Monitors for Dummies
VA Panels with AMD Freesync technology, lifelike visuals with DisplayHDR 400 certified, 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms – how many things do you truly understand what it means and how it works? Worry not – MMD created a fool-proof glossary for all the features and specifications that you could find in any monitor description, to help you make the most out of your experiences.
Resolution means the image quality displayed on a monitor, how sharp a computer-generated image is. It’s measured in pixels, by the number of horizontal pixels times the number of vertical pixels.
4K is a new standard in TV, monitors and consumer media industry indicating that a display has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, double the size of Full HD (1920 × 1080). However, in the movie projection industry, 4K means 4096 × 2160 pixels.
4K UHD includes monitors with a 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) screen resolution, and a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Full High Definition (FHD) is a standard indicating that a display has a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is characterized by a total of 2,073,600 pixels on the screen.
Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD) is a standard indicating that a display has a resolution of 3440×1440 pixels, with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Double Wide High Definition (DWHD) is a standard indicating that a display has a resolution of 5120 x 1440 pixels, with a 32:9 aspect ratio.
Quad High Definition (QHD) is a standard indicating that a display has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Maximum/ Optimum resolution
Maximum resolution means the greatest video resolution reachable. Optimum resolution is the best combination of resolution and other features, such as refresh rate, for the monitor in use.
Response time is the time it takes to shift from one color to another. It is measured in milliseconds (ms), counting the time it takes to go from black to white to black again. Certain panel types are more responsive than others, so if you are a video maker or a gamer it can be useful to check a monitor with a low response time.
Refresh Rate is the number of times the monitor updates with new images each second. It is measured in hertz (Hz), meaning that 60 Hz ensures 60 updates per second. A higher refresh rate results in a smoother picture and higher video quality.
LCD panel type
Liquid-Crystal Display (LCD) is a flat display technology made of two sheets of a flexible polarizing material and a layer of liquid crystal solution between the two. There are three main kinds of LCD displays: active-matrix, dual-scan, and passive-matrix display.
In-Plane Switching (IPS) is a screen technology for LCDs that leverages liquid crystals aligned in parallel. IPS panels display consistent, accurate color from all viewing angles – resolving the limitations of TN panels.
Vertical Alignment (VA) is a type of LED panel display technology that leverages liquid crystals naturally aligned vertically. VA panels display the best contrast and image depth of all the other main types of display panels, although they’re also characterized by the longest response rate.
Twisted nematic (TN) is an LCD panel display technology. TN panels are characterized as being the fastest and most economical of the various main types of display panels, although they also offer the worst viewing angles and colors.
Multi Domain Vertically Aligned (MVA) is an evolution of VA panels that leverages liquid crystals naturally aligned vertically but with defined switching directions. MVA panels display the best contrast and image depth among the other main types of display panels, in addition to accurate color from all viewing angles.
Sync technologies are solutions developed to improve gaming by aligning the monitor’s refresh rate with the fps delivered by your PC or laptop GPU (graphic processing unit).
AMD Freesync™ technology
AMD FreeSync™ technology synchronizes the refresh rate of a display with the frame rate of FreeSync compatible graphics cards. This helps reduce or eliminate visual effects such as input latency, screen tearing, etc.
Adaptive Sync technologies such as G-Sync or Free Sync provide a smooth viewing experience by aligning the monitor refresh rate with the GPU fps.
Aspect Ratio is a proportional representation that describes the correlation between width and height. The current international standard is 16:9 (known as “widescreen”), so most of the monitors on the market offer this ratio. Moreover, 21:9 is progressively becoming more common. Philips also offer 32:10 and 32:9, offering the screen area of dual monitors without the complicated setup.
Viewing Angle is the position or angle that allows you to watch images and videos in the best way in front of a monitor.
Pixel density is a calculation of the number of physical pixels per inch on a screen or display of a device. It’s often referred to as Pixels Per Inch or PPI.
Sometimes referred to as pitch or dot pitch, this describes the density of pixels. It is the distance in millimeters from the center of a pixel to the center of the adjacent pixel. A smaller pixel pitch (and a smaller distance between pixels) results in an improved screen resolution.
Backlight is a form of lighting used to illuminate liquid crystal displays from the sides or from the back. This technology helps achieve a thinner display.
Brightness is the visual perception of luminance, radiating or reflecting light. High-end monitors right now offer brightness of around 300 to 350 cd/m2, but a brightness level of 250 cd/m2 is already good for working, without causing eye strain.
Contrast Ratio is the difference between how white and how black a monitor screen can get. Higher contrast ratios should ensure a good distinction between the colors displayed.
SmartContrast technology adjusts colors and controls backlight intensity according to the contents displayed, dynamically enhancing contrast for the best digital images and videos or when playing games.
SmartImage adjusts brightness, contrast, color, and sharpness in real time thanks to presets that you can select to optimize display for different types of content.
A monitor screen displays different colors due to different combinations and intensities of three primary colors (red, green, and blue).
Color gamut includes a range of colors inside the spectrum of colors identifiable by the human eye. Devices like digital cameras, monitors, and printers can reproduce various ranges of colors, and the color gamut is established to make these differences clear while creating a synergy between colors that can be used in common across different devices.
HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range” and refers to a technique that enhances an image’s dynamic range. It produces pictures with a large perceptible difference between bright and dark regions, providing lifelike images while preserving precise details.
sRGB stands for Standard Red Green Blue and is a color space, or a set of specific colors. It is a standard color gamut that defines a set of colors to be reproduced on displays so that photos and videos appear similar regardless of the display.
Pop-up webcam/ Windows Hello™
The Pop-up webcam is a built-in web camera that pops up from your monitor when you need it and can be tucked away when you don’t. It comes equipped with advanced sensors for Windows Hello™ facial recognition, which conveniently logs you into Windows devices in under two seconds.
Flicker-Free is a technology designed to help provide a more comfortable viewing experience by regulating brightness and reducing flicker.
Low blue mode
LowBlue Mode is a setting that uses smart software technology to reduce harmful shortwave blue light and thus protect your vision.
SoftBlue LED technology reduces the harmful effects of shortwave blue light without affecting the color or image of your display. It is certified by the international testing organization TUV Rheinland.
PowerSensor is a built-in “people sensor” that transmits and receives harmless infrared signals to detect your presence or absence from your monitor. It automatically reduces monitor brightness as soon as you step away from your desk, thereby saving energy.
LightSensor uses a smart sensor to detect the lighting conditions in the room and then adjust picture brightness accordingly, so that you can enjoy the perfect picture with minimal power use.
Easy Read Mode allows you to enjoy a paper-like reading experience when reading text on your monitor.
VESA wall mount & bracket
VESA is an interface standard used for brackets and wall mounting systems that defines the distance in millimeters between the four mounting holes on the back of a monitor (horizontal x vertical distance).
Zero Power Switch
Zero Power Switch allows you to completely cut your monitor off from AC power using a 0-watt hard switch, resulting in zero power consumption.
Privacy Mode offers an integrated privacy solution without any need for an external screen protector. At the press of a button, you enter Privacy Mode: your screen appears dark and barely visible from either side, yet maintains clear visuals at the center. You can thus shield confidential, sensitive, or private data from prying eyes.
Ultra Wide-Color Technology delivers a wider spectrum of colors thanks to a wider “color gamut.” This results in more natural-looking greens, vivid reds, and deeper blues, bringing media entertainment, images, and even productivity to vibrant life.
MultiView enables Picture by Picture and Picture in Picture view, allowing you to work with multiple devices such as a PC and notebook simultaneously for complex multi-tasking.
KVM switch allows you to control two separate PCs with one monitor-keyboard-mouse setup, which is especially useful for setups that require dual PC computing power or when you need to share one large monitor to display two different PCs.
Daisy chaining is the ability to connect a string of monitors to a single video output port. With DisplayPort-out, you can connect several high-resolution displays using just one cable from your first display to your PC.
Ambiglow technology creates a pleasant halo of light that enhances your viewing experience. Using a fast processor, it analyzes incoming image content and audio to continuously adapt the color and brightness of the emitted light to match the image on your screen and volume changes.
Smart Ergo Base
SmartErgoBase is a monitor base that delivers ergonomic display comfort by allowing you to swivel, tilt, and rotate the base.
Projected Capacitive (PCAP) touch screens use touch-sensitive technology to offer a simple, user-friendly multi-touch experience and fluid response.
SmartStand lets you easily adjust your screen to an upright position, recline it backwards for taking notes, and even lay it almost flat on the table for some applications.
SmoothTouch provides a nearly frictionless touch surface and a rapid touch response.
Anti-Glare Coating (AG) reduces the glare of touch monitor screens, so you no longer need additional protection to benefit from eye comfort, both indoors and in situations where there are bright lights pointing directly at the monitor.
Docking monitors/ USB Hubs
A built-in USB type-C docking station with power delivery enables intelligent and flexible power management. Its slim, reversible USB-C connector allows for easy, one-cable docking. Connecting all your peripherals like a keyboard, mouse, and RJ-45 Ethernet cable to the monitor’s docking station, it makes your computer use much simpler and more enjoyable.
Short for Universal Serial Bus, USB is a plug and play interface that allows a computer to communicate with peripherals and other devices. It can be used to connect keyboards, mice, game controllers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and removable media drives, just to name a few.
USB-C (Universal Serial Bus Type-C) is the standard connection being adopted everywhere from mobile phones to laptops. It helps transmit both data and power via a single cable to and from computing devices. The USB-C plug has a symmetrical design, so it can be inserted either way. USB-C can also feature DisplayPort Alternative Mode which allows to transfer data/video via multiple interfaces, including DisplayPort video interface.
High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) is the new standard used by the all-new DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 video cards. DisplayPort interfaces with HBR3 has a higher bandwidth that can drive 8K video resolution through a single connection, as well as multiple 4K displays. Key applications supported by HBR3 include high-performance gaming, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and television broadcasting.
RJ45 is a type of physical interface used for telephone connections and data transfer. RJ stands for “registered jack.” Whether at home or the office, RJ45 connectors can be used to connect an Internet-connected device such as a modem, router, or server directly to the hardware.
D-subminiature, or D-sub port, is a type of electrical connector commonly used for computers. There are many possible applications for it, the most common being VGA or “Video Graphics Array,” a standard monitor or display interface.
DVI (Digital Visual Interface) is a common digital video display interface. There are three types of DVI connections: DVI-A (for analog), DVI-D (for digital), and DVI-I (integrated, for both analog and digital).
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) allows you to transmit audio and video data through a single cable.
DisplayPort is the standard video interface, which is generally available on premium-level monitors with high-end graphics cards and facilitates activities that require good visualization such as gaming or video editing.
Audio in is a port to connect an external audio source.
Audio out is a port to connect speakers or headphones for listening.
Smart Connect enables a multitude of connectivity interfaces, including VGA, Display Port, and universal HDMI connector, allowing you to enjoy uncompressed, high-resolution video and audio content.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), managed by the Global Electronics Council (GEC), is the leading global Type 1 ecolabel for technology products. It grants assurance of the environmental friendliness of EPEAT-registered products through a continuous monitoring process known as Continuous Monitoring.
TCO Certified is the world’s leading sustainability certification for IT products. Products that receive this recognition meet high environmental and social criteria throughout their life cycle. The same production plants must guarantee standards in terms of working hours, environment, and salaries. To be certified, products must meet criteria for energy efficiency, ergonomic design, and reduced content of toxic materials.
Products that meet the most advanced sustainability criteria can be certified with the TCO Certified Edge, a truly high-level acknowledgement for products that stand out for their innovation. This certification measures specific sustainability factors, and products are tested and certified on a per-circle basis.
ENERGY STAR® certified products are guaranteed to be energy-efficient. This government-backed label must provide simple, credible, and impartial information that both consumers and businesses can rely on to make informed decisions.
Every product at the point of sale must be displayed – according to EU regulations – with a label that outlines its energy efficiency and other important features to be considered at purchase. The label also gives customers a better idea of how much they can save on their energy bills, as well as offering a clear and visible picture of how much the product contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
TUV Eye comfort
Eye comfort certification provided by the independent TÜV Rheinland is awarded to displays ensuring greater visual comfort and demonstrating the safety and quality standards that today are an essential requirement. TÜV Certification is based on the ISO 9241-307 standard, which means that you are handling a product designed to be glare-free, safeguard image quality from different perspectives, facilitate adjustment of blue light content, and ensure no flicker.
Curved screens offer a highly and pleasantly immersive experience, focusing on the person in front of the screen to give them a wider perceived visual field.
The thinner the frame, the more minimalist the look of the display. This creates an expanded visual experience and increases your productivity while allowing you to enjoy vivid images with seamless views.
The bezel is the border between the screen and the frame of a monitor.
ECO mode stands for “economical mode” and provides significant energy savings.
This mode indicates that the monitor is on and is using electricity.
If you haven’t finished your work and simply want to take a break, you can use standby mode, which pauses your computer or electronic device for as long as necessary without turning it off completely; this also helps save energy.
This mode indicates that the monitor is off.
Energy label class
Each electrical device must be marked with its efficiency level on a scale of A to G.
Power LED indicator
LED lighting lets you quickly know if your computer is on, off, or on standby.
A power supply is an accessory that connects an electrical device to a socket to power it.