The modern world of monitors
The humble monitor has come a long way, once used only for businesses and workspaces, the monitor is now a staple in the household much like a refrigerator is and with more people choosing to work from home, now is the perfect time to upgrade to a new monitor to suit your life and work style.
Advancements in monitor technology are quite astounding, and it seems every 4 to 5 years there is some new innovation that brings even more advancement to the monitor world, all you really have to do is compare a monitor created in 2002 to a monitor created in 2022 to see how far its come and how much varying range of monitors that are available to us nowadays.
But for all its advancement, it can leave some of us behind, back when CRT monitors were considered the pinnacle of monitor technology they’re now completely obsolete much like resolutions and color grading, 1024 x 768 was once considered high definition.
Now, we’re starting to see 3840 x 2160(4K) with over 8 million pixels as the industry standard and are even pushing into the current-gen of 7680 x 4320(8K) with an astonishing 33 million pixels per screen, it certainly makes the humble CRT monitor pushing out 800×600 resolutions seem like an ancient relic.
And unlike the 2000s or even monitors from 10’s that were traditionally one size fits all, there are currently several different types of monitors that are available that all have their different uses depending on what you’re looking for and it can be a bit confusing on getting the right monitor and the right information about what you might need.
So today we’re going over an exhaustive list of monitors, their specifications, what they’re used for, their pricing, and explaining a bit about what you’ll be on the lookout for, so let’s dive straight into it.
Types, Specifications, and Pricing: What are you paying for.
Below we’re going to have a look at the price points of monitors, the different types of monitors and what the specifications are, and what they mean as there is a lot to cover when it comes to getting the right monitor for your situation.
Explaining the terminology
Previously when it came to monitors only a handful of questions were asked, is it LCD or plasma? Does it have VGI or DVI cables?
Nowadays, however, there are several different things that go into a monitor, all of which make your monitor perform in a different way but it can be confusing if you’re unsure of what you’re looking at and what you need, so before we get into the monitor types lets take a short look at some of the terminology of modern monitors and what that entails so you can make a more informed choice and understand a bit of what makes them so different.
The refresh rate of a monitor has been described as the “smoothness”, sort of like watching water ripple, a higher refresh will make your monitor appear more smooth and transitionless leading to a silky smooth picture quality.
A refresh rate is how many times your monitor refreshes an image per second so for example, a standard 60Hz monitor will refresh an image 60 times a second, and likewise, a 144Hz monitor will refresh it 144 times per second.
The refresh rate is directly tied to a picture or videos quality when viewed on a monitor and a higher refresh rate helps to eliminate blurring and juddering, it should be noted that gaming monitors will also require the PC specifications to backup 144Hz.
Resolution is the most important part of any monitor, it allows for picture and video sources to come through in high definition without compression or loss of quality.
The resolution of a monitor is directly tied to the pixel count it is capable of displaying and will lead to a marked difference in quality and clarity.
One of the easiest ways to view and test resolutions is to go to a streaming site such as YouTube, select a video, and watch it in your current monitor’s native resolution (720p or 1080p) then drop the stream quality down to 144p, 240p or even 360p and you will see an extreme change in the quality of the video that is presented.
Whilst 1080p is now considered standard, higher resolutions such as 2K, 4K, and even 8K are becoming more and more available and further increase the clarity and image quality of the monitors.
Cables and ports
The type of connection your monitors have also greatly increases or decreases the quality of the picture displayed, back in the old CRT days a VGI cable was pretty much all there was, it was a one size fits all type of display which worked well then as CRT monitors were not exactly the high definition powerhouse monitors we have now.
All monitors built within the past 5 years will come with a High Definition Multimedia Display(HDMI) port and USB C connectivity that works as a digital interface for both audio and video sources to be displayed in much higher quality and allow the above-mentioned specifications to run smoothly and allow for them to be displayed correctly.
However, HDMI is not the one and only as DisplayPort currently offers a higher-tech display interface capable of producing an even better audio/visual experience, HDMI however has recently released HDMI 2.1 which is standard in most modern graphics cards and DisplayPort is 2.0 very soon so regardless of DisplayPort or HDMI one these two cable types are all you will need in almost every situation for your monitor.
High Definition Range or HDR in its simplest terms is extreme color grading, blacks are blacker and whites are whiter, HDR allows for amazing in-depth color saturation, now with organic LED(OLED) and local dimming backlight systems as panels it allows the technology of monitors to catch up and display colour and brightness in a much deeper range creating an incredibly vivid and lifelike ratio between colour and brightness.
HDR technology allows for the most extreme elements to be filtered properly without an overpowering distortion from the extremes to overpower one or the other, this means that something like the sun and a cave can be displayed appropriately without over-saturation of one or the other, this is exceptionally helpful for graphics designers and photographers.
Monitors come in all shapes, and sizes and have different specifications, getting a handle on what you want out of your monitor can save your wallet the hassle of buying something incorrectly or buying the wrong monitor, so below we’re going to have a look at the different types of monitor and what they’re generally used for so that you can better understand.
Please keep in mind this is by no means a be-all and end-all, there are several hundred different monitor types, brands, and uses so we’ll be going over some of the most common and ones that are what people usually search for.
General Use/Media Monitors
Price Range $100-$500
Main Use: Household or Business
Size Range: 20-50 Inch
General use monitors are usually used for you guessed it, general use.
Typically you will be using these monitors to watch various media sources such as TVs, Computers, or direct data inputs such as USBs and media centers, these monitors usually work like smaller TVs and depending on what monitor you buy exactly, can actually be used as a Television.
While smaller than a standard TV, they come in all shapes and sizes anywhere from 18 inches up to 35+ and make a great addition to your house and offer a selection of features for their price range and can be used for video and photo work/viewing without compromising on quality as typically most general use monitors come equipped with HDMI ports and Display Ports, both of which increase fidelity and allow for a crisp and vibrant image output with whatever you choose to use these monitors for.
Typically their price range is between $100 to $500 due to the fact they can come with varying feature sets and displays, however, most general use monitors will be somewhere in the 60-75Hz range and 1080p resolution.
Professional & Business Monitors
Price Range: $500-$2000
Main Use: Work and Design
Size Range: 8-40 Inch
Business/Professional model monitors are a bit harder to describe as they’re probably the most versatile monitors on the market and can come with wildly different specifications, designs, and even energy requirements that can change based on what you’re aiming for with a professional/business monitor.
They can range from small screen monitors that are used for data information or small graph work ranging from 10-18 inches, or, they can be professional grade models that range up to the 40-inch mark or higher that use advanced builds such as advanced high-performance in-plane switching(AH-IPS) or can be made with indium gallium zinc oxide(IGZO) for graphic and content creators that require extreme colour definition and pinpoint accuracy when they’re being used to create.
These monitors are typically more on the high-end scale and as such have a high-end price attached to them.
Price Range: $250-$3000
Main Use: Gaming
Size Range: 20-45 Inch(approx)
Gaming monitors are a different breed in the monitor world, in terms of advancement and technological advancement, gaming monitors may be the best monitors in the world and there’s a reason why they’re always in high demand, gaming monitors are some of the most versatile monitors available on the market and have some of the widest specification types depending on what the user enjoys such as the Samsung Odyssey and other high-end gaming monitors.
Gaming monitors require a fast response time, more so than other monitors, due to the nature of gaming sometimes requiring several dozen things happening at any given time on a screen, this is where a high refresh rate monitor really shines through as so much information can be given on the screen at any given time, it requires a very fast and efficient refresh rate as well as resolution to read information accurately, that is why most gaming monitors are anywhere between 1 and 5ms.
High-end gaming monitors offer all of these things, with a high-end price mind you, and unlike other monitors its not uncommon to see refresh rates on gaming monitors in a range of 60Hz to a whopping 390Hz, however, 144 and 165Hz have become the standard on gaming monitors as they’re most commonly between 27 and 40 inches and come in different configurations such as ultra-widescreen, curved and panel adjustable.
4K Monitors/Ultra High Definition(UHD).
Price Range: $450-$5000+
Main Use: Gaming/Design/Editing
Size Range: 22-39 Inch(approx)
4K Monitors are a bit of an anomaly in that they have multiple different uses and those different uses will require a different framework, for example, 4K Gaming monitors usually max out their size at around 34 inches, this is due to a bit of a culling effect where the bigger the monitor is in 4K the less effective other specifications are such as response time and refresh rates, that’s why with 4K you should pay more attention to things like the colour gamut, size, and different contrast ratios as 4K monitors are more about viewing angles and experience than anything, while they do make amazing monitors, buying a 4K monitor should be your goal if you want those ultra-crisp, vivid displays that 4K monitors come with.
So what do you need?
Hopefully, you’re a lot more informed now about what monitors are currently available on the market and what monitor you should be looking for, but the question remains, what monitor do you need?
You should do a bit of research into what you’re going to be using the monitor for first, some times you can purchase a budget monitor that doesn’t really do what you need it to, or, you could overpay on a monitor that may be a bit of overkill if you’re only using it to view media on and you end up buying a 4K monitor which isn’t exactly what you would need a 4K monitor for.
But ultimately, the monitor you choose to get should be based on research about your monitor needs, what is the monitor for? As we’ve outlined above, there are several different types of monitors all with different configurations and specifications and all with their own brand of power and pluses depending on what you need, however, if you’re still in need of some assistance when it comes to the wide world of monitors and accessories, we’re here to help beyond just this.
We here at Computer Alliance make it our mission to find the right product for the right job and stock and supply every type of monitor in this article and more, you can view different monitors through the links on our site and purchase through links there as well.