What size monitor do I need?
In this guide we'll go through the best uses for every monitor size, whether you should consider a dual monitor setup, and give our recommendations.Last updated on the 13th of November 2020
This article is sponsored by HP.
Before choosing your next monitor there are a few things you'll need to think about:
- What do you use your PC for? Is it solely for gaming, or do you use your PC for work too?
- The size of your desk. Will the monitor, or monitors, actually fit in your space?
- Match your monitor size to the distance you sit from it. A monitor that's too big and too close may lead to eye strain.
There's also some technical jargon you should be aware of:
- Refresh Rate: this is how many times a second your monitor updates the picture. The standard is 60Hz (60 times a second) but 144Hz is popular for competitive gaming.
- Resolution: this is how many individual pixels are on your screen. The higher this is, the clearer the image will seem. The standard for the majority of monitors these days is 1920x1080, with 4K (3840 x 2160) having four times the pixels.
- Viewing Angle: this refers to how far you can view the monitor at an angle without distortion in colour or brightness. IPS displays are the gold standard, with TN displays having a slightly reduced viewing angle. You'll want to take special consideration to viewing angles when it comes to dual monitor setups, but we'll come to that later.
These monitors are great for compact desk spaces, or if you go to bring your own computer LAN events regularly and don't want a large monitor to lug around.
A monitor that fits the bill is the HP 22er. This is a 21.5-inch monitor that weighs in at just 5.38lbs, too. It has a 1080p, IPS display which gives you great viewing angles, clear colours, and an anti-glare coating ensures you'll see the screen clearly even on sunny days. Input-wise, there's an HDMI and VGA port on the rear. The metal construction and bezel-less display give it a sturdy, minimalist look too.
This is the optimal size for competitive play in games such as CS:GO, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, and League of Legends, as it's big enough to pick out enemies on the screen, but still requires minimal eye movement. Don't just take our word for it, though, as this is the go-to size used at esports events across the world.
Here we'd recommend the HP X24i, a 23.8-inch, IPS, 1080p display. This has a low 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate, guaranteeing a smooth and responsive image . This display has an anti-glare coating, too, in case you struggle to rid your gaming area of natural light. If you have an Nvidia graphics card, it supports G-Sync, allowing you to get all the benefits of Vsync and its removal of screen tearing without the performance and latency hit.
Monitors around 27 inches give you a little more room and are a great option if you're using your PC for both work and play - having two windows side by side is a little more manageable on a 27-inch. Open world games like GTA, Assassin's Creed, and Red Dead Redemption 2 will benefit from this extra screen space, immersing you further.
A great option here is the HP ENVY 27, with a 4K resolution and bezel-less display. The IPS panel gives great colour reproduction (99% sRGB colour accuracy) and clear viewing angles - brilliant for gaming and work. If you do a lot of photo editing, for example, you'll want accurate colours, so this is a superb screen for practically any situation. As well as two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort on the rear, you also have a USB C port - allowing you to hook up your laptop to the display and charge it with a single cable. Additionally, AMD FreeSync is supported on compatible AMD graphics cards, eliminating screen tearing without impacting your latency.
Dual Monitor Setups
Whether you work and want to boost productivity, manage a Discord server and need to see who's coming and going, or you're a streamer who wants to keep an eye on their chat during live streams, a dual monitor setup is perfectly suited to a power user like you.
Even in a small desk space, this setup is possible if you're willing to stack the monitors vertically as opposed to horizontally. With this wide angle of view, you'll want to ensure the monitors you select have decent viewing angles - as we mentioned earlier, IPS panels are the best for this. If you're looking to wall mount or desk clamp the monitors, then look into whether it supports VESA mounting or you can purchase an adaptor. Also, look for an edge-to-edge screen for a seamless experience between the two monitors.
The size we'd advise going for here is 27-inch. Again, we'd recommend the HP ENVY 27 here, with the IPS panel giving you the viewing angles you need and a great borderless display
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