Monitors: SMB buying guide
If you spend most of your working day staring at a screen, you need to make sure you’re getting the most from your monitor. If you’re setting up a new office or upgrading your monitor in 2018, here are the key areas to think about when comparing displays from the top brands.
Buy the largest monitor you can afford (and that fits on your desk). If you settle for a small screen under 20 inches in diameter, you’ll often be limited to 720p resolution (1280 x 720 pixels . That’s fine for everyday office work, but you’ll be missing out on the higher resolutions and colour accuracy essential for creative professionals.
If your budget stretches to it, treat yourself to an ultra-HD monitor with 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160), or plump for a new 5K (5120 x 2880) model. Most large monitors offer at least 1080p (1920 x 1080) or 1440p (2560 x 1440) resolution, which is more than adequate for most tasks.
Not everyone likes them, and if you prefer to sit further back from your display, you’re better off using an old-school mouse anyway. But with more operating systems and applications being built with touchscreen in mind, you don’t want to be without that functionality when you need it.
Don’t get so dazzled by the specs that you overlook the important things. Your monitor needs to be ergonomically adjustable so it can be raised, lowered and tilted to the precise height and angle you need for comfort. Higher-end displays typically have more adjustments for maximum customisation, including swivel and pivot settings. You should also look for flicker-free or low-glare screens if you’re worried about eye strain.
5. Flat or curved?
You might write off curved displays as a passing fad like 3D TV, but you’ll notice the benefits if you have a larger monitor. Curved monitors make it easier to see more of the screen without having to turn in your seat. They also eliminate distortion at the edge of the display, so you’ll get a more accurate view. You don’t need to go overboard though – a curve of 1800R is enough for monitors under 30 inches.
Don’t forget to check the boring stuff too, or you could end up with a display you can’t connect to your machine. For smaller screens under 1920x1200 resolution, you’re looking for a DVI-I connection. For 4K resolution up to 60Hz, this needs to be DVI-D or HDMI 2.0, with more advanced monitors requiring a DisplayPort connection. Make sure it’s compatible with your graphics card too.
7. Other features
Beyond the display, monitors come equipped with a range of standard features, depending on the price bracket. Built-in speakers, USB ports and headphone jacks can be very handy and free up desk space, or you can demand more like SD card slots and a wireless charging platform for your phone.
The larger the display, the higher the resolution. And the more features you add on, the more your monitor’s going to cost. But like any business investment, you should go for the best option you can comfortably afford.