Monitors – the big picture! Dedicated monitors are a great productivity tool that also tend to have screen sizes and technology that make them easier to look at for longer durations.
It’s easy to see why more and more people are moving to external monitors: it makes things easier to see and multitasking is even easier to juggle, especially across multiple screens. For study, multiple screens means you can have research on one screen and a draft on the other, or any combination of scenarios that lets students be more productive through multitasking.
Monitors use HDMI input as standard, which means great versatility with a range of computing devices, but they also tend to have DisplayPort connectivity these days. For a laptop, you may need to invest in a dock to connect to an external screen if an HDMI-out port isn’t available. But desktop computers tend to have multiple DisplayPort and/or HDMI ports for connecting two, three, or even more monitors.
While 60Hz tends to be the default refresh rate, higher refresh rates at 120Hz or 144Hz tend to look better because they make things look smoother, particularly for videos and games.
With ports sorted, the main limiting factor for monitors is the desk space required for two or more screens, but certain models have bracket support for mounting options that don’t take up desk space. Super low response time isn’t essential, as it’s mainly a gaming-centric feature, but a 5ms response time is a great starting point, and anything lower is even better for boosting the versatility of the monitor.
Also keep in mind that the refresh rate for your external monitor is limited by the refresh rate of your laptop. For an example, a monitor capable of 120Hz refresh will only deliver 60Hz refresh if the laptop it’s connected to only has 60Hz refresh. So always check the specs on your laptop before choosing a monitor. You might still want to get a monitor with a higher refresh if you intend to upgrade your laptop to one with higher specs.
Picks for your viewing pleasure
Lenovo L24e-30 23.8″ Full HD Monitor
The L24e is a tidy work monitor with WLED technology delivering a punchy 3000:1 contrast ratio, while TÜV low blue light certification helps prevent eye fatigue after long hours. AMD Freesync reduces video screen stutter. A phone holder and cable management groove incorporated into the stand base is a nice touch.
• 23.8″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) WLED display • 75Hz Refresh rate • AMD FreeSync • TUV low blue light • 6ms Refresh rate (Normal mode) • 1 x HDMI port • 1 x VGA port • 3000:1 contrast ratio
Dell SE2722H 27″ Full HD Monitor
If 23.8 inches is too small for your screen-size needs, then stepping up to 27 inches from Dell won’t set you back much at all. It also boasts TÜV low blue light certification and AMD Freesync for tear-free visuals during leisure gameplay.
• 27″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) VA display • 75Hz Refresh Rate (via HDMI) • AMD FreeSync Technology • 8ms Refresh rate (Normal mode) • 1 x HDMI input • 1 x VGA input • 3000:1 contrast ratio
LG 32MN500M 32″ Full HD IPS 75Hz Monitor
Heavy multitaskers will want to check out this LG display. The 31.5” screen will come in handy for serious spreadsheet and reference work, not to mention any form of audio and video editing. A bonus for onscreen collaboration, the LCD employs IPS (in-plane switching) technology for more consistent, accurate colour from all viewing angles.
• 31.5″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display • 75Hz Refresh rate • Radeon FreeSync • 5ms Response time • 2 x HDMI ports • 1200:1 contrast ratio
ASUS VP249QGR 24″ Full HD 144Hz Gaming Monitor
For a laptop with specs that can do more than homework, why not level up your play time with a gaming monitor. This ASUS display is Full HD and has IPS (in-plane switching) for a wide viewing angle. But more importantly it has up to 144Hz refresh rate, so if you have a computer with 120Hz refresh or more, this display is a great match. There is 1ms response for minimal lag, plus FreeSync for accurate motion, no matter how intense the multiplayer action gets.
• 23.8″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED display • 144Hz Refresh Rate • FreeSync Technology • 1ms Response time • 1 x HDMI input • 1 x VGA input • 1 x DisplayPort • 1000:1 contrast ratio