Many business users now rely on a laptop as their primary PC for office work, but with millions of people now working from home there’s a real demand for larger, external monitors that can be used with a laptop. Having a larger display is obviously easier on the eye when you’re staring at the screen all day long, and can also help to reduce neck and back problems as you don’t have to keep bending over your laptop while working.
There are other key factors as well, with size being the most obvious. If you’re simply running Microsoft Office and firing off emails to colleagues, then a low-cost 21-inch or 24-inch monitor might well be adequate (especially if it’s hogging your kitchen table). However, larger 27-inch monitors are increasingly popular — and increasingly affordable too. Larger screens are obviously good for graphics work, or presentations, but even number-crunching software such as Excel can benefit from having as much screen space as possible.
Cheaper monitors tend to be limited to Full HD (FHD) resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels — and, again, that’s acceptable for web browsing or simple word processing and spreadsheet work. However, higher resolutions, such as Quad-HD (QHD, 2560×1440) provide more room for browsing through documents, and having multiple documents or windows on screen at the same time. But while 4K displays (3840×2160) are very tempting — and may be essential for graphics and video software — they’re still something of a luxury for routine office work.
Connectivity is important too, especially for owners of older ‘legacy’ devices, so you’ll need to make sure you can actually connect your new monitor to your laptop. Most recent laptops and PCs use either HDMI or DisplayPort to connect to external displays, although there may be a few old PCs still floating around that use the now-ancient VGA or DVI interfaces. And, of course, many new laptops and PCs — and, of course, Macs — now include the new USB-C interface, which is ideal for monitors being used at home as a single USB-C cable can provide video and data connections, and even charge your laptop too.