Monitor Screen Size and Resolution: the difference

On April 8, 2016, in Guides, by Harry Jackson

Asus MG279Q imageMonitor screen size and resolution are two concepts that are quite different but also closely relate to one other.

 

In this article, we will look into the relationship between these two concepts and how they differ.

 

Monitor Screen Size Defined

 

Monitor size

Monitor size is measured diagonally across the screen

For LCD monitors, screen size is the actual viewable area of your display. And is usually given in inches. This area is measured diagonally from one corner of the screen to another, inside the bezel.

 

  • CRT Monitors

 

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors, which are fast becoming extinct in the market, include the exterior casing in their screen size measurement.

 

As a result, the actual viewable space of a CRT is smaller than the screen size provided in the specs.

 

Monitor screen size

Size matters

This also means that an LCD monitor of the same size with a CRT is bigger than the CRT with around 2-inches. For instance an LCD of say 21-inch is equivalent to a CRT of 23-inches.

 

Popular monitor sizes used to be 15-inches, 17-inches, 19-inches, 21-inches, and 24-inches.

 

However, with advancement in technology that has made it possible for higher screen resolutions, there are now larger sizes that includes 27-inch, 30-inch, 40-inch, and above.

 

Understanding the Relationship between Size and Resolution

Most popular screen resolutions

Most popular screen resolutions
Image source: Wikipedia

Resolution is the number of horizontal and vertical pixels that your screen can display.

 

It is usually given as X x Y value. With the X representing the horizontal pixels. And Y the vertical pixels.

 

Thus, a monitor with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 can display 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels.

 

As can be seen from this example, the horizontal pixels are usually more than the vertical pixels.

 

 

The Relationship between them

 

Monitor screen size

Size matters: A 21.5-inch display in this picture is not good enough for photo editing

There is an important relationship between a monitor’s screen size and it’s resolution.

 

In fact, each time screen resolution is mentioned, it is very likely that the screen size will also be mentioned. And the reverse is also true.

 

Resolutions are usually allocated based on the display size in order to provide optimum results with the pixels.

 

For instance, 1920 x 1080 (full HD) is for 24-inches.

 

Full HD resolution

Full HD resolution

2560 x 1440 (above full HD) is for screens that are above 24-inches but less than 40-inches.

 

While ultra HD resolutions (UHD) is meant for screens that are 40-inches and above.

 

According to Microsoft.com;

 

  •  A 19-inch LCD monitor should have a native resolution of 1280 x 1024
  • 20-inch should have 1600 x 1200.
  • 20 and 22-inches should have 1680 x 1050.
  • While 24-inch should have 1920 x 1200.

 

4k resolution display

A 4k resolution display

However, in the recent past, we have seen even some 24-inch screens featuring above full HD or even Ultra high definition (UHD) resolutions.

 

When a small screen sized monitor comes with a high native resolution, images will appear very sharp and clear. But it also means that the elements on the screen like icons and text will look smaller.

Higher resolutions don’t necessarily mean better results.

 

Experience premium color experience with it

In fact, if a monitor comes with a resolution that is not recommended for its size, for instance 2560 x 1440 for a 24-inch screen, results will be good. But not so much different from what you get with 1920 x 1080.

This is because a 1920 x 1080 resolution gives you all the pixels you need for an excellent display in a 24-inch screen.

Conversely, a large screen with a low resolution will display blurred images. Because the small pixels will

be stretched to cover a wider area.

For example, a 24-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 will display sharper images compared to a 27-inch screen with the same resolution

 

 

The differences between them

 

Whereas resolution is the number of horizontal and vertical pixels a screen can display, monitor screen size is the total viewable area of your screen.

Screen size is measured diagonally

Screen size is measured diagonally
Image source: Wikipedia

Measured diagonally from one corner to another and is given in inches.

 

Apart from the native resolution which is the maximum resolution of the monitor, some monitors also offer alternative/non-native resolutions.

 

This is however not the case with screen size. Because once a 24-inch monitor, always a 24-inch. The same goes for other display sizes. They are fixed. And cannot be adjusted.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Monitor size

Monitor size is measured diagonally across the screen

With all that has been said, you should be able to understand clearly what monitor screen size and resolution means, the difference between them, and how they relate.

 

If not, use the comment button below to ask questions.

 

Perhaps you would like to share your own view or suggestion. Or you have a contrary opinion.

Screen resolution

Most common screen resolution of displays. Image source: Wikipedia

Use the comment button below to join the discussion.

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Thanks.

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