Photo Credit: Wolfman99

When buying a computer, you go for one that perfectly suits your needs. Probably, you require a gaming desktop with extra processing power and speed, or a performance desktop with larger system memory for multitasking. But did also you know that PC monitors can widely vary in their specifications?

Computers are part of our daily lives. If you don’t use one in your office, you probably have one in your home. While building or buying a PC, people seldom focus on how the monitor will enhance user experience. An ideal monitor will allow your system to function optimally, so I will be providing you with some very useful tips to choosing a perfect one.

While screen width, design, and brand will influence your choice, it is important to know that these factors may not suffice, especially when you’re one of those folks who spend long hours staring at their monitors. Depending on what your requirements are, here are some things to consider when buying a monitor:

Panel Type

There are three different panel types and each one has its unique features. The three types of panels widely available on the market are:

  • Twisted Nematic (TN) Panels
  • Vertical Alignment (VA) Panels
  • In-Plane Switching (IPS) Panels

Twisted Nematic (TN) Panels are the most common types of panels, given their economic value. They are the least expensive types of LCD panels. If you experience low color accuracy and high distortion rates at various viewing angles, your monitor is most likely to be a TN panel. However, what the TN lacks in visual appeal is compensated in its performance.  TN Panels are perfect for gamers as it possesses a higher refresh rate and its 3D resolution.

Vertical Alignment (VA) Panels belong to the middle class of PC monitors. VA panels offer excellent viewing angle of 140 degrees. Because they don’t have a twisted structure, a VA panel can attain faster response speeds. They can achieve contrast ratios of the order of 300:1 without requiring extra power. You will also get enhanced color accuracy and more contrast with VA Panels, but they still get distorted when viewed at an odd angle.

In-Plane Switching (IPS) Panels are the most expensive panels offered on the market. As a photographer, architect, or graphic designer, IPS panels will offer you the best picture/graphic quality because it has great color accuracy and better viewing angles than the other panels. However, an IPS panel may not be well suited for you as a gamer as they have lower refresh rates and a slower response time.

Size and Resolution

You know that a 15.1” won’t just cut it and you are eyeing that 27” monitor on display. It has great graphics and looks pretty enticing to you. But how large is your desk? The size and resolution of a monitor are two of the most important things you should consider. Monitors with wider screens are desirable but when you buy one, also make sure it has a high pixel density.

Normally, a 23” screen will produce great picture quality for 1080p (1920×1080 resolution) monitors. But if you want a monitor that’s larger than 23”, make sure its pixel density is higher than 1080p – you may want to consider buying a 1440p (2560×1440) resolution monitor.

Though a bit rarer than other resolution types, 1200p rank among the best buy monitors, as they are a bit taller than, but offer the same visual appeal as 1080p. The 1200p monitors are ideal for professionals such as writers and researchers, who spend long hours writing and surfing the web.

Other higher resolution options include the following.

  • 2560×1440 is a higher resolution alternative for the standard 16:9
  • 2560×1600 is a 16:10 variant of the 2560×1440 resolution
  • 3840×2160 is four times as sharp as the 1080p resolution

While the3840×2160 resolution is also called 4k, there are ultra-premium resolution offerings like 5k and 8k displays that serve well the purposes of gaming and entertainment. If you want a wide screen/high definition combo, there is a wide variety of products to choose from. “Higher resolution” doesn’t always mean “better suited”, so make sure to get that offers a mix of value and aesthetics.

Connectors

Getting matching connectors for your monitor is as easy as could get. Check the rear of your computer to see the kind of output/ports available and make sure the connector types are compatible with your monitor. Also, you need to carefully check the specifications of the monitor you want to buy to see the full range of connection options to avoid the cost of an adapter device or cable.

Types of ports available in computers include:

  • Video Graphics Array (VGA)
  • Digital Visual Interface (DVI)
  • High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)
  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
  • DisplayPort/ Mini DisplayPort

Anti-Glare Coating

When you stare at your screen and you see reflections from light coming behind you, it’s because your screen did not come with an anti-glare coating. Many brands offer both monitors with glossy screens and ones that feature an anti-glare coating.

While filmed screens may slightly compromise for picture quality, it protects you from the glare from a well-lit room. Glossy screens offer higher clarity but its flaw is such that it may force you to always dim your lights and close your window. There are also semi-glossy screens that offer a mix of the perks and flaws from both.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio is measured as the ratio of the screen panel’s width to its height. Most monitors offered on the market today have the same aspect ratio (16:9) as televisions, to enable the highest viewing experience. Computers with aspect ratio of 16:9 are ideal for most users due to its wider screen they offer, making it multitasking easier for professionals or providing an awesome viewing experience for gaming enthusiasts. ­­­­

Th­­ere are a few other factors you should also consider, such as multimedia options and a USB hub. Professionals are opting for monitors with built-in audio and video features as it facilitates their business. The USB hub features a set of built-in USB ports that allows you to plug in other hardware. But before you make your final choice, ensure you make a little research and also seek advice from tech-savvy friends or colleagues.