Buying A Computer Monitor (Early 2021)
Computer monitors (also referred to as screens or displays) can have a huge impact on your experience and productivity. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current monitors or add an extra monitor to your laptop, this guide is for you.
There are several factors should be considered for type of monitor you want, these are:
This determines what kind of cables can be connected. Your computer will support certain outputs, most commonly, HDMI and DisplayPort.
Most screens will support more than one output but you need to be certain your device can connect to the screen. There are adapters you can buy but these are best avoided unless required.
The most visually obvious difference between screens. Generally for modern screens we recommend going no smaller than 23″. Any smaller and the costs don’t really reduce much. For business or high productivity users we recommend 27″.
Resolution represents the amount of detail on the screen, this is represented in pixels, which are individual “dots” of light. The more pixels the sharper the image. There is also a relationship between the resolution and the size. a small screen with lots of pixels will look sharper than a large screen with the same amount of pixels, so often this needs to be considered with the size of the screen.
Below are common monitor resolutions and names, you may come across some that fit in between but the below are the most common you will see on new monitors. We do not recommend dropping below Full HD on any new monitor you purchase.
|Resolution (Width X Height)||Common Names|
|1920 × 1080||1080p / FHD / Full-HD|
|2560 x 1440||1440p/ QHD / Quad-HD|
|3840 x 2160||2160p / UHD / Ultra-HD/ 4K|
1440P/QHD is generally the best balance of futureproofing, cost and compatibility. While 4K is better, not all laptops or PCs have the performance to run these screen and it’s best used on screens larger than 32″.
Not all screens are equal when it comes to colour. If you’re not working in a graphic design field this is not as important as resolution. Generally though, “IPS” screens will have better viewing angles and more vivid colours than their non-IPS counterparts. If you plan to do graphic design you may want to also consider the monitors Color Gamut, this is what range of colours it can show. This will normally be representing as a percentage of a specific color gamut standard such as 70% NTSC or 99% Adobe RGB, etc. These can be compared between monitors to get an idea of which has better colour accuracy.
The adjustability and height of the monitor stand can be important, to freeing up desk space and having an ergonomic setup. Some stands also support rotating the screen vertically which can be great for reviewing documents. Make note of how large the base is as this will take up desk space. If the monitor is “VESA” mount compatible you can always buy a better monitor stand/arm later and save money now. If you plan to use two screen, a monitor arm attached to your desk can make your desk look cleaner and means you don’t need to buy a monitor with a height adjustable stand.
Brand / Warranty
While the difference between brands has become less obvious with years, it can often dictate quality control and warranty guarantees.
For businesses we strongly recommend buying business grade screens from Dell or HP as they often come with really good warranties.
We recommend 27″ 1440p(QHD) screens with a height adjustable stands for business and home users alike.
For desktop users or those with laptops that support connecting two screens, we recommend getting two.
Laptop users may also prefer to buy one screen and use their laptops built in screen at the same time.
For those on a budget a 23″ 1080p monitor with a static stand can work well, and you can always prop the monitor up on a stack of books. Monitors are normally are in use for over 5 years so if it’s not too much more to get a 1440p screen, we strongly recommend considering it.