Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Picking the perfect WFH monitor

By Robert Heron

robert@heronfidelity.com

WFH Monitor Excellence

It doesn’t matter if your home office is a dedicated room or something cobbled together in a convenient spot: a good computer monitor goes a long way toward increasing productivity by making it easier to see what you are doing. The ideal WFH monitor will also provide the necessary features to make daily operations convenient and easy.

KNOW THYSELF

The first step to finding your perfect display is considering how you plan to use it. Suppose you spend most of your time reading web pages or reviewing and editing documents. In that case, you’ll appreciate a WFH monitor that makes text appear crisp and detailed. Multi-taskers may want to add a display or prefer a monitor that makes connecting a laptop or integrating a second computer easy. Color-critical applications like image or video editing would benefit from a display well-calibrated to industry standards right out of the box.

Also, consider the room environment – lighting in particular. A brightly lit room would benefit from a monitor that delivers at least 300 nits of light output. Darker rooms are ideal for monitors with excellent picture contrast that can produce inky-dark blacks.

 A bright and accurate WFH Monitor

The Asus ProArt Display (PA279CRV) is a 27-inch 4K monitor with detailed imagery, good viewing angles, and punchy brightness. Its factory color and grayscale video calibration results in an accurate performance right out of the box, and it claims to cover almost all of the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB color gamuts. Ergonomics are excellent, with a compact base that offers tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustments. The ProArt display also incorporates a 96W USB-C port for an all-in-one link to a compatible laptop.

AsusProArt monitor
AsusProArt monitor

Asus ProArt Display (PA279CRV)

[https://www.asus.com/us/displays-desktops/monitors/proart/proart-display-pa279crv/]

SCREEN SIZE/SHAPE

Screen size is the first spec to consider when shopping for a new display. A larger single WFH monitor can reduce clutter and complexity by replacing two smaller-sized screens. Or, you may require a secondary display with a stand that offers flexible orientation options for creating the perfect view. Some applications are better suited for a wider or taller monitor than the standard screens with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Help yourself visualize an ideal monitor size and shape by grabbing a measuring tape and crafting a paper or cardboard proxy.

Recommendation: A near-perfect second display

The LG 16:18 DualUp Monitor with Ergo Stand (28MQ780-B) is an attention grabber with its unique screen shape and a stand that clamps to the edge of a desk, minimizing consumed real estate. The arm-like Ergo Stand allows this 28-inch display to be orientated however the user sees fit, including adjustments for rotation, swivel/tilt/height, and extend/retract. The screen’s 2560 x 2880 pixel resolution is effectively two 1440p monitors stacked together that exceed 300 nits of light output while covering up to 98% of the DCI-P3 color space. Add its decent factory calibration, and the DualUp would be ideal for photo or video editing. The DualUp’s almost squarish screen with 135+ PPI would also be perfect for document and web work. A built-in KVM switch can leverage the monitor’s 90W USB-C and DisplayPort connections to control two computers with one keyboard and mouse connected to the display.

LG DualUp Monitor
LG DualUp Monitor

LG 16:18 DualUp Monitor with Ergo Stand (28MQ780-B)

[https://www.lg.com/us/monitors/lg-28mq780-b-dualup-monitor]

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KVM_switch]

TEXT/PPI

The more pixels-per-inch (PPI) a screen has, the more detailed and legible text will appear. A monitor’s PPI rating is a factor of the screen’s native pixel resolution in relation to its physical screen size, and a PPI greater than 90 is a good starting point. A PPI rating of 130 or higher is ideal for maximum text clarity. Consult a PPI calculator to make sure the monitor you are considering isn’t a downgrade in fine detail from what you may already have.

[https://www.sven.de/dpi/]

 

Screen size (16:9) Resolution Pixels-per-inch (PPI)
24-inches 1920 x 1080 (1080p/Full HD) 91.79
27-inches 2550 x 1440 (1440p) 108.79
27-inches 3840 x 2160 (2160p/4K) 163.18
32-inches 3840 x 2160 (2160p/4K) 137.68

 

It’s worth noting that some display technologies are better than others when rendering text with optimal clarity. OLED monitors, including quantum dot OLED (QD-OLED), are pure eye candy and offer superior picture contrast, color performance, and off-axis viewing. However, compared to LCDs, the unique sub-pixel structure of OLED displays can introduce color-fringing artifacts to rendered text that may prove undesirable. Software font enhancements like Windows ClearType can minimize these OLED artifacts to some degree but with sacrifices in overall text clarity.

Recommendation: All-around excellent WFH Monitor

The Dell U2723QE is a highly rated 27-inch 4K monitor for good reasons. This display offers a compelling combination of a well-contrasted bright picture, high pixel density, wide viewing angles, and terrific out-of-the-box color accuracy. The U2723QE’s stand provides excellent ergonomics with any desired orientation. Its integration of a KVM switch makes it well-suited for dual PC configurations or modern laptops that can use a single USB-C connection for video, power, and external control. The Dell U3223QE is a similar 4K display with a larger 32-inch screen size.

Dell u3223qe
Dell u3223qe

Dell U2723QE

[https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ultrasharp-27-4k-usb-c-hub-monitor-u2723qe/apd/210-bdpf/monitors-monitor-accessories]

[https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ultrasharp-32-4k-usb-c-hub-monitor-u3223qe/apd/210-bdph/monitors-monitor-accessories]

 SECOND DISPLAY OR WIDESCREEN

The popular aspect ratio of 16:9 featured in most computer monitors is adequate for displaying two windows or documents side by side. When a larger workspace becomes necessary, an additional display or ultrawide monitor can be a game changer. Adding an extra display can be a cost-effective upgrade that allows for the option to rotate a screen into a portrait view that can assist with previewing long documents or web pages. An ultrawide monitor with an aspect ratio of 21:9 or wider will provide a more seamless and efficient view than a multimonitor setup’s additional bezels that divide a visual workspace. For remote workers in a screen-sharing scenario, remember that an ultrawide monitor’s unique shape and relatively high pixel count may make it more difficult for coworkers to view your presented content.

 

A high-resolution WFH Monitor

The 40-inch LG Curved UltraWide 5K2K Nano IPS Monitor (40WP95C-W) is a 21:9 widescreen monitor that matches the pixel density of 32-inch 4K monitors (~140 PPI), making it ideal for text-heavy workloads. A USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port on the monitor’s rear can deliver up to 96W, making it easy to connect to a compatible laptop. This LG UltraWide has decent contrast and brightness, and its color gamut coverage extends impressively into DCI-P3 territory. However, content creators should consider giving this monitor a custom color calibration using LG’s free Calibration Studio software (compatible hardware meter not included) to ensure reference-quality imagery.

LG UltraWide
LG UltraWide

LG Curved UltraWide 5K2K Nano IPS Monitor (40WP95C-W)

[https://www.lg.com/us/monitors/lg-40wp95c-w-ultrawide-monitor]

[https://www.lg.com/ca_en/support/product-support/cs-40WP95C-W.AUS/]

VALUE PROPOSITION

Sometimes, the lowest price is the best option. When comparing the most affordable WFH monitor available today, I’m impressed with the value offered by the Sceptre brand that dominates Amazon’s Best Sellers category – half of the top ten on this list, at the time of this article, are Sceptre-branded displays! Add to this the company’s thousands of user reviews, averaging over 4-stars. Granted, all of Secptre’s monitors listed in Amazon’s top twenty are 1080p screens in the 80-100 PPI range, but shop carefully, and you could score a decent display without breaking the bank.

Sceptre
Sceptre

Sceptre ‎C248W-1920RN

[https://www.sceptre.com/]

[https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Computers-Accessories-Computer-Monitors/zgbs/pc/1292115011/]

 

 

Robert is a technologist with over 20 years of experience testing and evaluating consumer electronics devices, primarily focusing on commercial and home theater equipment.

Robert's expertise as an audio-visual professional derives from testing and reviewing hundreds of related products, managing a successful AV test lab, and maintaining continuous education and certifications through organizations such as CEDIA, the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), and THX.

More recently, Robert has specialized in analyzing audio and video display systems, offering comprehensive feedback, and implementing corrective measures per industry standards. He aims to deliver an experience that reflects the artists' intent and provides coworkers and the public with clear, insightful product information.

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