Best Computer Monitor

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Choosing the right monitor is an extremely important step in any PC setup. Your high-end graphics card and processor won't mean anything if your monitor doesn't have the ability to display accurate color and contrast at the appropriate resolution, and different rigs require different specifications. For example, a gaming rig works best with fast response times and high resolution, but doesn't necessarily require the perfect color accuracy and display tweaking options that a professional photographer or graphic designer's monitor should. To help you navigate these waters of technical specifications and screen types, check out the computer monitor buyer’s guide below for all the information you need before making a purchase.

Best 30"+ Monitor:

Thirty inch monitors have become much more popular on the high end of PC displays over the last few years as prices for many of them have dropped to the general vicinity of one thousand dollars. As with smaller displays, careful attention to several characteristics must be given in order to choose a high quality panel. The best 30+ inch monitors we've chosen for this list all use 2K resolution at 2560x1600 pixels as well as all having excellent viewing angles of one hundred seventy-eight degrees, which for outstanding off-angle viewing and for multi-display setups. Additionally, these monitors offer outstanding brightness of between three hundred forty and three hundred candelas per square meter (cd/m2) as well  as outstanding contrast ratios of between two million and fifty million to one. Finally they all have excellent response times of between five and eight milliseconds.

Dell U3014 UltraSharp 30" PremierColor Monitor

This top of class offering from Dell is characterized by outstanding visual performance and a price that's easy on your wallet. You need not look further if your highest priority is bang for the buck features including class leading input compatibility with HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini-DP and DVI ports. Read Full Review

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    Dell U3014 UltraSharp 30" PremierColor Monitor

    HP Commercial Specialty 30" Z30i IPS Monitor

    Intending for commercial use, this display from HP will serve any high performance PC uses very well. Best of all, this quality comes at a cost that compares very favorably with monitors in this class. Read Full Review

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      HP Commercial Specialty 30" Z30i IPS Monitor

      NEC Monitor EA304WMI-BK-SV 30" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

      This is a fine offering from NEC, but as with many products from this manufacturer, its exceptional visual performance comes at a high cost. Make no mistake, this is an outstanding display with a built-in USB hub and inputs for DVI, HDMI DisplayPort, and D-SUB video card connectors in addition to the monitors stunning 2K resolution. Read Full Review

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        NEC Monitor EA304WMI-BK-SV 30" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

        NEC Monitor PA302W-BK 30" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

        Made with professionals in mind, this is a great offering from NEC, providing a quick response time just six milliseconds as well as a viewing angle of one hundred seventy-eight degrees. However, as with most products from this manufacturer, expect to pay extra for all this quality. Read Full Review

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          NEC Monitor PA302W-BK 30" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

          Prolite XB3070WQS-B1 30" Heigh Adjustable Monitor

          This is a fine offering from a manufacture that might not be as well known as some, but still has an excellent reputation. It's hard to go wrong with this display that outstanding response times of only five milliseconds, built-in speakers, and excellent input connectivity with HDMI, D-Sub, DVI-D and DispyPort ports. Read Full Review

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            Prolite XB3070WQS-B1 30" Heigh Adjustable Monitor

            Best 27" Monitor:

            Twenty-seven inch monitors have become much more popular in recent years as prices for them have dropped. Provided you have the budget for one, the size of these particular monitors has them come highly recommended for most computing activities. The best 27 inch monitors we've assembled for this list make the grade as best of the best for several reasons. First, all of them are 2k (2560x1440) or 4k (3840x2160) resolution to give exceptionally sharp images. Next, they all provide outstandingly high contrast rations of between two million and one hundred million to one depending on the display. as well as featuring best in class viewing angles of one hundred seventy-eight degrees for great off-angle viewing and multi-monitor setups. Additionally, they all offer outstanding brightness of between three hundred and three hundred fifty candelas per square meter (cd/m2) as well as outstanding response times of between four and six milliseconds.

            ViewSonic VP2780-4K 27" Monitor

            This is an exceptional 4K offering from Viewsonic with a high performance IPS panel and exceptional connectivity options being offered. However, before you buy, you need to make sure your computers graphics processing unit is up to driving very high resolutions. Read Full Review

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              ViewSonic VP2780-4K 27" Monitor

              BenQ BL2711U 27-Inch IPS 4k Monitor 27" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

              This fine display from BenQ was designed with professionals in mind with 4K (3840x2160) resolution but it's a great buy for gamers as well with a wealth of connectivity options. However, as will all 4K displays, you need to be sure your graphics processing unit is up to the task of working with this high end monitor before you commit to a purchase. Read Full Review

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                BenQ BL2711U 27-Inch IPS 4k Monitor 27" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

                ASUS MX27AQ 27" Back-lit LED Monitor

                This is a great offering from Asus that features a high quality 2K panel and a viewing angle of one hundred seventy eight degrees making it a great addition to multi-monitor computer setups. It also features built in speakers made with technology from Bang & Olufsen for excellent sound quality. Read Full Review

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                  ASUS MX27AQ 27" Back-lit LED Monitor

                  Dell UltraSharp U2715H 27" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

                  This slim bezel, 2K monitor from Dell is a great value. With a slim bezel suited for multi-monitor setups and excellent contrast ratio of two million to one it's been priced to where you don't need to worry about breaking your bank account in the process. Read Full Review

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                    Dell UltraSharp U2715H 27" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

                    Asus Professional 27" LED LCD Monitor - PB278Q

                    Another outstanding offering from Asus, this 2k (2560x1440) resolution display is meant for use by professionals of all stripes but will serve gamers and general users very well. It features an exceptional set of connectivity options and a generous response time of five milliseconds. Read Full Review

                    Asus Professional 27" LED LCD Monitor - PB278Q

                    Best 24 Monitor:

                    Along with twenty-three inch monitors, twenty-four inch displays are the best selling PC displays. As such, there the filed of offerings is large and varied, so a lot of care must be taken when choosing a twenty-for inch display. The panels we've chosen for this list make the grade for several reasons, the first being they offer outstanding default resolutions of between 3840x2160 and 1920x1080 pixels as well as exceptional contrast ratios of between eight million and one hundred and twenty million to one. They also all have best in class brightness of between two hundred fifty and three hundred fifty candelas per square meter (CD/m2) and exceptional viewing angles for between one hundred seventy and one hundred and seventy-eight degrees for great off-angle viewing.

                    Viewsonic VX2475Smhl-4K 24" Monitor

                    This is a top tier display that offers a 4K panel which is rare in this size class. If your GPU is up to the task, this is a great monitor to consider for your setup. Read Full Review

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                      Viewsonic VX2475Smhl-4K 24" Monitor

                      Philips 242G5DJEB Extreme Performance 24" Professional Gaming Monitor

                      This is a class leading display that features an exceptional one hundred forty-four hertz refresh rate for flicker free gaming. However, this quality comes at a higher price. Read Full Review

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                        Philips 242G5DJEB Extreme Performance 24" Professional Gaming Monitor

                        ASUS 24" Back lit LED Monitor - VS248H-P

                        A great value for the money, this offering from Asus features a full suite of top notch specifications. Best of all, it's designed with a slim bezel, allowing it to function well in multi-monitor setups. Read Full Review

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                          ASUS 24" Back lit LED Monitor - VS248H-P

                          Dell 24" Monitor - S2415H

                          Featuring an ultra-slim bezel frame and excellent image quality, this is an outstanding monitor offering from Dell. It will look good on any desk or workstation and at a price that won't give you sticker shock when it comes time to seal the deal on your purchase. Read Full Review

                          Dell 24" Monitor - S2415H

                          Samsung 23.6" Screen LED-Lit Monitor - S24E360HL

                          This IPS display brings a great deal to the table including a two hundred fifty candelas per square meter for excellent brightness. It features great imagery and excellent specifications at a low price, making it an outstanding value. Read Full Review

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                            Samsung 23.6" Screen LED-Lit Monitor - S24E360HL

                            Best 22" Monitor:

                            Twenty-two inch monitors were once the staple of computer display sales but as larger monitors have become more inexpensive, not as many people are interested in this size class. Still, users who want a good display on a budget, want a second or third display, or have to fit their PC into a limited space, will find the twenty-two inch class to be the a perfect fit for their needs. As with larger displays, an outstanding monitor of this size must excel at a number of characteristics. The displays we've chosen for the best of class twenty-two in offering are all outstanding at several specifications including contrast rations of between five million and thirty million to one, a brightness of two hundred fifty candelas per square meter (cd/m2), and exceptional viewing areas of between one hundred seventy and one hundred seventy-eight degrees. Additionally, they all have outstanding response times of between five and seven milliseconds.

                            LG Electronics MP Series 22MP57HQ 22" Screen LCD Monitor

                            This monitor is a high performance IPS panel characterized by great system specs which justify it's top slot on our best list. While all this quality comes at a higher cost, you're definitely getting everything you pay for. Read Full Review

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                              LG Electronics MP Series 22MP57HQ 22" Screen LCD Monitor

                              Viewsonic VA2246m 22-inch Full-HD LED Monitor

                              This offering from Viewsonic is an outstanding value at a great price with an excellent viewing angle and exceptional contrast ratio. However, if you're someone who needs a monitor with an HDMI input, you'll have to look elsewhere. Read Full Review

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                                Viewsonic VA2246m 22-inch Full-HD LED Monitor

                                ViewSonic VX2270Smh-LED 22" LED LCD Monitor

                                Another great value from Viewsonic, it is hard to go wrong with this award winning design which includes connectivity options for D-Sub, DVI and HDMI posts. Additionally, it's IPS display panel has outstanding specifications with a generous display resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. Read Full Review

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                                  ViewSonic VX2270Smh-LED 22" LED LCD Monitor

                                  HP Pavilion 22xw 21.5" IPS LED Backlit Monitor

                                  This is a great offering from highly respected Hewlett-Packard with a contrast ratio of ten million to one. It features great connectivity options with both D-Sub and HDMI ports and an IPS display panel. All this at a price that won't bruise your checking account. Read Full Review

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                                    HP Pavilion 22xw 21.5" IPS LED Backlit Monitor

                                    Philips Brilliance 22" LED LCD Monitor - 220B4LPCB

                                    This is a excellent monitor from Phillips that brings a lot to the table despite a slightly lower resoltuion than our other picks at just 1680x1050 pixels. Despite the lower display resolution, you do get a brightness of two hundred and fifty candelas per square meter as well as both D-Sub and DVI input posts. Read Full Review

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                                      Philips Brilliance 22" LED LCD Monitor - 220B4LPCB

                                      Best Gaming Monitor Overall:

                                      Gaming is one of the most demanding tasks ever asked of a PC’s GPU, CPU and the monitor alike. As such, the display specifications of gaming monitors must be held to the highest of standards. We’ve chosen the best gaming monitors on this list because they have a minimum display resolution of between 2560x1440 (2K) and 1920x1080 (HD) pixels for exceptionally sharp images, outstanding response times of between one and four milliseconds, and refresh rates of between 60 and 144 hertz for smooth motion and blur-free action. They also all have exceptional contrast of between one thousand and one hundred million to one depending upon the display and the measurement protocol used. Finally they all offer outstasnding brightness of between three hundred and three hundred fifty candelas per square meter (cd/m2).

                                      LG Electronics UM67 34UM67 34" Screen LED-lit Monitor

                                      This is an outstanding ultra-wide display from industry leader Lucky Goldstar. For the ultimate in gaming, this panel is an excellent choice thanks to a 2K (2560x 1080) resolution and a 21:9 display ratio. Read Full Review

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                                        LG Electronics UM67 34UM67 34" Screen LED-lit Monitor

                                        ASUS 27" Back-lit LED G-SYNC Gaming Monitor - PG278Q

                                        This is an award winning monitor for Asus offers a lot of benefits to the user such as full 2K resolution and 350 candelas of brightness. For its size, this monitor features outstanding specs at a very competitive price. Read Full Review

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                                          ASUS 27" Back-lit LED G-SYNC Gaming Monitor - PG278Q

                                          Philips 242G5DJEB Extreme Performance 24" Professional Gaming Monitor

                                          This is a great display from Philips that offers HD quality images and multiple inputs to give you a good choice of connectivity options. Best of all, this monitor comes at a price that's easy on your bank account. Read Full Review

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                                            Philips 242G5DJEB Extreme Performance 24" Professional Gaming Monitor

                                            BenQ 27" Gaming Monitor - XL2730Z

                                            This is an exemplary panel that is a home run for BenQ. It has a long list of features and best of the best specifications such as 2K resolution and AMD Free-Sync technology at a great price. It's an excellent choice for individuals shopping in this size class. Read Full Review

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                                              BenQ 27" Gaming Monitor - XL2730Z

                                              Acer 27" Widescreen Monitor - XB270HU

                                              An excellent feature set, good imagery and blur-free gaming characterize this display from Acer. As is the custom for this manufacture, it's offered at a very good price making it a top of class value. Read Full Review

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                                                Acer 27" Widescreen Monitor - XB270HU

                                                Best 3D Monitor:

                                                Top of class 3D gaming monitors are a fickle breed that must be held to higher standards than more ordinary displays. We’ve chosen the following best 3D capable monitors they all provide support for the popular 3D viewing technology from Nvidia (3D Vision) which is what allows these panels to produce 3D images when used in conjunction with the 3D glasses provided by this manufacturer. Next, they all have exceptional refresh rate of one hundred forty-four hertz for exceptionally smooth, blur-free motion at high frame rates. These monitors also all offer ultra-fast response times of just one millisecond for seamless, stutter-free images as well as resolutions of between 1920x1080 (HD) pixels and 2560x1440 (2K) pixels for the sharpest images possible. Finally, these monitors also all exhibit exemplary brightness levels of between three hundred and three hundred fifty candelas per square meter (cd/m2).

                                                ASUS 27" Back-lit LED G-SYNC Gaming Monitor - PG278Q

                                                Great features and exceptional specifications like full 2K resolution of 2560x1440 pixels define this display from Asus. The best part of all is that this monitor comes at a very reasonable price for a display of this size and quality. Read Full Review

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                                                  ASUS 27" Back-lit LED G-SYNC Gaming Monitor - PG278Q

                                                  BenQ XL2420Z 24" Screen LED-Lit Professional Gaming Monitor

                                                  Specifications like 300 candelas per square meter and Nvidia 3Dtechnology 1 and 2 work together to ensure this monitor delivers an immersive gaming experience. This is a great display if you want an stand out offering in the 24 inch monitor class. Read Full Review

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                                                    BenQ XL2420Z 24" Screen LED-Lit Professional Gaming Monitor

                                                    ASUS VG248QE 24" Screen LED-lit Monitor

                                                    An excellent price and outstanding specifications such as full HD 1920x1080 and an ultra-low response time of one milisecond earns this 3D monitor a spot on our list. It's hard to go wrong with a monitor like this especially at this price point. Read Full Review

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                                                       ASUS VG248QE 24" Screen LED-lit Monitor

                                                      Philips 27" G-Sync Ultimate Performance Gaming Monitor - 272G5DYEB

                                                      A great display at a good price, this is an excellent offering for Philips. If you are not looking for a 2K display in the 27 inch class, this panel deserves your serious consideration. Read Full Review

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                                                        Philips 27" G-Sync Ultimate Performance Gaming Monitor - 272G5DYEB

                                                        BenQ XL2411Z 144Hz 1ms 24" Gaming Monitor - NVIDIA 3D Vision Supported

                                                        This 27 inch display delivers full HD resolution and a refresh rate of 144 hertz. Capable of delivering sharp color and great images, this display also provides a viewing angle of 170 degrees. Read Full Review

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                                                          BenQ XL2411Z 144Hz 1ms 24" Gaming Monitor - NVIDIA 3D Vision Supported

                                                          Best Budget Monitor:

                                                          Choosing a budget computer monitor can be difficult because you have to pay careful attention to display technology and the exact specifications of candidate displays in order to avoid poorly performing hardware. As such, these best budget monitors were chosen because they feature short response times between two and five milliseconds. Next, they all feature outstanding contrast ratios of between twelve million and one hundred million to one as well as full 1080 resolutions of 1920x1080 pixels. These displays also offer best-in-class viewing areas of between one hundred seventy and one hundred seventy weight degrees. Finally these best budget monitors all exhibit outstanding brightness of between two hundred fifty and three hundred candelas per square meter (cd/m2).

                                                          BenQ GL2760H Monitor

                                                          This is a large twenty-seven inch monitor with excellent image quality and good specs. If you are in the market for a larger monitor that is inexpensive, you need not look any further than this model. Read Full Review

                                                          BenQ GL2760H Monitor

                                                          ASUS VS Series VS247H-P Monitor

                                                          Twenty-three inches of display area and full HD resolution at 1920x1080 pixels help define the value of this budget computer display. Add in excellent connectivity options, and you end up with a monitor that is a great value. Read Full Review

                                                          ASUS VS Series VS247H-P Monitor

                                                          ASUS VS239H-P Full HD Back-lit LED Monitor

                                                          This is great display from Asus that features an impressive IPS panel with outstanding specifications. Excellent hardware connectivity and a slim, modern bezel design round out a great option for the budget-minded consumer. Read Full Review

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                                                            ASUS VS239H-P Full HD Back-lit LED Monitor

                                                            ViewSonic VA2349S LED-Lit LCD Full HD Monitor

                                                            This monitor features a high quality IPS panel with great specifications. The downside to this display is lack of an HDMI input but it's still a great value given the price you’re paying. Read Full Review

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                                                              ViewSonic VA2349S LED-Lit LCD Full HD Monitor

                                                              Acer G247HYL Full HD Widescreen Monitor

                                                              This is an excellent display with an IPS panel and outstanding specifications. However, with its high quality comes a price tag that is a little higher than some of the displays to make our list. Read Full Review

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                                                                Acer G247HYL Full HD Widescreen Monitor

                                                                Best IPS Monitor:

                                                                IPS is an acronym of 'In-Plane Switching' LCD panel technology and is generally considered one of the very highest quality display technologies available. It's known for superior color quality and sharper imagery compared to display technologies that are cheaper to produce. We've chosen these IPS panels because they all feature a full suite of exemplary specifications including minimum brightness levels of two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty candelas per square meter (cd/m2), outstanding contrast rations of between one thousand to one and eighty million to one depending upon the display and the measurement protocol used. Finally they all have excellent response times of between twelve and four milliseconds.

                                                                LG Electronics 29" Screen LED-lit Monitor - UM67 29UM67

                                                                This display tops our list with with an extra wide 21:9 display form factor and AMD Free-Sync technology for flicker-free images. As a nice bonus this monitor comes at a price that's fantastic considering all that you get. Read Full Review

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                                                                  LG Electronics 29" Screen LED-lit Monitor - UM67 29UM67

                                                                  Dell U3014 UltraSharp 30" PremierColor Monitor

                                                                  Technical features like 2560x1600 pixel resolution and a contrast ratio of two million to one characterize this exceptional monitor from Dell. With a tilting, swiveling stand and compatibility with most wall mounts, you need not look any further. Read Full Review

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                                                                    Dell U3014 UltraSharp 30" PremierColor Monitor

                                                                    Acer 27" Widescreen Monitor - XB270HU

                                                                    An excellent offering from top tier manufacturer, Acer. It brings outstanding features and a good price to the table if you are in the market for a high performance twenty-seven inch panel.
                                                                    Read Full Review

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                                                                      Acer 27" Widescreen Monitor - XB270HU

                                                                      ASUS 24" Back lit LED Monitor - VS248H-P

                                                                      This is an outstanding budget monitor offering from Asus which doesn't skimp on essential features. It brings an IPS panel with excellent visual specifications and modern looks to you at a price that is easy on your checking account. Read Full Review

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                                                                        ASUS 24" Back lit LED Monitor - VS248H-P

                                                                        ViewSonic 27" LED-Lit Professional Monitor - VP2770

                                                                        This is a great 27 inch display offering a contrast ratio of twenty million to one and a generous USB hub at a very competitive price. However, one thing to consider is it has a response time that's somewhat higher than other displays to make our list. Read Full Review

                                                                        ViewSonic 27" LED-Lit Professional Monitor - VP2770

                                                                        Best Monitor for MacBook:

                                                                        Macbooks are often used by professionals involved in visually oriented industries such as entertainment and graphic design. As a result, these computing devices must be paired with display monitors meeting the highest standards for display quality and color. Fortunately we’ve chosen the following best monitors for use with Macbooks because they all use 2K (2560x1440) to 5K (5120x2880) resolution to give users the sharpest, crispest images as well as excellent contrast specs between one thousand to one to eighty million to one. These monitors also have exceptional brightness levels of between three hundred and three hundred and seventy-five candelas per square meter (cd/m2). Finally, they all offer exceptional response times of between five and twelve milliseconds.

                                                                        Asus Professional 27" LED LCD Monitor - PB278Q

                                                                        This monitor from Asus offers outstanding specifications such as full 2k resolution to give you yield sharp, deeply vivid imagery. In addition to its stunning visuals, it also offer a variety of media ports for dual link DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and D-Sub. Read Full Review

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                                                                          Asus Professional 27" LED LCD Monitor - PB278Q

                                                                          Apple Thunderbolt 27" Display MC914LL/B

                                                                          This monitor from Apple has great specs including brightness of three hundred seventy-five candelas per square meter as well as a contrast ration of one thousand to one. However, as we've come to expect from Apple products it also has a premium price tag but you do get some very nice built-in extras. Read Full Review

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                                                                            Apple Thunderbolt 27" Display MC914LL/B

                                                                            Dell Ultra HD 27" Screen 5K LED-Lit Monitor - UP2715K

                                                                            This display offers best in class resolution and great specifications. Additionally you’re getting a one hundred seventy-eight degree viewing angle and built-in USB 3.0 hub for additional device connectivity. Read Full Review

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                                                                              Dell Ultra HD 27" Screen 5K LED-Lit Monitor - UP2715K

                                                                              Dell 27" Screen LED-lit Monitor - U2713HM

                                                                              This IPS panel features full 2K (2560x1440) display specifications, excellent response time, and a wide range of hardware connectivity options. With very little in the way of downsides, it’s hard to go wrong with this monitor. Read Full Review

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                                                                                Dell 27" Screen LED-lit Monitor - U2713HM

                                                                                NEC MultiSync EA244WMI-BK 24" Screen LED-Lit Monitor

                                                                                This is a premium quality display from NEC offering you excellent contrast rated at twenty-five thousand to one while response times are only six milliseconds. However you’re also getting a number of built-in features as well, ranging from a four port USB hub to excellent audio speakers. Read Full Review

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                                                                                  NEC MultiSync EA244WMI-BK 24" Screen LED-Lit Monitor
                                                                                   

                                                                                  Computer Monitor Buyer’s Guide

                                                                                  Since many of us spend countless hours a week staring at computer monitors, they may seem like pretty simple and straightforward pieces of equipment. Technical specs might not matter for a screen in an office cubicle or retail showroom floor, but if you’re a gamer or graphic designer, then these things make a tremendous difference.

                                                                                  When looking at different computer monitors, be sure to consider the screen type, size, and resolution as all of these factors greatly impact the look of your monitor. Refresh rate and response time are much more specific issues that are important for serious gamers, but probably do not matter quite as much for casual use.

                                                                                  Screen Type

                                                                                  While in the past, CRT monitors were the most common monitor types, now LCD and LED monitors are the most prevalent. LCD or Liquid Crystal Display is a type of flat-screen monitor that requires a secondary light source within the monitor while LED or Light Emitting Diodes produce light as semiconductors.

                                                                                  The best screens on the market use LEDs to backlight an LCD screen, and you are likely to find these in a wide range of prices. Additional features like ultra-high resolutions or curved screens are independent
                                                                                  of the screen type, so look for an LED backlit LCD screen first and foremost.

                                                                                  Screen Size

                                                                                  The actual screen size of a computer monitor indicates the viewing area of the screen on the monitor. This is measured diagonally across the display; for example, a 27-inch screen is 27 inches across diagonally, while a 32-inch screen is 32 inches across diagonally. As the diagonal size increases, so does the width and height of the screen, so even a couple inches in size indicates a much larger monitor.

                                                                                  One thing to keep in mind is the measured size often refers to the total diagonal size, with a smaller size indicated as “viewing area.” Be sure to find the advertised size and the viewing area to know exactly what you will be looking at. When choosing a monitor, you really shouldn’t go any smaller than about 17 inches with 20 to 27 inches being ideal for most users.

                                                                                  Resolution

                                                                                  The resolution of a computer monitor indicates the total number of vertical and horizontal pixels that can be displayed on a screen. Higher resolutions provide much better picture quality. If you’re a graphic designer or digital artist, high resolutions let you see much better versions of your work and are also ideal for PC gaming, but make sure your video card and monitor support the same resolution.


                                                                                  For example, an older 800x600 monitor could display 800 pixels horizontally and 600 pixels vertically. Newer screens on the other hand display thousands of pixels in each direction, with extremely good screens having 4K resolution, or 3840x2160.

                                                                                  If you imagine an image made up of 480,000 pixels (800x600 resolution) and then the same image made of 786,432 pixels (1024x768 resolution), you can quickly realize that the higher resolution image would be crisper and have much more detail and color quality.

                                                                                  Refresh Rate

                                                                                  The refresh rate of a computer monitor, which is measured in Hertz, indicates the number of times per second the image on a screen is refreshed or displayed anew. A display with a refresh rate of 60Hz refreshes itself 60 times every second.

                                                                                  For web browsing or typing, the rate is not terribly important. On the other hand, if you are a serious gamer, then you want a display with a high refresh rate, since it will update more frequently and make sure you do not miss a moment of the action. Higher rates can also be advantageous for viewing HD media at high resolutions and with the utmost clarity. 60Hz is pretty standard, but if you want a high-end model for serious gaming, then look for a rate of 144Hz.

                                                                                  Input Types

                                                                                  There are a few different input types or connectors used to send a video signal from your computer to your monitor. In general, the most important thing to know is what type of connection your motherboard or video card has, and purchase a monitor with a matching connector so that your display can connect to your computer tower or case.

                                                                                  Analog Connections
                                                                                  There are two common analog connections to be aware of, which are D-Sub and DVI-I. D-Sub is also known as VGA and has 15 pins in three rows, usually with a blue connector. This has been the most common and popular video input type for decades, but recently the DVI-I has become increasingly common.

                                                                                  DVI-I is usually white in coloration and has either 17 or 24 pins, depending on if it’s a single-link or dual-link connection. Dual-link is required for displays with resolutions above 1920x1200. Because they are both analog connections, you can use a simple adapter to connect a D-Sub cable to a DVI-I port.

                                                                                  Digital Connections
                                                                                  While analog has been more common for the last couple decades, digital connectors for computer monitors are becoming more popular. The two most common digital connections you will see are DisplayPort and HDMI. DisplayPort is used pretty much exclusively for computer monitors and is pretty common on newer motherboards and powerful graphics cards.

                                                                                  HDMI ports are also becoming popular on motherboards and video cards, and are used on modern HDTVs and similar hardware. While there are adapters for digital connections, they are imperfect and sometimes do not convey a signal. HDMI is a great option because of how many other pieces of hardware use HDMI ports, and it is becoming more and more universal.

                                                                                  Response Time

                                                                                  The response time of a display, similar to the refresh rate, is a very technical aspect of picture quality that average computer users probably do not need to worry about but can be very important for serious, competitive gamers.

                                                                                  Response time refers to how long it takes for a pixel on a screen to go from black with no image, to white, and back to black again. The biggest impact that response time has on performance involves reduction in artifacts due to fast action during PC gaming. Look for lower numbers, since response time is measured in milliseconds, and while most displays respond in 5ms, fast gaming monitors can have 1ms response times.

                                                                                  Manufacturer and Warranty

                                                                                  It is very important to choose a manufacturer that is reliable and dependable, as this diminishes the chances of dead pixels and other technical issues. Companies like ASUS, Dell, and Acer are all known for making quality displays. You can also look at monitors made by companies known for producing quality HDTVs like LG and Samsung. The warranties provided by companies are also very important, so look for at least one year of protection, but three-year warranties are preferable.

                                                                                  Additional Features

                                                                                  Depending on what you need for your computer system, there are also some features you might want to look for that are not quite standard. All of these features are completely optional and often increase the price on a display, so consider the benefit of such things before making a purchase.

                                                                                  3D Displays
                                                                                  3D displays let you view media and even play some PC games in 3D. However, you also spend more money for these specialty screens and you’ll need to wear specialized glasses to correctly view the 3D images.

                                                                                  Touch Screen Displays
                                                                                  Touch screens allow you to use your fingers to perform touch-based computing commands or enjoy touch-based computer games. Look for models with smooth swiping and a screen size large enough for comfortable movement.

                                                                                  Built In Speakers
                                                                                  Some monitors have speakers built into them, which can be helpful if you do not have or want separate speakers.

                                                                                  Mounting Hardware
                                                                                  There are monitors that include mounting hardware for placing the display on a wall, which can be ideal for some setups that lack desk space for a monitor.

                                                                                  USB Ports
                                                                                  Some monitors also include USB ports, which adds more device connectivity to your computer system, so keep that in mind if you need more USB connections.

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                                                                                  2 comments
                                                                                  • Anonymous Anonymous

                                                                                  You obviously don't know much about panels, putting a bunch of TN panels as the best quality.  Image quality is not excellent as you indicate on a six bit panel compared to an 8 bit panel and what about viewing angle.  Are you doing this just based on specs?  If you base your reviews on marketing, this is really worthless...

                                                                                  Posted on 12/31/2008 12:38 pm | Reply

                                                                                  These are the best overall, which represents a combination of performance and value. TN panels are suitable for most users and are much less expensive. However, if you are looking for the best LCD monitors for professionals, check out http://bestcovery.com/node/12336, which includes IPS and PVA panels.

                                                                                  Posted on 2/25/2009 11:54 am. In reply to Anonymous | Reply