Display technology continues to develop rapidly. Where HD once reigned, 4K displays offering four times as much detail are starting to become popular and we're even opting to get hands on with new touchscreen desktop displays.
Touchscreen monitors are lessening our reliance on the mouse and keyboard, while an improvement in audio performance makes it less necessary to splash out on a pair of external speakers.
Here are ten of the more recent trends to consider when buying a computer monitor.
4K Ultra HD
The first computer monitors with Ultra High Definition (often called UltraHD or 4K) technology are arriving on the scene, allowing users to work in far greater detail than ever before.
Ideal for photo and video editors or just for watching your favourite movies, these displays have four times as many pixels as traditional 1080p HD monitors. As you’ll be working closer to the screen than you would be when watching television, you’ll really notice the difference. Samsung, Dell and ASUS have already produced some fine 4K displays.
Apple Retina Display
Apple’s proprietary display technology featured in its MacBook Pro laptop range offers better-than-HD quality.
Rumours suggest the company is planning to launch iMac computers featuring the technology, which is famed for boasting a higher pixels-per-inch ration, bringing more detailed images.
Thunderbolt is an emerging I/O technology that allows users to transfer data at superfast speeds. Apple’s 27-inch Thunderbolt monitor enables transfers of up to 10GBps in both directions, which is 20 times faster than USB 2.0.
These are perfect for users seeking to extend their workstation to two displays or to plug in a laptop to work on a larger screen. It has a wide 178-degree viewing angle, a built-in HD camera, an ambient light sensor and a smooth motion hinge.
The popularity of tablet computing has led to many manufacturers producing touchscreen monitors to help people replicate the experience on their desktops.
The Windows 8 operating system has encouraged this touch-friendly revolution with an array of touch multi-touch gestures like pinching to zoom, swiping to pan and much more. The 10-point Dell P2714T is one of the devices currently leading the way. It offers 27-inches of screen real estate with a 1920x1080 resolution.
Short for In-Plane Switching, this LCD display technology was once very expensive to make, but costs have come down, resulting in some very affordable IPS monitors.
The technology is particularly well known for its excellent colour reproduction and wide viewing angles.
Flatscreen monitors remain dominant in computing, but just like in the television and smartphone worlds, some manufacturers are introducing curved displays.
Earlier in 2014, ASUS unveiled the world’s largest curved monitor, a 32-inch screen with a WQHD display (2,560x1,440) and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Unfortunately you won’t be able to buy these displays for a while, but it’s certainly a side of things to come, if you want to get ahead of the curve.
Smart Monitor TVs
Many of us now use our computer monitors as devices to view television and movie content as well as work on Microsoft Word documents. As such, some manufacturers are creating displays that can be used as computer monitors and secondary televisions.
The LG 27MT93 is a 27-inch HD display that’s bundled with a built-in TV tuner complete LG’s Smart TV interface that includes access to apps like Skype, YouTube, Netflix, Google Maps and more. The idea is that you don’t have to buy a computer monitor and a display for your kitchen or bedroom.
This isn’t a new thing, by any stretch, but improvements in display and computing technology has enabled manufacturers like Apple to create super slim, self contained computers that are not that much thicker than some standalone monitors.
The demand for desktop PCs may falling as users increasingly rely on more mobile devices, but those who do opt to do their work sat at a desktop PC are opting for larger monitors than ever before. According to recent figures, demand for displays 32-inches and above is on the rise.
Improved Audio Performance
Traditionally, the built-in speakers offered by PC monitors have not been good. The sound is tinny, base is minimal and the lack of base makes it difficult to rock out whilst working. Monitors like the HP Envy 27 shows improved audio performance is becoming a priority.
The Envy 27 features a powerful, built-in soundbar that sits beneath the display, which integrates Beats Audio technology.