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The most popular type of video display – a color monitor – typically displays data in 24-bit or 32-bit color, thereby providing the viewer with over 16 million or over 4 billion colors, respectively. A monitor's dot pitch, measured in millimeters, is the distance between each display pixel. Dot pitches generally range between 0.24 and 0.28 millimeters. Higher dot pitches are more suited for text work while lower dot pitches are more suited for graphics work. Refresh rate is the frequency at which an image is redrawn on the screen. CRT monitors require a high refresh rate to avoid annoying image flicker, but LCD monitors do not share this concern.
15 inch CRT monitors are fairly compact and readably display up to 800 pixels horizontally by 600 pixels vertically. 17 inch monitors can typically display up to 1024 pixels by 768 pixels; 19 inch monitors readably display up to 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels; and 21 inch monitors used for computer graphics and design applications, can display nearly 2 million pixels!
During the last few years, the LCD monitor has become more cost effective, and it has largely supplanted the older CRT monitor as a computer display device. A 15 inch LCD monitor has a native resolution of 1024 pixels by 768 pixels (XGA mode), and most 17 inch LCD monitors can display up to 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels (SXGA mode). However, standard size text in Microsoft Windows is small and hard to read at this resolution. Therefore, 19 inch LCD monitors, whose native resolution is usually 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels as well, are more favored by computer users.
More recently, wide-screen LCD monitors, which can display wide-screen digital videos efficiently, have become quite popular. A 19 inch, wide-screen LCD monitor, the most popular size, usually has a native resolution of 1440 pixels horizontally by 900 pixels vertically. The native resolution of a 22 inch, wide-screen monitor is usually 1680 pixels by 1050 pixels.
Watch: Wide-Screen Computer Monitor
On laptop computers, the early passive matrix LCD monitors have given way to brighter, more colorful active matrix monitors. Many of these laptop computers feature ergonomic wide-screen displays as well. The popular 15.4 inch displays used on laptop and notebook computers generally have a native resolution of 1280 pixels by 800 pixels while the 17 inch screens can usually display 1440 pixels by 900 pixels. In our judgment, a laptop computer with a 15.4 inch display strikes a good balance between size, weight, and display screen readability.
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