There are many fea­tures to con­sider when buy­ing a mon­i­tor for your com­puter.

There are many fea­tures to con­sider when select­ing a mon­i­tor for your com­puter. Un­der­stand­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics such as panel type, screen size and res­o­lu­tion can help en­sure you choose one that’s right for you

Investment Executive - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANNY BRAD­BURY

if you’re us­ing a com­puter, then you al­ready have a dis­play (a.k.a. a mon­i­tor) — whether it’s a sep­a­rate one on your desk or the screen on your lap­top. That’s all fine and good, but don’t as­sume your mon­i­tor-buy­ing days are over. De­pend­ing on your needs as a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, in­vest­ing in a bet­ter com­puter mon­i­tor or in a sec­ond dis­play to com­ple­ment the first may be worth­while.

You might, for ex­am­ple, show pre­sen­ta­tions to your clients fre­quently in your of­fice. In­stead of them cran­ing their necks to view the screen from your per­spec­tive, wouldn’t it be bet­ter to have a ded­i­cated dis­play fac­ing your clients on which to show the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion while keep­ing your own ap­pli­ca­tions hidden? These double-mon­i­tor ar­range­ments are com­mon­place these days, and easy to set up.

M any power users will have a sec­ond por­trait mon­i­tor along­side their reg­u­lar land­scape dis­play

panel type,size & shape Whether you’re buy­ing a new dis­play for your own work or as a pre­sen­ta­tion screen for clients, there are sev­eral tech­ni­cal fea­tures to con­sider. Most of them in­flu­ence im­age qual­ity di­rectly, and one of the most im­por­tant fea­tures is panel type.

Mod­ern com­puter dis­plays use one of three panel types. The cheap­est, known as “twisted ne­matic,” has a high re­sponse time and a high re­fresh rate, but less ac­cu­rate colours. Re­sponse and re­fresh times are im­por­tant for gamers who have fast-mov­ing images on their screens, but not for ad­vi­sors who tend not to bat­tle aliens at work.

Ver­ti­cal-align­ment pan­els have bet­ter colour ac­cu­racy. But the best op­tion is an in-plane switch­ing (IPS) panel. This type of panel has the best colour ac­cu­racy of all and a wider view­ing an­gle than other pan­els, which will be im­por­tant if you’re show­ing pre­sen- tations to oth­ers in the of­fice.

An­other, even more ex­pen­sive op­tion is a plane-line switch­ing panel — al­though IPS should be fine for your pur­poses.

Screen size, res­o­lu­tion and as­pect ra­tio are closely con­nected. Screen sizes have in­creased in re­cent years, with 34-inch (86-cen­time­tre) screens mak­ing it onto the mar­ket. Don’t se­lect your screen size without first look­ing at the res­o­lu­tion — the num­ber of in­di­vid­ual pix­els that the screen sup­ports.

A bare min­i­mum of res­o­lu­tion these days should be full, high­def­i­ni­tion (HD), 1080p res­o­lu­tion, which gives you 1,920 pix­els hor­i­zon­tally and 1,080 pix­els ver­ti­cally (1,920 x 1,080). The big­ger the video screen, the greater the dis­tance be­tween the pix­els and the less de­tailed the im­age. Con­se­quently, you’ll need more pix­els (and, there­fore, greater screen res­o­lu­tion) to main­tain im­age qual­ity on a larger screen.

Many larger mon­i­tors sup­port ul­tra-high def­i­ni­tion, which of­fers 3,480 x 2,160. A slightly higher stan­dard, 4K, gives you 4,096 x 2,180 and fits the equiv­a­lent of four HD screens into a sin­gle panel. These super-high res­o­lu­tions look stun­ning and let you fit a lot of work into your view­ing area, but may be overkill if you don’t multi-task very much.

As if con­tem­plat­ing size and res­o­lu­tion was not enough, you also need to con­sider shape. Back in the day, the only screen shape avail­able was 4:3 (four units long by three units high). To­day, you can buy 16:9 mon­i­tors, which are great if you work from home and plan on fit­ting a lit­tle widescreen video view­ing into your day. These screens also are great for dis­play­ing doc­u­ments side by side.

Other as­pects af­fect­ing im­age qual­ity i nclude l umi­nes­cence (bright­ness) and con­trast ra­tio. Bright­ness is usu­ally mea­sured in “nits,” and you should l ook for any­thing with more than 250 nits. More is bet­ter. The con­trast ra­tio is the dif­fer­ence be­tween the bright­est white and the black­est black that the screen can dis­play. Again, more is bet­ter, es­pe­cially if you are read­ing fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments all day. Look for ra­tios above 450:1.

Your en­joy­ment of dis­played images also will be af­fected by the coat­ing on the mon­i­tor. Some have an anti-glare coat­ing that stops light re­flect­ing on the screen, al­though these coat­ings also can dull the im­age. This is a mat­ter of per­sonal pref­er­ence, but think about what’s be­hind you. If you sit with your back to a sunny win­dow, con­sider the anti-glare op­tion. ad­di­tional fea­tures Those fea­tures cover the ba­sics. Now, we get into the fun, op­tional fea­tures. One of these is the abil­ity to ro­tate your mon­i­tor. Many com­puter dis­plays come with a swivel stand that lets you ro­tate your mon­i­tor into por­trait mode. This can be great when work­ing on long doc­u­ments, as it re­duces your need to scroll up and down and in­creases your fo­cus. Many power users will have a sec­ond por­trait mon­i­tor along­side their reg­u­lar land­scape dis­play, en­abling them to keep a work­ing doc­u­ment in por­trait mode while han­dling other re­search and ad­min­is­tra­tive ap­pli­ca­tions on their pri­mary, land­scape-ori­ented screen.

If you are used to pok­ing at an iPad, a touch-screen mon­i­tor may be worth the in­vest­ment. With touch-friendly op­er­at­ing sys­tems such as Win­dows 10, these de­vices make a lot more sense, but still are a lux­ury. Touch-screen dis­plays are more ex­pen­sive than reg­u­lar mon­i­tors, so you need to be con­fi­dent that you’ll use it in prac­tice rather than re­sort­ing to a mouse.

If a touch-screen is for you, con­sider the num­ber of touch-sensi- tive points the screen has (ef­fec­tively, the num­ber of in­di­vid­ual fin­gers the screen can rec­og­nize at the same time) and go for a “ca­pac­i­tive” touch dis­play, which will give you a tablet-like ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fi­nally, we can’t dis­cuss com­puter dis­plays without talk­ing about curves. Curved screens are an in­creas­ingly com­mon trend at the higher end of the com­puter dis­play mar­ket. They’re more ex­pen­sive than flat-screen mon­i­tors and are en­tirely cos­metic. They aren’t curved enough to give you the “im­mer­sive” ex­pe­ri­ence that ven­dors might prom­ise, but they do look very neat on your desk. High-end wealth man­agers who cater to a tech-savvy clien­tele might con­sider these to give their of­fice that ex­tra pro­fes­sional look.

Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of a high-qual­ity com­puter dis­play. They’re like beds: you spend a large pro­por­tion of your daily life us­ing them, but you tend not to think about them very much. When you take the plunge and in­vest in a good one, the relief is tan­gi­ble.

Spend a few more dol­lars and give your eyes a break.

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