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How to Buy an LCD Monitor
The monitor you are using right now probably came bundled with your desktop PC, or maybe you bought it back when 1,240 by 1,024 was considered high resolution. Since you spend a huge part of everyday looking at it, however, it pays to be picky when picking a LCD monitor. Price ranges vary widely, as do the quality of the panels. So how can you make an informed choice? Well, that’s where we come in. We will walk you through the latest trends in the display market, as well as the specific features to look for when buying an LCD monitor.
Regardless of what kind of monitor you’re in the market for, there are some general factors to consider:
Price: Monitor prices depend on the type, size, and features of the display. For example, the Viewsonic VA2251m-TAA
and the Asus VS229H-P are no-frills models that use a 22-inch panel and cost around $160-$180. Budget monitors usually lack niceties such as USB ports and a height-adjustable stand, but they do use LED backlighting, require very little power, and are very bright. Performance is adequate for most entertainment purposes or for viewing business and productivity apps, but not well suited for tasks where color and grayscale accuracy are key. At the other end of the spectrum are your high-end models that are geared towards graphics professionals and photographers. Models such as the Dell UltraSharp U3014 use huge 30-inch screens with IPS panel technology and offer features such as a highly adjustable stand, USB ports, and a wealth of advanced image settings. Expect to pay over $1,500 and up for a fully loaded, high performance monitor. Bottom line: Be prepared to pay for extras but don’t overspend on features you will never use.
Size: LCD monitors generally run anywhere from 15 inches up to 30 inches. The size of the panel is measured diagonally. While it’s always nice to have a big viewing area, it may not be practical given desktop space constraints. Plus, the bigger the screen the more you can expect to pay. Monitors like the Asus MX239H and AOC i2367fh are popular as they offer enough screen real estate to view multipage documents or watch movies without taking up too much room. Still, there’s nothing like watching a movie or playing a game on a large screen, so if you have room on your desktop, a 27-inch monitor such as the HP Pavilion 27xi or the Samsung S27B750V deliver a big screen experience for a reasonable price.
Pixel Response Rate: Measured in milliseconds, the time it takes for a pixel to change from black to white (b-w) or to transition from one shade of gray to another shade of gray (g-g). The faster the pixel response rate, the better the monitor is at displaying video without displaying artifacts such as ghosting or blurring of moving images. Monitors with a fast 2-millisecond (gray to gray) pixel response, such as the BenQ XL2420T
,are very good for gaming, but even those monitors with a higher pixel response, including the Dell S2740L
By John R. Delaney, PCMag