If you don’t have a computer today, it’s like you’re not. But for every computer, of course, we need a monitor. Ideally LCD. It would be tough for us to work without him! So we have prepared a summary of advice and tips to learn what to look out for when choosing a new display. Let’s do it.
If you don’t have much experience with computing, especially monitors, you may be surprised by the number of concepts and parameters associated with the selection. For example, we have pixels, resolution, brightness, contrast, viewing angles, and various screen technologies. Together, we will go through all these concepts to better understand what is important to you. Of course, for everyone, the ideal device is a little different. For example, some prefer a giant diagonal, and for others, the fastest response time or most pleasing image is essential. Additional factors deciding to choose a specific model include built-in speakers, appearance, quantity, and connector types.
Types of monitors
To give you an idea of what you can get at home or in the office, we have divided the monitors into several groups. Some groups are partially intertwined, but you can meet all these terms, and it’s good to know what they mean.
Classic LCD monitors
The vast majority of models on the market do not have any of the additional features. Their price ranges from thousands to hundreds of thousands for professional equipment. You may also encounter the concept of LED monitors. Mainly thanks to sellers’ marketing, these concepts merge quite into one, but we will try to explain the difference.
- LCD stands for liquid crystal display, which can be loosely translated as a liquid crystal display. Simply put, the show has the hairs of filters and liquid crystals that produce the expected colors and shades using backlighting.
- Led, on the other is an acronym for “light-emitting diode,” a technology that works on a similar principle. However, the difference is that LEDs are used as a light source. These have made progress in lower consumption, higher contrast, and better display of black color.
Currently, the vast majority of new screens have LED backlights. However, they are often referred to in e-shops as LCD or LCD LED displays. It’s confusing, but check if the LED is the backlight technology when choosing a monitor. For new ones, it’s almost automatic, so more in case you’re planning on buying an older piece.
This is a subset of the previous category. Lately, they have been gaining popularity among gamers who can draw more into the action. However, due to worse viewing angles, they are impractical if you follow them other than upright. Curved displays and TVs were a big trend a few years back. Unfortunately, it didn’t catch on on tv screens, and the curved screens disappeared from the menu. With a computer where you almost always sit right in front of it, the usability is a little more usable after all. Still, the curved screen doesn’t do everyone any good, and if you’re thinking about it, try it out in-store first. Let’s see how your eyes react to it.
LCD monitors with TV tuner
Quite a favored group. Such a monitor can replace the TV thanks to the integrated tuner. Just connect it to the antenna, and it’s done—an attractive solution mainly to smaller apartments where there is a lack of space. But, of course, this solution also has its pitfalls. Monitors are more expensive for larger sizes than TVs of the same size. Classic TVs also lead in display quality, especially on more expensive models.
Similar to phones or tablets, you control your device by touching the display. When connected to the collection displayed by the control, the screen accepts the active command and reacts. In theory, this doesn’t make you need additional rules, such as a keyboard or mouse. In practice, the touchscreen is a different way of controlling, and the previous two primary controllers will not replace most users. If only because, with more extended work, you need to keep your hands up and touch the screen all the time. If you are thinking about this type, consider again whether you need it. In principle, we can meet two touch screen technologies.
- Capacitive – they are used more often, offering better colors and more accurate touch response. However, it’s redeemed by a higher price and a worse reaction if your hands are dirty, for example.
- Rusty – not much used on monitors, but they have worse colours and are not so accurate. In contrast, they are cheaper and can be controlled even with a wet finger.
What is an LCD monitor?
The LCD monitor (liquid crystal display) is the successor to the classic CRT monitor (this is the one that looks like a “box”). The LCD monitor is easy to recognize because it is flat, unlike a CRT monitor. As a light source, they use cold cathode-eds, which send light through a series of filters and liquid crystals. This is then divided from white to red, green and blue. All shades that we can see on the monitor screen are reverse of these three colours in full intensity.
There are three types of LCD technologies.
Twisted Nematic (TN)
The cheapest monitor panels, which are also the oldest of the three described technologies. It is guaranteed to be enough if you are looking for an office monitor, and thanks to the fast response, fans of computer games will appreciate it. However, it is not enough to work with graphics.
IPS and S-ISP
They have an excellent colour display. They can even compare to CRT monitors in display quality. Their other advantage is not distorting the image even when viewed from angles. Somewhat lost in terms of response and contrast. They are great for office use and graphics.
Compared to IPS monitors, they stand out for their much better contrast and decent response. Plus, they have an even better color display. Because they are of high quality in all these parameters, they can be used in the office for playing games and editing graphics. However, be aware that they are slightly more expensive.
How big a monitor to choose
Of course, it depends on what you use the monitor for. In general, however, we recommend choosing a screen size between 19 and 24 inches (one inch corresponds to a length of 2.54 cm). Unless, of course, you have special requirements. Although we can still find a 4:3 aspect ratio monitor in the sellers’ menus (as with older CRT monitors), we do not recommend them except for the office. All contemporary multimedia content is much better suited to 16:9 or 16:10.
You’ll need a 19-21″ diagonal to do your office work. An exception is frequent work with multiple open windows at once. For example, if you need to have two documents available simultaneously, you’d better reach 22-24 inches diagonally.
Players know full well that with a small monitor, the gaming experience will never be the same as with a large one. But even a diagonal of 22-24 inches is usually enough for you. So we recommend a larger one only if you are sitting away from the screen. Then don’t be afraid to invest in 27-30″, but expect a higher price.
For graphic designers, for you, the size of the monitor is not paramount, but keep in mind that graphics are made uncomfortable on a 19″ screen. Therefore, choose at least 21″ diagonals. In addition, you will need a monitor that displays colors as accurately as possible. If you want to do graphics professionally, calibrate it so that the colors on the screen match the print colors as much as possible.
Monitors and printers consist of the resulting shades of other colors. While the screens work with the RGB model (from English color names red – red, green – green, and blue – blue), printers fold all shades on paper using four colours – CMYK (cyan, magenta – magenta – magenta, yellow – yellow, and key/black – black).
Think of the proper ergonomics. For example, if you spend many hours at your computer, ensure you have it at the optimum height. Correctly, the top edge of the monitor should be at eye level so that you look directly at the screen. This will prevent possible problems with the cervical spine.
Resolution is one of the critical factors that affect the resulting image quality. It is the number of display points that put together seemingly monolithic content on display. Simply place; the more display points, the more edging the image.
A specific monitor model gives the maximum applicable resolution. But it’s not true that if you buy an excellent monitor, you win. Instead, the computer’s graphics card influences the quality of the solution that takes care of all imaging, no matter what you use your laptop for.
Each video card has defined resolutions that it can display. You can’t get past these values. Therefore, always make sure that the graphics card of your computer or laptop can show the desired resolution of your dream monitor.
When choosing a monitor, keep in mind that the giant screen with the wrong resolution will never have a quality image.
For an idea: The 16 x 10 cm screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 px will have the same number of points to render the image as the 160 x 100 cm screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This means that the display points will be ten times more significant on the second screen, and thus, the resulting image will be of lower quality (continuous).
FullHD resolution is common for most monitors, that’s 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Especially for larger screens, you may encounter 4K resolution, which is 3,840 x 2,160. Older screens can be found with HD Ready, which was 1,600 x 1,200 pixels.
Complete table of all (and historical) resolutions + their designation
- CGA 320 x 200
- QVGA 320 x 240
- VGA 640 x 480
- NTSC 720 x 480
- WVGA 854 x 450
- WVGA 800 x 480
- PAL 768 x 576
- SVGA 800 x 600
- XGA 1024 x 768
- – 1152 x 768
- HD 720 1280 x 720
- WXGA 1280 x 800
- WXGA 1280 x 768
- SXGA 1280 x 1024
- – 1366 x 768
- – 1440 x 960
- SXGA+ 1400 x 1050
- WSXGA 1680 x 1050
- UXGA 1600 x 1200
- HD1080 1920 x 1080
- WUXGA 1920 x 1200
- QXGA 2048 x 1536
- QHD 2560 x 1440
- WQXGA 2560 x 1600
- QSXGA 2560 x 2048
- 4K UHD 3840 x 2160
- 8K UHD 7680 x 4320
8K monitors are just emerging on the market, and their price is still too high for more significant expansion.
Specifies the length/width ratio of the screen. You can meet several types:
- 16:9 – currently probably the most common ratio, it is recommended for playing games and watching movies
- 16:10 – very similar to the previous one, you can try which suits you better
- 4:3 – not very suitable for movies or games, used to be expected, someone still likes it as an appropriate ratio for a workstation
- 21:9 – it can also be found under the term “Ultrawide monitor”, where the width is already considerable (compared to the height), and the image may appear distorted. However, it may suit someone if you don’t have experience with them, so it’s an excellent strategy to try it out for a while.
They say the aspect ratio should correspond as closely as possible to your field of view. Ideally, it should fill it up for maximum drag into the action when playing games or watching movies. Finally, it is good to remember that the aspect ratio applies to the screen and not the entire monitor. While it’s common for the frame to be the same width on all sides, you may also encounter monitors with vertical bezels wider than horizontal (or vice versa).
The most crucial image parameters are hidden under this general concept. These are:
- response time
- viewing angles
- refresh rate
It is the “luminism” of the monitor, more precisely its ability to display white colour. High brightness values are essential when you’re looking into your monitor in broad daylight and in a bright room where the sun shines. On the contrary, in the evening, high brightness is painful for the eyes when it is dark. Brightness values can be controlled, so it is always better to have higher brightness values that you can take away as needed than vice versa. Brightness is given in a unit called candela per square meter (cd/m2), and about 250 cd/m2 can be described as a decent value. However, high-end monitors can have a brightness of over 400 cd/m2.
An example of how the contrast is given is 1,000:1. It shows the ratio between the darkest and brightest colours that the screen can display. Again, this is a very decent value that is sufficient for home use. However, when the monitor has a low contrast ratio, it cannot show an excellent black colour (it has a rather grey tinge – it often refers to IPS panels) or white (which in turn may have a touch of light grey)—in addition to the classic contrast ratio, taking values several times higher. So what’s the difference between them?
- Static contrast indicates the ratio between black and white when represented evenly on the screen. I.e. every 50% of the screen (a black-and-white “checkerboard” is used for measurement).
- Dynamic contrast indicates the difference between the entire white area and the entire black screen area.
It’s important to keep two things in mind. First, static contrast is more critical because it corresponds more to the image’s reality. Typically a film shot of a dark room, the street lights shine from the outside. Secondly, the same types of contrast should be compared. I.e. not to have dynamic on one monitor and static on the other. These are entirely different values, each of which relates to something different.
An essential parameter for gamers. It is not very important to others, because most modern monitors are fast enough. For a more accurate understanding of response time, imagine it takes to redraw a screen from one colour to another. In practice, there is a difference between which colours you switch. The fastest is the transitions between greys. Other colors are often slower. Therefore, manufacturers most often indicate the response time precisely for grey colour and boast an excellent value of 1 ms. The computer screen overwrites a much more comprehensive range of colours at any moment, and the response time is therefore longer. Those below 5 ms are considered top values, and even values below 15 ms are enough for regular work. Unfortunately, you can find out the fundamental values of the response time from fan tests rather than production descriptions. That’s where the best possible value always ends up. If there is no test available for your dream model, take the data from the manufacturer as indicative values and not the decisive parameter when choosing.
This is about at what angle you can watch what happens on the screen without being significantly distorted. They are not extremely important for monitors at the moment. On the one hand, most new instruments have very high values of viewing angles. For example, manufacturers often report 178°; in practice, this figure is almost always more minor, but on the other hand, almost always sufficient. I would only be vigilant if the monitor had a specified low value of this parameter in the specification, perhaps 140° or less.
It works a little differently than with TVs. First, you need a monitor with a sufficiently large refresh rate. At the same time, you need enough robust graphics card that can render the appropriate number of frames per second. With a super 144Hz monitor and an old office PC with an integrated graphics card, you can only get to 20-30 frames per second while playing games, and an excellent display won’t do you any good.
So what frequency to choose? Again, it depends on what you expect from him.
- Work/internet / viewing photos – in which case, do not be afraid at all the screens with a fundamental frequency of 50/60 Hz. You can afford a larger diagonal because you will save on the refresh rate thanks to this.
- Playing games – where it makes sense to go higher. There are 75Hz, 100/120 or 144Hz refresh rates. Choose to depend on how powerful the rest of the pc is, so they don’t slow down each other.
- Graphic work / enthusiastic players of older shooters – 240 Hz? Here you need to reach properly deep into your pocket, both at the monitor and the computer (especially the video card).
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How do I connect my monitor to my PC
There are four types of cable connections of the monitor to the computer. Be careful not to buy a kind that can’t connect to your (older) computer when choosing. You can usually save the day by buying the suitable cable, but why waste money… Let’s imagine the different types of connections:
The oldest of the four connections is currently in use. Most current monitors prefer other types, but VGA usually handles them, too. But ultrabooks, netbooks and modern laptops generally don’t have a VGA connector, so you’d have to deal with any connection by reducing it. That’s possible, but it’s certainly not ideal. Therefore, always make sure that the connection type is compatible with your computer first.
DVI is a slightly newer type of monitor connection that can handle even high image resolution. But again, don’t look for it on laptops. If you want to place the screen more than 10 meters from your computer, we recommend that you purchase a DVI signal amplifier. You can use the cable without a signal amplifier, but with each meter, the signal weakens, so you will have to do without maximum resolution.
In version 2.0, it can do a lot. Not only does it cope with a 4K resolution transmission (3140 x 2160 px), but it even transmits audio without any problem. The advantage of the HDMI cable is the ability to extend the signals of the remote control. In addition, HDMI connections can be changed to DVI by reducing them without losing image quality. However, the DVI cannot handle the transmission of the sound or signal of the remote control.
The latest version of the display port 1.3, which is strikingly close to the USB connector in shape, except for the beaded side, can transmit 8K-quality images (that’s 16 times the resolution of Full HD) with a refresh rate of 30Hz. This distinguishes it from previous types of connections.
In general, we recommend that you always find out before purchasing a monitor:
- What types of connections it supports, and what kinds of relationships your computer or laptop you want to connect to can handle.
- Except for perhaps VGA. The type of connection does not significantly impact image quality, except but it can give you excellent bonuses, such as transferring audio and video with one cable.
A convenient feature is the ability to adjust the height or tilt of the monitor. Size size, for example, you can help yourself with a box that you place on the screen, but a much more pleasant and at the same time more excellent option is when the monitor can be adjusted in height. The ideal height is such that the image is the size size of your eyes. And in long-term work, you didn’t get tired of the cervical spine constantly looking down or up.
Especially with low-cost monitors, positioning is not very common. Another helpful feature is the so-called “pivot“. Thanks to it, the display can be flipped. So instead of a long and widescreen, you have narrow and high. This is especially useful when using multiple screens, one of which is classically tilted and the other is tilted, showing multiple smaller program windows below.
Healthy sitting in front of your computer
Working at your computer is especially challenging for your eyes. This is because these are not adapted to the long-term monitoring of one point. Unfortunately, such long-term focusing on one issue can lead to a gradual deterioration of vision. Therefore, it is good to follow several rules that can eliminate this risk.
- The screen should be approximately 40-70 cm from the eyes. Its upper edge is then at the level of your eyes.
- Beware of outdoor light. When you sit facing the window, you’ll be dazzled by it. Otherwise, the sun’s rays will fall on your monitor and create distracting reflections. You can try tilting the screen slightly forward to alleviate the glare. The best solution is impermeable curtains or blinds.
- Blink. Blinking moisturizes the eyes. When you watch the monitor, the frequency of blinking decreases and your eyes are dried up as a result. It also helps if you regularly look at a more distant object (for example, from a window). The eyes need to focus on something other than the monitor while reducing eye fatigue.
- Laptops, which are not ideal for long-term work in principle, are a specific area in this case. Their original purpose was to replace the classic computer on the go, but they replaced it on virtually all fronts over time. Their main disadvantage is the location of the display and keyboard very close together. But you can also try to have a laptop more ergonomic. This will be helped by a reclining stand, external keyboard and mouse.
- Low Blue Light – you may even know the blue light elimination restriction feature from your phone that puts the most pressure on your eyes. Especially in the evening. Most modern operating systems can limit it, but this is a limitation right on the hardware side – the screen.
- Flicker-Free – If you’re at your PC often and even for a few hours straight, choose a model with eye-saving technology. Especially Flicker-free and Flicker-safe. Both of these technologies prevent the monitor’s backlight from flashing. Therefore, even with prolonged use, the screen does not tire the eyes and affects the organism. So if you are thinking of buying a monitor for the office, we recommend choosing models with Flicker-free or Flicker-safe technology.
- Speakers – If it doesn’t need brilliant audio accompaniment for movies, you can take a thank you with a monitor with speakers. You save space on the table and money. And you get a sound at the level of a cheap radio adopter. As a sub-draw for work or watching videos from time to time, this can be pretty sufficient.
In addition to the size, resolution, and type of monitor connection. We can divide them into three categories.
- Glossy – Display clear and accurate colours, but reflect light, making them harder to read when the sun shines on them.
- Matte – It doesn’t reflect light, so it’s easy to read, but it doesn’t display a sy colour.
- Anti-glare – They are glossy monitors with anti-glare finishes. They’re easier to read when the sun is shining, but they don’t have such a saute display of colour compared to shiny monitors.
In addition to the connecting cables, we have already pointed out the type of connection in the section. Most monitors on the market are already sold with a standardized product. Therefore, if you do not have special requirements for placement, it can easily stand on a stand from the package on the table.
Fortunately for the more demanding of you, some stands and brackets can place the screen in the room space or, for example, fix it to a wall. But choose wall mounts especially carefully, as they are standardized so that the screen (whether monitor or TV) can be adequately fastened to them.
Wall mounts have a uniform standard, which indicates the distance of the fixing screws on the holder body and the back of the device. We can meet dimensions: 75×75, 100×100, 200×100, 200×200 and 400×400 mm. Always make sure that the holder and monitor numbers match to make them compatible with each other. If you’re not sure, ask the seller instead.
Think of ergonomics again. The ideal height of the monitor is such that the top edge of the screen is the size of your screen. This also applies to wall placement. So first, think hard about where you’re going to watch it from and how high your eyes will be. By placing it correctly, you will prevent premature eye fatigue, headaches and cervical spine.
If you have more sensitive eyes, you will appreciate software accessories that filter out excess blue light. For example, you can use f.lux, which can optimize the screen colour temperature based on daylight and your geographic location and time. This allows you to stay on screen longer without getting tired or even getting your eyes burning. But be aware that such a propagation distorts colours. Therefore, we do not recommend it for working with graphics.
There are also car monitors that can be mounted on the seat so you can play their favourite fairy tale to children during the long journey. In addition, a tablet can be used for the same purpose. In this case, it uses the power supply of the car battery, i.e. 12 V. Think that such devices will entertain children on the go. Still, since they are usually relatively small (diagonals are generally less than 10″), children spoil their eyes when watching them frequently.
How to clean your monitor
It is ideal to use a suitable cleaning agent. It is easy to order a special cleaning agent for LCD monitors, which you can put on a cloth or cloth and carefully wipe off the screen. It’s easy to handle, with all the fingerprints and the old dust. It is always recommended to turn off the monitor and let it cool down a bit—dust with a classic tow gun from more dust before using a cleaning agent. If you do, you can try a microfiber towel. It has an advantage due to its business, thanks to which it can be used even without moisturize.