March 28, 2011, 12:43 PM — Here's how to select the correct display for your needs.
If you're looking for a flatscreen monitor, you may well have an ideal screen size in mind. You'll probably be after the largest screen you can afford. While you may end up with just that, you also need to consider the screen's brightness and how well it distinguishes between different colours and how quickly onscreen information is updated. This last factor determines how smooth action appears, though the graphics card in the PC or laptop also has its part to play here.
Here, we'll cover the criteria you need to consider when choosing a new flatpanel display. Where possible, we suggest you go and take a look at your shortlisted screens set up in store. Specifications don't tell the whole story and looks and design are important factors.
Size is important, but some screen sizes are better value than others. Most notably, you'll find it cheaper to choose a widescreen display with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16:10 than a more traditional 4:3 screen. Monitor glass is cut from enormous sheets and the market at the moment is for widescreen displays that emulate the dimensions of a movie screen. Other shaped screens are therefore seen as special cases and lack of demand means they tend to be more expensive.
For general entertainment purposes, a widescreen or 'letterbox' display for watching high-definition films and playing games is likely to be just what you're after. Another point in the widescreen monitor's favour is that it lends itself to having more than one window on show at once, so you could have your web browser or email inbox open in one area of the screen and a document you're working on active in another part of the screen. This saves you having to flit between active windows all the time.
A 22in monitor is the current sweet spot for widescreen monitors attached to PCs. They offer a generous-sized screen but aren't so large they completely dominate the desk. Not all 22in flatscreen monitors offer the same viewable area, however. Some manufacturers include the bezel or 'cabinet' in which the screen is housed in their description of the screen size. More importantly, the resolutions supported by apparently same-size screens varies.
See all: 19 - 24-inch LCDs reviews
See all: 25-inch and bigger LCDs reviews