How to buy a monitor

May 26th, 2010 in .Monitors & Displays .Products
Bobby O’Reilly
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When it comes time to invest in new monitor don’t, whatever you do, rush things. It’s the part of your PC you’ll use the most, and you’re not going to be upgrading again for a long time, so it pays to pick the perfect one before you spend you cash.

Get a rubbish screen with faded colours and narrow viewing angles and you’ll regret it forever. On the other hand, you’ll never suffer buyer’s remorse for saving up just a little longer to buy something better.

What, then, should you look out for in a new screen?

Screen size

Unless your desk is really small, it’s generally a good idea to go for the biggest monitor you can. Games look better and there’s more room to work on a larger panel, although some people might feel queasy sat up close to a 27 or 30inch diagonal panel. You can get one that measures 22inches corner to corner for next to nothing now, but we recommend a 24inch screen if you can afford it.

Resolution

Nearly all monitors nowadays come in the same aspect ratio as widescreen HDTVs, with a standard resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. If you’re going larger than 24inches, though, try to find one with an even higher resolution.

Design

It’s not just about aesthetics. A slimline monitor like the new ASUS Designo ML range also takes up less space on your desk and leave more room for your keyboard and mouse. Remember too that monitors which are VESA compatible can be wall mounted easily too.

Power consumption

Contrary to popular belief it’s not always the case that LCD monitors use less power than older CRT ones, so check the specs sheet thoroughly for this. Look for monitors with efficient LED backlighting, and if you want to be super environmentally friendly check out the VE series which uses 50% less hazardous materials.

Screen type

Most monitors use a technology called ‘twisted nematic’ (TN) to control the way light is shown on the screen, because it’s a low cost and well established way of doing things which can produce lightning fast framerates for games. If you plan to produce professional photos or videos, though, you might find that even the latest TN panels don’t quite have the colour range you need, so you’ll want a higher end In-plan switching (IPS)-type screen, like the brand new ASUS PA246Q.

Inputs

Many monitors now have HDMI inputs, which are great for hooking them up to games machines or other set-top boxes, but in our mind you still can’t beat old fashioned DVI cables for reliability and image quality. They may be big and bulky, but they’re not going away any time soon.

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  • LD-3255VX

    The new Westinghouse 26″ or 32″ LED HDTV is ideal to use as computer monitor. Not only they cheap, the picture quality is awesome too.