Which Desktop Computer Monitor Is Best?

Category: Hardware

When it comes to choosing the best desktop computer monitor, it's important to consider your specific needs and preferences. With so many options available in the market, finding the perfect monitor can be overwhelming. However, by understanding your requirements and doing some research, you can make an informed decision. Read on for my tips and advice...

Tips For Buying a Computer Monitor

A computer monitor (also called a screen or display) is often kept for many years, even longer than the computer to which it was originally connected. So when it’s finally time to replace your monitor, you may find that that new rules apply to its purchase that were unheard of when you bought it. Here are some of those new rules, without getting too geeky or extravagant...

One important factor to consider is the type of computer monitor. There are various types available, including LCD, LED, OLED, and CRT monitors. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to understand the differences before making a choice. We'll de-geekify all those buzzwords in just a minute.

Another aspect to consider is the size of the monitor. The size of the monitor depends on your personal preference and the purpose for which you will be using it. A larger monitor can provide a more immersive experience, or help users who have vision chalolenges. A smaller one may be more suitable for limited desk space.

computer monitors

Additionally, it's crucial to look for specific features that meet your requirements. These features may include monitor resolution, refresh rate, response time, panel type, connectivity options, and ergonomic design. And again, we'll go over what all those mean, and which are most important.

To make the best decision, it's also helpful to know where to buy a computer monitor. There are various online and offline retailers that offer a wide range of options. It's important to compare prices, read reviews, and consider the return policy before making a purchase.

By considering these factors and doing a bit of research, you can find the best desktop computer monitor that suits your needs and enhances your computing experience.

What Are The Different Types Of Computer Monitors?

Computer monitors come in various types, each with its own unique features and advantages. Understanding the different types can help you make an informed decision when choosing the best computer monitor for your needs.

One common type of computer monitor is the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitor. LCD monitors are known for their slim design, energy efficiency, and sharp image quality. They use liquid crystals to display images and are available in various sizes and resolutions.

Another type is the LED (Light Emitting Diode) monitor, which is similar to LCD monitors but uses LED backlighting instead of fluorescent tubes. LED monitors offer better color accuracy, higher contrast ratios, and improved energy efficiency compared to LCD monitors.

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) monitors are another option to consider. These more expensive monitors use organic compounds that emit light when an electric current is applied. OLED monitors offer deep blacks, vibrant colors, and wide viewing angles, making them ideal for multimedia and gaming purposes.

Lastly, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors are the older, bulkier monitors that were commonly used in the past. While they are less common today, CRT monitors still offer excellent color accuracy and are preferred by some professionals for graphic design and video editing.

Each type of monitor has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Understanding Computer Monitor Buzzwords

When shopping for a computer monitor, you may come across various buzzwords and technical terms that can be confusing if you're not familiar with them. Understanding these buzzwords can help you make an informed decision and choose the best monitor for your needs. I'll do my best to explain them in plain English.

One important buzzword to know is "resolution." The resolution refers to the number of pixels on the screen and determines the level of detail and clarity. Common resolutions include Full HD (1920x1080), Quad HD (2560x1440), and 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160). At the extreme high end, 8K monitors boast 7680 x 4320 pixels. Higher resolutions offer sharper images, but keep in mind that you'll need a powerful graphics card to support them. Most users will not need anything more than the Full HD option, but if you're into graphic design, video editing, or you use your computer to view 4K streaming video content, go for the higher resolution models.

Another buzzword is "refresh rate." The refresh rate refers to how many times the monitor updates the image per second. A higher refresh rate, such as 144Hz or 240Hz, can provide smoother motion and reduce motion blur, making it ideal for gaming or watching fast-paced videos.

"Aspect ratio" is another term to be familiar with. It refers to the ratio of the width to the height of the screen. The most common aspect ratio is 16:9, which is suitable for most multimedia content. However, if you work with professional applications or prefer a wider screen, you may consider an ultrawide monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

Lastly, "HDR" and "contrast ratio" are important buzzwords related to image quality. HDR (High Dynamic Range) enhances the color and contrast range, resulting in more vibrant and lifelike images. Contrast ratio measures the difference between the darkest and brightest parts of an image, with higher ratios providing better image depth and detail.

Another buzzword you may encounter is "IPS" (in-plane switching). IPS monitors offer deeper blacks and more accurate color rendering than LCD or LED monitors. They also have wider viewing angles, so the picture looks the same, even if you're not directly in front of it. This ViewSonic 27-inch IPS 1080p Frameless LED Monitor is a good example.

Along with IPS, you'll also find "TN" (Twisted Nematic) and "VA" (Vertical Alignment) LCD displays. Here's a quick, non-geeky overview of the three types: TN offers the best response times with lesser picture quality and viewing angles. IPS has the best picture quality and viewing angles, but lower reaction time. VA is exactly in the middle - it has good picture image, viewing angles and reaction time.

By understanding these buzzwords, you can navigate the world of computer monitors with confidence and choose the one that meets your specific needs and preferences. Keep in mind, though, that if you use your computer exclusively for web browsing, email and word processing, you may not care much about any of those monitor characteristics. The next paragraph is where the rubber meets the digital road for most of us.

What Size Should My Computer Monitor Be?

When it comes to choosing the size of your computer monitor, there are a few factors to consider. The first is the amount of desk space you have available. If you have limited space, a smaller monitor, such as a 24-inch or 27-inch, may be more suitable. On the other hand, if you have a spacious desk (and a fatter wallet), you can opt for a larger monitor, such as a 30-inch, 32-inch or even a 34-inch ultrawide.

Another factor to consider is your intended use for the monitor. If you primarily use your computer for basic tasks like web browsing and word processing, a smaller monitor may suffice. However, if you are a gamer or a graphic designer, a larger monitor with a higher resolution can enhance your experience and allow for more screen real estate. Larger monitors can also be helpful for people with visual impairment. A larger screen allows one to increase font sizes for better readability.

There is a sharp price jump between 24-inch full-HD and 27-inch 4K monitors; the former should cost $150 or less, while the latter is probably in the $350 to $500 range. (Here's an ASUS 24-inch Full HD monitor for $128 at Amazon, and an LG 27-inch 4K Monitor on sale for $367.) If you watch lots of movies or play sophisticated games, the bigger and costlier monitor makes sense. Or, you could put that money into a big 4K television set, and stream your PC display to it. Very little 8K content exists at this time, so I would not spend the money on an 8K monitor.

A curved screen may be helpful on monitors 32 inches or larger. A curved screen puts the vertical edges nearer to your eyes, reducing the amount of refocusing they must do when looking from the center of the screen to one of the edges. Curved screens also reduce the amount of head-turning you must do to view every part of the screen. And they don't have to be super-expensive. This Samsung 34-inch Ultrawide Gaming Monitor sells for $383.

Ultimately, the size and shape of your computer monitor should be based on your personal preferences and needs. Consider the available desk space, your intended use, and your budget when making your decision. By finding the right balance between size and functionality, you can ensure an optimal viewing experience.

What Other Features Should I Look For In A Computer Monitor?

When choosing a computer monitor, there are several key features to consider that can greatly enhance your overall experience.

First and foremost, consider the display technology. Two popular options mentioned above are LED and LCD. LED monitors offer better energy efficiency and a wider color gamut, while LCD monitors provide better image quality and viewing angles. This ensures that you get vibrant and accurate colors, regardless of your viewing angle.

Connectivity options are also crucial. Look for a monitor that has multiple ports, such as HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and USB, to ensure compatibility with various devices. This allows you to connect your monitor to different devices like laptops, gaming consoles, and media players without any hassle. If you purchase a monitor that doesn't have the same connectivity options as your computer, there are adapters available to bridge the gap. For example, my older PC's video card had only DVI ports, but the monitors I chose were HDMI. A DVI-to-HDMI adapter solved that problem.

Did you notice I said "monitors" and not "monitor"? Yes, I use a dual-screen setup, and if you find yourself limited by a single screen, or you're constantly switching from one application to another, it might be right for you. See my related article Dual Monitors: 7 Good Reasons to Upgrade.

Lastly, consider ergonomic features. Adjustable stands, tilt, swivel, and height adjustments can greatly improve comfort and reduce strain on your neck and eyes during long hours of use. This ensures that you can position your monitor at the most comfortable angle for your viewing pleasure.

By considering these features, you can find a computer monitor that meets your specific needs and provides an optimal viewing experience. Whether you're a gamer, a designer, or a casual user, these features will enhance your overall enjoyment and productivity.

What are some of the best places to buy a computer monitor?

When it comes to buying a computer monitor, it's important to choose a reliable and reputable retailer. Here are some of the best places to buy a computer monitor.

1. Amazon: As one of the largest online retailers, Amazon offers a wide selection of computer monitors from various brands. You can read customer reviews, compare prices, and choose from different models to find the perfect monitor for your needs. Plus, Amazon often offers competitive prices and fast shipping options.

2. Best Buy: Known for its extensive range of electronics, Best Buy is a popular choice for purchasing computer monitors. They have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in finding the right monitor for your requirements. Best Buy also offers price matching, allowing you to get the best deal possible.

3. Newegg: If you're a tech enthusiast, Newegg is a great place to buy a computer monitor. They specialize in computer hardware and electronics, offering a wide selection of monitors at competitive prices. Newegg also provides detailed product descriptions and customer reviews to help you make an informed decision.

4. B&H Photo Video: B&H is a trusted retailer known for its extensive range of photography and electronics equipment. They offer a variety of computer monitors from top brands, ensuring high-quality options. B&H also provides excellent customer service and reliable shipping.

Strings, Sealing Wax, and Other Fancy Stuff

If you run Windows 10 or 11, you may want a touchscreen monitor. But don’t get one if you normally sit at full arm’s length from the screen, or further. It’s just too awkward to use a touchscreen at great distance.

The monitor stand should be adjustable to the height and viewing angle that you prefer. Pay attention to have easily the stand can be adjusted, and how firmly it supports the monitor.

Higher-priced monitors may be packed with extras like speakers, front-panel display control buttons, or even all the components of a desktop PC. Buy what you need, not what’s on sale. The fewer things inside of a monitor, the fewer things that can cause overheating and early death.

Finally, read warranties carefully; a five-year warranty doesn’t help if it excludes dead pixels that develop after one year. Don’t buy third-party warranty extensions. They’re pushed so hard by sellers because they are extremely profitable, and they’re extremely profitable because hardly anyone ever qualifies for a replacement under their terms.

Personally, I've not found brand to be an important factor in computer monitors. Some people are loyal to ASUS, LG, HP, Samsung, or other well-known brands, but I've had no-name monitors that have served me well. Pay attention to the specs I've mentioned above, and check consumer forums for experience with specific models before buying, and you'll do fine.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Which Desktop Computer Monitor Is Best?"

Posted by:

Mike J Kracher
12 Jan 2024

The one that comes with the Apple emblem LOL.

Posted by:

12 Jan 2024

Question: I have my Windows 10 Power Options set to turn off my Screen after 10 minutes.
What determines how fast the Screen will respond after moving the mouse?

I have tried in vain to find an answer for this puzzler.

Posted by:

12 Jan 2024

For many years I relied on a Dell UltraSharp monitor. After several tweaks it gave an excellent display for everything from watching videos to editing photographs.

I switched to an Asus ProArt Display recently because it can use a USB-C connection, it is color calibrated at the factory and even comes with the results in the box. No tweaks needed. It's also higher resolution for a little less money (on sale).

Posted by:

12 Jan 2024

I have been quite happy with LG 34" monitors. I have a flat one. My wife has the curved one. I spent about $380 for each a couple years ago. I suspect you can get them for less now.

Posted by:

Robert E Blackbourn
13 Jan 2024

I recently replaced an Envision "22inch wide screen" with a Philips "22 inch wide screen". Sounds the same, but not so. The visible screen height on the Philips is 1-1/4 inches less than the Envision. In order to view an entire document, I have to shrink it down to fit. This of course shrinks the text size making it almost as hard to read as on the 15 inch laptop. Kinda defeats one reason for having the second monitor in the first place!

Posted by:

Frederick Collins
13 Jan 2024

I have been using a Lenovo laptop since my desktop conked out about 4 years ago. I do not play computer games or watch movies on it. So I am quite satisfied with it. I have marveled over the amount of space that unwanted ads take on whatever size screen we have after all that promotion of large screens we were exposed to.

Posted by:

14 Jan 2024

I had an old Viewsonic monitor that looked great but was cycling on and off. Asked an electronic repair friend and he said it sounded like a power supply issue. Took it apart and the PS module had bad capacitors. Took it to him and he swapped out the caps for $20. Put it back together and still running great. 50 min. of my time. Labor would have made it unjust to repair. That was 5 years ago. Planned obsolescense and another item saved from the landfill for $20 and a little curiosity vs $140 replacement.

Posted by:

15 Jan 2024

In the 1990s I had a Viewsonic 15- inch , then went to 17-inch and 25-inch HP monitor. As I got older the monitors seemed to be smaller. A couple of years ago I got a 27-inch Samsung monitor on sale at Best Buy for $125. It's about the largest I can fit into small counter space in my home office and it become Goldilocks, not too big, not too small and just right. High rez, no tweaks needed.

Posted by:

26 Jan 2024

A computer monitor and TV are the same thing, except that the TV can do more (has a tuner to get TV program reception). I say this because anything that's classified as a "computer monitor" is suddenly more expensive than a TV of the same size and features. The distinction between monitors and TV is a relic of the past when monitors had better resolution. Now you can get a small TV from Walmart and use it as a monitor for a lot less than a "specialized" monitor from a tech store.

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