Your first concern should be size of
viewing area. The more area there is the easier it is
to read text and see graphics. However monitors are measured
diagonally across the screen and even that can give you a false
viewing area. There is a certain amount of plastic around a monitor
which hides part of the screen. A few years ago a fifteen inch
monitor would be sold in a computer package. Those monitor on
average presented a viewing area of under ten inches. Most
computer packages sell with a 17 inch monitor that will give
you a viewing area of no more than 16 inches. A nineteen inch,
or twenty inch monitor will give you a one inch less viewing
area, so this is usually a good guide to follow.
You next priority is dots per inch or
the quality that you want your image and text to be. This
is also understood as picture resolution and is measured by the
size of a single dot on your monitor screen. Monitors are made
up of many dots which work together to form an image or the text
that you can see. When you are presented with number like these:1024
x 768 this is dot resolution. The smaller that single dot is
the sharper your images and test will be on the screen, however
this will add considerably to the total cost of the monitor.
Monitor that present a dot pitch of .28 are not worth looking
at especially if you want to play games on that monitor. A monitor
of .26 to .21, where less is better. You may find that the larger
the monitor the harder it will be to find a dot pitch of .21.
Most professional graphic monitors are at either a .24
or .25.. Lower is better any where from .24 to .26 will grant
you hours of viewing comfort.
Just when you thought you heard it all
you find out that Hertz makes a big big difference too.
You do not hear sales people talking about hertz when you are
buying a monitor. Hertz are also known as refresher rate or how
long it takes a monitor to redraw one page. The faster it redraws
the less flicker or eye strain there will be. When a monitor
has a hertz of 60 Mhz or 60 cycles per second the same as the
electrical out let that it is getting its power from. (this may
vary if you live outside of North America) some people can have
seizures. Most low end monitors will start at 66 Mhz to avoid
causing seizures. However CRT monitors can have multi screen
size and with each sizing there is a different hertz rating.
Here is an actual example of a 17 inch monitor which offers four
different screen sizes :
* Standard/average resolutions |
* Professional resolutions
The higher the hertz number is from 60 Mhz or the hertz of
the electrical outlet that it is plugged into the less flicker.
A screen size or resolution of 1024 x 768 is very standard and
many low ended screens will have refresher rate of 66 Mhz. The
higher the number the less your eyes will blink and the less
eye strain, headaches and pain.
Next you may want to consider whether
the surface of the screen be con curved or flat. A flat
monitor will cause less glare. You get more picture, but no one
really looks to the edge of a monitor at the most of times. You
will find more graphic and professional monitors to be flat screens.
It is nice to have and the extra expense is minimal.
Screen adjustment controls and what
to look for. Most of to days monitors have on screen controls
or are digital. What this means is there are four physical buttons
somewhere on the front of the monitor. One button is for mode,
another button is sub mode and the two buttons left are for changing
value either up / high or down / low. On high end monitors you
get to make more manual changes opposed to factory settings that
can not be changed. So here is what you get: contrast | brightness
| Horizontal size | Vertical size | Horizontal position | Vertical
position | pincushion | pin balance | trapezoid | parallelogram
| rotation | deguass | color temperature | and languages. Each
manufacture has added a few more or a few less than what is here.
In large these control allow you to adjust almost everything
there is relating to the monitor that you are looking at. The
deguass circuitry on most monitors today kicks in every time
you turn on the monitor using the on off power button
Emissions are important to you cause
radiation generally causes cancer and this is not something you
want. The majority of monitors are certified as low emissions
which meet or exceed standards set by the Swedish. These monitors
must also have a MPRII certificate rating sticker on them or
the newer certificate rating to look for is the TCO. Also when
sitting in front of a monitor, the bigger the monitor the further
you sit back from them. Refer to your owners manual for sitting
Power saving mode. Many monitors
come with software even though they are plug and play ready to
go as soon as they are attached to your computer. This software
detects when little or no power is required for it. When this
happens for a period normally set by the user the monitor turns
off or goes into a sleep or powdered down mode. This is to conserve
energy and also will help increase the life of the monitor. Did
you know that the average life span of
a CRT monitor is five years. After five years I would
strongly recommend that you have a fire extinguisher close by
and never leave it unattended - like going to get your coffee
refilled or stopping for a moment to go to the washroom. You
might come back to a bond fire so bring the hotdogs and marshmallows
while your at it.
There will always be extras provided
by the manufacture. You can buy them with built in speakers,
or microphone or jacks for one. Jacks for external head phones
or more speakers. Some allow for hooking extra USB. If you really
needed this extra stuff than go for it, but generally I am looking
just for a monitor and that is it. You can buy that extra stuff
if you need it later with a greater
Something else you won't want to forget when make the final
purchase is will it be used for a PC or Macintosh computer. The
connectors are different on both machines and you may need an
adapter. Or the power saving software may not work on your operating
platform. You want to know these things before bring this thirty
or fifty pound monitor home.