How to choose the most suitable monitor

You buy the monitor either in a classic PC set, or for connecting a laptop or ultrabook at home or at work. Although many monitors have an attribute (office, gaming or professional graphics), this primary categorization will complicate your decision rather than make it easier. The activities you perform on computers and laptops usually overlap and it is not always possible to clearly identify the primary area of ​​interest. As an example, we will mention a student who has a gaming laptop, but in addition to playing, he is also involved in photo editing and graphic design.

The problem is that some of the features that are dominant for each category of monitor are largely contradictory. High refresh rates and low latency are a priority for game monitors. Therefore, these monitors often use display panels based on TN technology, but they do not excel in color fidelity. In contrast, panels using IPS technology have very good coverage of sRGB or Adobe RGB color spaces, in layman’s terms, they have excellent color rendering, but generally do not achieve the high refresh rates required by top gamers. Categorization according to several criteria will definitely help you choose the right type. Let’s start with the purpose.

Home and office monitors

We use these monitors all the time we work, whether in the office or at home office, and most of us even for a few hours in the afternoon and evening surfing the internet for home entertainment. Therefore, they should be as gentle as possible to our eyes and should also be energy efficient. In practice, this means not only a sufficiently high refresh rate, flicker-free brightness control or suppression of the blue light component, but the monitor should also be able to adjust the height of the panel or rotate it 90 degrees if you need to display documents in portrait orientation. . Also, the screen diagonal should be large enough, typically 24 inches for full HD resolution (1920 × 1080 pixels) and 27 inches for 2K (2560 × 1440 pixels). The larger the monitor, the better, but the limiting factor is usually the space on your desktop.

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Game monitors

In order to display dynamic game scenes as smoothly as possible, the game monitor must have the highest possible refresh rate and the shortest possible latency. The refresh rate indicates how many frames the monitor can display per second. The lower limit in this category is considered to be 144 Hz. Higher quality and, of course, more expensive game monitors have a refresh rate of 240 or up to 360 Hz. Latency indicates the speed of response to a change in image and should be below 4 ms for a game monitor. Higher-quality game models support one of the technologies for synchronizing the monitor’s refresh rate with the frequency of the image generated by the graphics card, whether the proprietary NVIDIA G-Sync or the open AMD Free Sync platform. The resolution of game monitors should also be considered carefully. Only new powerful graphics cards can handle smooth display in 4K resolution (3840 × 2160 pixels). Therefore, for older gaming computers or gaming laptops, a full HD monitor is better, which has 4 times fewer pixels than a 4K monitor, and therefore less powerful graphics cards can handle smooth display on it. Choose the resolution according to the genre of games. For strategies, high resolution is more important than latency. This, in turn, is key in action shooters.

Monitors for graphic designers and multimedia creators

Both amateur and professional graphics and multimedia creators need a high-resolution, high-resolution monitor and, most importantly, with the most accurate color reproduction possible. The fidelity of color display is expressed by covering one of the color spaces (gamuts) – sRGB, AdobeRGB or kinematic DCI-P3. Color space is given as a percentage and is defined as a complete group of colors that can be accurately displayed on a given device. Another important parameter is the color depth, which indicates the number of bits needed to represent a given color for one pixel. Simply put, it indicates how many shades a given color can have. At 8-bit depth, it’s 16.7 million, and at 10-bit depth, the monitor can display up to 1 billion shades. A parameter called gamma, in turn, expresses the relationship between the intensity of the input signal and the resulting brightness. Ideally, this dependence should ultimately be linear, but in reality it is not. The sensitivity of the human eye is logarithmic, so it perceives a change in dark tone better than a change in light tone, even if the changes are the same. Therefore, by adjusting the gamma, more accurate details can be displayed on dark areas. For monitors in this category, the diagonal size is important, optimally 32 inches or more.

Of course, even a regular user will certainly not make any mistakes with the purchase of a professional monitor (apart from paying a high price), he will be very satisfied with it, but he will probably never appreciate its main advantages.

Aspect ratio and curvature

Most monitors have a 16: 9 screen aspect ratio, which is a good compromise for working with documents and watching movies. A 4: 3 monitor might be more appropriate for your office because it provides more portrait space. But if you sometimes work with two documents side by side, a 16: 9 ratio is more advantageous. Monitors with a kinematic aspect ratio of 21: 9 are the most suitable for multimedia entertainment.

Models with a curved display panel are designed so that the screen literally surrounds you, technically speaking, so that when viewed from any angle, the screen is equidistant from your eyes. This is especially advantageous for ultra-widescreen monitors. Curved models are especially popular with gamers, because such a monitor “draws” them into the game more.

Connectivity

When choosing a monitor, be sure to connect a computer, ultrabook, or other device, such as a game console. This is especially important for ultrabooks that only have a modern USB-C port. The ideal monitor for such an ultrabook is the USB-C connector, so you can connect the ultrabook directly. Most such monitors also have a built-in docking station, so the ultrabook is also powered from the monitor and charged with a maximum power consumption of 65 – 70 W. You can connect external devices to the classic USB-A ports on the monitor, e.g. keyboard, mouse, etc., and power or charge them with a maximum current of 3 A. You can also connect an Ethernet cable to the integrated docking station in the monitor, so that the notebook can be connected to the Internet or corporate network via the monitor without Wi-Fi.

Some monitors support KVM technology, which allows you to switch USB-connected devices to one of a pair of connected computers. For explanation, the abbreviation KVM means Keyboard, Video, Mouse. Switching the inputs also switches the USB inputs to the built-in hub, so that the same peripherals, such as a keyboard or mouse, can be connected to one or the other computer. For example, you can have a PC and laptop connected to the monitor. You connect the PC with two cables – the image via HDMI or DisplayPort and the USB hub via the USB-B cable, the notebook with a single USB-C cable. But let’s go back to the video connectors. We will not deal with historical VGA or DVI connectors, we will focus on modern interfaces:

• DisplayPort – supports both high resolution and 10-bit colors. It must not be missing on the monitor for graphics or multimedia creator.

• HDMI – in version 1.4 and higher, it can also handle 4K resolution. However, only 8-bit color depth is supported.

• USB-C – You can connect devices that support video transfer via the integrated DisplayPort or devices that support Thunderbolt technology to this advanced interface.

Other parameters

When choosing a monitor, the technology of the display panel, its surface, built-in speakers and the like must also be taken into account. Panels based on IPS and S-IPS technologies have excellent color rendering and very wide viewing angles. TN panels have a shorter latency. OLED displays offer excellent color rendering and high contrast, but are more expensive and tend to “burn” pixels. Monitors with a matte panel surface reflect less light, so they do not reflect windows, lights, or other bright surfaces and objects in the room. On the other hand, glossy monitors have subjectively higher contrast and richer colors. A good compromise is a glossy or slightly matte anti-reflective surface.

Built-in speakers usually won’t warm you with either performance or quality reproduction, but they are enough for occasional listening. Most monitors have VESA-compliant bracket holes, so you can mount them on a wall or adjustable bracket. The USB hub allows you to connect accessories via USB-A connectors. It will please especially owners of laptops that have few USB ports.

Ergonomics

Modern monitors have low power consumption and eye protection technologies, especially the blue light filter. It has been proven that the blue component of light puts more strain on the eyes and suppresses the production of sleep hormone in the evening. Flicker-free monitors use a higher refresh rate as well as non-flickering technology to control the brightness of the backlight.

Philips 288E2UAE

The monitor features a 28 “IPS LED panel with a resolution of 4K UHD (3840 × 2160). It has an elegant design and top parameters for work and play. It can display 1.07 billion colors, has UltraClear, UltraWide, SmartContrast technologies on deep black details and MultiView for simultaneous connection of two devices, a PC and a laptop: the monitor is visually friendly, has a Low Blue mode to suppress the blue component of light, and the EasyRead mode offers a reading experience like on paper.

Price: 329 EUR, more info: philips.sk/c-m-so/monitory

MSI PRO MP271QP

The QHD resolution (2560 × 1440 pixels) is optimal for a 28 “diagonal. The monitor has a maximum brightness of 300 nits and an 8-bit color depth. The IPS panel guarantees quality images and wide viewing angles. A latency of 5 ms will satisfy even players. For fun, you’ll appreciate the blue light filter, the Flicker-Free function is a matter of course to prevent flicker, and you can connect a computer or console via HDMI or DisplayPort 1.4, with a typical power consumption of 35 W.

Price: 276 EUR, more info: cz.msi.com

Dell S2421HGF

This gaming monitor with a diagonal of 23.8 “and full HD resolution is a good choice for students or as a home monitor, because it is suitable not only for gaming but also for normal work. It has a brightness of 250 nits, a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz and is compatible with AMD Free Sync technology, a mini joystick and four buttons for comfortable operation, the monitor also has stereo speakers and is also energy efficient, typical consumption is 18 W.

Price: 181  EUR

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Source: Nextech by www.nextech.sk.

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