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Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Monitor

espresso display monitor
A monitor is not just a display — it's a gateway to enhanced productivity, immersive gaming, and unbeatable visual experiences. Whether you're a creative professional, a corporate executive, a student, or a gamer, the right computer monitor can elevate your work and play experience. In this guide, we'll show you how to choose a monitor that empowers you to unlock your true potential wherever and however you work.

Screen size: find your perfect fit

The best screen size for your monitor depends on a couple of key factors. You'll need to ask yourself what you plan to use your monitor for (a second screen while working, gaming, design and illustration or something else), where you plan to work (remotely or in a fixed location), how much space you have and how much you want to spend.
If you're looking for a portable monitor that you can use anywhere or have limited desk space, a compact display, like our 13-inch or 15-inch displays, are a great choice. Larger monitors offer more screen real estate for analyzing data, working on complex projects or professional gaming. Most monitors range between 23 and 39 inches, though ultrawide monitors reach 49 inches. Remember that the larger the computer monitor, the more desk space you'll need and, generally, the higher the price tag.

Screen resolution: clarity and detail at its best

The screen resolution of a monitor refers to the number of pixels displayed on a monitor's screen and determines the level of detail and clarity in your visuals. Higher resolutions provide sharper and more vibrant image quality, making them popular with designers, photographers and content creators. There are three main resolutions. The one that's right for you depends on how you plan to use the monitor and the size of your budget.

Full HD (1920x1080)

Full HD, also known as 1080p, is one of the most common screen resolutions, and it is used on most monitors. It features a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, with 1920 pixels representing the width and 1080 pixels representing the screen's height. Full HD offers a good balance between affordability and visual quality. espresso Displays are Full HD 1080p high-resolution portable computer monitors that deliver crystal-clear visuals, vibrant colors and excellent image quality, allowing you to immerse yourself in your work or entertainment.

Quad HD (2560x1440) 2K

Quad HD, or 1440p or 2K, offers a higher resolution than Full HD. With a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels, it provides significantly more screen real estate and sharper image quality. Professionals in graphic design, video editing, and content creation commonly use quad HD displays. The increased pixel density allows for finer details and improved color accuracy.

Ultra HD (3840x2160) 4K

Ultra HD, or 4K, is the highest resolution for consumer-grade computer monitors. With 3840x2160 pixels, it offers four times the pixel count of Full HD. Ultra HD displays deliver incredibly sharp and detailed images, making them ideal for tasks that require precise visuals, such as professional photo and video editing or CAD work.

Panel type: Choose your ideal display technology

The panel type of a monitor affects the color accuracy, viewing angles, and overall visual experience. Let's look at the most common panel technology options available.

Twisted Nematic (TN)

Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are known for their fast response times, making them popular for gaming monitors. They offer high refresh rates and low input lag, resulting in smooth motion. However, TN panels typically have limited viewing angles and poorer color accuracy than other panel types.

In-Plane Switching (IPS)

In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels are known for their excellent color accuracy and wide viewing angles. They produce vibrant and accurate colors, making them suitable for tasks that require color precision, such as photo editing or graphic design. espresso Displays use IPS panels with a 16.2 million color range and 300nits brightness, providing an immersive and vivid experience.

Vertical Alignment (VA)

Vertical Alignment (VA) panels offer a balance between TN and IPS panels. They provide better color reproduction and wider viewing angles than TN panels but are not as good as IPS panels. VA panels often have higher contrast ratios, resulting in deeper blacks and better visibility in dark scenes. However, VA panels can have slower response times, which may lead to motion blur or ghosting effects.

Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED)

OLED panels are gaining popularity in the monitor market. OLED technology allows each pixel to emit its own light, resulting in perfect black levels and infinite contrast ratios. OLED displays provide exceptional color reproduction and wide viewing angles. They also offer fast response times and smooth motion. However, OLED computer monitors tend to be more expensive compared to other panel types.

Refresh rate: smooth and fluid visuals

A monitor's refresh rate determines how often the screen refreshes per second. A higher refresh rate translates to smoother and more fluid visuals, especially during fast-paced gaming or video playback. espresso Displays use a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is standard for most monitors. It means the display updates the image 60 times per second, providing an immersive and lag-free experience. Refresh rates can increase to 240Hz, although this is designed for competitive gaming monitors and professional use.

Compatibility: seamlessly integrate with your workflow

Compatibility is a key consideration when choosing a monitor. Before deciding on a monitor, make sure it's compatible with your preferred operating system, devices and apps. Whether you use Mac or Windows, work from a laptop, mobile, tablet or gaming console, or use apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, our displays provide seamless compatibility. You can transition effortlessly between devices and software to enhance your workflow with flexibility and versatility.

Touchscreen: intuitive interaction and markup

Could a touchscreen monitor be right for you? Touchscreen monitors like our 15 Touch and 13 Touch are great for interactive presentations, design and creative work, team collaboration and as a portable gaming monitor. Our touchscreen displays give you precise touch response and intuitive gesture control, making it easier to navigate, create, and annotate documents with your fingers or the espressoPen.

Portability: work anywhere, anytime

Since Covid-19, working from home and remotely are here to stay. Many of us now split our time between home, office, and other remote locations in a hybrid working model. Portability is a vital factor to consider when thinking about how to choose a second monitor. We understand the need for flexibility and freedom, so we designed our portable monitors to be sleek, lightweight and super slim (5.3mm to be exact). That means you can take them anywhere without the constant need for a power cable connection to a wall. Whether you're working from your favorite coffee shop, collaborating with colleagues in a meeting room, or creating inspiring content on the move, espresso Displays are the perfect portable solution.

Collaboration: streamline teamwork

A monitor that supports team collaboration is essential in today's dynamic work environments. Check whether your monitor is compatible with collaborative work tools to help you share ideas, brainstorm, and collaborate with colleagues in real-time. espresso Displays makes team collaboration incredibly easy with major whiteboarding software like Mural, Microsoft Whiteboard, JamBoard, FigJam and Miro.

Design: Where form meets functionality

The design of a monitor is not just about aesthetics (although great-looking hardware doesn't hurt!). It also influences your overall user experience. Choose a monitor that you like looking at and enjoy using. We designed the world's thinnest display because we're all about clean, simple designs that create a visually appealing and intuitive user interface.

Ports and cables: versatile connectivity options

Having the right ports on your monitor is crucial for seamless device connectivity. Whether you need to connect your laptop, tablet, or gaming console, espresso Displays connects to your preferred devices with hassle-free setup that adapts to your ever-changing needs. Let's take a look at some of the most popular options.

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)

HDMI is a widely used and versatile interface found on most modern computer monitors and devices. It supports both high-definition video and audio signals over a single cable. HDMI connectors come in different sizes to accommodate various devices, including standard HDMI, Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI. HDMI is commonly used for connecting monitors to computers, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and other multimedia devices. It supports high resolutions, including 4K Ultra HD, and can transmit audio in formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

USB-C (Universal Serial Bus Type-C)

USB-C is a versatile and widely adopted connector that supports various functionalities, including video transmission. Many modern monitors, including espresso Displays, and laptops feature USB-C ports that can transmit video signals using the DisplayPort Alt Mode standard. USB-C with DisplayPort Alt Mode allows for high-resolution video output and provides power delivery and data transfer capabilities over a single cable. USB-C offers convenience and compatibility, especially for portable devices and docking stations.


DisplayPort is a high-performance digital interface that connects monitors to computers and other display devices. It offers many capabilities, including high resolutions, high refresh rates, and multi-monitor setups. DisplayPort connectors come in standard and Mini DisplayPort sizes. DisplayPort supports both video and audio signals, including support for advanced audio formats like DTS-HD and Dolby Digital. It is commonly used in professional settings and gaming setups due to its robust features and compatibility with high-end displays.

Stand: ergonomic comfort for endless productivity

An ergonomic monitor stand is essential for ensuring a comfortable viewing experience and reducing strain on your neck and eyes. How do you plan to use your monitor? Whether you prefer a sitting or standing setup or need to change the angle of your display, look for a stand that provides the flexibility you need to optimize your viewing comfort. The espressoStand is a magnetic stand for the espressoDisplay that allows you to find the perfect height and orientation for your display, with the option to use portrait or landscape. Say goodbye to discomfort and hello to possibilities.

Versatility: discover endless possibilities

Whether you want a second screen, a drawing tool, a collaboration whiteboard, a productivity powerhouse, or all of the above, it's smart to choose a versatile monitor that can adapt to your changing needs. Consider all the ways you plan to gain value from it and whether it can fulfill those roles. Whether you're a designer, programmer, content creator, or student, our displays adapt to your needs.

Durability: built to last

Durability is essential in choosing a monitor, especially when you consider the replacement and environmental costs. The casing of a monitor houses the internal components and provides protection. If you intend to purchase a fixed monitor that stays on your desk, a plastic casing might do the job — it's lightweight and cost-effective. However, a metal casing is a more durable option if you opt for a portable monitor to keep up with hybrid working. espresso Displays are built to last with tough aerospace aluminum and hardened glass. Our products maintain a premium look while withstanding the challenges of life on the move.

How to Choose a Monitor That You'll Love

The best monitor for you depends on a couple of important factors. Consider what type of work (or play) you'll be doing on the monitor, where you'll be using it, and how it fits into your lifestyle, work routine and budget. If it's versatility and flexibility you're looking for, espresso Displays are the world's thinnest portable monitors. Use it as your second screen when you're on the go (with no charger required), as an interactive drawing tablet and presentation device, to collaborate with your team from anywhere, to work on your latest designs, or as a gaming monitor for a more vivid and immersive experience.
However and wherever you work and play, espresso Displays will elevate your experience.