Which monitor should you choose?
Confused about what makes one monitor different to another? We´ll explain all you need to know.
Once you've chosen your desktop, getting the right monitor should be your first priority. After all, it will be the part of your computer you spend the most time looking at! The trouble is, lots of monitors look similar and it's not easy to tell how good the display will look when it's connected to your system.
There are a few things you should bear in mind when making your choice, so we've put together a guide to help you out.
What to consider:
1) Screen size
While it might be tempting to go for the biggest monitor you can, remember that you'll be sitting much closer to the screen than you will with a television. 27", or bigger, screens can be immersive for games and movies and are useful if you're doing complex design or graphics work. You'll need to make sure your computer is powerful enough to handle such a large monitor, or you could find it has a negative effect on performance.
Some monitors go as small as 19", but most are in the happy medium of the mid-20" range. Remember - even a 19" screen is a couple of inches bigger than most laptop screens, so if you're comfortable with that you may not need to go too much larger.
The resolution indicates the number of pixels the monitor can display. The bigger the screen, the higher the resolution you'll need to get the benefit - otherwise images can start looking slightly blocky.
While you'll generally want to use the highest possible resolution your monitor can handle, bear in mind that less powerful computers can struggle to maintain frame rates at very high resolutions. This can be especially true if you're playing graphically intensive games. For this reason, we would only advise you to consider the largest monitors if you have a very powerful PC.
There are several different types of monitor display panel, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We'll take a look at three of the most popular.
Firstly, TN panels deliver extremely fast refresh rates and pixel response (how quickly it can redraw the whole screen and how quickly each pixel can change colour), which makes them great for gamers. However, they don't have a great viewing angle, and colours can look strange if you're not observing the monitor straight on.
Next, VA monitors can provide superb colours, high contrast and deep black tones, which make them ideal for photos and movies. On the flip side, the screens aren't so good for gaming as they have quite a slow response rate and can produce a "ghosting" effect.
Finally, IPS monitors have good colour reproduction and viewing angles, but at the cost of a very slow refresh and response rate.
Finally, consider how you're going to connect the PC to the monitor. Most screens these days will have a number of different inputs, including the popular HDMI. Double check your PC has the same connections as the monitor - while most recent systems have HDMI, not all do, and some monitors no longer feature the more traditional DVI port. Some monitors also feature multiple HDMI ports, which can let you connect your games consoles up too.
Why not try:
The AOC e2070Swn is a great value monitor for all-round performance, and its smaller size means it can fit into even the most compact home
The Samsung LS24D590 delivers bright colours and crisp images, and the dual HDMI ports make it ideal for connecting multiple devices
The Acer Predator GN246HLBbi boasts 3D technology in full HD. The fast refresh and response rate make this perfect for gamers
Want to go beyond HD? The Samsung LU28D590PS can display 4K images and astonishing colours while still maintaining a refresh and response rate fast enough for gamers.