Gamers, Movie Buffs & Web Surfers Unite!
So you've built your own computer and now you're looking for the perfect monitor to match. When looking for a new computer monitor, you will find that quality and price vary considerably. Whatever your needs are, there’s a monitor out there that’s right for your budget.
Here are some basic considerations to keep in mind when making a choice in your search among the best computer monitors.
The size of a panel is measured diagonally. A big viewing area is always good, but not always necessary. The bigger the screen, the more you will pay. A 24-inch monitor is sufficient if you want to watch movies or view documents but have limited desk space.
A 27-inch screen gives you a big screen experience at a reasonable price. If space is not an issue, you may want to go for really large 34-inch to 38-inch screens.
Pixel Response Rate
The faster the pixel response rate, the better the monitor is able to display video without any blurring of moving images or ghosting. The response rate is the time it takes for a pixel to change from black to white or from one shade of gray to another.
The rate is measured in milliseconds (ms). Most users don’t notice lag much, but gamers often consider it a deciding factor when making a choice and usually choose ones with the least lag. Most people can live with a lag of about 25 ms before it becomes a problem.
The resolution is the maximum number of pixels displayed by a monitor. The higher the resolution, the more information can be displayed on the screen. If you see that a monitor has 1,920 by 1,080 native resolution, this means it can display 1,920 pixels horizontally and 1,080 pixels vertically.
Most monitors in the 22- to 27-inch range have a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080. These are considered full HD monitors. Stepping up to a 4K (3,840 by 2,160 pixel) monitor usually means the screen is 27 inches or larger.
A fully adjustable stand allows you to position your screen for viewing at a comfortable angle. It allows for tilting, swiveling, adjusting height and sometimes even rotating.
A monitor with built-in USB ports is essential if you constantly need to transfer data between USB devices.
Most monitors come with built-in speakers that are perfectly fine for everyday use. If audio output is important, you should look for speakers with a minimum rating of 2 watts per speaker.
A built-in card reader allows you to play music and view photos without having to reach under a desk and plug in a media card.
Up until recently, most desktop displays used TN technology, the most affordable type to manufacture with good motion-handling performance.
Many 27-inch IPS monitors are available today that offer good color quality and wide viewing angles.
VA monitors also offer good color, but viewing-angle performance is not quite as good as what you get from an IPS panel.
From Basic to High-End
If you're looking for a basic monitor, there’s little reason to spend a fortune on one with features you’re unlikely to ever use. A basic monitor probably won’t have USB ports, built-in webcams or card readers. They usually use TN panel technology and are supported by a rigid stand that doesn’t have much adjustability.
However, many professionals — such as photographers or graphic designers — consider it money well spent to buy a computer monitor that costs more but offers outstanding performance.
4K or UHD monitors allow users to have multiple windows open side-by-side without the necessity of a second monitor. When choosing a 4K PC monitor, you need to pay attention to size, contrast ratios and color gamut.
If you have a 27-inch 4K monitor, you will generally be able to fit three full-size browser windows side-by-side.
Here are three of the best computer monitors for you to consider:
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Good Overall Performance Monitor: LG 27UK850-W
With 4K Ultra HD resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), the LG 27UK850 provides great picture quality on a 27-inch screen. The IPS panel enables 178-degree viewing angles and the ultra-thin bezel on the sides offers an almost borderless viewing experience.
With over 99% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, professional photographers, graphic designers and others looking for highly accurate colors can use this monitor. With FreeSync, gamers can play hi-res, fast-paced games due to fluid, seamless movement.
The USB-C port allows you to display 4K video, charge mobile devices and transfer data all at the same time using only a single cable.
Budget-Friendly Monitor: ACER SB220Q bi
If you have less to spend, the ACER SB220Q bi can give you the most pixel power for your budget. The 21.5-inch screen may not be the biggest one around but the full HD 109p IPS panel gives you better picture quality and viewing angles than other TN panels in this lower price range.
Although the design is sleek and solid, you can’t tilt it beyond a limited range and it lacks USB inputs. This is why it's so affordable in terms of monitor prices. You'll still have the benefit of some useful extra features of course. All in all this is one of the best PC monitor deals out there.
Best Monitor for Movies: AOC U3277PWQU
If you want to watch movies from your computer, AOC U3277PWQU's 32-inch 4K LED monitor offers a good balance between features and size. The 3,820 by 2,160 Ultra HD screen has four times the resolution of an HD display. It offers over 1 billion colors and rich color accuracy. It has 178-degree viewing angles and offers consistent image quality.
Two 3-watt speakers on each side of the monitor offer enhanced audio. A TN panel instead of an IPS panel results in a more vibrant movie-watching experience with superior contrast ratio.
The 32-inch screen offers enough space for multiple windows and you can multitask while you watch. Flicker-free technology eliminates the number of flickers seen with each screen refresh on the LED, eliminating eye fatigue.
No matter what your budget or needs, there are many quality monitors on the market that come at reasonable prices. Consider the basics, decide what you need in terms of features, and you will be able to make a decision that offers you the best value for your budget.