Whilst the PC industry steams forward increasing the specification of the machines that we use, giving us the fastest processors and the biggest hard disks which offer us the ultimate in efficiency to get our work done as quickly as possible, a lot of users seem to neglect one area of the PC – The user interface.
The user interface is generally regarded as the keyboard, mouse and monitor as these are the peripherals that you use to actually interface with the machine. If you were to present to me the fastest PC on the market with a small, hard to read monitor, an awkward keyboard and a cumbersome mouse I wouldn’t appreciate half as much as one that wasn’t quite as fast but a pleasure to use due to the quality of the user interface devices provided.

One area in particular that you should pay attention to is the display you use on a daily basis; I get called out to many homes but would not be able to use some of the monitors that I’ve seen for an extended period of time. Using a monitor that flickers, is blurred or just has a general bad picture can be the cause of many easily avoidable ailments such as nausea, dizziness and headaches and spending a large portion of my day using a PC I want to avoid such things.

There is one specific type of monitor that has been designed in order to offer you the best viewing picture that will keep headaches and fatigue caused by viewing the display for an extended period of time at a minimum and this is the LCD monitor.
A Liquid Crystal Display monitor is a fraction of the weight and size of a conventional CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitor, which is found on the majority of PC’s - This is true to the extend that the size of the unit is only a couple of centimetres in depth and the average weight only around 3kg. There’s not sufficient room in this article to explain how a LCD monitor works but since you don’t really need to know this in order to use one, I’ll just explain that advantages that an LCD display can offer you.

On top of the space saving aspect that I’ve already mentioned, LCD monitors release less radiation than CRT monitors, flicker less and have a higher focus of picture. The colour representation can often be worse than a conventional monitor but this still leaves far more advantages to a LCD than disadvantages. Over the past couple of years the quality of these displays has increased dramatically and continues to do so at an alarming rate whilst at the same time the price of these units continues to go through the floor. You can now pick up a 15” LCD monitor for just a touch over £200 all inclusive which is around a third of the price you would be looking to pay only a few years ago.

When looking to buy an LCD, there are a few things that you should look out for. Firstly, try to get one with the widest possible viewing angle – Equal to or greater than 120 degrees vertically at least. The second point and possible the most important consideration is the warranty offered on the monitor. I have seen several LCD monitors that after a short period of time develop a single ‘dead’ pixel; this results in a single black or white spot being displayed continuously on the screen. These can become very distracting and some manufacturers will refuse to replace the monitor unless you have a certain number of dead pixels, for example, you may need at least 8 dead pixels before they will consider a replacement. Ideally, you’d like to find a manufacturer or supplier who will offer to replace the monitor if a single dead pixel develops.

Without the use of pictures, it is possible that those of you who still haven’t seen or heard about LCD monitors are still not entirely sure what it is that I’m reviewing this week. Because of this I recommend that you get yourself to your nearest computer store or visit the website of any monitor manufacturer (for example, Iiyama - www.iiyama.co.uk) and have a look at some pictures of current displays they have to offer you.

I will conclude by saying that if you spend a lot of time on the computer then even from a health point of view, it is definitely worth considering the purchase of a LCD display.

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