Best Guide to Choosing the Perfect Monitor…Page 4
This one is pretty simple, get the product with the right connector (or set of connections) you want to use. If your computer has a video card output in DVI, then choose a monitor with a DVI port. Though you can always use an adapter, it will be the more convenient choice.
Considered as the successor to DVI and HDMI, DisplayPort supports higher-bandwidth connection, which facilitates thinner and lighter monitors, so they will no longer need special circuitry and hardware tweaks to receive and display video signals. It was in 2013 that we noticed a significant improvement of this format. This interface is used to connect a video source to a display device (monitor), and can be used to carry audio data, USB and different forms of data. Brands like Asus, Dell, HP and Samsung are really looking into this interface, and adding it to their new models.
Newer computer display models of today replace DVI for HDMI. If your preferred monitor has this feature, then make sure the monitor comes with a DVI-to-HDMI cable, or that your video card can support HDMI connection. With that said, it is recommended to get a monitor with at least one DVI connection.
Used to connect monitor to a high-definition source such as video game systems, Blu-ray player or DVR-based HD cable/satellite set-top box, HDMI ports are becoming more common these days. It’s quite rare for monitors of 22-inch size and larger to not have this port. If you want to use your computer monitor for entertainment, such as a TV, watch Blu-ray movies, play your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 video games with it, etc., then you should look for this connector.
Note that sometimes, some graphics cards have restrictions for certain types of ports, such as only being able to power dual monitors through DisplayPort connectors. Thus, do your homework and research for the things you will need to connect and use with your computer.
Few More Tips to Get the Display You Want
These factors can affect your computing experience in so many ways, and if you’re a regular computer use who use your PC on a daily basis for specific use, then you should have a good idea how these factors work.
Viewing Angle Performance
Though this can’t be a big deal for users who will just sit in front of their computer and work all day, good viewing angle performance can be a helpful factor for users who want to use their display for entertainment, such as watching TV shows and movies, playing games, etc. To check the viewing angle of the display, look at the monitor from different angles, top and bottom, left and right. Pay attention on how the colors shift or if the screen darkens, until you can’t make sense of what’s being shown on the screen. Know at which angle the screen starts to look different.
A good monitor will not change in color and brightness when viewed from off angle, either from top or bottom, and side. The best viewing angle is at 178° vertically and horizontally. Monitors with TN-based panels are the most egregious offenders in this aspect.
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Also, thin border makes way for better viewing angle and dual monitor or multiple monitor setups.
Color Accuracy Performance
(image from Amazon)
Color accuracy can be tricky. Just because the screen is able to display vibrant images through sample photos doesn’t mean it has good color accuracy. To check the color accuracy of the monitor, view digital photos you’re really familiar with, it can be your loved ones, kids, colleagues or anyone you see on a daily basis, on your monitor. Notice how the same or different the colors in the picture are.
Visit website that offer text legibility and readability for monitors. Online tools like DisplayMate Scaled Font test, shows great results for anyone looking for a business monitor. Firefox even lets you change the font size through the options menu. Also, note that color tinting issues on viewing black texts on a white background can cause legibility problems as well. Most monitors come include details of test results in their Product Details and/or specs. You can also check online reviews for their text legibility and readability performance.
Low Black Level
The close the monitor can display black, the better. True black can be really elusive, as the most you can hope for a monitor is to show very dark gray. Notice how the monitor is able to show dark scenes in movies. Those that don’t lose the details of the scene are the winners of this aspect.
Stand and Ergonomics
Each monitor, including different models of different brands, seems to have its own signature stand and adjustability features. Some products come with solidly built stands, keeping the monitor screen stable and secured. Some however, feels flimsy and wobbles easily. Some stands allow the screen to tilt up and down, swivel side to side, and adjust in height. While others even allow pivot 90° adjustments to let the screen change orientation (landscape to portrait mode and vice versa) to fit specific tasks.
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One of the better monitors with highly adjustable stand in the market today is Asus PG278Q. A gaming monitor with a stand is more than just an attractive stand, as it is fully adjustable for all your ergonomic needs. It is height adjustable, can tilt up or down, swivel, and support pivot for landscape and portrait mode. Though pivot is less desirable like in most TN displays, because of standard viewing angle limitation, the feature is there for you to use anytime you want.
Though stand adjustability may not be considered as the most important aspect of choosing new monitors, they are very important factors, especially for people who work in front of their computer for extended period of time, on a daily basis. Adjustability provides workstation flexibility and ergonomics, which are crucial for comfortable working environment. Most often than not, well-built monitors comes with solid stand with full ergonomic features to tweak to your liking. More and more monitors today also come with VESA Standard mounting holes to allow the use of third party ergonomic solutions, such as LCD monitor stands, desk mounts and wall mounts. Some third party solutions are designed for specific setups, such as standalone work desks, desks with treadmills, or dual monitor and multiple monitor setups.
Check out our entry at Ergonomics.
And Everything Else
The things mentioned above are the most important aspects and specifications you need to consider to find the perfect monitor that fits your needs. But it doesn’t end there. More and more manufacturers release monitors with extra features to put their product ahead of its competition. Some of these features include:
USB ports are becoming more common these days, as more and more manufacturers include this feature as a convenient treat for the consumers. It’s very useful feature to have, and it’s definitely wise to have this feature if you work a lot of documents and files in your computer, as plugging your flash drive or external hard drive can be really easy. Also, many models come with USB 3.0 ports, which perform better than its USB 2.0 predecessor in a whole lot of ways. It transfers data faster, and charges various gadgets faster, particularly useful for smartphones, tablets, etc.
Built-in Speakers and Audio I/O Ports
More and more monitors today also come with built-in speakers. Again, they are included for user’s convenience. Most of these built-in speakers are 2-watt speakers, which are decently loud, but sound tinny and don’t have good bass. They are however, good enough for most types of use, especially when you’re just going to watch and stream online videos or listen to music as you work. They are really convenient to have, reduces clutter and saves you good amount of space on your desk.
Some models however, come with really nice set of speakers that you can use for entertainment purposes, either watching HD movies or playing games.
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The AOC i2473PWM takes pride on its thin razor concept and excellent IPS panel, but its biggest selling point is the two (2) Onkyo 7-watt speakers housed on a Onkyo certified logo for improved sound quality experience.
Some monitors skip the built-in speakers and include audio I/O ports instead. Like the USB ports, it is there for convenience. Users can easily plug in their headphones to use, taking away the hassle of stretching beneath your desk and plugging the headphone to the tower computer.
Though not really a popular extra, more business monitors today come with webcams. It’s not everybody’s tool, but it’s particularly useful for people who do a lot of video conferencing and business meetings online.
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Dell UltraSharp UZ2715H’s biggest upside is its ability to let you multitask and get productive at work more efficiently. Though not fantastic, the built-in 2MP webcam (located in the upper bezel) performs well. There are some noises when used in a well-lit room and lacking of color and details. The built-in dual microphone (located at the bottom bezel) also does the job quite well; it eliminates echo and doesn’t cause feedback when used alongside with the speakers.
(image from Amazon)
The things inside your computer will affect your monitor’s performance in a profound way. This means having an adequate graphics card to pair with your new monitor is really important. If you’re going to hook up a new monitor to a 5-year old PC, then your graphics card will need an update to be able support the monitor and provide the best image quality possible.
You need a graphics card that supports your interface, whether it’s DVI or HDMI, and it should be able to support your monitor’s resolution, a very important aspect on 27-inch monitors with 2560×1440 pixel resolutions. Sometimes, updating and improving the performance of your graphics card can be as easy as installing a driver upgrade from the manufacturer’s site.
For more about computer displays, workstation setups and ergonomic tips, check out Dual Monitors Guide.