Be careful when buying very cheap monitors

Those who work more often in the home office will sooner or later think about a second screen. The offer is huge, but you should take a closer look at offers around 100 euros.

The advertising promises are huge, the choice is huge. And if you don’t know what is hidden behind the many technical abbreviations, you will quickly come to the conclusion that there are really good computer monitors for as little as 100 euros. But the monitor shouldn’t be too cheap, according to the experts.

“Although various manufacturers offer monitors just below the 100 euro barrier, there are clear cuts to be made here in terms of equipment, connections and ergonomics,” says Andreas Roth from the display portal “”. In addition, at this price, the selection with diagonals of 23 inches, which should be the minimum home office size, is rather manageable.

Cheap monitors usually with many compromises

“If you are willing to invest 150 euros, you will get a solid monitor with a screen diagonal of 24 inches, with good ergonomic properties and good technical equipment for office use,” says Roth.

At prices around 100 euros, you can only expect standard equipment: “These simple office monitors usually have a full HD display with an aspect ratio of 16: 9, and TN panels are usually built in,” explains Matthias Wellendorf from the technology portal ” “. The panel is the heart of the monitor. It’s made up of millions of backlit pixels that create the image.

The different displays

TN stands for Twisted Nematic and describes the arrangement of the liquid crystals in the screen. “TN panels are comparatively simple and can be produced inexpensively. They are also characterized by fast response times and require little electricity,” says Wellendorf. Almost all entry-level monitors therefore have TN panels.

The disadvantage of TN panels is, among other things, their limited viewing angle. “If you look at a picture surface at an angle from below, you can immediately identify a TN panel due to the lack of contrasts and falsified color reproduction,” says Andreas Roth. Monitors with an IPS panel would provide a much better picture here.

With this technology called In-Plane-Swiching (IPS), the crystals are arranged parallel on top of each other, which ensures better colors and greater independence of the viewing angle. “The IPS panel is therefore a good choice for the office area,” says Roth.

A third technology on the market are panels with a technology called Vertical Alignment (VA). They are sometimes seen as a compromise between TN and IPS screens. “VA panels have the best contrast values, thus deliver the richest black and also have a relatively high viewing angle stability, even if it does not come close to that of the IPS panel technology,” says Roth.

The reason for this is the vertical arrangement of the crystals. At the same time, VA panels are somewhat more expensive to manufacture. They also have a higher power consumption and rank behind TN and IPS panels in terms of response speeds.

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Check pixel density

Those who tend to prefer a large monitor should keep an eye on the pixel density. “A large display with a low resolution naturally delivers a poorer quality picture than a small display with the same resolution,” says Matthias Wellendorf. A good interim solution would be a 27-inch screen with IPS technology and 2560 by 1440 pixels (1440p). “Instead of two screens, a display in widescreen format would also be an alternative – but these are significantly more expensive,” says Wellendorf.

Buyers should make sure that the monitor has all the necessary connections. “Even in the lower price range, monitors should be equipped with a digital HDMI input, better still with an additional display port,” recommends Roth. Ultimately, however, the decisive factor is which outputs are provided by the computer’s graphics card. “Today, an analog VGA connection should only be of interest to users who use an ancient PC or an old notebook.”

USB hub and speakers?

An integrated USB hub can also be useful, says Wolfgang Pauler from the specialist magazine “Chip”. “You can definitely find it on inexpensive monitors.” USB-C, on the other hand, is hardly to be found in the price range of entry-level monitors.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t be blinded by extras such as built-in speakers. “They are often of such poor quality that any external sound solution is better,” says Wellendorf. The decision should primarily be based on the panel technology.

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Inexpensive monitors often without an adjustable stand

When choosing the right location for the monitor, light plays an important role. Light sources such as lamps should not shine directly on the monitor and a window in the back is also rather unfavorable. Because both make it difficult to read and work.

In addition, users should pay attention to the correct seat height and the height of the monitor. The distance between the eyes and the screen should be at least 50 centimeters. In the optimal case, the line of sight goes slightly downwards when sitting upright. An adjustable stand is helpful for aligning the monitor. This allows you to adjust the height of the display up and down, or even to rotate it to read the display in portrait format (pivot). However, particularly inexpensive monitors rarely bring such an adjustable stand.

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