01.The big picture
When you’re in the market for a new computer monitor, remember one thing: bigger is almost always better. A 27-inch or 29-inch monitor offers a large area for work or play, which can improve productivity, reduce visual fatigue and enhance creature comforts such as watching movies.
But settling on a suitable screen isn’t all that simple. With so many options available, making the move to a massive monitor can quickly drive you mad, unless you know what you’re looking for and, more importantly, what works with your computer. Our test of 12 mega-monitors can help you find your dream screen.
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The screen scene
There’s no such thing as the perfect monitor. Without the right knowledge, you’re at risk of overspending or buying a screen that won’t fully work with your system. Important points to consider include:
Regardless of which monitor you’re after, you should always pick a screen that produces a good quality picture. The best way to assess this is to look at the monitor in action – check image and text quality to look for sharpness, contrast, clarity and natural tones (e.g. you don’t want skin to appear yellow). Darker blacks can add depth to the image, but you can lose detail in the shadows if they get too dark. The results of our “display performance” assessment can also help.
It's worth noting that you can tweak the image to varying degrees depending on the monitor. Our tests were based on the common sRGB standard if it was available as a selectable option, and we’ve noted the default out-of-the-box colour temperature setting of each monitor in the table. We found very little difference in image quality in the higher end models tested, which leaves the final choice down to a question of personal preference in image quality and other features – including the design and style of the screen and stand.
How we test
The overall score comprises an expert assessment of display performance and ease of use. Display performance is assessed on colour, brightness and contrast, text clarity, glare/surface reflections, angles of view and video image quality during Blu-ray playback. Display performance is assessed by a three-person viewing panel.
Ease of use comprises an assessment of stability, port access, height adjustment, on-screen menu, tilt, control, hardware installation and manual. Annual energy cost is based on the usage scenario of five hours per day (h/d) active plus 19 h/d on standby, calculated at 26c per kWh.
All monitors were tested with out-of-the-box settings; the colour mode was set to sRGB if available. Monitors were warmed up for 30 minutes before each test. The brightness and contrast levels recorded are the settings out-of-the-box.
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