|Volume 8 Issue 1||January 2014|
|Buying A Computer Monitor? Read This!|
Whether you're looking for an inexpensive primary monitor for your computer, a second monitor for your existing desktop or laptop computer, or a model with more features to replace your bare-bones old monitor, I recommend you take a few minutes to think about the following before you buy.
Type of monitor - CRT, LCD, LED
CRT monitors (cathode-ray tube) are disappearing from the consumer market. CRTs are large, heavy, and deep (due to the powerful electromagnets inside that draw the image on the screen), but they also offer better color fidelity and wider viewing angles, and are more likely to appeal to professional photographers, graphic artists, scientists, and serious video gamers.
These days you're more likely to find flat-screen monitors that use LCD (liquid crystal display), LED (light-emitting diode), or plasma display technology, since their thinner size, acceptable display quality, and reasonable price appeal to consumers.
This is typically expressed in diagonal inches, e.g., a 17" monitor measures 17" from its top left corner to its bottom right corner. However, this is not meaningful without also knowing the aspect ratio.
Aspect ratio: The ratio of width to height
Older-style "standard" monitors have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (you read this aloud as "4 to 3"), like the shape of older-style televisions and 35mm film -- not square (which would be 1:1), but not prominently rectangular. A 15" (diagonal) monitor with a 4:3 aspect ratio would be 12" wide x 9" tall.
Newer monitors (and televisions) commonly have a 16:9 aspect ratio (sometimes called "widescreen"), which matches the shape of high-definition television (HDTV) and is distinctly rectangular. A 15" monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio would be 13.1" wide x 7.4" tall, noticeably wider (about 9%) and shorter (about 18%) than one with a 4:3 shape.
Other important features to consider when shopping for a monitor
The most common (and useful) built-in monitor accessories are:
Don't leave it in the box!
After you get your new monitor home, unpack it right away, set it up, and test it. Look for:
Additional monitor advice
Practice good ergonomics: Have the top of your monitor no higher than the top of your head. You should not be looking up, it's bad for your neck.
You may already own a spare computer monitor but just don't know it!
Many flat-screen and high-definition TVs have VGA, DVI, or HDMI ports and can serve as computer monitors!
Where to go from here
How to contact me:
phone: (617) 484-6657
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I love helping people learn how to use their computers better! Like a "computer driving instructor," I work 1-on-1 with small business owners and individuals to help them find a more productive and successful relationship with their computers and other high-tech gadgets.