What Is The Perfect Size For A Computer Monitor?

Picking the right monitor for your PC is crucial; alongside your keyboard and mouse it's one of the pieces of computer hardware you use every day, but it's also one of the most neglected purchases. You don't have to spend a lot to get a good quality monitor, but how do you pick the right size to look for?

Most computer users sit around half to one metre away from their screens, and according to generally accepted practice, you want a monitor with a diagonal viewing size around two thirds of the distance you're viewing at. So, if you're sitting a metre back from your viewing area, your PC's monitor should be around the 27-inch point, and incrementally smaller the closer that you're sitting.

Obviously, as you'd expect, LCD and LED computer monitors become more expensive as you move from 22-inch and smaller screen sizes up into the mainstream 24- to 26-inch, and larger 27- to 29-inch sizes. You can buy even larger 30-, 32-inch and larger monitors, although they're usually just TVs masquerading as PC displays. From my experience, though, you're better off sitting slightly closer than suggested to your workspace, and buying a 24-inch monitor.

In the same way that a 55-inch TV is the perfect purchase for its compromise of screen size against price, 24-inch Full HD monitors are at the point where they're getting properly cheap for the kind of excellent quality you're getting. Even a top-of-the-line monitor like the Dell U2413, which I'm using at the moment, is a bargain when you consider how long you're going to use it.

Even when it's not on sale, the Dell U2413 is only $749. It's a slightly higher than Full HD 1920x1200pixel 16:10 ratio display engineered for colour accuracy, with an antiglare coating, HDMI, DisplayPort and four USB 3.0 host ports. Its LED backlight won't go dim over time, so you can use it for years to come. It is, for my money, the best monitor on the market at the moment for the widest possible audience. You can buy a 24-inch monitor for as little as $180 on the street, while an only-slightly-larger 27-inch is at least $70 more. When you're looking at the higher end of things, expect to pay over $1000 for those extra three inches of viewable screen space. For most buyers, it just isn't worth it.

Even if you do decide to get a larger 27-inch panel, you shouldn't go larger unless you have a very good reason. Here's why buying a massive 32-inch monitor isn't as great an idea as it sounds. Firstly, for most users sitting within a normal viewing distance, they're too big, and sitting too close to a large screen can strain your eyes, not to mention your neck as you're moving it around constantly to focus on the edges of the display.

Secondly, unless you're spending an insane amount of money, you'll actually be buying a monitor with a lower resolution than a smaller 27-inch display — probably 1080p instead of 1440p — and you won't get as high a pixel density. Finally, a TV-as-a-monitor at that screen size will probably be chock-full of Smart TV features and image processing tweaks, all of which clog up the pipeline between PC and pixels, introducing unwanted lag into your viewing or gaming experience. [Lifehacker]


Comments

    24" is perfect. My secondary monitor is a 15" which I use to browse while I'm waiting to respawn

    Would love triple 30" but atm triple 24" suits due to lack of space for anything larger.

    Dell make great affordable monitors but I would recommend having a resolution of 2560x1440 or more with anything over 30"

    Those Dells are pretty awesome - I'm still rocking an old 2408 ($800 well spent after a discount from the original $1k, even better value for newcomers with the old discount effectively being the new base price!). If the new models are still mostly feature-identical then it's also a good one for if you do like me and have a laptop setup using full size peripherals when not on the go - you can pick the aspect ratio scaling so it won't go wonky switching between resolutions (ie. if you bounce back and forth between 1080p and 1200p gaming and don't want black screen errors if you forget to change settings first).

    70 inch Bravia... haven't noticed any lag what so ever and it looks awesome. Hooked up to a rock'n 7.1 surround sound system and my gaming has never been better. PC or PS4. God it is good to be old.

    For desktop about 22"-27" for the lounge 50"-70" goes pretty great.

    27-27-27 is ideal.
    I had 27-27-23 until my GFX card stopped playing with the third monitor.
    So 2x27 will do for now.

    I have 21.5x21.5x21.5x32" ATM, it's pretty sweet. But I'm tempted to grab a Korean 1440p panel to replace with my middle 21.5 screen. That 120Hz gaming goodness.

    I'm using a 55inch tv... I really love this tv, but I think it's too big for long term use.

    Got a HTPC. So TV is a 47 inch. But I am going to change my space around so I will be using a 23 inch then upgrade to a 27 later on in the year.

    I went with a 27" Samsung @ 1920x1080 which I think is perfect. I sit roughly a meter away from my display. Using only a single display at the moment though. No room for two.

    Even better that I got what was a $600 monitor for about $400.

    Dual 24s. One dead on for my main task at hand, and one on the right to open things like chat windows, information I want on display, stuff like that.

    Upgraded to a 27 this year. Loving the colours on IPS but the slight motion blur and average blacks means I'd only give it maybe an 8/10. Hopefully OLED solves these problems in the future..

    Personally I have a 21" and 27" Ips. I'd say 27" is ok at 1080p, but some days the screendooring gets to me.

    If your going 27" and up, think long and hard about maybe going higher than 1080p. I'll be going 27" 1440p soon. (4k is just not practicle for my needs, plus I need ips for colour work)

    Of course it's all subjective though.

    Last edited 05/08/14 7:23 pm

    27"@ 1440x2560 seems like the sweet spot for me. Not too big but not too small. And looks clear even close up.

    Campbell, 21:9 is the future: http://www.lg.com/uk/monitors/lg-34UM95

    I have a 29" now, which is equivalent to a 22" in height. If 21:9 starts getting more popular it's definitely a 34" monitor you'd want.

      Y'know, I reviewed the 29UM65 and enjoyed it, but I'm still a 16:9 and 16:10 guy at heart for dat Blu-ray content.

    I'm currently using a 32" Sony bravia and its clarity is amazing in my opinion.

    LG 34UM95 34'' 3440 x 1440 — great for work (graphic design, motion graphics, video editing).

    Gaming: Love it for racing sims (Project Cars, GRID Autosport), War Thunder and Star Citizen etc. Not great for most FPS games (but then I'm not really into those anyway)

    I have a 24inch and a 22inch connected to my computer. i never want to go any bigger for monitors as 24 is perfect.

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