Monitor shopping in 2021

With the advent of technology, the workspace has contracted to a book size flip-able, rotatable and detachable laptops and pro-books or a good old personalized desktop setup, bearing in mind how much time office workers spend in front of a screen, selecting the right computer monitor impacts productivity, work efficiency and overall performance of the enterprise if we break it down to the nitty gritty.

Memoryclearance, in this buying guide discusses the important specifications and latest trends of display arrays available in the market so you know which monitor best fits your needs. Below we’ll match business monitors to fit the type of work you and your users do. Any time you buy a computer monitor first ask, what’s the use? The answer to that question determines most specifications and makes buying a computer monitor much more straightforward.

Breakdown of PC monitor specs

Screen Resolution is a measurement of its display area in pixels, given in (width × height-pixels). These resolutions will often be referred to in shorthand, showing the numeric value of the height. 1080p, 1440p, or 4K. The majority of computer displays have 1080p resolutions, with 1440p 4K gaining mainstream adoption. Other not as common resolutions include 2560 × 1440 (1440p or 2k) and 1600 × 900. You can also find displays with 5K resolutions, but there are only a few models available at this time.

Contrast Ratio is the difference in light intensity between the brightest color (white) and darkest (black). You want a high contrast ratio for a more brilliant image. Computer monitors often have two separate contrast ratio measurements: active / dynamic contrast ratio and static contrast ratio. Active / dynamic contrast ratio measures the brightest and darkest colors over a period of time, while static measures them at a single point in time. Pay more attention to the static contrast ratio.

Manufacturers may have different testing methodologies for active / dynamic contrast ratio. Using it as a comparison metric may yield inconsistent results.

Response Time refers to how LCD monitors constantly refresh the displayed image, but it isn’t always smooth process. When there is a lot of action happening on screen, the panel may not update quite fast enough to keep up with how the eye perceives motion. This results in a slightly blurry image. Response time measures how quickly it takes a monitor to update from one frame to the next. A lower response time means much less blur while a high response time means more blur.

For movies and gaming, a low response time is better, while for production work with static images it doesn’t really matter.

Refresh Rates refer to the amount of times per second the monitor will update the image. You’ve probably seen the terms 120 Hz or 240 Hz when shopping for TVs and monitors—those are refresh rates. 120 Hz means that the display refreshes the image 120 times per second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the movements and actions appear on screen.

Viewing angle refers to the maximum angle you can view the monitor at for the image to still be color accurate. The angle is measured from one side to the other and viewing the monitor straight on is 0 degrees. So, a monitor with a 160-degree viewing angle has acceptable color accuracy when viewed 80 degrees off-center.

Ergonomic Stand Adjustment

Professional-grade monitors tend to have more monitor stand adjustments than consumer variants. These additional adjustments include height, tilt, swivel, and pivot. Ergonomic customizability is the foremost trend in the business PC monitor conversation.

Ultrawide Screens: a better dual monitor alternative?

An ultrawide monitor delivers all the benefits of a dual monitor setup—without gaps and bezels getting in the way. Manufacturers gear ultrawide 21:9 monitors toward gamers and movie buffs, but creative professionals find them useful as well. The advantage of 21:9 is that you have more screen real estate when tiling two windows side by side. On a single 16:9 monitor this might feel too narrow. Another advantage is that you only connect one cable to your PC graphics card, meaning you have free video outputs for even more screen space if desired.

Panel Technologies – TN, IPS, VA, OLED

When LCDs were comparatively new and people were hesitant to try them out after being programmed to think of a hunchback design display array as the go-to design and preferred equipment of choice, slowly and steadily the LCDs started making their place after letting the consumer base aware of the tremendous benefits it bore, from cost saving to it being better suited to protect one’s eye sight with better and crispier picture display.

Twisted Nematic (TN) – TN (Twisted Nemcatic) provides very fast response times but poor color accuracy and viewing angles, it is a general go-to option and the most common among TFT displays. It is popular choice of display technology for gaming monitors.

Vertical Alignment (VA) – Vertical Alignment panels (VA) are found in higher-grade monitors and usually have better contrast ratios, viewing angles, and color accuracy compared to the twisted nematic variant but they do tend to suffer from slower response rates when compared to a TN.

In-plane Switching (IPS) – In-plane switching (IPS) displays have even better color accuracy and viewing angles than VA and TN panels making the result sharper and more vibrant. IPS displays have slower response times than TN screens. 

Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) – The latest and greatest in visual display technology, Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays comprise of thousands of individually-lit pixels for blacker blacks and truer color integrity compared to LED-backlit displays making it the current benchmark for display superiority. 

Curved screens improve wide viewing angles

A curved LCD screen improves viewing angles and offers a more immersive experience. You’ll notice the sides of the screen appear clearer due to a reduction in parallax distortion. They tend to be priced 25-33 percent higher than comparable flat screen models.

Adaptive Sync enhancements prevent screen tearing

FreeSync and G-Sync graphics enhancements from AMD and NVIDIA drove the release of new monitors to support the technology. For enthusiasts, adaptive sync technology eliminates screen tearing, which is a visual artifact that occurs when a monitor displays multiple frames at once. The end visual result is that a vertical line running down the screen may appear to be segmented or broken up. Screen tearing occurs when the number of frames sent to the display from the computer doesn’t match the display’s refresh rate. G-SYNC and FreeSync ensure a monitor’s refresh rate matches the frames sent to the display.

Understanding benchmarks on monitor review sites

Monitor benchmarks typically focus on backlight levels, contrast ratio, color gamut, viewing angles, uniformity, pixel response time, and input lag. Methodologies may vary depending on the review site, so it is best to compare monitor benchmarks from the same source.

How do manufacturers measure monitor display size?

Manufacturers describe the display size of computer monitors according to the distance from corner to corner of the screen.

Monitors for editing photo and video

A larger monitor (25- or 27-inch) is recommended for visual production and a higher resolution QHD (2560 x 1440-pixel @ 16:9 aspect ratio) is advantageous when deciding on getting one for a better visual experience and understanding of minor details and finer aspects of your creation. IPS panels are highly recommended along with the OLED variants delivering optimum levels of performance, delivering superior color matching compared to less expensive TN monitors. Should be compatible with hardware calibrators like X-rite, Display Pro, and Datacolor Spyder if designers use them.

Healthcare-specific monitors

For healthcare, you should know what constitutes a medical monitor. Doctors use high color accuracy monitors (1 billion+) for medical diagnostics. Not every monitor in a medical facility needs to medical grade; standard office monitors suffice in a non-diagnostic capacity.

Computer monitors and total cost of ownership

Eco-friendly or green features usually means the monitor has an automatic power saving mode setting. A company will realize real energy savings in large deployments; on a grander scale we’ve started to see a measurable carbon footprint reduction.

Remote management over monitor settings: NEC ControlSync Allows remote management of up to 25 NEC EX Series monitors. A ControlSync cable is required:


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