Byte Me Article 362 – Screen Comfort

21st April 2018

Which Refresh Rate is Best

This week we round out our look at computer screens and their important specifications and today we bring refresh rates under the microscope.  A screens refresh rate is quoted as Hertz (Hz) and is the number of times that it can redraw an image (produce a new frame) every second.

Interestingly, the human eye can detect at least 60 frames every second and if there is a lot of movement on the screen then we need to aim even higher than this rate so that we don’t detect blurring.  If we are watching a soccer match for instance and the ball passes across our line of sight then we will be hoping for refresh rates in the 100 to 200Hz mark to help to make the travel of the ball appear smooth.

If we now look at an office PC and typical business use then the above is of less importance as it is usually just text on the screen that we are looking at.  This is much the same with emails and Internet research and only really changes if we are watching a movie or playing a computer game with lots of motion.

As a result, computer gamers need to spend more than average on their computer screens to have these extra high refresh rates.  We even see some screen manufacturers turn out 200Hz screens and specifically label them as gaming monitors.  The same goes for a home TV and now manufacturers are advertising the refresh rates of their wares as one of the specifications that you should be seeking.

What screen you choose will ultimately depend on your individual needs and your budget because TV screens and computers screens are one of those areas where you normally (but not always) get what you pay for.  Again, part of the buying decision and budget allocation should be determined by how much time you are going to spend in front of a particular screen.

There are now a lot of brands around that have never been heard of before and they can offer some considerable savings compared to the top tier Samsung, Sony, Panasonic & LG.  With a TV you can often place these screens side by side at the shop and see considerable differences in image quality regardless of specifications so be careful as some of the cheaper units do not fare so well in this test.

With computer screens we have also stuck with the top tier brands and have had a very good run with Viewsonic screens for the last 10 years.  The only other brands that we have sold are Samsung, LG and a few Philips models but again all of these brands have performed very well.

Another screen tip for those in the market for a laptop is to decide if you are going to use your device outdoors.  I mention this as there are substantial differences between the brightness and hence outdoor usability of various laptop screens.  To save power and extend battery life some laptops screens are not capable brighter settings and these models can be impossible to use outdoors.

To sum up for the average desktop computer users.  Look at 24”, 27” and 32” screens but don’t bother going beyond the 1080p resolution.  Look for quality and features and don’t get carried away with refresh rates.  If in the market for a laptop then consider the 720p resolution as the most ideal – unless you still have very good eye sight.

If in the market for a home TV then bigger is better as well as UHD (ultra-high resolution) and high refresh rates like 100 or 200Hz. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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