Desktop monitors have come a long way in the past 10 years. Gone are the huge and heavy monitors of old that used to take up most of the space on anybody’s desk. The technology used for desktop monitors has changed completely, and now almost every monitor is a flat screen monitor that weighs under 10 pounds, is easy to maneuver, and has a fairly high resolution technology. This is called an LCD screen, and it officially superceeded the old technology used to make monitors and televisions (CRT) in 2008. The old bulky CRT monitors are produced only extremely rarely anymore, because their size has made them extremely unpopular in a consumer market that values a lack of it.
Desktop monitors have a very big range in terms of visual capabilities and screen size. A desktop monitor can be as little as 7 inches wide, or wide as 46 inches. As for image quality, most mainstream desktops can reach at least 720p (1280 x 720 pixels), and some can be fully HD compatible (1080p, or 1920 x 1080 pixels) and some can have an even higher resolution than that. However, not all computers have video cards that are capable of taking advantage of this space, so it’s important to take that into account when purchasing a desktop monitor.
LCD monitors are effectively the only kind of monitor produced for computers anymore, although they aren’t necessarily even the best kind for all users. For computers they are usually more functional than plasma screens, which are best used as large-screen televisions because of their pixel limitations and inflexibility. However, CRT monitors (the thick, heavy kind mentioned earlier) are actually capable of displaying a better picture. LCD monitors have to use a backlight in order to be visible, which impairs their color quality. This isn’t a problem with CRT monitors, and although LCD monitors are improving, monitors with CRT technology is simply able to display a better picture.
However, the advantage of having a thin screen LCD display heavily outweighs the minor color advantage of CRT monitors for most users. That advantage is especially minor in newer LCD screens. In addition, LCD screens are more durable and consume less power, so in the long term, they actually cost much less than CRT monitors. But the biggest reason for their popularity is simply the size. The current consumer market places an extremely high value on conserving space with electronic appliances, and even though wide screens are popular, thick monitors are not.
Today’s desktop monitors are essentially just TV’s that are able to accept computer outputs like VGA, DMI, and occasionally s-video. Display wise, there really isn’t any difference, except that televisions are typically marketed in larger sizes. Few desktop monitors are wider than about 30 inches, as most computer users sit directly in front of their monitors. The exception to this rule is in touch screen and tablet monitors, which allow the user to control the computer through the monitor itself. Touch screen monitors are more expensive than generic monitors, but don’t suffer from any lack of image quality, except for finger smudges.
Desktop monitors vary in price as much as in their size and display. It’s fairly easy to find an inexpensive monitor for about $100 in a pinch, but you’ll be able to find much better quality monitors in the $200 range. $200 to $300 is about the “sweet spot” for monitors; that is, the price range where you see the most quality for the dollars put into buying the monitor. Used monitors can cost significantly less, but it’s important to know that they work before buying them, as desktop monitors are notoriously fragile devices.