entertainment

The 16 best monitors for 2024

If you’ve gotten easily overwhelmed when looking at computer monitors to buy, you’re not alone. The sheer number of options available today is vast, plus monitors continue to evolve rapidly, with new technology like OLED Flex, QD-OLED and built-in smart platforms just in the last year alone. That’s on top of big improvements in things like color accuracy, image quality, size and resolution as well. There’s a lot to think about when choosing the right computer monitor for you, and Engadget is here to help. We’ve researched the latest monitors for all kinds of use cases, whether you’re a business user, a content creator, a multitasker or into competitive gaming. We’ve outlined out top picks for the best monitors below, along with buying advice which should help you decide which is best for you.

Factors to consider

Panel type

The cheapest monitors are still TN (twisted nematic), which are strictly for gamers or office use. VA (vertical alignment) monitors are also relatively cheap, while offering good brightness and a high contrast ratio. However, content creators will find that IPS (in-plane switching) LCD displays deliver better color accuracy, picture quality and viewing angles.

If maximum brightness is important, a quantum dot LCD display is the way to go — those are typically found in larger displays. OLED monitors are now available and offer the best blacks and color reproduction, but they lack the brightness of LED or quantum dot displays. Plus, they cost a lot. The latest type of OLED monitor, called QD-OLED from Samsung, just came out in 2022. The most notable advantage is that it can get a lot brighter, with monitors shown at CES 2022 hitting up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness.

MiniLEDs are now widely used in high-end displays. They’re similar to quantum dot tech, but as the name suggests, it uses smaller LED diodes that are just 0.2mm in diameter. As such, manufacturers can pack in up to three times more LEDs with more local dimming zones, delivering deeper blacks and better contrast.

Screen size, resolution and display format

In this day and age, screen size rules. Where 24-inch displays used to be more or less standard (and can still be useful for basic computing), 27-, 32-, 34- and even 42-inch displays have become popular for entertainment, content creation and even gaming these days.

Nearly every monitor used to be 16:9, but it’s now possible to find 16:10 and other more exotic display shapes. On the gaming and entertainment side, we’re also seeing curved and ultrawide monitors with aspect ratios like 21:9. If you do decide to buy an ultrawide display, however, keep in mind that a 30-inch 21:9 model is the same height as a 24-inch monitor, so you might end up with a smaller display than you expected. As a rule of thumb, add 25 percent to the size of a 21:9 monitor to get the vertical height you’d expect from a model with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

A 4K monitor is nearly a must for content creators, and some folks are even going for 5K or all the way up to 8K. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need a pretty powerful computer to drive all those sharp pixels. And 4K resolution should be paired with a screen size of 27 inches and up, or you won’t notice much difference between 1440p. At the same time, I wouldn’t get a model larger than 27 inches unless it’s 4K, as you’ll start to see pixelation if you’re working up close to the display.

One new category to consider is portable monitors designed to be carried and used with laptops. Those typically come in 1080p resolutions and sizes from 13-15 inches. They usually have a lightweight kickstand-type support that folds up to keep things compact.

Samsung Smart Monitor M5
Samsung

HDR

HDR is the buzzy monitor feature to have these days, as it adds vibrancy to entertainment and gaming – but be careful before jumping in. Some monitors that claim HDR on the marketing materials don’t even conform to a base standard. To be sure that a display at least meets minimum HDR specs, you’ll want to choose one with a DisplayHDR rating with each tier representing maximum brightness in nits.

However, the lowest DisplayHDR 400 and 500 tiers may disappoint you with a lack of brightness, washed out blacks and mediocre color reproduction. If you can afford it, the best monitor to choose is a model with DisplayHDR 600, 1000 or True Black 400, True Black 500 and True Black 600. The True Black settings are designed primarily for OLED models, with maximum black levels at .0005 nits.

Where televisions typically offer HDR10 and Dolby Vision or HDR10+, most PC monitors only support the HDR10 standard, other than a few (very expensive) models. That doesn’t matter much for content creation or gaming, but HDR streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other services won’t look quite as punchy. In addition, most models supporting HDR600 (and up) are gaming monitors, rather than content creation monitors – with a few exceptions. 

Refresh rate

Refresh rate is a key feature, particularly on gaming monitors. A bare minimum nowadays is 60Hz, and 80Hz and higher refresh rates are much easier on the eyes. However, most 4K displays top out at 60Hz with some rare exceptions and the HDMI 2.0 spec only supports 4K at 60Hz, so you’d need at least DisplayPort 1.4 (4K at 120Hz) or HDMI 2.1. The latter is now available on a number of monitors, particularly gaming displays. However, it’s only supported on the latest NVIDIA RTX 3000- and 4000-series, AMD RX 6000-series GPUs.

Inputs

There are essentially three types of modern display inputs: Thunderbolt, DisplayPort and HDMI. Most monitors built for PCs come with the latter two, while a select few (typically built for Macs) will use Thunderbolt. To add to the confusion, USB-C ports may be Thunderbolt 3 and by extension, DisplayPort compatible, so you may need a USB-C to Thunderbolt or DisplayPort cable adapter depending on your display.

Color bit depth

Serious content creators should consider a more costly 10-bit monitor that can display billions of colors. If budget is an issue, you can go for an 8-bit panel that can fake billions of colors via dithering (often spec’d as “8-bit + FRC”). For entertainment or business purposes, a regular 8-bit monitor that can display millions of colors will be fine.

Color gamut

The other aspect of color is the gamut. That expresses the range of colors that can be reproduced and not just the number of colors. Most good monitors these days can cover the sRGB and Rec.709 gamuts (designed for photos and video respectively). For more demanding work, though, you’ll want one that can reproduce more demanding modern gamuts like AdobeRGB, DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 gamuts, which encompass a wider range of colors. The latter two are often used for film projection and HDR, respectively.

Console gaming

Both the Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5 can handle 4K 120Hz HDR gaming, so if you’re into resolution over pure speed, you’ll want a monitor that can keep up and provide the best gaming experience possible. 4K resolution, HDR and at least 120Hz is the minimum starting point, but fortunately there are 27-inch displays with those specs starting at well under $1,000.

Pricing and parts shortages

Though the pandemic has eased, monitor supply is still a bit tighter than pre-pandemic levels due to supply and demand issues. To that end, you may have trouble finding monitors at Amazon, B&H or elsewhere for the suggested retail price point. For our guide below, we’re basing our picks on the MSRP, as long as the street price doesn’t exceed that by more than $25.

Best monitors under $200

Best monitors under $400

Best monitors under $500

Best monitors under $1,000

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/how-to-buy-a-monitor-143000069.html?src=rss

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Photo AI – Generate Stunning Photorealistic Images Using Artificial Intelligence

Oh hey there, fellow tech enthusiast! Today, I’m here to talk about Photo AI– an app that’s been making quite a buzz in the iPhone photography community. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Another photo editing app? Really?” But bear with me, because PhotoAI is definitely worth your attention.

First of all, let’s talk about its standout feature – AI-powered editing. Yes, you heard that right – this app uses artificial intelligence to automatically adjust your photos for the best possible results. And boy, does it deliver! Photo AI‘s algorithms can recognize objects and scenes in your photos, and apply the right edits to enhance them. Whether you’re taking a portrait, a landscape, or a food pic, PhotoAI will make it pop.

But here’s the thing – as much as we love technology, we also love speed, right? And that’s where Photo AI falls a bit short. According to some reviews, the app can be a bit inconsistent in terms of processing speed. Sometimes it’s lightning-fast, and other times it can take a while to churn out the edits. That’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Who is behind Photo AI? Pieter Levels, a serial entrepreneur and digital nomad who has built over 20 online businesses in 10 years, created Photo AI. Pieter is passionate about creating products that solve real problems for people around the world. He believes that anyone can learn how to code and create their own online business with minimal resources and maximum creativity. Pieter shares his insights and experiences on his blog and podcast.

How much does Photo AI cost? Signing up with your email address gives you access to Photo AI’s free version, which allows you to generate up to 10 photos per day using any model you want. You can download your photos in high resolution (1080p) for free. For users who need more than 10 photos per day or want to access premium features such as custom models, copycat gallery, manual prompts and advanced settings, they can upgrade to Photo AI Pro for $9 per month or $99 per year. You can cancel your subscription at any time with no hidden fees.

Why should you try Photo AI? Photo AI is more than just a fun tool to play with; it’s a powerful way to express yourself creatively and visually. Here are some ways you can use Photo AI:

  • Personal branding: Create professional-looking photos for your social media profiles
  • Content creation: Generate unique images for your blog posts
  • Marketing: Make eye-catching ads for your products
  • Education: Learn about photography techniques
  • Entertainment: Have fun experimenting with different styles

Photo AI is also an example of how artificial intelligence can enhance human creativity rather than replace it. With Photo AI, you collaborate with a machine to create something amazing that neither of you could do alone. So, why not try Photo AI today? Visit photoai io to start generating photorealistic images using artificial intelligence.

Another cool thing about PhotoAI is its user interface. It’s clean, simple, and intuitive – even if you’re not a pro photographer, you’ll be able to figure out how to use it in no time. And if you are a pro, you’ll appreciate the manual controls that allow you to fine-tune the edits to your liking.

All in all, PhotoAI is a fun, powerful app that’s definitely worth checking out if you’re into mobile photography. Whether you’re looking to enhance your Instagram game or just capture some great memories, PhotoAI has your back. And who knows – with a little help from AI, maybe you’ll become the next Ansel Adams!

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The best digital gifts to send your friends and family

There are way too many online services and subscriptions to keep track of these days, but the flip side is there’s a tool for just about everything. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite digital gifts and subscriptions, including time-tested music, video and gaming services as well as tools to clear your mental space and learn new skills. There are also a few subscriptions here that provide ongoing, IRL deliveries, if you think your giftee will appreciate the nostalgic charm of a physical object.

Disney Bundle

Super Duolingo

Headspace

Masterclass

Codecademy

PlayStation Plus / Nintendo Switch Online / Xbox Game Pass

Apple One

Adobe Photography plan

Max

Audible

Crunchyroll Premium

Twitch Turbo

YouTube Premium

The Sill

Gaia fitness

Field Notes subscription

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/holiday-gifts-digital-and-subscription-gifts-160041638.html?src=rss

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