Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Aug 12

How to choose a computer monitor

The importance of Visual

People are so visually oriented. It is how we take in almost all our information. And since the computer provides the fast track to the information, you’d better have a good monitor, to make sure you’re getting all you can from your computer.

But there are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself before you go and buy a monitor. Business or Pleasure? Multi-Task or Single Project? How easy are the adjustments? And just how big is too big?

All these questions will be answered. Because a gamer is going to need a much different monitor than someone working from home.

Business or pleasure?

This 27″ Samsung Monitor looks fun

How do you plan to use this monitor?

If you’re a student, you’ll use it for work, and then for fun (or vice-versa), and you’ll probably use it a lot.

If your new monitor is going into a home office, where it’s all business, there may be little need to re-produce fast action or video.

And if it’s going into a home setting, you’ll have to take into account everything from mundane list-making right through the fast, dense action of the latest free Facebook game. All these situations require different monitor needs, and you’ll need to assess your usage so you get the right features.

How big is too big?

Though I asked it last, the first question to address is size. The most basic statement says the larger the monitor, the easier it is to see what’s going on (my Brother-in-law hooks his Mac Mini to his 47″ Screen TV and works from the couch). But a small screen fits into more places. Which is important because you need to take into account where you’re actually going to  place the screen — if space spaced is limited, so is your monitor size.

Here’s a little personal opinion. It has been my experience in monitor use that, if I have the space, I have never been dis-appointed with a larger monitor.

Multi-task or single project

If you’re a multi-tasker, then a big screen can be crucial. When moving from one open document to another, the big screen makes for easy use. But if you’re single task person, or someone who doesn’t often work across many documents, then a big screen may not be critical for efficiency.

The curveball. Image by neofob, used under Creative Commons

But let’s throw another curveball out there.

In this office,  many co-workers use 2 smaller monitors. Since I saw this on more than a few desks, I got curious. So I asked a friend in the office, and she said that 2 small monitors are still bigger than 1 monster monitor, and they are easier to look at. No craning the neck looking up and around, just move from side to side. But you need a desk capable of holding two screens, so it tends to be a work place solution. But it can be a less expensive option- two small monitors compared to one large one, so that’s another thought to have while monitor shopping.

Get Adjusted

I personally find that screen adjustment is critical. When I work on graphics and photo editing, I like to have the screen neutral but on the brighter side. But when I’m working on writing, or simple web surfing, I like the screen to be very dim. So you need to have an easy interface with your monitor, adjusting brightness and dimming so you can quickly change settings to rest your eyes, or to let your roommate sleep. As I age (gracelessly) I find I have to adjust my monitor more and more to provide rest for my eyes.

And a new choice presents itself

All in one solution from Apple

And now we come to a newer question. now that you’re thinking of up-grading, do you need a separate monitor, or do you just want to go for the all-in-one solution. The iMac and the Sony VAIO both offer a desktop that’s housed in the monitor, which removes the tower from the equation, but places in stone which monitor you’ll get with the computer! So you’d better know what your monitor needs are, as you look at iMacs and VAIO’s, not just your Hard Drive and RAM specs needed.

It’s important to ask yourself the right questions in choosing a monitor, and unfortunately there’s no one size fits all solution. I chose my monitor based upon my needs, but you’ll have your own needs, and may need a different monitor.

However, we both make these decisions based on the same set of questions about computer monitors. So as you look to up-grade the visual side of your computer, make sure you’ve assessed your needs, before you buy.

Do you have a criteria you use? Let us know in the comments.

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