Highest Value Monitors
Understanding how to pick a monitor requires answering these six questions...
- How big?
- Reduce eye strain?
- Specific software requirements?
- Action gamer?
- Connection preference?
- On a budget?
The size is measured diagonally.
Reduce eye strain?
The vast majority of eye strain is due to the choice of monitor, then secondly the driver version or its configuration, then lastly the video card or other factors. In some cases it can be quite a challenge tracking down the exact reason. Here are some pointers...
It's best to consider these points:
- LED displays are sharper, clearer, include local dimming, and have faster refresh rates, making it the most important detail to look for
- IPS technology is good because there is more color accuracy and a vastly improved viewing angle (yet worse blackening; if you need better blacks then lean towards high-end VA, TN or OLED)
- be sure there is sufficient resolution for size: consider 1080p a minimum for small sizes, 4K a minimum for medium sizes, and 8K a minimum for large sizes
- TUV certified is good
- Regarding dimming of pixels, the PWM method is bad (flickers), while the DC dimming method does not flicker
- Glare reduction is good
- Screens that curve around you reduce eye strain caused by the need to refocus eyes to different parts of the screen
- Rare individuals experience eye strain from the standard 60Hz refresh speed, and instead require 75Hz
- How blue light is managed affects eye strain for many, so look for monitors with some new tech to better manage the blue light, or alternatively set the PC operating system to reduce blue light
- Monitor positioning affects eye strain, experiment with different positions to find the best one, experts suggest 30-40 degrees below the horizontal
- Dithering is a feature that emulates higher resolution yet causes eye strain for many, so it can be disabled in a graphics card's advanced settings, and is not present in Intel's integrated graphics, or you can mitigate the problem by using real 4K
Specific software requirements?
Our business philosophy makes software compatibility very likely across the board. However, it's always a good idea to review the requirements of your software before purchasing hardware. If any questions feel free to contact us.
If you are an action gamer, then refresh speed is a consideration. Consider 1ms your ultimate choice, and anything slower than 6ms a bit of a handicap. It's also important to not get too big of a screen, so that your eyes will travel less to catch what's happening. (In contrast, a graphics emersion gamer will usually want a bigger screen, as much resolution as possible, and will be happy with a somewhat slower refresh rate of around 5ms-10ms.) An action gamer will also want what's called FreeSync (aka AdaptiveSync). This is a technology that coordinates frame refreshing in the monitor, to more accurately coincide with the GPU, which then clears up image wobbles and other artifacts as the graphics change. It's important that FreeSync is both a feature of the monitor, and a feature of the GPU. However, a faster refresh rate is a commonly chosen compromise.
Then there are connections. VGA was the universal standard for many years, but it is limited to a 2K screen resolution. HDMI or DisplayPort will be necessary to deliver 4K video. HDMI 1.4 delivers 4K with compromises, while HDMI 2.0 delivers 4K without compromises. DisplayPort generally delivers better performance and features than HDMI. But it depends on version. For a full 60Hz 4K performance you'll need HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2a. If you have to have smooth 4K performance then those are your minimums.
On a budget?
Monitor technologies of great value are LED, IPS, and 4K resolution. And if looking for performance, then 1080p resolution. These are the realms where it is possible to get far more for your money.
However, if price is no object, then you'll want a monitor that raises the standard in these areas: faster refresh speed, greater color accuracy, more colors, higher dynamic range (HDR), more resolution, better pixel alignment, considerable viewing range, excellent blackness, higher contrast ratio, and more brightness. You may also want to consider OLED.
Given all that, we have selected a few monitors with exceptionally high value...
Highest-Value Small 1080p Monitor
This is likely the highest-value cheap small monitor for all possible uses. It is so good, that it is currently a favorite amongst action gamers on a serious budget. But it works just as well in other areas of interest. It includes LED and IPS, two of the most important things to look for to be easy on the eyes. It is only 21.5", has a 4ms response time, which is better than good, and sometimes sells for less than $100. It has that super cool super thin look. It does not include speakers. There are great reviews from hundreds of happy users. The Acer SB220Q-bi 21.5" Full HD IPS Ultra-Thin Zero Frame Monitor works with both HDMI and VGA.
Highest-Value 1080P Monitor
The Sceptre E248W-19203R seems to have it all: It's an ultra thin 24" 75Hz 1080p LED monitor with 2x HDMI ports and speakers. This is a low priced monitor with great specifications. It's rated exceptionally high by thousands of online consumers.
Super Fast Small 1080p Monitor
A serious action gamer not on a budget will want this monitor. It is 24", has a 1ms response time, which is the best there is. It includes 2 watt speakers. The ASUS VG248QE 24" 1080p 1ms Gaming Monitor works with HDMI, Dual-link DVI-D, and DisplayPort.
Highest-Value Small 4K Monitor
This is by far the best deal we've seen for a good quality 4K monitor. It has all the right features for all purposes: 4ms refresh, IPS, LED, great contrast, great blacks, DisplayPort, HDMI, looks good, and great price: Phillips 276E8VJSB.
Very Popular Small 4K Monitor
For a superior value all-purpose monitor, small 4K is the way to go. This UHD 27" monitor is 1st place at techradar, and has all the right features for all common uses. This is one of those high-end monitors that took a big dip in price due to some minor complaints mainly affecting mac users: LG 27UD88-W.
Premium 4K Monitor
If you simply cannot compromise quality, then this LG 32" UltraFine 4K may be what you're looking for. It features a Nano IPS display, DCI-P3 (a special color accuracy standard used in movie production), HDR (greater range between dark and light), a near border-less display (screen runs right up to the edges of the monitor), and 4K Daisy Chain with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
Highest-Value Large 4K Monitor
The LG 43UD79-T is a 42.5" monitor that we highly recommend. It has just the right combination of features for a great all-purpose 4K monitor. Its 5ms refresh rate makes it just good enough for demanding action games, the 10-bit color depth with Color Gamut CIE1931 NTSC 72% standard keeps it on par in engineering and graphic applications, the 3840x2160 resolution is the perfect compromise between all objectives, and its screen is very easy on the eyes. It even has 10 watt rich bass speakers.