Sep. 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM ET
When people obsess over a high-definition flat-screen, they’re typically talking about a TV mounted on a man-cave wall, not a computer monitor sitting on a desk. Most consumers probably acquire a monitor as part of a package deal when they buy a desktop PC and don’t give it much thought. If you’re looking to replace your current monitor, however, or add an external display to your laptop, stand-alone options range from about $100 to more than $1,000. A good all-purpose monitor can be had for less than $200.
Below are Cheapism’s top picks for affordable computer monitors.
These are widescreen monitors with the same 16:9 aspect ratio as a widescreen TV. With the exception of the HP 2011xi, they offer native resolution of 1920 x 1080, which means they’re capable of playing back Blu-ray movies at 1080p.
IPS displays promise wider viewing angles and more accurate colors than the TN (twisted nematic) technology on most budget monitors. The primary tradeoff is a slower response time, which can create a “ghosting” effect that blurs fast-moving video. Watch out for this if you’re considering a low-cost IPS display, as the technology available at this price point is a cheaper version of what you’d find in a more expensive monitor.
Manufacturers measure response time by clocking how long it takes a pixel to shift from one shade of gray to another (you might see this listed as GtG). Response times for the monitors on the list above range from 2 milliseconds on the Dell S2230MX, which employs TN technology, to 7 milliseconds on the HP 2011xi, an IPS display. None appears to suffer from much distortion, regardless of response time. Even where experts detect a bit of ghosting, consumers don’t seem to notice.
More from Cheapism: