Buying a Monitor for Your PC
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Buying a Monitor for Your PC

What you need to know when buying a monitor for your computer

Now-a-days, all new PC monitors are LCDs (flat panel) so we'll assume you are shopping for an LCD monitor. Image quality is the most important feature of a monitor. In many cases, it is a matter of opinion. What looks good to one person might not look as good to another person. To help, here are some of the most important specifications you should review when shopping for a monitor to suit your needs.

ASPECT RATIO. Decide what aspect ratio you would like your monitor to have. This will be either 4:3 (standard) or 16:9 (wide screen - as you would find on an HDTV). Most people prefer wide screen.

CONTRAST RATIO. Make sure the contrast ratio is acceptable. Contrast ratio is the difference in light intensity between the brightest color (white) and the darkest color (Black). The higher the contrast ratio, the better. Be aware that no industry-standard measurement exists so different manufacturers use different methods to measure contrast ratio and their results may not be as accurate as desired.

RESPONSE RATE. Make sure the response rate is acceptable to you. The response rate is the amount of time required for a LCD pixel to change from black to white, and then back to black again. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). The response time indicates how quickly the screen can refresh a video image. The lower the milliseconds (the faster the refresh), the better the monitor. If you use graphic-intensive applications (example: video games) or watch videos, you will want a quick response rate.

RESOLUTION: The display's resolution typically refers to the number of distinct pixels, in each dimension, that can be displayed. Make sure you are comfortable with an LCD's native resolution before you buy it. The higher the resolution, the better. An LCD that scales its image to a non-native resolution will never look as good.

HDMI: If you're planning to use your monitor as a television or to connect it to a hi-definition gaming system, it would be best if the monitor had an HDMI connection for ease of connectivity.

LUMINANCE: Luminance is a measurement that tells us the brightness of the display. A typical computer display emits between 100 and 350 cd/m2. The higher the cd/m2 number, the brighter the display. This may be important to you depending on the lighting in the area you will putting the monitor.

VIEWING ANGLE: This is the maximum angle at which a display can be viewed and look acceptable visually. The viewing angle is measured from one direction to the opposite, giving a maximum of 180 degrees. Be aware that different manufacturers use different methods to measure viewing angle their results may not be as accurate as desired. Be sure the viewing angle is acceptable to you. The best way to judge horizontal viewing angle is to see the monitor for yourself.

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Comments (1)

Very good review and tips. I just had my Philips monitor and it's great.