The rapid rate at which technology advances is well known. It is the subject of disparaging jokes, of excitement, and of bitter realization as owners groan about their comparatively new computer being a dinosaur after the first few months.
Most of the developments that we hear about concern the internal components of the PC, such as processors, which are constantly getting quicker and smaller.
However, as any enthusiast will tell you, there have also been significant developments in the display field, with a wide variety of PC monitors available at a similarly large range of prices.
If you’re in the market for a new one and need a handy summary of the relevant current technology, and factors you should keep in mind while selecting PC monitor please read on.
How To Select Computer Monitor
The size of the monitor is, obviously, the first thing that any consumer should consider. It is also a characteristic that requires little in the way of explanation.
You should be aware, though, that 20+ inches is now considered the standard – anything smaller will seem cramped. Smaller monitors should be reserved for those with tiny desks only.
This is the number of pixels that your monitor is capable of displaying. Basically, the bigger the number, the better. The minimum you should be shooting for on a smaller monitor is 1366×768, which will allow you to watch the sort of widescreen content that we are overwhelmingly encountering these days.
But your real goal is 1080p, or 1920×1080. This is commonly known as ‘HD’ and is strongly recommended if you want to use your monitor for watching high-quality media or gaming.
Of course, you’ll have to plug your computer cables in somewhere! Most consumers will be happy with a single DVI slot, to which you can hook your PC up very simply.
However, those who wish to use their monitor with other devices should buy a model with an HDMI input, too. This will allow it to receive full HD signals from Blu-Ray players and games consoles.
Monitor Response Time
Much as you would expect, this figure represents the time that it takes the monitor’s pixels to change. Slow response times lead to ‘ghosting’ – where moving objects leave visible trails in their wake.
However, as the vast majority of modern monitors now feature response times of 5ms, only the most enthusiastic of gamers will need to worry about this figure. Those in the latter camp should spring for a 2ms response time if their budget can stretch.
Monitor Panel Type
Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the most widely used, as they are inexpensive and power efficient. The majority of monitors currently feature TN panels.
In-plane switching (IPS) panels offer more faithful colour reproduction and a visibly better-looking image, but you will pay a sizable premium.
Monitor Refresh Rate
Most readers should ignore the refresh rate, which will be either 60 or 120hz. As with response times, only gamers and other enthusiasts will appreciate faster refresh rates enough to justify the increased price that they command. 60Hzz is perfectly fine for 90% of consumers.