Today's trends for tomorrow's business
Choosing Your Next PC Monitor
March 1, 2019
5 step shopping guide
If you run a small- or mid-sized business, and you’re shopping for computer monitors, you’ve probably noticed the number of options is almost off the charts. It can be pretty confusing for even the most technically savvy amongst us, let alone average procurement officers looking for the best deal.
How, for example, do you know how many monitors you need per employee? Which displays offer the best resolution for the money? What’s the ideal way to connect them to your computers? Should cybersecurity be a factor in the buying decision?
All great questions that have probably occurred to you at some point. Right?
Here are the 5 most important things to consider when buying a business monitor:
1. Display size
The first thing to figure out is how large you need your monitor to be, relative to your space.
If you have a small office or small desk, you might not want 38-inch HP ultrawide monitors, for example. On the other hand, if you have a lot of space and a healthy budget, you don’t want to buy small, 21-inch displays either. For those working with large amounts of data or images, a larger monitor can greatly improve productivity and reduce scrolling needs.
You’ll also want to consider whether you want your employees (or you) to work from a single screen or dual screens. The dual screen option isn’t just for techies. For the average worker, jumping between various views on a single screen, or shifting a gaze between a screen and paperwork on the desk, can be huge time wasters.
In fact, Jon Peddie Research found using multiple screens can boost productivity more than 40 percent.
Incidentally, there are also options where you get that same multiple screen benefit using just one, super-wide curved monitor. More on that in a moment.
2. Screen resolution
The next important consideration in monitor purchases is your graphics display resolution.
For a long time, people almost immediately went for HD monitor, but that’s not as typical anymore. Today, the most common resolution is Full HD (FHD), which gives you 1920 x 1080 (or 1080p) resolution. This refers to how many pixels the monitor has in length x width format.
For the average worker, FHD is just fine for most tasks. But if you’re a resolution aficionado, you might upgrade to a 2K or 4K display for sharper images. An ultrawide 4K monitor, for instance, has four times the pixels of an HD monitor. Again, the type of work being performed can easily drive this decision if perfect clarity is a benefit.
First of all, don’t automatically dismiss ergonomics as some “nice-to-have” benefit for whiny employees.
Ergonomics matter to anyone who spends umpteen hours at their desks toiling away for the betterment of a company. And U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) studies show ergonomic-related disorders are the leading cause of pain, suffering, and disability in American workplaces, accounting for a third of all workers' compensation costs.
When evaluating monitors, recognize that one size does not fit all. You are probably going to want to purchase one with good height, tilt and swivel ranges. That way employees can set the display to their ideal viewing levels based on their individual heights and preferences.
The adjustable monitors will cost a bit more than fixed height monitors but could be well worth the investment to avoid employee injuries that could cost your business valuable productivity and money, should that employee sustain serious injury.
Remember: by law, employers must provide a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.
One of the biggest advances we’ve seen lately in display technology is the ability to connect computers and monitors using a minimal number of cables.
Today, we have displays where you’re able to connect from the USB Type-C port on your monitor to the Thunderbolt outlet on your notebook for video and data transfer. So, if your display has a USB hub - which means it has ports that allow you to plug-in other peripheral like a keyboard or mouse - then you’ve reduced the number of cables on your desk dramatically.
For an even cleaner look, HP® recently announced its first office monitor that doubles as a docking station for laptops with USB-C ports. The HP EliteDisplay E243d, a 23.8-inch monitor, comes with a privacy webcam and uses a single USB-C connection for video, data and power.
With this option, you have one cable providing electricity to the monitor which, in turn, delivers power to the laptop. Employees also never have to worry about forgetting their laptop’s AC adapter at home because it’s built into the monitor.
When most business owners think about aesthetics in displays, they often default to visualizing how the monitor will look on office desks. Will they be cool? Stylish? Easy on the eye? Fit in with the décor?
All those things are important, especially with so many image-conscious millennials coming into the workplace. But aesthetics can also be about productivity and efficiency.
For example, one of the big things that’s changed with monitors is that bezel size is shrinking. Bezels are those borders around the panels. The smaller they are, the more viewing area you have.
At HP, we’ve succeeded in getting the cost of displays down far enough that you can buy a three-sided borderless monitor for roughly the same price as those old, thicker bordered monitors. Why does that matter? Well, this allows you to more easily put two monitors together for a dual-monitor approach.
Speaking of which . . . remember we talked about using a single curved display instead of two monitors? This is where it gets really interesting. First of all, the benefits of a curved monitor are that it’s a little more immersive, and you typically don’t have to turn your head as much to view information or images. You can use your peripheral vision more.
The first monitors to be marketed as curved really weren’t that different from flat screens. But now we have 1800R and 1000R monitors available, and those curvature measurements are much more pronounced, giving you added visual real estate.
Now, if you want that single monitor, one way to go is the HP Z38c curved monitor, with its 37.5-inch diagonal curve. For what it might cost you to purchase two business monitors (they start at $1,199), this gives you one large screen, one seamless workspace, so you can see entire projects without distracting bezels in the center of dual displays. It also comes with 4K-wide, 3840x1600 resolution for incredibly sharp images.
By the way, no discussion of monitor aesthetics would be complete without mentioning security. Most mainstream business monitors now come with built-in webcams. The trouble is that hackers can access those things anytime they like to see what you’re doing or spy on the paperwork on your desk. As a result, many people put small pieces of masking tape over those digital peepholes, which looks awful.
That’s why some vendors have started embedding pop-up Full-HD webcams in many of their latest monitors. They pop up when you need them and disappear into the monitor body when you don’t.
So, there you have it. Five important considerations when evaluating business monitors. At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing what you need, what will look good in the office while improving productivity and what will keep you safe. Happy shopping!