Displays buying advice

By Rosemary Hattersley, PC Advisor (UK) |  Hardware, display, peripherals

There's one additional connection type to consider. In three or four years' time DisplayPort will replace DVI and is already offered by a range of manufacturers including Apple, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung. Note that you may need an adapter to connect a screen to a laptop that uses Mini DisplayPort.

DisplayPort should not be confused with DisplayLink - a type of connector that allows multiple displays to be connected to laptops, projectors and PCs that support the technology. Both physical connections and wireless ones (Wireless USB) are possible here.Finally, some monitors have built-in speakers. These are rarely any good, so you shouldn't really choose your flatpanel screen based on it having its own audio setup. Instead, pay £30 or £40 for a good set of desktop speakers that plugs in to the PC or laptop you're using, or directly into the monitor.

Flatpanel monitors are nowhere near as heavy as the bulging cathode ray tube screens of the 1980s and 1990s. Even the heaviest 24in screens weigh no more than about 7kg. As well as being more practical to move about, if needs be, they take up far less desk space than older CRTs. Better yet, they require much less energy to power. Monitors used to be one of the biggest electricity-hungry items in the average office.

EnergyStar compliance is mandatory and means no flatpanel screen is allowed to draw more than 3 Watts of power in standby mode. Even in active use the screen should require around 20 to 30 Watts at most. The figure varies depending on what you're using the screen for, so screen manufacturers usually provide a range describing how much the display will require in 'average' use.

It's important to factor in the placement of your new monitor and how well it will fit into your office or home office setup. There's no point buying a vast display that has to be placed at a skewed angle in order to fit in the available space. You won't get the full benefit of its visual effects, making it a waste of money.

Let's consider the physical attributes. A very large screen takes up a commensurately large amount of space. A 24in widescreen display will be housed in a casing of perhaps 26in or 27in. Screen sizes are measured across the diagonal, rather than along their width, so your 24in flatpanel screen will be approximately 20in wide. Ideally, it will come with a height-adjustable stand, but you need to check you've a sufficiently wide desk to place it on (and still have room for a phone, keyboard and mouse and any paperwork you need to hand). If you're buying a screen that swivels from landscape to portrait, you need to factor in the space for it to perform this 'sweep' too.


Originally published on PC Advisor (UK) |  Click here to read the original story.
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