How To Choose The Right Monitor For You

How To Choose The Right Monitor For You




Shopping around for a monitor these days is one of the more difficult tasks when completing your PC setup. It isn’t as cut and dry as just picking one out and expecting it to work a certain way immediately. Every price point has different offerings, and each monitor has different technology built into them, which can make things more confusing. So, we’re here to try and help you solve this problem by at least narrowing down the things you have to look for in a monitor that’s just right for you.

What will you use the monitor for?

One of the first things you should ask is this question. It will determine which monitor will be perfect for you. Are you a gamer? Are you a professional who needs accurate colors? Or are you just someone who prefers a great-looking picture? There are different monitor types depending on your needs.

If you’re a gamer, a monitor with a high refresh rate panel, at least 120Hz, would be the best for you. It would help if you had a monitor that allows for smoother movement and faster response times.  A higher refresh rate refers to the frequency that a display updates the onscreen image. Your display’s refresh rate refers to how many times per second the display can draw a new image. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). For example, if your display has a refresh rate of 144Hz, it is refreshing the image 144 times per second. When paired with the high frame rates produced by a GPU and CPU working together, this can result in a smoother experience. When buying a high refresh rate monitor, you have to remember that you have to partner it with a strong enough CPU and GPU to make the most of it. It would be best if it can push frame rates equal to the monitor’s highest refresh rate. So, if you have a 120Hz monitor, you’ll get the full experience if you’re getting 120FPS from your PC. Competitive and professional players prefer using high refresh rate monitors (up to 300+Hz) to gain the most competitive advantage over a 4K monitor with a sharper image.

If you’re a professional artist or someone who edits video, photographs, and the like, then a monitor with high color accuracy is for you. An In-Plane Switching or IPS monitor is recommended. To put all the technical jargon aside, an IPS panel monitor will give you the best color accuracy and best viewing angles out of all the other monitors out there. One of the downsides to IPS monitors is that if you’re also looking for one with a high refresh rate for gaming, then it’ll cost a bit more than buying a non-IPS high refresh monitor. There is also something called IPS glow, where there is a visible light at the edges of your monitor when viewing in dark environments or viewing dark scenes. This can be distracting for some people, and usually, this affects lower-end IPS monitors the most.

Now, if you’re just a general user who prefers to do a bit of everything, I suggest going for a monitor with a VA panel. A Vertical Alignment or VA panel offers a bit of everything when it comes to monitors. VA monitors have the highest contrast ratio (unless you’re buying a super expensive AMOLED monitor) than other monitors. While IPS and TN panels usually have a contrast ratio of around 1,000:1, most VA panels have a contrast ratio between 2,000:1 and 3,000:1, with more expensive models offering even higher contrast. This allows them to display deeper blacks, brighter whites, and an overall more pronounced relation between the darkest and the brightest tones. Of course, you won’t get the color accuracy of IPS panels, so some professionals will scoff at using a VA monitor.

Still, some new ones actually get close to IPS monitors already, albeit coming short at some colors being accurate. Thanks to their high contrast and lack of IPS glow, VA panel displays are particularly great for watching movies in a dark room where details in shadows of the picture really stand out, which is why most LED TVs use VA panels, not IPS. The viewing angles, though, aren’t as great as IPS monitors. So you have to be more in the center when watching something on a VA monitor. If not, you will see a shift in color from other angles.

Monitor resolution and size

Now that we’ve talked about what you’re going to use your monitor for, now is the time to determine what resolution and size of the monitor are for you. The higher the resolution of the monitor then the sharper the image you will see on the screen. The usual standard for a monitor is 1080p or Full HD. These are perfect for monitors that are 24 inches and below. However, if you go higher using a 1080p panel, you will see the pixelation, and the picture won’t be as sharp as you’d like. For 27-inches and above, I suggest at least going for a Quad HD or 2560 x 1440 resolution monitor, but of course, if you have the budget go as high as a 4k monitor.


 

You just have to make sure that if you’re going for a 4K monitor, you should have a strong enough graphics card or GPU to handle the higher resolutions, especially when you plan to game on said resolution. It’s harder to push higher FPS on higher resolutions.

The current sweet spot seems to be Quad HD resolution. With monitors up to 32 inches, you see good pixel density and a detailed image that isn’t too difficult for mid-priced graphics cards to handle. However, if you want speed that’s also not too taxing on your GPU, Full HD is the easiest to recommend.

What other things do you need?

There are so many other things that are built into monitors these days. For example, you may have to consider if you need a monitor with speakers built-in (though most of these aren’t excellent speakers). You may also want to have a monitor with a USB pass-through so you could have additional USB ports for your computer.

For gamers out there, you may also want to pair a monitor that is compatible with your graphics card. Technology such as G-sync and Freesync is added to gaming monitors to make your gaming experience smoother. G-Sync is for Nvidia graphics cards, while Freesync works with AMD cards (though many Freesync monitors are now compatible with NVIDIA GPUs, so you could just read a review of a certain monitor to know if it is compatible). G-Sync monitors are typically more expensive than their Freesync counterparts.

Some people also consider the look of the monitor that they are buying to match the aesthetics of their PC. There are the gamer-y ones with all the RGB lights built into the monitor, while there are subtle monitors as well. Bezels are always a factor as most people want a bezel-less one or those that look more modern.

So how do you choose a monitor?

The easiest way is first to start with a budget. Once you’ve determined a budget, then you can start looking at the different monitors at that price point. Start first by asking yourself what you need the monitor for. If you’re a gamer, go for higher refresh rates. If for professional use, find an IPS monitor, and for general use, we suggest a VA Panel monitor. After determining what your use case is, then find a comfortable resolution that your CPU and GPU can handle. It will be hard to run a 4K monitor using integrated or low-end graphics cards. Then all the other bells and whistles come after.

A monitor is one of the most important things you will buy for your setup. Make sure you make the right purchase decision. Invest in a good monitor and one that benefits you immediately, whether for work or play. Buy a monitor that suits your needs first and foremost. Remember, no matter how great your PC is, if you have a monitor that you don’t like, you’re going to be regretting the decision every single time you stare at that screen.



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