How to pick the perfect monitor
Need to find the right screen for your home office? It depends on what you're using it for...
23 Jul 2020
When this all started, a lot of us went rooting around for our old monitor as a quick fix. But now we’re WFM for the long haul, it might be time to look for an upgrade. Squinting at a ten-year-old monitor isn’t exactly appealing- even if it does ‘do the job’.
But it can be tricky to know where to start. What’s important and what’s not? Of course, it depends what you’re doing.
To help you make your decision, it’s handy to have a good idea of what those spec points mean.
Resolution: A better resolution means better picture quality. It goes from 1080p for perfectly passable quality, to HD, 4K and 8K. With 8K you’d be able to see tiny details like the texture of clothing in a photo.
Refresh rates: This is a measure (in Hz) of how often the screen refreshes and updates the picture. A low refresh time will mean a choppier picture. For everyday use 60 Hz will do you just fine.
Response times: Basically, how long it takes your computer to tell your monitor what it should be showing. With a low response rate, the monitor will do this very quickly. 5ms is all you’ll need for your average applications and videos.
Screen size/type: You guessed it. The size of your screen. Space is obviously an important factor so you’ll want to keep that it mind and measure up.
I’m looking for… something for general office work
If you’re just browsing, watching the odd YouTube video and using Office 365, it’s unlikely you’re going to need something fancy.
Resolution: 1080p or HD will be fine. You’ll still have a clear picture, although some of the finer detail might be lost.
Screen size/type: There’s no need for a huge screen here. 22” will give you plenty of room to look at your docs without squinting.
What else? If you’re using it for office work, chances are you’re spending a long time staring at that screen. What might come in handy here is something like Dell’s ComfortView.
The DELL SE2219H Full HD 22" LED Monitor has special tech that reduces the amount of harmful blue light hitting your eyes. Plus, its tilting screen lets you adjust the angle for the best view and least glare wherever you’re sitting.
I’m looking for… something that’ll help me with conference calls
Spending a lot of time chatting to people on-screen? Or giving presentations? A bigger screen and better picture quality will help here.
Resolution: HD or higher is the aim. You want a clear enough picture that low lighting isn’t an issue.
Screen size/type: You might want to up the screen size slightly here. But if you’re short on space, it’s a good idea to find a borderless (or close to) monitor. This is where the actual display on your monitor stretches all the way to the edges. You get a bigger screen, but without the extra inches from a border.
What else? If sound’s important too, but you’ve got limited workspace, think about getting a monitor with built-in speakers.
Take the DELL S2719H Full HD 27" IPS Monitor. Its Waves MaxxAudio speakers give you great sound without the need for clunky external equipment. And its Infinite Edge makes it virtually borderless.
I’m looking for… something to help with all the editing I do
Video or photo editing, graphic design, whatever it is you’re creating- you need a monitor that can keep up. Colour, quality and clarity are important so best not to skimp here.
Resolution: Quad HD or above will get you the best results. It’ll pick up those finer details so you can make the most of your editing skills. You also want something with good colour accuracy- imagine printing your work only to find it’s in a totally different hue.
Screen size/type: Again a borderless display will help you keep up screen size without sacrificing space. You might also think about a curved monitor. The curve makes the screen seem wider than it actually is and helps with eye strain too.
What else? If you’re moving between different devices- like a laptop, tablet, console or PC – it can be useful to have two HDMI ports. That’s one of the good things about this DELL S2719DM Quad HD 27" LCD Monitor. It’s also really bright, letting those colours pop in the darkest of rooms.