What are monitor size, resolution, and contrast?

A computer monitor is an output device that is used to display data that is processed by the computer. It is also known as a screen or video display unit. Computer screens have many features such as size, resolution, and contrast, among many others. For optimum use of a monitor, the user is required to make different settings.

Monitor size is measured diagonally from opposite corner to corner. While the resolution is the number of pixels that can be displayed on the screen given by width and height. Pixels are color elements that make up an image. monitor contrast on the other hand is the ratio between the brightest white that screen can display against its darkest dark.

How to measure monitor size

Computer monitor size comes in different physical size, which is measured in inches. The width and height vary from one monitor to the next. However, when measuring a computer screen we use the diagonal size rather than width and height. Monitor screen size is measured from opposite corner to corner.

monitor size measurement diagram

For desktop computers, monitor sizes range from 15 to 45 inches while for laptop range from 11 to 17 inches. Laptops are smaller for portability purposes. For the desktop, some user can use their digital TV as monitors which can be bigger than the ordinary monitor screen.

Monitor screen resolution

The screen resolution is the measure of the number of pixels given in width x height. Pixels are basic elements of an image or graphic that represent color. If you want to see the effect of the pixels you can zoom in on any image to the point where you only see the color that makes up the image.

Screen resolution determines the clarity and sharpness of the image. The higher the resolution the better the image quality. Today’s standard computer monitor has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. This means at maximum display the screen has 2,073,600 pixels.

Other than the maximum resolution display the screen can also support other lower resolutions.

Types of screen resolution

Different monitor sizes that are currently on the market, come with different resolutions. When buying a screen you find out that resolution is indicated using numbers and letters. 

Letter i means interlaced. These screens have interlaced lines of pixels that run horizontally. They were mostly used on old monitors. The letter p represents progressive monitor pixels. Some of the most common types are

Resolution NameShorthand nameResolution in Pixels
High-definition (HD)720P1280×720
Full High Definition (FHD)1080P1280×1080
2K, Quad High Definition (QHD)1440P2560X1440
4K, Ultra High Definition (UHD)4K3840X2160
8K Ultra High Definition8K7860X4320

Users can watch a high-resolution video on a low-resolution screen. This is achieved by your device converting your video into a resolution size that it supports, a condition called downsampling.

How to change screen resolution in Windows

Search for the settings on the start menu. Click on settings>System>Display>Display resolution. On the display, resolution select the option that you want to implement. The option offers the highest resolution that your screen can offer and other lower resolutions you can choose from. By default, it has one resolution selected which is recommended for your screen size.

Monitor contrast ratio

The contrast ratio of a screen is the range difference between the brightest white and darkest black that the screen can display. The ratio helps determines how the darkest part of the image or video is seen on the screen. The higher the ratio the better the output. This gives the image a more real-life outlook.

The ratio is given by Contrast Ratio=White: Black. For example, a ratio of 1000:1 means the screen emits brightness that is 1000 more bright than it dark part.

How to change the monitor contrast in Windows computer

Method 1(High Contrast)

The setting is located in the ease of access tools. Click on the start button and search for settings. Setting>Ease of Access>High Contrast. 

Using high contrast setting in windows

Click on turn on to activate. It will turn the screen to high dark contrast as shown below. 

You can choose from different options that Windows offer for high contrast.

dark high contrast in windows

However, you may not like how now your screen looks like. The screen has become too dark. The next method gives a better simple way to customize the contrast to your liking.

Method 2 (Intel HD Graphic Control Panel)

To use this option, right-click on the desktop>Graphics properties>Display> Color. This will present the below screen.

changing monitor contrast and resolution on windows intel graphic control panel

From there you can adjust contrast, brightness, and gamma setting using the slider. Click on Apply to save changes.

Image and video screen aspect ratio

The aspect ratio of a video or image is given by width against height size (Width: Height).

The different screens can support different image aspect ratio sizes the ratio is more of the image and video than the physical screen itself. 

For example, a square image has an aspect ratio of 1:1. This means both width and height are the same.

There are different contents produced for different types of aspect ratios. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot watch the content on a screen that has a different ratio.

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