How to select a Computer LCD Monitor
Many of us when purchasing a computer LCD Monitor just look at the size of the monitor and look at the price we are not bothered about anything else maybe some of us are a bit brand specific but after that hey it’s just a Monitor and it just displays things…. right?
The big problems it that many of us might be upgrading our computer every 2 years with the latest processors / graphic cards but typically the LCD Monitor stays the same for example many people just replace there monitor once every 4-5 years, also do note that a monitor is one of the most important thing coz you may have a very high end graphic card or however fast it might be ultimately the output for the same is shown on the LCD Monitor so purchasing a quality Monitor make a lot of sense.
So are there different types of Monitors in the market and if so are some better than the other?
Yes basically there are three different types of display technologies that are used in the LCD Monitors Panels, the TN, VA and the IPS sadly 80% of the computer LCD monitors in the market are of the TN variant coz this is the cheapest type of panel that is available in the market, don’t get me wrong a TN panel is pretty decent for typical scenarios like office Monitors etc but there are much better LCD Panels in the market if you need to pay attention to graphic details or accurate color reproduction or use the LCD Monitor to watch a lot of videos or movies to give you and idea about the same I will list the differences between these panels.
TN Panel: TN (Twisted Nematic) panels are the most common LCD Monitors in the market as they are very cheap to manufacture these panels also offer excellent response time hence are ideal for gamers but in terms of color reproduction, viewing angles and contrast ratios the TN panels are the worst of any current LCD panel technology.
VA Panel: VA (Vertical Alignment) technology such as S-PVA / MVA are somewhere in the middle in LCD Panel technology, these panels offer better viewing angles and color reproduction than TN panels but they have very high response time hence are not ideal where there is lot of fast-pace action going on the screen like gaming etc as ghosting will appear on the screen, VA panels have good contrast ratios compared to other panel types, which leads to better black levels. The biggest disadvantage of VA based panels is color shifting, this is when the image viewed from one angle changes or “shifts” when viewed from a slightly different angle, making various uneven brightness levels across the display.
IPS Panel: IPS (In Plane Switching) technology is considered overall the best LCD technology for image quality a IPS panel will produce better image quality due to better color reproduction and better viewing angles these panels are better suited for graphic professionals or other applications where reproduction of high quality image is important these panels also have a high viewing angles upto 178 degrees so there is no color shifting or degradation of image quality if you view the picture from different angles which might be important if you watch a lot of video like movies on your monitor and would like sit back a few feet away from your monitor, also in terms of response time IPS panels are not the fastest but in the middle ground the typical response time of IPS panel is around 6 – 16ms but the big problem with IPS Panel is the pricing these panels are the most expensive and are generally about 50 – 100% more in price than the TN based models, hence only high end LCD Monitors use the IPS technology.
Backlit display technology
The other thing to look at when buying a new LCD Monitor is the Backlit display traditionally LCD monitors used the CCFL backlight and currently most of the monitors still use this but there is a new technology being used which is instead of using CCFL LED lights are being used to backlight the LCD Monitor panel the advantage of using LED backlight is that this lowers the power consumptions upto 30-40% also LED based backlight LCD monitors tend of be a lot slimmer that the CCFL backlight monitors, also as the LED backlight monitors can control the brightness little better than the CCFL types the contrast ratio is a little better but there is no huge improvement in picture quality using a LED backlight but due to the lower power consumption it might be ideal for you if your monitor is used a lot.
Adjustable height flexible stand
If you are purchasing a new Monitor do also give a thought to how adjustable / flexible is the monitor most of the monitors can tilt a little up / down but the better ones have height adjustments, can swing left / right and some of them can also rotate 90 degrees in portrait view I feel height adjustment is pretty important if you work for long extended hours on your computer as you can adjust the height of the monitor, do note a general thumb of rule is that the monitors height should not go above your eye level and thus with large screen monitors height adjustment is a important factor to consider.
A LCD panel will display the best picture quality only on the native resolution that it supports if you use a resolution that is not native for your LCD panel the picture might looks fuzzy or stretched most of the bigger screen LCD Monitors 23 – 27 inches monitors support Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 / 1920 x 1200 which is not a problem with modern computers and graphic cards but do make sure that your computer is capable of supporting these high resolutions, also if you are planing to play games and your computer is not that powerful a lower resolution monitor like most 19 – 22″ monitors which have a slightly a lower native resolution might be more suitable.
I personally have both the TN panel and the IPS LCD Monitor (both use CCFL backlight, I would love to have LED + IPS panel monitor but they are very expensive) and there is a lot of difference in both the panels, the IPS panel is much better overall in picture quality than the TN panel as I have a dual monitor setup the primary monitor is a IPS one and the TN is the secondary one as I work a lot on videos and pictures the TN is just not that good and once you get used to a IPS panel there is no going back.