- The big picture
- CRT vs LCD
- Key features
- The specs explained
- Monitor shopping tips
- Donate or recycle your old monitor
Response time: Pixel response time governs the time (measured in milliseconds) required for a pixel to change. In theory, a low response time signifies an LCD with minimal motion artefacts in moving images. This specification is especially important to video watchers and gamers.
There are two main types of LCD response time. Rise-and-fall response time measures the time it takes a pixel to turn from black to white (rise) and back to black (fall). Grey-to-grey response time measures the time it takes for a pixel to change from one shade of grey to another. Each type has its uses.
Rise-and-fall response time has been clearly defined and has been the industry standard for years. As of yet, no such definition for grey-to-grey response time exists. In theory, grey-to-grey response time could be a useful specification, since it can measure the time required to switch between shades (as opposed to black and white). This should make it useful for indicating how an LCD will look showing the subtle shades of movies and games. However, the lack of an agreed-upon definition means vendors may use different ways of determining the specification. In short, response time specs are not always comparable from vendor to vendor.
Size: Though it may seem obvious, bear in mind the size of your workspace when deciding on the type of monitor to buy. A huge monitor may look appealing, but you want to make sure your desk is deep enough to let you view it from a comfortable distance. Just as you would with a TV, you want to sit at a distance of about two times the diagonal measurement from the screen.
Physical adjustments: Almost all monitors come with tilt adjustment. If you spend a great deal of time in front of your monitor, you may want to find one that lets you adjust the height of the screen as well. You may find that it's worth a few extra dollars to get a monitor that will keep the screen at a comfortable height instead of making your neck do all the work. A monitor with side-to-side swivel adjustment makes it easier to show your screen to a nearby customer or co-worker. Finally, if you need to view anything that's longer than it is tall - a full-page document, a long Web page, or a screen full of e-mail - you could get a lot of use out of a screen pivot function. Just bear in mind that not every monitor with a pivoting screen includes image pivoting software; you'll need that to make your screen adjust to portrait mode.