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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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


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.

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.

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.

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



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.

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Curved 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.

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Touch Screen

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.

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High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the next big thing in the world of monitors. It offers better contrast, greater brightness levels and a wider colour palette than that of a non HDR monitor, which means you'll be able to enjoy your movies, games and graphics with striking highlights, deeper darks and vibrant colours for a more true-to-life experience.

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