Choosing a WFH monitor doesn’t have to be complicated
After laptops, monitors are the most important work-from-home (WFH) essentials. For WFH staffs who are staring at the tiny laptop screen for hours everyday, an external monitor is a great relief to the eyes. Meanwhile, another monitor increases the productivity exponentially through multitasking.
However, choosing the appropriate WFH monitor can be quite challenging since most of the specs are more meaningful to gamers and graphics people. For most office applications which do not involve fast-moving videos or high-definition graphics, we only need to worry about a few basic specs.
The following steps are useful for making an informed buying decision especially during this coming festive season sales.
1. Affordable Budget
For gamers and visual content creators, their computing requirements are more intensive which require high-performance monitors. The discrete graphics card (upgradeable) from NVIDIA or AMD in their laptops determine the supported specs that they need in the monitors.
On the other hands, the video cards in WFH laptops are integrated (non-upgradeable) and less powerful. Nevertheless, these integrated graphics cards are able to handle most productivity applications which are mainly static text inputs with minimal video or photo editing. Without high-performance monitor specs, we can get a WFH monitor below SGD $500 easily.
2. Comfortable Viewing Size
When multitasking with several applications or documents, WFH laptop is always too small to stack them all on the same screen. An external monitor removes this constrain by providing addition space for applications and documents.
Monitor screen is measure diagonally in inch. The conventional wisdom is to get the largest screen size available within the budget. For working from home, the ideal monitor screen size is 24″ – 27″. When the screen size goes beyond 27″, we may need to place the monitor further from the laptop to have a comfortable view of the entire screen.
3. Sharp Display Resolution
As the monitor screen gets bigger, the display resolution must increase accordingly. Otherwise the texts or images become blur when view in near distance.
|Screen Size (inch)||Resolution (PPI)|
|24||1920 x 1080 (FHD) or higher|
|25||2560 x 1440 (QHD) or higher|
|27||2560 x 1440 (QHD) or higher|
Display resolution is measured in pixel per inch (PPI). The display resolution of Full High Definition (FHD) is 1920 pixels in width and 1080 pixels in height. This resolution is more than enough for text editing and movie streaming. When selecting a 24″ monitor, the display resolution must be FHD or better.
The next higher display resolution is Quad HD (QHD) for bigger monitors. Currently, the highest display resolution now is Ultra HD (UHD) (3840 x 2160), more popular known as 4k, which provides the best resolution for the latest movies and games.
4. Video Connector Types
The most common video connector type for most WFH laptops nowadays is HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). It’s not only commonly found in laptops but also in TVs and many media players. As such, HDMI connector is a standard connector found in all monitors except for the very very old models which support DVI or even VGA connector.
Note that the downside of HDMI connector is that it can only support one external monitor. To support two or more monitors, the WFH laptops must carry DisplayPort (DP) connector which can support up to 4 external monitors. Meanwhile, Thunderbolt connector can support up to 6 external monitors where it is normally available in laptops with discrete graphics card.
5. Adjustable Monitor Stand
Due to difference in height and sitting posture, a comfortable viewing height and angle for one person may not be comfortable at all for another person. The fact that WFH staffs need to sit in front of the monitor for hours everyday makes this feature even more important.
By adjusting the vertical height, we can sit as comfortable as we like instead of adjusting our posture to suit the monitor height. Tilt angle adjustment is useful for removing reflection from light source. While screen rotation of 90º provides full view of a standard document without scrolling it up and down.
Another Source of Entertainment During New Norm
Travel restriction has made home entertainment one of the safest activities for the year. In particular, online move streaming at home are replacing movie going and overseas vacation.
Besides working and video conferencing, monitor is a great way for watching online movie streaming from Netflix or Prime Video. To enjoy the spectacular 4k resolution in the latest movies, we can stick to 27″ monitor with 4K and pay a little bit more. It’s well worth the extra cost since the saving from the vacation cost can cover this upgrade easily.
Stay safe and be socially responsible.
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