How to buy a monitor: what to look for to get the best monitor (and price) for you

by admin April 11, 2020 at 1:50 pm

Every personal computer needs a display in order for us to use it and computer monitors have come a long way from the heavy, unwieldy CRTs of a few years ago. With the introduction of flatscreens and LED technology to the latest curved monitors for gaming, there are considerably more options for a monitor than there were even a decade ago. But not everybody knows how to buy a monitor that’s right for their computer setup.

Fortunately, we’re here to walk you through the process of finding the right monitor for your particular needs.

Whether its a high-performance gaming monitor with low-latency and 4K resolution or a simple 1080p display that can plug into your work laptop so you can enhance your productivity, here’s how to buy a monitor to fit your needs.

The first step is to know your budget

budgeting software

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Whenever you’re shopping for any computer hardware, knowing your budget is the first thing you should do. Monitors can vary considerably in price and some features are simply not going to be found below a certain price point. 

By knowing how much you have to spend, you can narrow down your available options very quickly and you can focus your search on those features that are available in your price range. Most importantly, this will also allow you to prioritize those features that matter the most for your specific needs.

That said, if your budget is about $200/£160/AU$300, the best monitor you’re going to be able to buy might just be a large LED TV, in which case, buy the biggest and highest resolution TV or monitor you can afford. You won’t get any special features, but at least it will look as good as it can.

General rules for how to buy a monitor

HDMI cable

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If you are looking for an external monitor for a work laptop, your needs are going to be very different than those of a PC gamer and your monitor should be suitable for the specific task.

Regardless of your specific needs, there are a few universal rules to follow:

  • Make sure the monitor accepts the same kind of input connection that your computer uses for output, or else invest in an adapter to make them compatible. If the monitor accepts a DVI input and your computer only has an HDMI output, you will need an adapter to bridge the two.
  • Buy the biggest screen that fits the physical space it will sit in and falls within your budget. There’s no such thing as too much display, but you’ll know it if you don’t have enough space on your screen.
  • Buy the highest resolution display that you can. A 4k display will always look better than a 1920×1080 Full HD display and will be more futureproof as well. As 4k screens come down in price there’s little reason to forgo the higher resolution if it fits within your budget.

The most important step is to know your needs

(Image credit: Future)

What kind of monitor you should buy will depend very much on what you need your monitor to do, and not every monitor is suitable for every purpose.

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