How To Buy a New Monitor–A Most Awesome Guide

Filed Under: Gifs, Tech/Videos/Video Games

An Awesome Computer Buying Guide from Taste Like Crazy's TheAmyTuckerI don’t remember when we bought this monitor but I know we’ve had it since at least 2008.

And it’s missing its base.

The monitor is currently sitting in a “base” Tucker created out of a cardboard box and I have a hair brush between the monitor and the wall so I’m almost able to get a good picture.


So we’re in the market for a new monitor but things have advanced–as tech is wont to do–and I had no idea what to get and my only yard stick was price. I’m going to be paying for this–since I’ll be using it the most–and I’m not willing to pay more than $200. Yes, I use Photoshop and spend a large quantity of my day working at a computer, but I’m not being paid tens of thousands of dollars–yet–to sit in front of the monitor.

If you’ve bought a TV recently, you’ll recognize a lot of the terms below and, in fact, some people use TVs as their computer monitors so there’s always that to consider.

Types of Computer Monitors

  1. CRT–Cathode Ray Tube [Think the bulky TVs and old, heavy computer monitors.]
  2. LED–Light-Emitting Diodes [Itty bitty lights. Used for Christmas tree lights among MANY other things]
    • Direct or White–Good quality image, expensive, heavy and thicker than it’s siblings
    • Edge–Called that since the LEDs are on the edge of the monitor. Affordable but poor contrast w/blacks looking dark grey.
    • RGB dynamic–Roy G Biv up in the hizouse! Instead of white LEDs, these are red, green and blue. Best of the group.
  3. LCD –Liquid Crystal Display [Usually used in laptops. Is back-lit. Think of LCD as a CRT screen’s grandbaby. Kind of. Response Time is important to consider if you expect clean transitions and smooth movements with no ghosting–the lower the response time the better. ]
    • IPS–In-Plane Switching technology [Used a lot in touch screens and looks good from almost all angles.]
    • Super PLS aka PLS–Plane to Line Switching [Samsung’s baby]
    • TN–Twisted Nematic [Cheap, most widely used and looks like crap]
    • VA–Vertical Alignment [Somewhere between TN and IPS in quality and price]

Terms You’ll Find In Monitor Technical Details

  1. 3D Ready–Um…it can do 3D? That one’s pretty obvious, huh?
  2. Antiglare Surface–The monitor’s screen won’t be shiny
  3. Aspect Ratio–The ratio of width to height of an object. Good visual reference as explanation.[1]
  4. Candela or cd/m² or Nit–How bright the monitor will appear. Most monitors are going to be between 200 and 250 cd/m².
  5. Contrast Ratio

    “…contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest image a TV can create and the darkest. In another way: white/black=contrast ratio. If a TV can output 45 foot-lamberts with a white screen and 0.010 ft-L with a black screen, it’s said to have a contrast ratio of 4,500:1.”[2]

  6. DVI–The type of cable w/the thumb screws. A DVI-D [which you’re most likely to find] goes straight from the monitor to your computer’s video card.
  7. Energy Star Qualified–“..a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.”[3] These monitors use less electricity so are cheaper to run. Look for LCD LED monitors or straight LED monitors.
  8. HDMI Inputs–No screws, looks like a USB cord. Your TV probably has this. Important if you plan on watching Blu-ray movies and/or have an HD-DVD drive in your computer.
  9. LED LCD–The LCD screen is lit via LEDs.
  10. Plug and Play–You plug it in and the machines do everything else for you.
  11. Resolution–“The amount of information a monitor can display. It is measured by the number of dots, called pixels, that a monitor can display horizontally and vertically. 640 x 480 pixels When you use a lower resolution, the images on your screen are larger. This is useful if you have trouble seeing small images. 800 x 600 pixels 1,280 x 1,024 pixels When you use a higher resolution, the images on your screen are smaller. This is useful if you want to display more information on your screen.”[4]
  12. Response Time/Rate/Latency or ms–How fast a monitor can display moving images. The smaller the number the better but most users won’t notice much of an issue until the ms gets into double digits.
  13. Touchscreen–Like your smartphone and tablet but on your monitor. Found a lot w/All-in-One computers.

Boy Meets World Stop Gif

After all of this learning, here are my requirements:

  • $200 or less
  • At least 22″
  • LED
  • Antiglare surface
  • 250 cd/m²

The Monitor I Chose

Asus VS238H-P 23-Inch Full-HD LED Monitor

This monitor is less than $200, is 23″ is LED and 250 cd/m². It doesn’t have an antiglare coating but I’m cool with that since I got my other musts. It also has a three year warranty on parts and labor.

My little guide definitely helped me make a good choice for us and it’s taken me about two days to put together from different resources and mah mind.

Hope it helps you too.

  1. [1]“Aspect Ratio.” PC Mag. Ziff Davis, Inc., 4 May 2007. Web. 15 July 2012.
  2. [2]Morrison, Geoffrey. “Contrast Ratio (or How Every TV Manufacturer Lies to You).”CNET News. CBS Interactive, 26 May 2011. Web. 15 July 2012. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20066138-1/contrast-ratio-or-how-every-tv-manufacturer-lies-to-you/>.
  3. [3]“About ENERGY STAR.” ENERGY STAR. DOE and EPA, 28 Feb. 2003. Web. 15 July 2012. <http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index>.
  4. [4]“Computer Terms.” Computer Terms. Oklahoma City Community College, 2012. Web. 15 July 2012. <http://zeus.occc.edu/stafftraining/computerterms.html>.