MONITOR
BUYING GUIDE

A good monitor is important as it allows you to get the best out of your PC. We spend so much time staring at our screens it’s definitely an item to consider carefully before investing money.

Shopping for a monitor can be overwhelming with such a vast range to choose from, all with different sizes, panel types, connection options and special features, it’s hard to know where to start.

WHAT WILL YOU BE USING IT FOR?

Monitor Buying Guide

It’s important to ask yourself what will be the primary use for your monitor? This will help you narrow down your search and define the features you need to look out for.

Home Computing

General home computing including internet browsing, social media and word processing will not require a sophisticated monitor. Consider screen size as you’ll be surprised at how many larger full HD monitors will be within your budget.

See Comparison Chart »
Gaming

For those seeking a truly immersive gaming experience you’ll need a monitor that can keep up with the action. Think about resolution for picture quality and pixel response time to reduce blurring and ghosting. Look at higher refresh rates for smoother game play. And consider USB ports for connecting controllers.

See Comparison Chart »
Professional

If you plan to use your monitor for graphic design or video editing a good high quality monitor is definitely worth the investment. The larger the screen the better, ideally ultra-high-definition. Look out for advanced image settings and IPS panels for accurate colours and wide viewing angles.

See Comparison Chart »
Cinema

If you’re after a cinematic experience you’ll want to focus on size. Thinks about a curved screen which will reduce reflections whilst more of the screen fills your field of vision. Opt for high definition and widescreen viewing capabilities.

See Comparison Chart »

Remember your picture quality on your monitor will only be as good as the graphics processing unit in your computer. There’s no point in investing in a top quality monitor if you have a basic GPU.

SCREEN SIZE

Screen size is measured from corner to corner diagonally. Monitor screen size generally starts from 15” up to 34”. The standard screen size is now 22”. A larger screen size offers more versatility, you benefit from larger viewing angles, better designs with more features and greater choice with connection ports.

As much as we would all enjoy a large screen it’s not always practical. You need to consider the space you have available. A 23” screen can still deliver prime cinema viewing without dominating your space like a 34” would. Are you planning on a multi-screen set up? If so you may want to stick around the 22” mark to comfortably position the monitors side by side. Most importantly you need to consider your budget, generally the larger the screen size the pricier the monitor.

Screen Size

RESOLUTION

Resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. The higher the resolution the sharper the picture quality. The most popular resolution is 1920x1080 as it offers a good balance between space and picture quality. If you opt for a higher resolution you need to make sure your computers graphics card meets with the demand. Those using their monitor for gaming and professional use need to opt for higher resolution monitors.

Resolution is often described in shorthand numbers. The number refers to the number of horizontal lines on the display.

720p = 1280 x 720 – HD or HD Ready

1080p = 1920 x 1080 – FHD or Full HD

1440p = 2560 x 1440 – QHD or Quad HD

2160p = 3840 x 2160 – 4K, UHD or Ultra HD (offers x4 the resolution of 1080p)

4320p = 7680 x 4320 – 8K (offers x16 the resolution of 1080p)

ASPECT RATIO

Aspect ratio refers to the width and height of the monitor and how it displays images and videos on screen. Older monitors have 4:3 ratios and are not suitable for widescreen formats. New monitors have 16:9 ratios which offer widescreen format or 21:9 ratios which offer ultra-wide format.

Aspect Ratio

PANEL TYPE

Panel type is the material the monitor screen is made from. Most modern monitors are generally LCD (liquid crystal display) panels. There are different types of LCD panels available.

TN (Twisted nematic) panels

Handle motion well, benefit from the fastest response times and tend to be less expensive. However they are inferior when it comes to colour reproduction, contrast ratios and viewing angles.

IPS (in-plane switching) panels

Deliver better colour quality with superior colour accuracy and viewing angles. They are the best all-round panel type, however they tend to be more expensive.

VA (vertical alignment) panels

Give better colour reproduction and viewing angles than TN panels. However they are not as sharp as IPS panels and can suffer from colour shifting. With better contrast ratio VA panels delivers good contrast and depth for a real 3D look.

RESPONSE TIME

Response time makes a difference when fast action is happening on the screen, therefore it is a more important feature for those in the market for a gaming monitor. Response time is the measure of how quickly a pixel can display colour change from black to white or shades of grey. Lower response times are better and monitors with TN panels tend to benefit from the quickest response times.

Response Time

REFRESH RATE

Refresh rate is the number of times per second the monitor refreshes its image. Refresh rate is measured in hertz, the higher the number the more times per second the monitor refreshes. A higher refresh rate will improve motion resolution which means moving images will appear sharper.

60Hz is the minimum for a good quality monitor experience. But if you’re choosing a monitor for gaming purposes you want to go higher so your gaming experience will be smoother.

You need to remember when looking at refresh rate to consider frame rate. Frame rate is the speed at which your computer feeds image information to your monitor. Higher frame rates mean smoother results. For example if your computer plays a game at 240 frames per second but your monitors refresh rate is only 60Hz the monitor will not be able to keep up and you may experience tearing, but if your monitors refresh rate was 240Hz it would be smooth sailing.

Refresh Rate

CONNECTIONS

When choosing your monitor you need to think about connections you may need. If you plan to watch films and TV or edit photos and video you’ll need a range of ports. You may also consider a monitor with multiple USB ports, enabling you to easily connect game controllers, memory sticks, smartphones and other devices.

HDMI (high definition multimedia interface)

Handle motion well, benefit from the fastest response times and tend to be less expensive. However they are inferior when it comes to colour reproduction, contrast ratios and viewing angles.

HDMI
DVI (digital visual interface)

Similar to the HDMI port, transmits digital signal but not usually audio. Some can carry 1920x1200 resolution whilst others can carry more. Handle 4K ultra HD at 30 frames per second.

DVI
VGA (video graphics array)

Transmits analogue video signal. Carries fairly high resolution and frame rates but will not give as clear an image as DVI.

VGA
Display port

Give better colour reproduction and viewing angles than TN panels. However they are not as sharp as IPS panels and can suffer from colour shifting. With better contrast ratio VA panels delivers good contrast and depth for a real 3D look.

Display Port
USB port

With multiple USB ports you can connect your smartphone, camera, Blu-ray player and more devices to your monitor.

USB Port

POPULAR FEATURES

CURVED SCREEN

A curved screen is definitely something to think about for those seeking a cinematic experience or immersive gaming. Curved screens can fully immerse you in your media as more of the screen fills your field of vision. They reduce reflections and can even reduce eye strain which is just what you want when you’re soaring through hours of gaming.

See All Curved Screen »
Curved Screen
TOUCH SCREEN

A monitor with a touchscreen offers a more intuitive and interactive experience. Touchscreens are easy to use and can prove faster in some tasks. A touch screen monitor can be an ideal choice for a family hub, general computing and those purchasing monitors for entertainment uses. Touchscreen technology is also being brought in more for professional use, enabling users to get more hands on with designing.

See All Touch Screen »
Touch Screen
FREESYNC

Manufactured by AMD, FreeSync technology reduces stutter and screen tear for a smoother experience, by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit in your computer. Enabling smooth game play down to 30 frames per second or less.

See All FreeSync »
FreeSync
G-SYNC

Manufactured by NVIDIA, G-Sync technology delivers a smooth gaming experience by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit. This eliminates screen tearing, minimises stutter and input lag.

See All G-Sync »
G-Sync

HOME COMPUTING

Screen Size » The standard screen size is now 22”. A larger screen size offers more versatility, you benefit from larger viewing angles, better designs with more features and greater choice with connection ports.
Resolution » Resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. The higher the resolution the sharper the picture quality. The most popular resolution is 1920x1080 as it offers a good balance between space and picture quality.
USB Port » HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) / DVI (digital visual interface) / VGA (video graphics array) / Display port (Give better colour reproduction) / USB port (With multiple USB ports you can connect your smartphone, camera, Blu-ray player and more devices to your monitor).
Response Time » Response time makes a difference when fast action is happening on the screen, therefore it is a more important feature for those in the market for a gaming monitor.
G-Sync/Free Sync » G-sync is manufactured by NVIDIA, G-Sync technology delivers a smooth gaming experience by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit. FreeSync is manufactured by AMD, FreeSync technology reduces stutter and screen tear for a smoother experience, by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit in your computer.
LG 22" 22M47VQ
Home Monitor
22”
1920 x 1080
1 DVI, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA
5ms
X
Samsung 22" S22D300HY
Home Monitor
22”
1920 x 1080
2 HDMI, 1 VGA
5ms
X
Acer 27" BE270U 2k
Home Monitor
27”
2560 x 1440
1 HDMI
6ms
X

GAMING

Screen Size » The standard screen size is now 22”. A larger screen size offers more versatility, you benefit from larger viewing angles, better designs with more features and greater choice with connection ports.
Resolution » Resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. The higher the resolution the sharper the picture quality. The most popular resolution is 1920x1080 as it offers a good balance between space and picture quality.
USB Port » HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) / DVI (digital visual interface) / VGA (video graphics array) / Display port (Give better colour reproduction) / USB port (With multiple USB ports you can connect your smartphone, camera, Blu-ray player and more devices to your monitor).
Response Time » Response time makes a difference when fast action is happening on the screen, therefore it is a more important feature for those in the market for a gaming monitor.
G-Sync/Free Sync » G-sync is manufactured by NVIDIA, G-Sync technology delivers a smooth gaming experience by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit. FreeSync is manufactured by AMD, FreeSync technology reduces stutter and screen tear for a smoother experience, by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit in your computer.
ElectriQ 28" EIQ-284KMB
Gaming Monitor
28”
3840 x 2160
2 DisplayPort, 2 HDMI
1ms
FreeSync
LG 34" 34UC79G
Gaming Monitor
34”
2560 x 1080
1 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI
5ms
FreeSync
Asus 27" PG278QR 2k
Gaming Monitor
27”
2560 x 1440
1 Display Port, 1 HDMI
4ms
G-Sync

PROFESSIONAL

Screen Size » The standard screen size is now 22”. A larger screen size offers more versatility, you benefit from larger viewing angles, better designs with more features and greater choice with connection ports.
Resolution » Resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. The higher the resolution the sharper the picture quality. The most popular resolution is 1920x1080 as it offers a good balance between space and picture quality.
USB Port » HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) / DVI (digital visual interface) / VGA (video graphics array) / Display port (Give better colour reproduction) / USB port (With multiple USB ports you can connect your smartphone, camera, Blu-ray player and more devices to your monitor).
Response Time » Response time makes a difference when fast action is happening on the screen, therefore it is a more important feature for those in the market for a gaming monitor.
G-Sync/Free Sync » G-sync is manufactured by NVIDIA, G-Sync technology delivers a smooth gaming experience by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit. FreeSync is manufactured by AMD, FreeSync technology reduces stutter and screen tear for a smoother experience, by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit in your computer.
HP 23" P232
Professional
23”
1920 x 1080
1 DisplayPort, 1 VGA
5ms
X
HannsG 23" HT231HPB
Professional
23”
1920 x 1080
1 DVI, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA
5ms
X
Dell 27" U2715H 2k
Professional
27”
2560 x 1440
2 DisplayPort, 2 HDMI
6ms
X

CINEMA

Screen Size » The standard screen size is now 22”. A larger screen size offers more versatility, you benefit from larger viewing angles, better designs with more features and greater choice with connection ports.
Resolution » Resolution is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. The higher the resolution the sharper the picture quality. The most popular resolution is 1920x1080 as it offers a good balance between space and picture quality.
USB Port » HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) / DVI (digital visual interface) / VGA (video graphics array) / Display port (Give better colour reproduction) / USB port (With multiple USB ports you can connect your smartphone, camera, Blu-ray player and more devices to your monitor).
Response Time » Response time makes a difference when fast action is happening on the screen, therefore it is a more important feature for those in the market for a gaming monitor.
G-Sync/Free Sync » G-sync is manufactured by NVIDIA, G-Sync technology delivers a smooth gaming experience by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit. FreeSync is manufactured by AMD, FreeSync technology reduces stutter and screen tear for a smoother experience, by synchronising the monitors refresh rates with the graphics processing unit in your computer.
Samsung 32" C32F391
Cinema Monitor
32”
1920 x 1080
1 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI
4ms
X
Dell 27" U2717D
Cinema Monitor
27”
2560 x 1440
1 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI
6ms
X
Samsung 34" LS34E790CNS
Cinema Monitor
34”
3440 x 1440
1 HMDI, 4 USB 3.0
4ms
X