Monitor buying guide
Screen size: The size of the screen is usually a matter of taste. A large screen makes it easier to watch films and for you to work with graphics, but also requires a high resolution to provide great sharpness. Bear in mind that the screen should fit the space where it is supposed to stand. It’s better to choose a bigger screen than you first imagined than to get a smaller one.
Panel Type: There are several different panel types and variants. Here are three common panel types used in computer monitors:
- TN panels: These screens generally have the poorest image quality, but they are very fast with short response times. It makes them good for those who play games a lot. They are often cheaper to buy than technically equivalent displays with VA or IPS panels. TN panels have limited colour rendering and narrower viewing angles.
- VA panels: These have a slower response time than TN panels, but have a higher image quality with better colours and wider viewing angles. Both contrasts and blacks are noticeably better, which means that darker parts in games do not feel as grey as those with TN panels. VA panels works equally as well for games as for computer graphics work.
- IPS panels: These have the best colours and a high contrast reproduction. A good choice when working with graphics, or watching films where a high image quality is required. Has a comparatively high response time that makes IPS panels a little less optimal than both TN and VA panels for gaming.
Resolution: The higher the screen resolution, the more pixels can be displayed on the screen. Generally, higher resolutions are better than low resolutions as the amount of detail increases as well as the overall image quality. It's especially important in films, games and when looking at photos.
The higher resolution the screen has, the more the load there will be on the computer to display something on the screen. When using 4K resolution (3 840 x 2 160 pixels), four times as many pixels are shown compared to full-HD (1 920 x 1 080 pixels).It is primarily gaming and watching high definition films that places a higher demand on the computer.
Refresh rate: Refresh rate specifies how many frames per second the screen can display. The higher the frequency, the more frames per second, and the sharper the image feels. Usually, monitors can handle at least 60 hertz, but there are faster models that can handle 144 hertz or 240 hertz.
Nvidia G-sync / AMD Freesync: Nvidia G-sync and AMD Freesync are technologies for synchronising the update frequency between monitor and graphics card. If you are gaming and the computer’s graphics card can display 50 frames per second, the screen matches that frequency. When the frame rate changes, the screen automatically adjusts accordingly.
This reduces the risk of so-called "screen tearing" which makes the image appear to be in two-parts. This happens when the screen and graphics card do not use the same refresh rate, and the image is not displayed correctly.
Bear in mind that Nvidia G-sync and AMD Freesync do not work together. The graphics card and screen must support the same technology if it is to work properly. If you already have a graphics card that supports Nvidia G-sync, you should choose a screen that also supports G-Sync.
HDR: Screens that support HDR, short for High Dynamic Range, can display a wider range of colours and contrasts, and the image becomes brighter. HDR is a technology that does not increase the load on the computer, like 4K resolution.
HDR is a collective name for multiple technologies. HDR10 and Dolby Vision are two competing technologies where the latter is better in quality. However, both are preferable to not having HDR support at all. Monitors for computers use primarily HDR10 or variants of that name.
Connections: When the monitor is connected to the computer, it is mainly via HDMI or a display port. Many manufacturers ship with a cable for the connection that is considered to work best with the monitor. Check your computer’s ports for compatibility before selecting the monitor model. Avoid using VGA and DVI that are older, poorer connections compared to HDMI and displayport.
Height adjustment: A screen that can be raised and lowered is easier to set for your height. This allows you to work more comfortably and you won’t need to use a stack of books to raise the screen to the right height. Some models have a pivot function and can be rotated 90 degrees to standing and tilted both forwards and backwards. If you want to mount the screen on a stand or on the wall, a VESA bracket is required on the back. Remember to match the size of the bracket with the position and not to exceed the weight limitation.