Feb 23

Get smart while buying a monitor

So you’re looking monitor but with no idea how to find a nice one. Here are some parameters you should consider for judging a monitor.

With CRT’s and TFT’s out, choise remains between LCD’s and LED’s. with the recent surge of LED’s even LCD’s are on the vere of extinction. Here’s a short distinction between the two

LED and LCD monitors are based on the same basic technology for image display, but differ in the kind of backlighting used. While LCD monitors use cold cathode fluorescent lamps for backlighting, LED monitors use light emitting diodes. LED monitors nothing but an improvement over LCD ones which cure one of the basic problems with LCD TVs, i.e. the inability to display true black colors. They can produce true black hues, by switching off LEDs entirely, increasing the ‘blackness’ quotient of black colors, providing better contrast in the process.

Why buy a LED monitor?

LED’s are softer on the eyes, making it easier to work for longer hours. As no mercury is used in its production and as LED’s consume lesser power, they are ecofriendly too. Also LED monitors last longer than LCD ones. A price drop recently in LED monitors makes it the number one choice and there remains no reason to prefer a LCD monitor

Vendors usually give you a long list of features to attract your attention but the basic and most essential information is never talked of. Before you jump into knowing what the native resolution is, just check out what is the panel type of your favorite monitor.

Which panel type to look out for?

You must know the panel type of the monitor you’re thinking of buying as it not mentioned in the features list usually.

The best one is IPS or in panel switching. In-plane switching (IPS) panels have the liquid crystals in parallel to the panel, not perpendicular to it. Advances in this technology are super IPS which provides an increased contrast ratio, Horizontal IPS and E IPS or enhanced IPS which reduces the response time to a few milliseconds. However such monitors are too expensive and fit for professional gaming or graphics work. For home based usage, you need not drive such a big hole in your pocket.

Another alternative to IPS ( used by DELL ultra sharp series) is Super PLS or panel to line switching. It is found only with Samsung monitors and the most selling model is Samsung S27A850D. it is as good as IPS monitors and are relatively cheaper.

The next and most widely used one is Twisted Nemantic or TN panels. They are cheap with excellent response times and perfect for home use. However Display and performance can be no were compared to IPS technology, but they are best suited for office work such as surfing, word processing etc. it uses only 6 bit colour, and do not display the 16.7 million colors available.

A mid way between these two extremes, both in price and performance is VA panel technology. They offer better color reproduction and wider viewing angles than TN panels, but have slower response times. Better contrast ratio than both IPS and TN panels as well as a color reproduction and viewing angle comparable to IPS ones makes them stand out, but a horrible response time lets them down. They are worse than VA panels when it comes to fast pace gaming. But both VA and IPS use 8 bit color, that is why they have an enhanced color reproduction

Native resolution

It is the max resolution which a monitor can display. Most of the 18.5” and 20 “ monitors come with 1600×900 which is pretty good for this screen size. But monitors above 22” need to have resolution of 1920×1080 atleast. Also check out the refresh rate. a 75 Hz should do fine but 85 hz is what you should get for today’s technology.

Other features which improve display

DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort is a must nowadays to enhance the digital quality of display. Don’t worry the analog ports are available with all of these. The latest trend being HDMI which allows you to see full High Definition pictures making it a must have

Response time

Rise-and-fall response time indicates the time required for a pixel to change from black to white (rise) and back to black (fall). You need a lower response time for advanced gaming, otherwise a response time of 5 ms is good enough. Another indicator gray to gray is often promoted by vendors but this is not much useful.


It is measured as candelas per square meter (cd/m2). A minimum 250 c/m2.  He one’s having 300 give a more than needed desired level of brightness.

Viewing angle

A minimum viewing angle of 160 degrees is needed. ISP monitors offer till 178 degrees allowing you to view that perfect picture from any desired angle. As long as you don’t work with someone sitting by your side or watch movies from a distance, you don’t need to mind settling with one having viewing angle of 160 deg.

Contrast ratio

This is an important parameter you must know. It is the difference in light intensity between the brightest white and the darkest black. A ratio more than 600:1 is required but most of the brands offer a contrast ratio of 1000:1. Another indicator is the dynamic contrast ratio. But these parameters is not as useful in determining your choice.

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  1. Adriana

    thanks for share!

  2. anuja

    Very well explained!

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