Computer monitors are one of the most important parts of any computer. They’re responsible for all the visual interfacing between you and your computer, but they aren’t as simple as just choosing a monitor in the size that best suits your workspace. You’d be forgiven for not realizing that all computer monitors are not built equal, and there are stark differences between them. If you’re looking to buy a new monitor, there are four main things you want to look at. Let’s take a quick look at what these four things are when it comes to choosing a monitor.
The resolution of a computer monitor refers to the number of physical pixels the monitor has, counted both horizontally and vertically. We’ll often see these resolutions referred to by easy-to-remember names, like Full HD or 4K. For example, the most common monitors we see today have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 – 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high. This resolution is also called Full HD.
Essentially, it’s a measure of how clear and sharp the image will be on the screen. It’s as simple as the bigger the number, the better the resolution and the sharper the picture quality will be, no matter the size of the screen. The resolution you’ll want is dependent on what you’re using the screen for. For example, if you’re buying monitors for GIS Workstations PCs, you’ll likely want to opt for a 4K screen for the best image quality.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re able to connect your new screen to your computer or laptop, and that means making sure it has the right video signal connection. These days, the two prominent connection types are HDMI and DisplayPort, and both are capable of producing excellent video quality. Older computers use VGA or DVI display connections, so you’ll want to check what your computer has and check that your new monitor has it too.
There are adapters available to convert between almost all display connection types but, ideally, you’ll want to use the same connection throughout, so there’s no good reason to opt for a solution that needs an adapter.
Computer monitors, since the days of the big and cumbersome CRT monitors of old, have usually been 60Hz. That means that the image on the screen refreshes 60 times a second. Up until recently, this was the standard and it rarely went higher. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the image being displayed on the screen becomes. In the last decade, the refresh rate of computer screens has been increasing. Those serious about video games, graphics work, 3D modeling, and video production, more often than not, opt for these higher refresh rate screens. It’s not uncommon to see high-end computer monitors with refresh rates of 144 or even 240Hz.
Now that you know how to interpret the specifications of a computer monitor, the next time you go to buy one, you’ll choose one that is perfectly suited for your needs with no trouble at all.