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Our editors rate and review products objectively based on the features offered to consumers, the price and delivery options, how a product compares with other products in its category, and other factors.
The ratings are based on the expert opinion of our editors and on underlying technology that analyzes decisions made by similar users to provide individual, targeted recommendations to each person who visits our site.
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Computer Monitor Shopping Guide
The monitor is one of the most important parts of your computer setup. Without a good display, your PC experience will seem lacking, no matter if you are playing games, browsing the web, watching videos, or reading the latest news.
If you are not technically inclined, then hunting for computer monitors can be intimidating. All the technical terminology and acronyms seem inscrutable at first and make it harder to choose. There are also a lot of monitors out there and sheer overflow in the market is another obstacle to making a decision.
When it comes to computer monitors, bigger is usually better. You will probably never regret buying a monitor that is too big but you may regret buying one that is too small. A good place to start is a 27” flat screen monitor that can at least pull off HD resolution.
Keep in mind that computer monitors, like TVs, are measured based on the diagonal. So a 27” monitor is 27” across the diagonal, not length or width. We would not recommend going lower than a 24” monitor. Any smaller than that and you might have visibility problems.
The resolution of a monitor is basically how many pixels each picture on the screen has. The higher the resolution, the more pixels and the more detailed pictures look. By itself, the resolution does not mean much but when you combine it with the size, that gives the monitor a sharper look. There is also the aspect ratio, which basically tells you how much the image deviates from a perfect square (a 1:1 ratio).
Most monitors nowadays are capable of at least 1080x1920 16:9 resolution, otherwise known as HD. 4K monitors are more common and have a resolution of 3840x2160. If you can swing it, 4K is better and quite a sight to behold, but otherwise, try to get something that at least has 1080p resolution.
One more thing: Your fancy 4K monitor won’t be very good if you do not have a graphics card that can use it to its full potential. Your computer needs to be powerful enough to take full advantage of your monitor's 4K resolution.
The refresh rate refers to how often the image on your screen is refreshed. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the animations on the screen are going to be. In general, the standard refresh rate for monitors is 60Hz, which means the image recycles itself 60 times per second. Some monitors have higher refresh rates up to 144Hz, 240Hz, and higher.
If you just need a monitor for daily purposes then you do not need a very high refresh rate. However, if you plan on gaming a lot on your monitor or editing video then you will probably want something with a high refresh rate.
The response rate determines how quickly your computer transitions between images. The faster the response rate, the lower the time between when you take an action and when you see the result on your screen. If you plan on gaming or other similar activities, then a high response rate is a good idea. If you just want a monitor for regular use, then you do not have to worry too much about the response rate.
LCD vs LED Monitors
LCD monitors contain a layer of liquid between the panels of the screen. LCD monitors use cathode fluorescent lamps to produce the images you see on the screen. LCD monitors are a bit older tech and only have a rated lifespan of about 30,000 hours.
LED monitors also have a liquid in between the panels of the screen, though instead of cathode fluorescent lamps, these monitors use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to produce the image. LEDs are much more efficient and have a longer lifespan than LCD lamps. LED monitors typically are rated for 50,000 hours of usage.
LCD screens are decent, but in general, LEDs are better in pretty much every category. They can produce more vibrant colors, last longer, and have a higher dynamic contrast ratio. LED monitors also tend to be slimmer and weigh less than LCD monitors.
The viewing angle basically means how far to the side you can move before you stop seeing the screen. Unless you plan on lounging and watching movies on your monitor, the viewing angle is not that big of a deal. Most monitors have a viewing angle above 120 degrees. If you are going to watch lots of movies on your monitor we’d recommend one with at least a 170-degree viewing angle.
Trusting Our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you find the computer monitor that's right for you.
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We leverage user data to understand decision-making and put the best products in front of each user. We tailor our comparisons to what matters to our user's needs, specific or broad. We keep our content up to date, we are constantly looking for new merchants and products to compare, and we are quick to remove any that are outdated or no longer meeting our standards. Our rankings change day-to-day based on our proprietary algorithms, that crunch data to identify top-performing products and tailor recommendations to exactly what our readers are looking for.
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