamers, designers, planners are advised to choose a screen with a contrast ratio of 1:5000.
Dynamic contrast is only achieved when the backlight is increased. Therefore, if the buyer notices such values as 1 to 20 million, it must be understood that this is a fiction. That is, artificial numbers that are completely unrelated to the real picture broadcast by the monitor. nine0003
Pay attention to the uniformity of the illumination. We are talking about two varieties:
The second option shows a more uniform picture and lasts longer. It does not allow sharp transitions of brightness, spots. Visually, the indicator is evaluated exclusively in a darkened room with standard parameter settings.
An interesting article: TOP 10 best monitors with Full HD resolution — rating of popular models
Screen Mount Design
The monitors can be equipped with height and tilt adjustment of the stand. On such it is convenient to adjust the optimal viewing angle. The adjustment is from 5 degrees forward to 20 degrees back.
Some screens can be rotated 90 degrees. At a cost, they are more expensive than usual, but they will be an excellent purchase for expressive people.
Built-in speaker system
This figure is important for those who do not plan to purchase additional speakers or an audio system. Typically, these components do not have good sound quality. In any case, if the user is not involved in music or is not a professional gamer, he can easily connect headphones. nine0003
Equipment often has multiple connectors. And each of the varieties will sooner or later be needed to install additional parts and connect components. Therefore, the more the better. And even better if these nests are of different sizes.
Here are four types of connectors for your reference:
- VGA (D-SUB) obsolete, suitable only for older displays.
- DVI (DVI-I, DVI-D) is an upgraded D-SUB found in almost every display. The signal passes through it quickly and with its help the maximum resolution parameters are achieved. nine0050
- HDMI passes more information and supports all known extensions (except 4K). Transmits audio and video simultaneously. The connection can be made with the system unit and different equipment.
- DisplayPort is efficient and feature rich. Capable of transmitting video and audio simultaneously.
When buying, you should pay attention to the fact that HDMI and DisplayPort are relevant only with powerful video cards. For the old system unit, they will not work. nine0003
Display resolution: the best options
The extension determines how clear the displayed information will be. In order for the monitor to decently draw details, colorfully show everything to the smallest detail, it is worth purchasing a Full HD monitor and higher. It is about this and other formats that will be discussed further.
Full HD (1920×1080)
Or Full High Definition, if you decipher the abbreviation into English. Shows 1920 by 1080 dots (pixels). The frame rate is 24 pictures per second. This format appeared in 2007, and was immediately used by Sony Corporation. It is used not only for monitors, but also for LCD TVs, smartphones, projectors. nine0003
- The optimal resolution for office work is 1280 by 1024. Although it is outdated, it is welcome for working with office applications, working with text and tables. Due to the fact that the display does not display small details, the eyesight is not strained. Accordingly, fatigue does not occur so quickly.
- For toys, movies and graphic work, it is better to choose 1920×1080. The view is 170 degrees, the probability of distortion is minimized. Typically, these monitors are produced in tandem with an IPS matrix. nine0050
- Standard Full HD is not enough for specific employment. It is more convenient to model and design on a monitor with a resolution of 2560 by 1440.
If you plan to play and watch videos in this format, you need to delve into the video. Before starting, you will need to change the default settings in the settings, since the resolution of 2560 by 1440 is set as native and will create a large load on the video card. Which, in turn, reduces the performance in games. nine0003
Considered as a gaming version of the Full HD extension. Its resolution is 2560×1080 and provides a bright, colorful picture. This format loads the video card too much. When choosing a monitor of this type, it is worth considering whether the system unit will pull it.
UFHD monitors are more commonly available in 30-inch format. For those who do not plan to sit at the computer all day (because they are overworked), such an acquisition will fit almost perfectly. nine0003
WQHD supports 16×9 aspect ratio and 2560×1440 format. Goods are fast, gaming. The format appeared relatively recently. As a rule, it comes with a TN+Film matrix and supports FreeSync. Models are perfectly combined with Amd and Nvidia video cards. There is a backlit version. The scaling system is designed for Windows and for Linux.
This extension is characterized by image stability, excellent viewing angles, uniform contrast and shadows. The response speed and the study of fonts are acceptable. nine0003
- excellent color reproduction,
- high speed control,
- study of small elements.
The only downside is the cost. It is an order of magnitude higher than all the modifications mentioned.
UHD 4K (3860×2160)
The most advanced type of 3860 x 2160 pixel display. Which is 4 times more than standard Full HD. But video content in this quality is not so much. It remains to wait for technology to catch up with progress. nine0003
The user will enjoy a high-quality, realistic picture with clear reproduction. In horizontal and vertical scan. There is a drawback — the slowness of the graphics. If the developers raise this figure at least twice, then there will be a sense.
In fact, the choice of UHD 4K models is rather poor. There are only monitors of 27 inches and a frequency of 144 Hertz. Although, it is worth recognizing that the design, materials of manufacture, external lighting — all this is at the highest level. nine0003
TOP-5 is compiled solely according to the preferences of customers of the Moyo online store for 6 months of 2020.
In general, the user was given exhaustive food for thought. It remains to analyze the information and make a decision. After all, in the end result, use the monitor only to him.
How to choose a monitor | RD Electronics
Today we will talk about how to choose a monitor. Over the past 20 years, the daily routine has changed a lot. It is difficult to find a person who does not spend time in front of the monitor, because the use of a computer has become work and leisure for many. Finding the right monitor for your computer is not at all difficult, the main thing is to figure out what basic parameters you should pay attention to in the first place. nine0003
One of the main parameters is the diagonal size or screen size, measured in inches.
The most popular diagonal sizes can vary from 18.5 to 30 inches (47 cm — 76. 2 cm), and the price of the monitor also depends on this parameter. The larger the monitor, the more convenient and even more pleasant it will be to work with it. Agree, because when watching movies, when working with documents or special programs, the presence of a large screen is an undeniable advantage. nine0003
The monitor format is the aspect ratio (width and height). The most popular formats today are 16:9 and 16:10.
monitor resolution determines the clarity of the picture — the larger this characteristic, the more detailed the image will be, and the amount of displayed information will also increase. This parameter is measured in pixels (cells). The minimum extension that we advise you to choose is 1366 x 768. Manufacturers most often automatically install this extension, taking into account the screen parameters. For the clearest and highest quality picture, choose a screen with a resolution of Full-HD (1920 x 1080) and above.
If you want the picture quality to remain the same no matter what angle you look at the monitor, choose a screen with wide viewing angles, for example, 170 degrees.
Response time or matrix response time indicates how long it takes for a cell to update and change its brightness. By comparison, the human eye can’t detect anything less than 16 milliseconds, and a modern monitor’s response time can be as much as three times faster. This turns out to be 5 milliseconds, which is considered a good indicator and necessary not only for games, but also, for example, for professional work with photos and videos. nine0003
Luminance is the amount of light emitted by the display, measured in candela per m² (cd/m²). The qualitative indicator of brightness is 250, but this indicator can be higher for many monitors.
It is worth paying attention to the type of matrix, because the quality of the picture on the monitor depends on it. There are three types to choose from:
- The TN type is available at the lowest prices. The presence of such a matrix will save energy, but otherwise the indicators can be at a rather low level (contrast, color reproduction, and also, if you look at the side of the monitor, the picture will be poorly visible). Suitable for working with documents of various types. nine0050
- The IPS type is equipped with excellent color reproduction, the best image quality and a wide viewing angle. Undoubtedly, suitable for photographers and designers. Among the shortcomings, we can mention high power consumption, price and average contrast.
- MVA / PVA, like the previous type of matrix, has a high color rendering, but has the best contrast. Perfect for fans of home cinema, games and work at the computer.
LED lighting has become very popular. This LED backlight (abbr.: LED) makes colors brighter and consumes less power, besides, such monitors are thinner.
3D support provides a 3D display on the monitor. To enjoy this feature, you will need special glasses and a video card for your computer.
When choosing a monitor, you will come across such indicators — HDMI, DVI or VGA — these are ways to connect a cable to a PC. The quality of the transferred files from your PC to the monitor depends on the use of these connectors. Since VGA began to be used already in the 1987, it lags behind modern HDMI, DVI. The HDMI connector, unlike DVI, is smaller in size and gets the clearest picture. The presence of a USB connector makes it possible to directly connect, for example, a camera.
Remember that bright light can harm your eyes, so make sure you have extra lighting when working with your PC.
Monitors may have other additional features. If you consider the above information, it will greatly facilitate your choice. Buying a monitor is a long-term investment. We advise you to carefully consider the choice of monitor so that after a couple of years the monitor does not have to be changed.