Ultimate Monitor Guide

Monitor guide

There are several things to consider in buying the components to build and complete your PC. It should all match to avoid the occurrence of a bottleneck. It is not that easy although there’s an array of options online, like choosing your monitor for instance. Think about the kind of monitor that you really need for your work, gaming or for general use and this means that you have to take a closer look at the specs that are fitting for you. Also, your budget is a very important thing to consider. There may be cheap ones but there’s a question of quality. There may also be expensive ones but is it worth the price that you’re gonna pay? So be wise and think twice before you purchase.

First, determine the purpose of buying a monitor. Then, start looking at the specs of the monitor that you want to buy. Here’s a list that we made that you might want to consider:

All About the Resolution

Monitor Resolutions

Put in mind that the higher the resolution, the better the  picture. A monitor’s resolution is the length x width in pixels. When you see references to 1080p or 1440p, it’s referring to the vertical resolution.

1080p/FHD/ HD is the minimum standard or the baseline. This can already give you a reasonable clarity. For as long as your screen is not extra big like a 21-inch to 24-inch monitor, then this can already suffice. However, you can appreciate more the images that you see on screen when you get a QHD or 4K resolution. 4K or 1440p is still the suggested revolution for gamers. You have to optimize the pixel density. The more pixels the better the image it can produce. But choosing a higher resolution also means that your PC’s graphics card must have big processing power otherwise you won’t get the best experience out of it and the extra resolution might drag your work or game condition. Another thing is your operating system’s font-scaling capabilities. Does size matter? Yes it does. The quality of your monitor also depends on the pixel density that you have. It might be that text will become small and hard to read if a monitor has a pixel density greater than that of the operating system.

All About the Panel

Monitor panels

There are three types of panel or major LCD technologies to choose from which can have an impact on what it looks like and how it performs. TN (Twisted Nematic) panel,  IPS (In-plane Switching) panel and the VA (Vertical Alignment) panel. They have different advantages to offer depending on what works for you. 

TN panel as to performance is the fastest with low response times, highest refresh rate and minimal motion blur yet the cheapest because of the poor image quality when you view it from a side angle. It has drawbacks in color saturation. This is the most common panel type as this panel is also the most affordable. This however is already good in gaming in fact, it is best in fast games like FPS. 

IPS panel on the other hand has slightly faster response time and it shows color better than a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel. This is already good if you use your monitor for work. As to price, this I think is the most expensive because of its viewing features that are near horizontal and have much richer colors.It offers a striking color gamut that’s why the display looks colorful and realistic. The downside is that gamers do not prefer this because the response time is not that fast as compared to the TN panel.

VA panel or sometimes referred as MVA or PVA has the best contrast and best image quality among the three panels. It has the longest response times and has higher refresh rates possible. It has good viewing angles too but it has a ghosting problem. However, color accuracy can be achieved when you have this panel. This panel is good for general use.

All About the Refresh Rate and Response Time

Refresh Rate

Talking about the number of times your monitor updates with new information per second, refresh rates is another thing to consider. This is measured in hertz (Hz) and the bigger hertz you have the better as well especially if you use the monitor for games. If you play FPS games on other intense and competitive games, choose a monitor with high frame per second rate and response time. Your gaming experience will be smooth and images are good at least with a 75 Hz and with the lowest response time you can find. 

Response time is the time a monitor takes to change single pixels from black to white or from one shade of gray to another. The shorter the better. If the response time will take long, this can mean motion blur when gaming or watching fast-paced videos. A refresh rate of 60 Hz is fine and response time is not that important  if you don’t use your monitor for gaming so why bother. However, if you’re a gamer then this will really matter. Most gaming monitors have a refresh rate of at least 144 Hz and with a maximum response time of 5ms. Still if you have a 60 Hz display and you use it for gaming, you must consider G-Sync or a FreeSync. I’ll talk more about that later. If you have a combination of low resolution and good graphics card then you’ll have fast refresh rates.

All About G-sync and FreeSync

g-sync or freesync

G-sync or FreeSync? I suggest you should have one of these two especially when you’re a gamer. Nvidia G-Sync is for PCs with Nvidia graphics cards and AMD FreeSync is for running with PCs using AMD graphics cards. Both can reduce screen tearing and stuttering although G-Sync monitors are usually costly compared to FreeSync monitors. They also work at a low minimum refresh rate. G-Sync relies on DisplayPort and FreeSync works with both HDMI and DisplayPort. Your choice would depend on the hardware that you already have. If you are into intense gaming and still planning to buy a set, then consider getting a G-Sync Ultimate or FreeSync Premium Pro display. They are both good considering their features like lower input latency and additional benefits for HDR titles.

All About the Size and Style

Monitor Guide

Another thing to consider is the size of your screen. Is it too big or too small? Well just make sure your monitor can fit comfortably on your desk or work space. The baseline today is a 24-inch monitor that is already good for office work. There are plenty of sizes to choose from though. THe common sizes and the most popular one right now is the 27-inch monitor. However, some would still prefer bigger than that as they believe that the bigger the better. It may not always be true but I would leave this part to your preference as this matter is relative.

Curved or Flat? Which do you prefer? Some say that the advantage of having a curved monitor is that it can give you a large field of view. It makes pictures look more realistic than that of a flat screen. Racing games fans prefer this kind of monitor. On the other hand, it can also be prone to glare on certain angles. So if you really want to buy a curved monitor, better check out the curvature specs. The lower the curvature, the more curved the display is. Too much of a curve may be distracting for you. 

Monitor should be easy to use in any kind of setups. I am also particular on the tilting and rotating stands so that I could get the right monitor angle. Ports should also be well arranged and easy to manage. These may be minute details but should be taken into consideration especially when you want to work comfortably and without any distraction in sight. Some setups may need the monitors to be mounted on the wall, I would suggest you look for a monitor that has VESA standard where there are mounting options fit for your current setup.

All About the Purpose

Choose a Monitor

For general use, you don’t need to spend so much for a monitor. For as long as you can run Microsoft Office applications, web browsers or other programs on the computer. You don’t need heavy graphics processing at all. There’s no need for high-end specs or upgrades to be able to do your task. All you need to have is a monitor that works well for work and entertainment. I suggest that you consider the following:

  • A monitor that is flicker-free.

This is very important if you will use the monitor for a very long time during the day. It should not flicker at any brightness level.

  • A monitor that has good contrast

Image quality is another thing to consider. That’s why having a good contrast is much needed. VA panels have a large dynamic range and the contrast is great, but IPS monitors have the best viewing angles. You will expect a realistic and significant reflection with an IPS. 

If you’re a gamer, it is best that you consider speed and that means high refresh rates about 144Hz or more. Also, you consider the lowest response time and input lag. You will need lower pixel density and without extended color or HDR. Add it with FreeSync or G-Sync. It is also important to consider things like strong image quality and pixel density. The size of the monitor also matters. Take a 27” is an ideal size if you want an easy catch of every detail of the game. However, if your game is all about the story that requires fancy imagination, then, a bigger screen is of course preferable but  don’t forget to consider the capabilities of your graphics card too. 

Overdrive and motion blur reduction are available in most gaming monitors. The overdrive reduces ghosting by speeding the rate at which pixels transition through higher voltages. The pixel reaches that level quickly and then changes for the next frame before voltage gets too high. You can test the overdrive of your monitor by using the BlurBusters UFO test. On the other hand, ultra low motion blur (ULMB) or motion blur reduction, maintains motion resolution when on-screen action heightens. This also reduces overall brightness. However, you can’t use motion blur reduction and G-Sync or FreeSync at the same time. Gamers should choose adaptive refresh every time. You don’t need any motion blur reduction for fast graphics card running at 60 fps and higher with G-Sync or FreeSync.

If you use the monitor for professional work in work, web designing, photography, game or digital designing and editing that requires precise color control then you must have calibration options like the on-screen display (OSD) and software. Your monitor must be equipped in running programs like Adobe Photoshop. Choose also a monitor that is certified as color accurate though it will be a bit costly though and of course choose the monitor that has flicker-free features because I would assume that you would be working for hours just to get things done.

And you thought choosing a monitor is that easy! Just like purchasing any essential things in life, you have to give it a careful thought. The most important thing is that your monitor will serve its purpose be it for work, entertainment or general use. Moreover, you need to consult on your financial capacity. You don’t need to have all the features that can cost you a lot when in fact all you just need is a simple monitor for simple tasks. However, if you really need an extraordinary monitor to satisfy your cravings for gaming most especially, then you know now what to choose. Speed is the key and good image quality. 

I hope we have helped you in any way as to choosing the ultimate monitor for you. If you think I missed out something here, it would be my pleasure if you click on the comment below and share what you know on this matter. Thank you and remember, choose wisely!

RJ Go
Hardcore gamer, eSports enthusiast, and digital marketing noob.