Computers & Electronics

what specs do you require on a monitor?

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[OP]
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Dec 28, 2010
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what specs do you require on a monitor?

Now that I'm officially not the youngest any more I'm considering buying a monitor to attach to my laptop. Staples, for example, has a few interesting ones but I'm not a 100% about the specifications. If I want details charts on my screen and take a selection from a smaller font, would I choose from a LED and a high contrast ratio? And is Eye-Care something that benefits someone or is it more of a marketing tool?

For example: https://www.staples.ca/products/2973621 ... r-va24ehey

I wouldn't mind spending a bit more money on a good monitor
9 replies
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Feb 16, 2006
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I'm not the youngest either being 55+ but being active with hobbies that involve content creation - photography - so wanting accurate colours and sharp fonts.

What you have stated "If I want details charts on my screen and take a selection from a smaller font, would I choose from a LED and a high contrast ratio?" has practically no impact at all for general day to day use viewing web pages, MS Word documents or Excel spreadsheets.

Almost all monitors use a LCD panel (IPS, VA, TN, etc) and use LED's as the back light source, much like current household light bulbs and car head lights. Almost all IPS desktop and laptop screens have a STATIC contrast ratio of somewhere between 700:1 and 1100:1. The contrast ratio you see promoted in marketing literature is a DYNAMIC contrast ration (i.e. 1,000,000:1) or something to do with one of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) standards. As an image editor, I'm only interested in the STATIC specification. As a movie watcher, I might be interested in the DYNAMIC or HDR spec but if poorly implemented, as is often the case in $140 monitors, I would rather not use it because it is annoying as all hell. On my $1500 HDTV where it is properly implemented with dedicated chipsets and firmware to help create really black blacks and bright brights, then sure it is all good (but I would never use my HDTV to edit images).

Neither the LED or Dynamic\HDR contrast do much to improve readability. That has more to do with native resolution and screen size (and reading glasses, which I use when working at my desk) and lowering the brightness of the screen from "eye searing" to merely "partially blinding" helps more, especially if many hours a day are in front of the screen. It is when you lower the brightness that one of the issues related to "EyeCare" becomes pertinent.

I have three monitors on my desk, two attached to my big case PC, and one attached to my work laptop, a 22" IPS glossy screen with 1920x1080 resolution (matches the native resolution of my laptop screen). My external laptop screen is quite similar to the ASUS monitor per your link.

IPS is the panel technology providing a wide viewing angle over which colours will remain constant with very minor changes in gamma value and color shifting. Other technologies can show dramatic shifts - "VA" panels as in MVA or PVA, often used in large screen TV's (they offer darker blacks than IPS panels), will show a noticeable colour\gamma shift when viewed more than 20 degrees left or right of straight on. "TN", often used in gamer monitors, show a shift vertically and often will display a band at the top and bottom of the monitor that appears darkened somewhat, depending on how close you sit to the monitor. I suggest sticking with IPS, PLS or AHVA. IPS is a technology associated with LG Electronics, PLS is the Samsung equivalent, AHVA is the AOS equivalent.

Read more about monitors here > https://www.tftcentral.co.uk/specs.htm

EyeCare - from Google "ASUS Eye Care Technology is a combination of two technologies (Flicker-free and Low Blue Light) which are designed to help prevent CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome). Eye Care Technology helps reduce CVS and brings eye health benefits to ASUS notebooks and other devices."

Well, I call BS on the Blue Light fluff, period. Not a good reason to solely justify buying a particular monitor. Flicker Free is another issue which a lot of recent and better quality monitors offer without all the chest pounding of exaggerated marketing names.

This "blue light" thing is greatly exaggerated IMHO and used by far too many companies to promote the sale of products at higher profit margins. I just think it is blatant hype. I stop using my monitors an hour before bed and the standard glasses I wear, due the material they are made of, filter the "blue" light.

Flicker free is not an issue for most monitors that do NOT use a technique called "PWM" to dim the screen. Not all people are susceptible to detecting PWM flicker. Flicker on less expensive and\or older monitors was not common and mainly occurred when you dimmed the screen down to a level of about 25% or lower. Image editors like me do that to balance the screen brightness against the ambient light level of the room we edit in so as to prevent a perceptual issue from occurring that causes us to unintentionally lower the brightness of the images which results in them printing too dark. It is a very well known issue in the photo editing world. Gamers, on the other hand, want their screens at near full brightness so they can see the tiniest bit of detail\movement in dark games. Really bright monitors in a really dark room causes more headaches than flicker issues imho.

PWM explained:
https://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/p ... lation.htm


For you, depending on how far away you plan to sit, a 27 inch 1920x1080 resolution monitor may be better if all you are doing is reading web pages and spread sheets. But if you are doing photography you would want a finer dot pitch than this and a 27 inch 2560x1440 resolution might be better. A 23.8 (effectively 24 inch) 1920x1080 is a good balance in between. The size of the font on the 27" 2560x1440 is roughly the same as the 24" 1920x1080 but you have more columns left to right and rows top to bottom if viewing spread sheets.

You can agonize over spec issues like panel uniformity all you want but in the price range of $120 to $300 you are not going to get much better than what you are currently looking at. This is a low end commodity monitor that is not even worth a review from most web sites. It is a good work from home monitor. If you want to spend upwards of $700 then you will be getting into a realm where some specs might be different enough to consider paying that kind of $$$.

This monitor is not too dissimilar from the one you are viewing, reviewed back when IPS was not quite full on commodity.

https://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/asus_ml239h.htm

Any other questions?

Edit: most recent reviews from better review sites comment on if PWM is used in a monitor and the frequency at which it is operated.

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Deal Addict
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Feb 6, 2003
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The above post is very good.

Unfortunately I think the only way to find out what you want is to go look at them. If you can't then overbuy. I have a 27" 2560x1440 IPS panel and I am glad I spent the money (36" viewing distance) . Great for web and spreadsheets but perhaps overkill. It is nice the ocassional time I watch TV on it though.
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Feb 16, 2006
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And..... make sure the monitor supports the connectivity that your laptop offers for connecting an external monitor. If you have HDMI output from the laptop, find a monitor with HDMI in. There are work around adapters but better to get this right with your original purchase.

Also, if your laptop screen supports only 1366x768 native resolution, don't expect that you'll be able to use the laptop screen and the 1920x1080 external screen as one expanded desktop where you can seamlessly drag a window from the external to the laptop and, in particular, get the appearance of the external monitor (colour & gamma) to match the laptop screen. Chances are you will not be able to.

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Deal Guru
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Mar 6, 2003
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The above post has a lot of helpful information, but I just wanted to recommend that....

If you can afford it, get a 27" 2560x1440 IPS panel. I think this is the sweet spot in size for many people.

More pixels is just better. You can just fit more content onto the screen. The larger size means you can see more of a page without having to scroll around. If you find the fonts too small, both Windows and MacOS allow you to fine tune zoom level using scaling. So you don't have to worry about the content being too hard to read as it's adjustable for your comfort level.
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Jan 19, 2005
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NewsyL wrote: Also, if your laptop screen supports only 1366x768 native resolution, don't expect that you'll be able to use the laptop screen and the 1920x1080 external screen as one expanded desktop where you can seamlessly drag a window from the external to the laptop and, in particular, get the appearance of the external monitor (colour & gamma) to match the laptop screen. Chances are you will not be able to.
I've been able to connect a laptop with a 1680x1050 screen to an external 1080p screen through the VGA port. It's an older (c2d) model. I had to get an updated driver for this to work.
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[OP]
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Dec 28, 2010
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NewsyL wrote: Any other questions?

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Smiling Face With Open Mouth

No, ahahaha, that was probably the most elaborate and informative answer to my question, I really appreciate it!
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recordman wrote: I've been able to connect a laptop with a 1680x1050 screen to an external 1080p screen through the VGA port. It's an older (c2d) model. I had to get an updated driver for this to work.
Yes, that is the easy part. The hard part can be getting the colour of the external to match the laptop screen when you are attempting to use both screens at the same time as in when you "Extend" the Windows desktop across both displays and getting the external monitor to display at its' native resolution if the native resolution of the laptop screen is lower.

The issue lies with older laptops, particularly of the generation that offered the 1366x768 resolution or lower. They typically only had a single LUT (Look Up Table) that was shared across the multiple screens whether it be the internal laptop screen or the external via DVI or HDMI. These single LUT units will usually force the highest resolution of the laptop screen onto the external screen. When imposing 1680x1050 (16:10) onto a 1920x1200 (16:10) external you might not notice a lack of sharpness, but on a 1920x1080 you'd likely notice that circles are slightly oval in shape. This happens when you force a 16:10 ratio (1680x1050) resolution onto a 16:9 space (1920x1080).

The LUT also is responsible for holding colour correction parameters which are loaded at boot up. The laptop ships with an ICC profile, a data file provided by the OEM which corrects the colour parameters to meet known colour standards (sRGB, AdobeRGB, etc). A shared LUT means one of the two screens will get the wrong colour correction and appear "off" and not the same as the other.

If you intend to use only the external monitor at home and keep the laptop lid closed or screen off, in theory under Windows it will auto detect the external monitor and pick the correct ICC profile to use at boot up. Not always though. And some inexpensive monitors are offered with poorly calibrated ICC profiles. There are sites such as TFT Central that offer custom ICC profiles to download and use.

You can force use of specific ICC profiles thru use of the Windows Color Management Control Panel.

When you use a colorimeter such as Spyder5pro or i1 Display Pro, in the process of calibrating the monitor they create a custom ICC profile for your monitor.

On recent modern laptops, especially those using a discrete mobile GPU, such as a Nvidia 1650 or MX200 for example, it may be as easy as just connecting the external due the GPU in these has at least 2 or more LUT's.

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Deal Fanatic
Nov 17, 2004
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The monitor in the OP's link is a fine choice.

Eye-care is marketing BS.
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Sr. Member
Jan 8, 2015
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VA 8 bit panel and TN panel(or IPS with no IPS glow)
21:9 2560x1080 30 inches
lowest response time possible with no ghosting + lowest input lag possible
60 hz is fine, 75 hz is gravy, 100hz and up is overkill since my modest GPU's won't be able to handle it
No curved monitors
VESA compatible
Displayport and HDMI ports
Internal power supply
No PWM flickering
Freesync

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