Computer Monitors: The Basics
You’ve found your perfect computer, but now you need a display. The type of monitor you should buy (and how much you’ll spend) depends on what you’re using it for. A gamer has different needs from someone who will only use their monitor for watching YouTube. No matter what you’re shopping for, DealNews has the monitor deals you need.
When you’re shopping for a monitor, it’s important to understand some basic terminology:
- Aspect Ratio
This measurement, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, is a proportional representation of the monitor’s height and width. The three most common aspect ratios are 4:3, 16:9, and 21:9, with higher-end monitors available in more extreme ratios.
- Viewable Screen Area
The viewable screen is the part of a monitor that displays content, as opposed to the parts that may be covered by a border. You might see this measurement listed after the size, such as: 24’’(23.6” Viewable). Many monitors are now borderless.
Resolution is how many pixels make up a screen, and is described as length x width. For example, a 1080p monitor has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels.
- Response Time
The response time is how long it takes for a monitor to change individual pixels from black to white (or in some technologies, gray to gray). This determines how sharp an image is. When viewing a monitor’s response time, the lower the number, the better.
- Refresh Rate
The refresh rate is how many times the image updates each second. This is measured in Hertz (Hz). In general, you should buy a monitor with at least a 60Hz refresh rate, but higher numbers are generally better. (Note that not all manufacturers include specs regarding refresh rate.)
Display Panel Types
- Twisted Nematics (TN): These panels are the fastest and most inexpensive panels on the market. But what you make up for in speed and price, you lose in color and viewing angles. TN panels are an especially good choice for gamers who need higher refresh rates, and low response time.
- Vertical Alignment (VA): Considered the middle ground between TN and IPS panels, VA monitors have good color and contrast and a mid-tier price. These panels have some of the slowest response times, so they’re best suited to general use.
- In-Plane Switching (IPS): These panels have great color and viewing angles with a response time that falls between TN and VA panels. IPS panels are the most expensive, and are best suited for professional design use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What features should I consider when purchasing a monitor?
First, think about how you’ll use the monitor. The screen size, resolution, panel type, and response time you’ll need are all heavily dependent on your use case. It’s also important to make sure your monitor has the correct inputs for your computer — if not, you should look into purchasing an adapter. Once you’ve decided on the specs you’ll need, check out DealNews for the best deals on cheap monitors.
What is a curved monitor?
Curved monitors are growing in popularity, as they can help your eyes take in more of the screen at once. If you tend to use dual monitors, a single curved monitor can typically fulfill the same role. Unfortunately, the technology is still relatively new and curved monitor prices tend to be higher.
What brands have the best monitor deals?
When it comes to monitors, finding the right brand is less important than finding the right combination of features. To help you find exactly what you need, DealNews publishes deals from many different monitor manufacturers. You can see all the monitor sales here, or you can check out monitors on our brand- and store-specific pages, including Acer , Alienware , Asus , Dell , Lenovo , LG , Samsung and more!
A Georgia girl with three years of experience in IP Law and grounded in understanding marketing and consumer motives. When she's not working with the fabulous staff of DealNews, you can find her whining at rowing practice and browsing the Hot Deals on the site.