If you’re in the market for a new monitor, the first question you should ask yourself is what you intend to use it for. If you just plan to use it for basic computer operations like email, browsing the web, etc., a basic model will suffice. If you intend to stream videos, edit photos, or perform other multimedia functions, you’ll want to invest in something higher end. Monitor specifications are full of acronyms, numbers, and technical jargon, making it hard for the average user to make a decision. For a typical computer user, these are the factors you’ll want to pay closest attention to:
Monitor screens are measured diagonally. Anything smaller than 20 inches will likely have a low aspect ratio and a low resolution, so unless you are on a really tight budget or have space restrictions, we recommend going with at least a 21.5” screen. If you intend to watch movies or to have many different applications running concurrently, something over 24” would be ideal. We strongly recommend seeing a monitor with your own eyes so you know that the size is what you’re looking for.
Screen resolution determines the clarity of the images on your screen – a better resolution means a sharper and more realistic picture. We recommend a monitor that is at least capable of a 1920×1080 resolution. If you plan to edit photos or want a really accurate picture, we recommend higher end monitors with resolutions near 2560×1440. You’ll also want to check to see what resolutions your computer is capable of displaying.
There are many different types of computer-to-monitor connections out there – HDMI, DVI, VGA, Display Port, etc. Before buying a monitor, check what ports your computer has available. If you have your heart set on a monitor that doesn’t have the right ports for your computer, adapters are typically available that will solve your compatibility problems.
LED vs. LCD
Technically, LED screens are just a type of LCD screens. But there is a difference in terms of backlighting, which makes your monitor bright and lit up. LED screens usually have a thinner form factor. They also consume less power. LEDs also offer better black levels and contrast, meaning that darker images are easier to see. Prices have come down on LED backlit screens, so we recommend choosing this option when available.
If you spend a lot of time working or playing on your computer, making a decision on the right monitor for you shouldn’t be taken lightly. You may end up spending a good portion of your time staring at that screen.