Different Types of Computer Monitors

By Mike Sweeney

The computer monitor market continues to change with improved image technologies manufactured in a wide array of screen sizes at a variety of price points. Liquid crystal display (LCD) and light-emitting diode (LED) monitors are the two most common technologies in use today, and with the emergence of ultra-high definition (UHD) monitors, image quality has never been better. Touch screens are becoming more commonplace, and overall, computer monitors have never been more affordable across many high-quality name brand manufacturers.

LCD Monitors

LCD technology has been around for many years and is now the standard in computer monitors. LCD monitors use compact fluorescent tubes to illuminate and brighten the image on the screen and produce good image quality, resolution and contrast levels. Whether you are developing presentations or spreadsheets in business, doing homework for school, or videoconferencing with family through your webcam, LCD monitors are a good choice. These monitors are a little bigger and heavier than comparable LED monitors because of the use of fluorescent tubes, but for budget-minded consumers, LCD offers some of the least expensive monitors on the market. You can purchase a highly-rated 24” BenQ LCD monitor for around $110, and a top-notch 24” Samsung monitor recommended for gaming for about $180.

LED Monitors

LED monitors improve picture quality by replacing the fluorescent tubes in LCDs with new backlighting technology that creates clearer images. In addition to backlit arrays, light-emitting diodes can also be arranged along the edges of the panel to produce even thinner, lighter and more energy efficient monitors while keeping the same great picture quality. Viewing videos, movies and playing games on an LED monitor is more lifelike and accurate due to the improved contrast ratios and color saturation over LCD. LED monitors have come down in price and are among the most common computer monitors in the market today. You can get a highly-rated 24” Asus monitor for around $235, and a first-rate 24” BenQ model for about $190.

OLED Monitors

Organic light-emitting diodes that can light up individual picture elements is an improvement in LED technology. It works without a backlight so the monitors can be thinner and more energy efficient while producing vivid color saturation and displaying deep black levels. Currently there are few OLED monitors on the market due to the high costs in manufacturing. It is a technology that is beginning to show up in HDTVs, and in time, if successful, may translate into the computer monitor market.

Ultra-High Definition Monitors

UHD takes LED technology and adds more pixels onto the screen, going from about 2 million pixels in full HD (1,920 by 1,080) to more than 8 million pixels in UHD (3,240 by 2,160). Also called 4K technology, the level of image detail and sharpness is excellent, especially when viewing videos, pictures, graphic designs and other content that is created in 4K. When sitting close to a UHD monitor, you can notice the clarity of the images on the screen. The primary disadvantage to a UHD monitor is the high price when compared to other LED monitors that are in full HD, but not UHD. Plus, the small amount of 4k content is a detriment. Dell currently sells a top-rated 32” UHD monitor for $2,500, and Asus sells a well-reviewed 32” UHD monitor at the discounted price of $1,470.

Touchscreen Monitors

Touchscreens have been around for many years, and with advancements in technology, screens are sleeker, lighter and more accurate with your touch. You can type of the screen, but for some, keeping a keyboard and mouse for some tasks is still desired. A key advantage to a touchscreen monitor is it allows you to use the touch option when you want to. Touchscreen monitors are a little more expensive than non-touch monitors, but the pricing is pretty close. As the popularity of touchscreens increases in all devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops, touchscreen computer monitors will also gain in popularity and convenience. Acer offers a 27” LCD touch-screen for under $400 while Hewlett-Packard offers a 21” LED touch-screen for around $250.