Choosing a... Display
A basic 24in LCD monitor costs around £100. It will be fine for typical Windows work but is likely to have poor viewing angles, so you’ll need to sit straight on for the best picture quality. Its colour accuracy may not be very good, either.
A VGA input lets you use the monitor with any PC, but the quality may not be as good as it is over DVI or HDMI. Both are digital connections and require a compatible graphics card but they avoid the need for digital-to-analogue or analogue-todigital conversions, which can reduce image quality. A digital connection achieves the best picture automatically, so you won’t have to adjust clock or phase settings as you do with analogue connections.
Many DVI and all HDMI connections support HDCP, which lets you watch protected video content, such as Blu-ray movies. DisplayPort is becoming more popular, but you’ll need a graphics card with a DisplayPort output (mini or full-size) to use this input on your monitor.
A larger monitor will be easier on the eye and may have a higher resolution. Most monitors have a resolution of at least 1,920x1,080 (1080p), which provides lots of room for working with multiple windows at the same time. For even higher resolutions, you’ll need a larger display. Some 27in and 30in screens have 2,560x1,600 or even 4K resolutions. You’ll need a graphics card with a dual-link DVI output and a dual-link DVI cable or either HDMI or DisplayPort to use a monitor at these resolutions.
If you want better picture quality, look for a monitor with a high contrast ratio. The higher the ratio, the whiter the whites and the blacker the blacks. You’ll also be able to see more fine detail in images with high contrast levels. Viewing angles are important, as wider angles mean you don’t have to sit directly in front of the monitor to get the best picture. Wider viewing angles also allow more people to view the screen at the same time.
Fast response times reduce ghosting, but don’t be dazzled by the numbers. A response time of 25ms or quicker is fine for all applications.