Monitor buying guide – balancing spending and video quality

The monitor is a part of the computer which, if chosen correctly, can last the longest compared to other components. We can agree that selecting a monitor with the most optimal size, not harmful to the eyes and most suitable for your individual needs is important. However, sometimes we don’t even consider what exactly we need it for. By following our guide you will be able to pick the best display for your pc, without paying extra.

Firstly, there are things that some monitors can do better than others. So how should you choose the right one? Why are there so many different kinds of monitors on the market? We will help you answer these questions.

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What properties do monitors have and what they mean

The monitor is a part of the computer which, if chosen correctly, can last the longest compared to other components. We can agree that selecting a monitor with the most optimal size, not harmful to the eyes and most suitable for your individual needs is important. However, sometimes we don’t even consider what exactly we need it for. By following our guide you will be able to pick the best display for your pc, without paying extra.

Firstly, there are things that some monitors can do better than others. So how should you choose the right one? Why are there so many different kinds of monitors on the market? We will help you answer these questions.
You should be aware of these ways in which displays can differ from one another when choosing:

Display size – no matter how big a screen size you want, before making a decision take a look around your room. See how much space you actually have on your desk – you might not be able to fit your new monitor there! Extensive customer satisfaction research says that the most comfortable sizes are 18.5-24 inches.

Aspect ratio – simply put, this refers to the width of the monitor. There are two most common aspect ratios that displays have right now – square shape (4:3) and wide screen (16:9). Aspect ratio is separate from the size of the display. If, for example, you are working with very large data sets in Excel then a 16:9 aspect ratio is preferable because it helps avoid scrolling left and right to see all the columns. Nowadays in the vast majority of cases a wide screen is better than a square screen.

Refresh rate – indicates how often an image on the monitor is updated. In the old days of huge CRT monitors a low refresh rate meant that screen might flicker and harm your eyes more, however with modern LCD/LED displays low refresh rate no longer harms your eyes more than a higher one. We suggest picking a higher refresh rate if you want better visuals in video games.

Response time – indicates how quickly an image is drawn on the screen. This parameter is measured in milliseconds (ms), and the lower the better. Typically, a response time of 5 ms is the minimum if you are interested in gaming, any more than that is noticeable and can cause headaches.

Price – always make sure you are not being charged more for the same item. When you have all the parameters you want in mind, spend some time looking around – you might find the exact same thing from another store at a lower price and we will teach you how to do it in the following sections!

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If you are interested in monitors that don’t cost extra money for your office, home use or if you are a gamer

Universal

“Universal” budget monitor

Budget monitors are used in the office for work purposes, at home by people who do not wish to spend extra money or by gamers who are not too picky about visuals.

Its main advantage is low price, low power consumption and low response time – which makes it suitable for gaming. It is the best inexpensive gaming monitor. Such displays have these benefits due to their panel type, which is called Twisted Nematic (TN). It is very widely used on the market.

The TN Panel’s main disadvantage is lower differences between colours, which can be a problem if you want to do graphical editing. Also, because of that movies may look less realistic in some places.

Usually for office and gaming purposes people choose displays with 20-21 inches size. Gamers should also be aware that if they play games released after 2011 they will need a wide screen display because most modern games are made with 16:9 aspect ratio in mind. If they play older games, a square screen is preferable.

If you would like to buy a budget monitor, please take a look at the following examples

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If you are interested in monitors for entertainment and leisure

entertainment

Monitors for entertainment

More than half of the monitors sold in 2015 belong to the entertainment category. Most often their size is 21.5-24 inches. Nowadays content creators (game developers, movie studios) know this and tailor their products to these screen sizes to the best of their ability. That is why when buying displays of this size, you can be sure that you can watch all the latest movies with the best quality.

We recommend monitors with Multi-domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) panel types. They have relatively low prices but offer better contrast and response time, which results in clearer images and less visual artifacts. These displays are not as good for hardcore gaming (if they have a higher response time) as TN displays and not as good for visual editing as PLS (Plane to Line Switching) displays due to weaker colour display.

If you want to buy the best desktop monitor for home entertainment, check out these 22-23 inch and 24-25 inch examples.

Before buying, make sure that the technical characteristics of the display correspond with the recommendations.

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For hardcore gaming

gaming

Monitors for gaming

Gamer displays should have a response time of less than 5 ms, which helps them show very fast and dynamic scenes much more naturally. Usually the in-panel switching (IPS) or plane-to-light switching (PLS) panel type with a response time of 2 ms does the best job (PS: make sure to check the response time when buying because PLS monitors may have higher response times). A necessary combination with such displays is a powerful graphics card, which is capable of supporting high frames per second in graphically-intensive games, otherwise your monitor’s ability to display highly dynamic images will go to waste. As a result, in order to take full advantage of such monitors you need to be prepared to pay extra. But if being able to play games while enjoying excellent motion quality is important to you, then the price shouldn’t matter. Ideal display size for gaming is 22-24 inches.

Another important thing to note is the aspect ratio. These monitors are best suited for playing new games so they should have the 16:9 aspect ratio, because it supports resolutions of these games the best. If you play these games on a square screen you will see black borders at the top and bottom of the screen.

You can search for such a device on Amazon by following this link. However, if you have enough money and want to have a really good monitor in your house, select one of those that have G-Sync technology. You can find one by checking this link here.

Before buying, make sure that the technical characteristics of the display correspond to the recommendations.

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For work with graphics and videos

professional

Monitors for professional work

If you are a practitioner of the art of video or graphics editing, then you will need a display with the in-panel switching (IPS) or plane-to-light switching (PLS) panel type, as they provide the best possible colour quality and contrast, which will help you see the difference between colours more clearly. There is no difference between the two panels – PLS is the same kind of panel, except it is made by Samsung. These panel types are very important if your line of works involves working with graphics and photo and video editing. These displays are the most expensive ones, but in order to ensure the best quality of work, people who take visual editing seriously do not mind the intimidating price tag.

When choosing your monitor, pay attention to the cd/m2 numbers in the description. These stand for candelas per square meter, and they represent the amount of light that is emitted by your display. For use under a general lighting at home, a brightness of 250 to 300 will be sufficient. However, if you tend to work in very bright surroundings, a higher cd/m2 may be required.

PLS displays may have a response time of 5 ms or more, which makes them undesirable for gaming, however, some of the most expensive ones can have a low response time and can be worth it if you want to play games in-between your work sessions.

We found several examples, which would suit your video editing needs

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Good luck shopping!

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We also have a gift for you

Receive a monitor for free!

We have this LED gaming display here. It has a PLS panel type, 1ms response time and size of 24 inches.

Comment, share, like our Facebook page and you will automatically become a part of the raffle! When 500 people have commented on this article, shared and liked the Facebook page on their profile, we will choose a random winner and send him or her this prize! (You have to do ALL these things to be eligible)

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