Display Monitor Buying Guide

A monitor is an essential component to complete your computer. You would need a monitor to be able to start using your desktop. Even if you use laptop, having a good knowledge in monitor technology can be handy. After all, you could also add extra display to your laptop to increase productivity.

HP has a wide range of monitors to suit your needs and budget. Knowing the basics of monitor can help you find the right monitor to buy.

What to Consider Before Buying a Monitor

Before you purchase a new monitor for your PC, make sure you consider the following to avoid making some costly mistakes:

Monitors

1. Usage

General Use: For tasks like surfing the internet, checking emails and watching videos, you would do well with an average-sized (22”-24”) monitor. An IPS monitor with FHD resolution would be more than enough, and depending on your budget, you could find plenty of choices for an everyday monitor.

Work/Multimedia Use: For working professional, having an IPS display in great as it is less straining to the eyes when using it for hours. Creative producers would also appreciate the color accuracy from a large-sized (23” and up) IPS monitor.

Gaming Use: For heavy gaming purposes, high refresh rates and short response time should be the priorities to keep up with today’s games. Having a large screen (25” and up) is great, but pay attention for response time of 5ms and lower and refresh rate of at least 72Hz.

2. Screen Size

21” and below: Very affordable and good for basic day-to-day activities such as surfing the internet and using Microsoft Office applications.

22” to 26”: A common choice as it is great for both home entertainments and viewing office application. Depending on your needs, you can find plenty of monitors within in this range to suit your budget.

27” and above: Bigger viewing area is great for heavy gamers and creative professionals. These monitors are high quality and can be quite expensive, but you get the best bang for your buck.

3. Resolution

For screen size that is 20” and below, a HD resolution is sufficient as it is also affordable.

For larger screen size, a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) is usually excellent enough for both entertainment and professional purposes.

Ultra HD or 4K resolution is the best resolution currently available and it’s definitely a luxury to have.

4. Refresh Rate and Response Time

These are particularly important for gamers. Higher refresh rates equals better, smoother images, while low response time can prevent image tearing and motion blur.

If you are a heavy gamer, you’ll want a monitor with at least 72Hz. Most gaming monitors these days are designed up to 144Hz, paired with the lowest response time of 1ms.

5. Panel Type

TN panel is the fastest and great for gaming, but it can also be affordable due to the limited viewing angle.

IPS panel have superb colors and great viewing angle, but it can cost you a lot.

VA panel is less expensive but it offers the best contrast ratio and is perfect for general usage.

Know the Monitor Technology

Resolution

1. Resolution

Resolution is the number of horizontal and vertical pixels on a display screen. More pixels and higher resolution add up to an extremely rich, immersive experience.

  • HD has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels while FHD is 1080 x 1920 pixels and QHD is 2560 x 1440 pixels.
  • UHD/4K is a 3840 x 2160 resolution and 8 million pixels, roughly 5 million more pixels than QHD.
  • Compared to QHD, 4K display offers more details, less pixelation, and extra space to view more browser windows and documents at one time. The sharper images and fonts of UHD mean less eye strain and a more realistic depiction of images onscreen.
  • If you are in a budget, a monitor with 1920 x 1080 resolution will give you reasonable clarity, so long as it is under 24-inch wide. A monitor with 2560 x 1440 will offer a better visual and higher refresh rates, so it’s a great choice for those who enjoy gaming.
Panel Type

2. Panel Type

The type of panel used will determined how it performs and displays images. Each panel types have different benefits that work for different users.

  • TN (Twisted Nematic) panel offers high refresh rate and fast response time, making it the preferred choice for gaming. TN panels have lower contrast ratio and limited viewing angle, but it’s also affordable compared to other panel types.
  • VA (Vertical Alignment) panel have great visual and viewing angle but longer response time. It’s a good monitor for general entertainment usage and has a more flexible price option.
  • IPS (In-panel Switching) panel can be quite expensive but it will also offer you the best viewing angle and stunning, rich colors. It’s great for professionals and multimedia producers who desire true-to-color visual quality.
Contrast Ratio

3. Contrast Ratio

Contrast ratio works to differentiate between how much white and black will be on a monitor screen.

  • The contrast ratio is derived by the brightest luminance (white) divided by the darkest luminance (Black). For example, 400 cd/m² (nits) white, black = 0.4 cd/m² (nits), the contrast ratio is 1000:1.
  • Having a high contrast ratio is very beneficial to your eyesight. For example, a scene containing both bright and dark elements, a display can reproduce both elements correctly. That is, the dark areas will look suitably dark, while the bright areas will remain bright.
  • Displays with poor contrast ratios will give more of a "washed out" image due to less of a difference between dark and bright areas.
Pixel per Inch

4. Pixel per Inch (PPI)

Pixels per Inch (PPI) measures the pixel density of a screen, which can give you a good indication of the clarity and sharpness of the display.

  • PPI is calculated using the resolution and the diagonal size of the screen.
  • The pixels on a 27” UHD/4K display would be four times smaller (more Pixels per Inch) than the pixels on a 27” FHD display, leading to an image that is four times clearer.
Viewing Angle

5. Viewing Angle

The viewing angle of a display represents how far to the left or right, and how far down or up the content on the display can be observed without loss of image integrity.

  • In-Plane Switching (IPS) displays have an optimal viewing angle of up to 178 degrees horizontally and vertically, which allows the screen to be viewed comfortably from several positions.
Brightness

6. Brightness

Having decent brightness is essential if you are in a place with good lighting. These days, a good monitor would have brightness around 300-350 cd/m2.

  • Having decent brightness is essential if you are in a place with good lighting. These days, a good monitor would have brightness around 300-350 cd/m2.
Refresh Rate

7. Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is the number of times a display's image is repainted or refreshed per second.

  • The refresh rate is expressed in hertz so a refresh rate of 60 Hz means the image is refreshed 60 times in a second.
  • Faster refresh rate is very important for gaming applications, and “nice to have” for most other applications. The result is you will get smoother scrolling with no tails and faster response for games.
Response Time

8. Response Time

Response time is used to indicate how fast the monitor transition the images from one to the next.

  • Response time is measured in milliseconds (ms), with the shorter response time being an indication of good, fast monitor.
  • Short response time is especially great for fast-paced action gaming, as it will ensure the sharpest picture and prevent image ghosting.
Ambient Light Sensor

9. Ambient Light Sensor

Ambient light refers to the natural lighting already present in the environment.

  • Ambient light sensors will automatically detect lighting changes and automatically adjust the brightness of the notebook display for optimal viewing.
  • In low light environments, the ambient light sensor decreases brightness. Conversely, the LCD’s panel brightness is automatically increased in high brightness environments where light is more intense.
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