How to choose a good monitor

When compiling the selection, I relied on my many years of experience testing monitors, as well as reviews from owners and reviews from specialized publications. An important condition for choosing is the relevance of the model and its availability for sale.

I have highlighted several important criteria for choosing a monitor. If the models from our list do not suit you, you can choose the device yourself, based on these parameters.

Screen size. The larger the monitor, the more comfortable it is to work, read and watch videos. But the large model takes up a lot of space on the table and has a bulky stand. And you need to sit at a greater distance from the screen so that you don’t have to constantly turn your head.

The larger the diagonal, the higher the resolution the matrix should have. For example, Full HD, 1920 × 1080 pixels , is well suited for models up to 25″, but at 27″ or even 32″ individual pixels will be visible. The image will be unclear.

Models with a diagonal of 21-24″ are suitable for small workplaces and e-sports games, where it is important to keep the entire screen in the field of attention. For such a monitor, Full HD resolution is quite enough.

A 27-28″ monitor is quite large, but it fits well on a regular-sized desk. It is perfect for both work and games. The best resolution here would be WQHD, 2560 Ã— 1440 pixels: the picture will be clear, but the load on computer hardware will be lower than at 4K.

A large 32″ screen is suitable for creative work and entertainment, but requires a lot of space on the table or wall. Such a monitor can easily replace a couple of small ones: it is convenient to open two or three windows at once. There are 32″ models on sale with Full HD and WQHD resolution , but these parameters may not be enough. With such a diagonal, the best option is 4K.

There are also widescreen monitors – 29-34″ or more. Models with non-standard aspect ratios of 21:9 and  32:9 are great for working with multiple windows or for video editing.

But when watching movies, there will be empty black fields on the sides. In games, a wide screen enhances immersion, but not all of them are compatible with this format. It happens that the game does not add environmental details on the sides, but stretches the picture, cutting it off at the top and bottom. Or interface elements in the corners of the screen are out of sight. And it is important to remember that increased resolution additionally loads the computer.

Matrix type. The matrix is ​​the basis of any monitor. Color accuracy, viewing angles, and image smoothness depend on it.

In 2022, it is worth finally abandoning options with  TN screens . These matrices are cheap and have a fast response time. But at the same time, the picture fades even at a small angle, and the contrast and color rendition are inferior to other types of LCD screens .

The best choice is an IPS screen . Such matrices have large viewing angles and correct color rendition. Therefore, IPS monitors are best suited for graphics work. Manufacturers have already learned how to make fast IPS panels , so they are also found in gaming monitors, but more often in more expensive models.

VA matrices have higher contrast and deeper blacks, and the shades of such screens are more saturated. It’s good for movies and games. But the viewing angle in VA is not as wide, and the color reproduction is worse – they are not as good as IPS for creative work.

Brightness and HDR. Monitors with HDR are good at conveying both bright and dark areas in a single image without losing detail, brightness or contrast. These screens also show more shades with smooth gradients.

HDR operation depends on the brightness of the screen backlight. The higher it is, the more distinguishable shades the display can display. Good brightness for a regular monitor is considered to be 300-350 nits. The minimum to achieve HDR certification is 400 nits. But for high-quality HDR playback you will need at least 500 nits.

Refresh rate and response time. Important parameters for those who plan to play. They show how quickly the image on the display is updated. The faster the response time and the higher the refresh rate, the smoother the movement of objects on the screen.

If you are buying a monitor with competitive gaming in mind, you should choose a model with a response time of 1-2 ms and a refresh rate of 120 Hz or higher. For working with text and watching movies, the standard frequency of 60 Hz is enough.

Different manufacturers indicate response times in different systems. The most common and visual is called GtG – grey-to-grey . It indicates the time during which an individual pixel manages to completely change color. For example, a 60Hz screen requires a response time of no more than 16ms, and a 165Hz screen requires no more than 6ms. If the response lags behind the refresh rate, when the frame changes, the pixels do not have time to update, then a ghosting effect appears on moving objects.

Adaptive VRR frequency synchronization. Essential technology for gaming. A regular monitor has a frequency of 60 Hz , that is, the image on it is updated 60 times per second. But games cannot always consistently produce 60 FPS so that one in-game frame falls on one screen refresh cycle.

If the speed of the game and the monitor diverge, the image will lose smoothness. When the monitor has to wait for the computer – or vice versa – there are jerks and subtle stutters that are very annoying and disrupt concentration.

VRR technology is designed to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate with the game’s frame rate. If necessary, a 240Hz monitor will be able to drop it down  to 30Hz or any uneven number like 63Hz, adjusting to the game and increasing the smoothness of the image.

There are two types of VRR: AMD FreeSync based on an open standard and Nvidia proprietary G-Sync technology . Since 2019, Nvidia video cards have become compatible with Adaptive Sync, so monitors with the Adaptive Sync, G-Sync Compatible and FreeSync logos work with any modern computer.

Nvidia and AMD have more advanced VRR technologies like G-Sync Ultimate and FreeSync Premium, which allow you to combine adaptive sync with HDR and high resolutions. They are found in very expensive gaming monitors and are only compatible with video cards of the corresponding brand.

Flicker-free backlight. Screen flickering is difficult to notice with the naked eye because the backlight LEDs turn on and off dozens of times per second. But this quietly causes eye fatigue.

In modern monitors, Flicker Free technology combats this effect. The backlight modulates direct current, which makes the light flux uniform and eliminates flicker. The negative impact on vision is significantly reduced.

It is worth finding out in advance what technologies to protect your eyes are used in the monitor. For example, in addition to Flicker Free, there is also a blue light suppression function. European safety certificates can be checked. If the monitor has been certified by TÃœV Rheinland, the display’s level of eye strain is low.

Connecting to a computer. Low-end monitors most often have HDMI and an outdated D-SUB port . Moreover, an HDMI cable may not be included – only a connector on the monitor.

In more advanced models, DisplayPort is also found; it surpasses HDMI in throughput. To fully exploit the capabilities of a monitor with HDR, frequencies greater than 120 Hz or Nvidia G-Sync , you will need DisplayPort.

HDMI also comes in different types. The most common standard is HDMI 1.4. It does not support frame rates higher than 120 Hz in Full HD, and can only achieve 30 Hz in 4K . Therefore, more expensive models are equipped with HDMI 2.0 : it supports up to 60 Hz in 4K and transmits the signal in HDR.

There is also the most modern HDMI 2.1 standard , which already supports 8K with HDR or 4K with HDR at 120 Hz. But such a port is practically never found in monitors.

Stand. For comfortable work, it is important to position the monitor correctly: its center should be approximately at eye level, so that your neck does not become stiff and your back can be kept straight.

Budget monitors are rarely equipped with advanced adjustments; at best, you can slightly change the tilt angle. In more expensive models, there is height adjustment and rotation to portrait mode.

If the monitor meets all the criteria except the convenience of the stand, it’s okay. Most screens have standard holes for VESA mounting, and a good desktop or wall bracket can be purchased for a couple of thousand rubles.