< Buying Tips for Monitors - How to select Computer Monitors
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BuyingTips - Monitor

What is a Monitor?

Along with the growth of computers, monitors too have grown in size, features and versatility. The monitor's resolution determines how sharp and crisp image will appear on the screen. The maximum possible color resolution is set to 256 colors. The first number is the width in pixels, the second is the height in pixels. The more dots or pixels used on the screen, the greater is the clarity of the image. Greater resolution is especially important when you are using a large monitor (17-inch or larger).

Refresh Rate: The monitor's refresh rate refers to how quickly the screen is redrawn. The faster refresh rate will result in less flickering and off course less eyestrain. You can check the flicker by looking at the monitor from left or right of the screen instead of straight ahead. The refresh rate decreases as the resolution or size of the monitor increases.

Size: Monitors come in different sizes. One can get a 15-inch monitor or 17-inch or even as big as 21-inches. However, many larger monitors don't deliver image quality as high as a smaller monitor of the same price. Depending unpon the requirement you can choose the right one. Your monitor should be able to provide image sharpness and color balance, acceptable to your eyes. Generally, a large size monitor with lower dot-pitch numbers is better.

Monitors can be put into two different categories:

CRT: (or cathode-ray tube) monitors are coming in varying choices and are inexpensive. CRTs give you a greater viewing angle - you can work on them from any angle, unlike some LCDs - with which it is hard to work unless you are looking straight at the monitor. All CRT monitors use a standard analog input from the PC.

LCD: (or liquid crystal display) monitors are great space savers. These are flat screens with light weight and smaller footprint. LCDs use digital technology, which provides more-accurate signal reproduction from your computer. The actual viewable screen size is smaller than the actual monitor size. For example a CRT 17-inch monitor may have an viewing area from 15.6-inch to 16.1-inch. Whereas LCDs have a greater viewing area than CRT monitors. Beware though, lower quality LCD displays are often plagued by poor color and dead pixels or spots on the screen that are stuck in one color.

Digital/Analog Input: LCD or flat panel monitors use a Digital DFP port. These inputs improve image quality and reduce the price of the monitor. But, these inputs require that the monitor is used with a PC from the same manufacturer which also has a DFP output so beware and check it out.

Energy Star Compliant: Energy Star is a voluntary rating system established by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency and electronics manufacturers. Energy Star labeled products surpass Federal energy efficiency standards by 20% or more.

Interlaced Resolution: Interlacing is a technique that enables a monitor to have more resolution, but it reduces the monitor's reaction speed. Almost all monitors now are noninterlacing, means they’ll have less flickering.

MPRII Compliant: MPR II is an international standard for limiting electromagnetic radiation emissions from computer equipment, primarily monitors. Most monitors now comply with this standard.

Screen Controls: Many monitors have on screen controls, enabling you to see the adjustments you're making to monitor as you make them, onscreen. You still have buttons on the monitor, but you also see scales or graphics on screen,which help you make better, more accurate adjustments.

There are a few other features to consider, such as dot pitch, anti-glare coating, speakers, and mask type. Anti-glare coating makes it easier to look at the screen under bright light. Some monitors include built-in speakers, so be sure you know if speakers come with your PC, or if you need a monitor with speakers. Lastly, the shadow mask can make a difference in picture quality.

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