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Importance of computer monitors

By Jean-Claude Elias - Mar 05,2015 - Last updated at Mar 05,2015

You spent good money on a Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Apple or Lenovo desktop computer, carefully checking the processor speed, the hard disk size and the number of USB3.0 ports. Did you give the screen the attention it deserves? Did you allocate enough money for it in the deal?

In an ideal world hardware, software and Internet would go hand in hand and would sport matching characteristics. In reality it is not always the case. This is particularly true for computer monitors that come with full-size desktop computers. Most of the time they don’t do justice to the photos or the videos you would watch. The fact is that smartphones, especially the high-end models, have screens that are superior to those that come with most full-size computers.

There is frequent imbalance between the three aforementioned aspects of computing: hardware, software and Internet. For instance you would have the fastest computer in the world but the Internet connection in the area where your house could be limited to a frustrating 4Mb ADSL, because of cable infrastructure you can’t help. Or you’d have the amazing “CC”, understand the latest version of Adobe Photoshop but your computer would be fitted with only a 32-bit Windows and a meagre 3GB of main memory, unable, therefore, to make good use of the stunning “CC”. 

The same limitations today apply to average screens that equip the typical desktop machine. For JD120 to JD160, you can buy a good entry-level 22-inch screen. But how good is good? What kind of image will it show you?

With today’s high quality photography and video chances are that such entry-level monitors won’t show you all that has been captured in the original images. Even if the camera you used to take the photo or if you mainly watch YouTube online, entry-level screens just aren’t good enough. You may not notice how much you are missing until you compare to a friend’s screen or to a Mac’s retina display — let’s face it, Apple monitors usually fare better than the crop.

In Jordan 95 per cent of the displays sold with Windows-based (i.e. not Mac OS) desktop computers fall in the entry-level range. Only 5 per cent of buyers opt for high-end, true colour screens, costing JD200 and much more sometime.

It is not anymore in the resolution of the screen, the number of pixels it can display horizontally and vertically. They are all good at it! Anything higher than 1920 x 1080 pixels is great, and they all can do it, even the least expensive screens, at least those who are 20-inch and larger.

The trick is in the brilliance and in the colour gamut the monitor is able to reproduce, as well as in the accuracy of these colours. It is very hard to see or to make a comparison just on paper, but with today’s demanding image applications and video of all kinds it would be a shame to cut corners and make do with less-than-pristine monitors. Unless you can live with purples that look more like reds, yellows that are more on the brownish side, not to mention human skin tones that don’t really look… well, human.

Not all brands make true-colour monitors. HP DreamColor Z27 and NEC MultiSync PA322 are some of the best screens money can buy, but cost JD1,000 and JD2,000, respectively. On the more reasonably priced side you find, for example, the Asus Rog Swift at a humbler JD700 price tag.

True-colour monitors are to your eyes what a pair of high-definition music speakers are to your ears. You never know what you were missing until you see or hear them, and until you compare with lower quality equipment. Once you’re there, at the very top, nothing else would do anymore for you.

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