November 2021 Guide to Computer Monitors
Well, now that prices for televisions and things are coming down and the supply chain normalizing, it’s a good time to think about that 27″ monitor that’s slowly dying (look at you ATong), so here are some good things to look at from Rtings.com, which is still the site I really like for real world testing of monitors:
- Right now the sweet spot monitor is the 43″ repurposed television. The prices of these have come way down and particularly if you have a small one bedroom apartment, with the right monitor stand, you can table mount it on your desk and then from your sofa from across the room, you can raise it up and tilt is so that you can relax and watch Squid Games or Dune.
- Sony KD-43X85J. A little expensive, it has 120 Hz 4K and is a VA panel so it will have high contrast but it does have a lower viewing angle, so best when looked at straight ahead. Expensive at $648 at Amazon ($849 Canadian), but the high picture quality is worth it. so if you don’t mind most viewing angle issues for big coaches (not a problem in a small apartment and don’t mind some dimming when used as a monitor), it’s a good overall choice.
- Sony KD-43X80J. Don’t be confused by the single digit change. This is a completely different panel, it is IPS so has wider viewing angles, so better for a monitor but worse for television. It is cheaper though, so if you are 99% monitor, this isn’t a bad choice, but it doesn’t save you that much ($600 on Amazon),
- Samsung QN90A. If you like Gaming Monitors. If you mainly do gaming, and then some computing an alternative is the Samsung QN90A. It is an LED panel but the main problem is that it seems completely out of stock and the 43 does not have 120 Hertz. Probably you will have to wait for the CES 2022 and get the new models then.
OK, there are some options off of this which include:
- LG C1. A really big monitor like the 48″ or 55″ LG I use is really great and it is OLED so the colors are incredible. I’ve been using my 55″ C9 (two years old now) regularly and it is about perfect as a big developer monitor that also work well with gaming. And it’s super expensive at $1000 and $1300 on Amazon for the 48″ and 55″ respectively but you will use it for years. The main drawback is burn in (not a problem for me, just turn the thing off and use pixel shift) and it doesn’t work well in really bright conditions.
- Samsung QN90A. This is the best LED which doesn’t have burn in and is brighter but you will pay about the same at Amazon at $1100 for the 50 and $1300 for the 55″. The main thing is that we normally for a monitor have controlled lighting conditions, so the LG is a dream
Then once you pick your television the most important thing is to get a mount that lets you swivel and get it off your desk. It’s amazing how much more desk space you have:VIVO makes a stand that handles the 200×300 VESA mount on an LG and raises it up to 23″ above the desk and lets you swivel it down 15 degrees for $70. Also it works on desks that are up to 3.25″ thick. This is perfect to go with an Ikea desk and then you can lower it for monitor work and then raise and tilt it for sofa viewing. And it supports up to 65 pounds which is great. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll report back.
Finally and usual thing, buy this from a reputable vendor where you can return it. We’ve done this with Amazon and Best Buy and they are good about it. Also use an Amex Platinum or an REI MasterCard or other card that has an extension to the warranty for a year. Valuable.
Note that with the new MacBook Pro M1 Pro/Max (what a mouthful), you can actually run no less that four of these monitors at the same time. It sure is tempting to build a wall with four LG C1s running all together. Imagine if you got the 77″ models, that would be a 154″ diagonal display or nearly 13″ across. Of course there would still be the small bezel, but that would make a nice video display somewhere.