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LCD Monitor Shopping Guide

In the market to buy a new LCD monitor for you home or business This guide is designed to help you eliminate that frustration by understanding the options available in today's best LCD monitors. The guide will also help you find the best price on the LCD monitor of your choice once you are ready to buy.

Why an LCD?

LCD monitors offer the crispest and most color-rich picture out of any other type of monitor. LCD monitors are not only easier to see, but they are also more compact than bulkier CRT models. LCDs also offer excellent color quality in all types of light (even very bright light conditions) and offer a smoother picture absent of glaring. LCDs can also display more colors and operate at a higher resolution than other types of monitors.

LCD Monitor Features

Fortunately, there aren't an overwhelming number of features to consider when shopping for the best price on an LCD monitor. However, below are some of the most important features to consider when making your purchase.

(1) Screen Size

For many consumer, one of the most important considerations is the screen size. The screen size can vary significantly between models, but the most popular models are usually between 15 and 19 inches. As you increase the screen size, the price can increase considerably. For example, the best price LCD monitors in the 20-inch and above range are around $450, while the most expensive models can reach $6,500.

(2) Screen Type

Screen types can be LCD or TFT. While LCD provides excellent picture quality, TFT (Thin Film Transmitter) provides better resolution and the widest possible view angle. If you are a graphic designer, you may want to opt for a TFT screen type, but keep in mind that they are more expensive than an LCD.

(3) Screen Resolution

Resolution is the maximum number of pixels that can be displayed on the monitor's screen. The greater the resolution, the higher the clarity and picture quality your monitor can achieve.

(4) Video Resolution Standard

Resolution is also measured by its standard, which corresponds to the different resolutions the monitor's screen is capable of. For example, if a monitor has a resolution standard of VGA and SVGA, the monitor will be capable of displaying the resolution at 640x480 and 800x600 pixels. The most important resolution standards to be aware of include:

  1. VGA: 640 X 480 Pixels
  2. SVGA: 800 X 600 Pixels
  3. XGA: 1024 X 768 Pixels
  4. SXGA: 1280 X 1024 Pixels
  5. UXGA: 1600 X 1200 Pixels
  6. QXGA: 2048X 1536 Pixels

(5) Dot Pitch

The picture on your monitor is composed of millions of individual dots or "pixels". The distance between each pixel is the dot pitch, which is measured in millimeters. If the dot pitch is high, the distance between pixels will be greater and the picture quality will be compromised. Generally, the best price LCD monitors should have a dot pitch of .28 mm or smaller, which will provide excellent picture quality.

(6) View angle

View angle is the area in front of the screen that you can view a picture without distortion. LCD monitors can have a view angle between 130 and 170 degrees. The best price LCD monitors are capable of a 170-degree view angle, which will make it possible to see a perfect image at virtually any angle.

(7) Refresh rate

The refresh rate determines how many times the screen can refresh itself. The best price LCD monitors are capable of a refresh rate of at least 72, which will allow you obtain the best picture clarity absent of flickering.