Wanting to upgrade your current computer monitor or to add a second monitor to your setup?
A wide screen monitor will not only give you a wider desktop to work on, it will also improve your gaming and movie-viewing experience with larger viewable screen.
With more and more manufacturers improving, the LCD and LED display industry continue to thrive. Newer models of wide screen monitors are being released to the market right now as prices keep dropping year after year, even for bigger screens. There are now 24-inch displays for as low as $200. Both manufacturers and retailers throw various terms to describe their latest products. So how do you know what all these mean? This entry will help you understand the basics of a wide screen monitor and how you can get one that fits your preferences and budget.
If you’re looking a widescreen monitors for typical everyday use, or you want a second display for a dual monitor setup, then you will find more than enough choices in the market at great prices. Widescreen monitors with 16:9 are in abundance. The wider width makes way for convenient side-by-side page viewing and wider space for viewing spreadsheets at once, which means less scrolling is needed for simple and sophisticated tasks.
So What Exactly is A 'Widescreen'?
More traditional formats for monitors were 4:3 and 5:3 which were common in 13" and 15" computer screens (in the old CRT - cathode display type).
Typical widescreen formats used currently are 16:10 and 16:9 which gives you a much wider workspace to work in. These aspect ratios are common in most screens that you will find today which generally start at 17" and go upwards from there.
HP Envy 32 Media Display (image from Amazon)
Wider screens come with higher resolutions in order to maintain a high picture quality. If you purchased a wide screen monitor and it had the same number of pixels as a traditional 14" screen, the the picture quality would be terrible.
Larger monitors contain more pixels, which are smaller in order to maintain the same resolution as a smaller monitor.
The resolution on many of the bigger monitors is often standard at 1920 x 1200 even though the screen sizes differ.
More information on computer resolution..
Do You Really Need A Widescreen Monitor?
Prices for widescreen computer monitor are on a decline in the past couple of years. This should be enough reason to upgrade. If you don’t think that’s enough to invest for better display, then you should know that newer models of monitors provide better display quality, better longevity, low electromagnetic emission and significantly less power consumption. Bigger screens provide bigger screen space to work on, compact and space-efficient to give you more desk space, significantly less chances for flickers and glares, wider range of viewing angles, and crisper and sharper images for better user experience, especially if you work on your computer, watch movies and play games. Also, some new models now even come with convenient and functional features, such as USB ports and speakers.
Choosing Your New Wide Screen Monitor
Choose Your Screen Size
Screen size means the size of the display of the monitor from one corner to the opposite direction across the screen (lower left corner to upper right corner, vice versa). LCDs and LEDs usually give their numbers, but many manufacturers are rounding their measurements. Thus, make sure to get the exact dimensions referred as screen size when shopping for a new widescreen monitor. For example, a screen marked as 21-inch display may have an actual screen size of 20-inch. Wider screen means larger screen size. The rule of thumb here is to get the largest screen you possibly can. This decision will boil down between spending around $150 for 19-inch to 20-inch displays, $200 for 24-inch, and so on. You can always go bigger depending on your preference and budget. Most 27-inch monitors are available around $400 nowadays.
Smaller monitors will suffice for basic computing and home use. But if you play games and watch movies or shows in your computer, then you might want to get bigger screens.
17-inch and 20-inch
17-inch and 20-inch can be decent for limited desks and small workspaces, and they usually come with very affordable price tag.
21-inch and 22-inch
21-inch to 22-inch monitors can be enough for working, such as home photo editing as it provides good amount of screen space to work on. They are also widely used for gaming and media. This size is usually priced are $250 to $300, or even cheaper
BenQ RL2240HE is quite an impressive display for its size (21.5-inch). Unlike many mid-sized monitors in the market out there that only provide fast response time and input lag, this one gives importance to color accuracy and deeper blacks. It’s a cheap gaming display without the bells and whistles, but does the job right.
24-inch to 27-inch
BenQ RL2455HM, (image from Amazon)
24-inch to 27-inch and larger screens are perfect for hardcore gamers and multi-media, the widescreen can accommodate everything from showing all important details that can improve user experience for watching TV shows or movies.
BenQ XL2420Z 24-Inch Screen Gaming Monitor, (image from Amazon)
27-inch to 30-inch
Viewsonic VP2772, (image from Amazon)
28-inch screens are fully capable of displaying at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 pixel resolution. Affordable options can have a price tag of $250 (they can be considered cheap, considering their size and features), while higher end models can have a price tag of up to $1000, which usually come with extreme definition versions.
Acer B296CL (image from Amazon)
More popular screen sizes are now 21", 24", and 27" and there are even massive 30" to 50” LCD monitors available.
Many of these monitors come in HD format giving them excellent display clarity for viewing of Blueray discs, HD movie replay and gaming.
Higher end options are 4K or UHD wide screen monitors. Though 4K or UHD display is the latest buzz in computing world this year, it is making a slow entrance in the market. One reason is that the ultra-high definition can be very expensive. More and more affordable options are beginning to pop up in every corner though. The Asus PQ321Q is a 31.5 inch monitor, and one of the few high-end monitors today that offer 4K advantage with its 3840x2160 resolution. However, the product is still in the pricey side of the spectrum, which many find impractical for common household use. Also, it still has its own share of shortcomings which doesn’t fully get the potential of a 4K monitor. For graphics and gaming however, it offers the finest details and quite easily one of the best choices out there for viewing angles, perfect for a home theater.
If 31 inch display is not big enough for you, then you can opt for the 50-inch version from Vizio and Polaroid.
The good news for this year is that, more companies are dropping the prices of their 4K monitors. As a matter of fact, prices for this high-end PC display now starts at around $700.
The number of horizontal pixels and vertical pixels in a display is referred as aspect ratio. The first waves of flat screen monitors are at 4:3 aspect ratio, which is more of a shape of a square. Newer models are now at 16:10 or 16:9 aspect ratio, and these are the wide screen monitors, which are more like rectangles.
Monitors can display single given resolution called as native resolution. This is the physical total number of horizontal and vertical pixels that make up the entire matrix of the monitor. Setting monitors lower than their standard resolution may cause extrapolation, or mixing multiple pixels together to make an image that fills the screen as if it’s a native resolution, and this can result to images look fuzzy.
Here are some common resolutions found in most LCD and LED computer monitors today:
Brightness and Contrast Ratio
Brightness is important, especially when working in a brightly lit room. Measurement for brightness is expressed at candelas per square meter or cd/m2. The higher the number you see at cd/m2, the better. Also, make sure you can manually control the brightness of monitor by adjusting the on-screen controls.
Contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest and darkest part of the on-screen display. However, because there are no universal standards for measuring this, it has become a marketing tool for monitor manufacturers. Most manufacturers will tell you the highest contrast ratio they can find on their screen, which makes it quite tricky for consumers. The rule of thumb here is to look for the static contrast ratio; typically for TN and IPS panel monitors, contrast ratio is rated at 1000:1. VA panel monitors on the other hand, are at usually around 3000:1, while the expensive ones are up to 5000:1.
Response Time, Refresh Rate and 3D Display
Response time refers to how quickly a flat panel display can respond to transitions in video images. If you’re a heavy gamer or if you’re planning to do a lot of media stuff or watch a lot of movies on your computer, then opt for options with better response time.
If you play a lot of games in your computer, then you definitely need to consider this refresh rate. Most monitors today has 60Hz refresh rate, which means it can only display 60 frames per second (FPS) as you play (even when your game is set at 100fps). Monitors with 120Hz, are widely considered to offer smoother gaming experience, allowing you to play games in 3D at 60Hz for each of your eyes. Check out our post for different refresh rates and why you need the right one for your computer.
For hardcore gamers looking to immerse themselves in the universe of the games they’re playing, 3D HDTV wide screen monitors are the best available options. This feature is common among newer models of monitors. However, to fully take advantage of monitors of this kind, you need to have a powerful system unit, from the latest and powerful video card and processor.
This is the latest buzz in the computer monitor world today, touch screen computer monitor can easily improve the functionality of your desktop computer and give it a high-tech feel. Just like in a smartphone or a tablet, a simple swish of a finger lets you move the screen, move from one app to another, navigate through pages, etc. You can also zoom in and out the page, text and image you’re looking at the display by simply closing or widening the distance between your index finger and thumb. This
This refers to the degree of the arc of the semi-circle whose center is perpendicular to the monitor. LCD and LED monitors are usually rated for the visible viewing angle, both in horizontal and vertical. Theoretically, monitors must be at 180 degree viewing angle, which means any angle in front of the screen is viewable. Higher viewing angle means better viewing experience, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to better image and display quality.
This is probably the most unheeded aspect upon choosing new computer monitors. People don’t usually think panel coating primarily because they think the available options don’t give them any choice. Display coating falls into two categories – anti-glare (matte) and glossy. Most monitors use the latter panel coating, as it tends to show more vibrant colors, especially in low light conditions. However, glossy coating struggles under bright light conditions, which causes reflections and glares.
Anti-glare or matte panel coating monitors are perfect for business-oriented uses; they don’t minimize reflections and glares, keeping the monitor viewable even under bright light condition, such as in offices with bright overhead fluorescent lighting.
A good way to know which type of wide screen monitor panel coating fits for you is understand the light condition where you want to position it.
Some high-end monitors come with extra features that can add overall functionality and appeal to the whole desktop, such as integrated speakers, USB ports, HDMI inputs for watching videos from a Blu-ray player or camcorder, so you can conveniently display photos and videos straight to the monitor from your camera or tablet docks for playing music straight to your monitor. Some monitors even come with a built-in TV tuner that allows the device to double as a TV.
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