Introduction

Let's be honest: we like big displays. Given the choice between any two computer LCDs, we would almost invariably take the larger display - provided that price isn't an overriding concern, naturally. That being the case, and looking at the current prices of LCDs, we have a serious problem even considering anything smaller than a 20" LCD. The difference in price between a 17" LCD and a 22" LCD can be as little as $75, and by the time you're looking at reasonable quality displays, the price difference can narrow even more. Widescreen displays are the trend these days, which is all the more reason to get something a bit larger if possible - note that in terms of screen surface area, a 19" widescreen is actually slightly smaller than a standard 19" 5:4 aspect ratio LCD.

It wasn't all that long ago that a typical 20" LCD could cost well over $500. After watching 20-22" CRTs bottom out at around $500 for more than five years, you certainly won't find us complaining about LCD prices dropping by 30% or more per year! There is a point of diminishing returns, however, and it's quite difficult to find any size LCD for under $150. Should you go out and purchase the least expensive (and probably lowest quality) LCD you can find for $150, or is it better to spend a bit more money to get one of the larger displays? Considering that the display is what you're actually spending all of your time looking at when you use a computer, we continue to recommend that you spend more rather than less money on that particular component, and the fact that a good quality display can last through several computer upgrades is merely one more reason to do so.


We're looking at HP's 22" w2207 display today, which at $360 costs quite a bit more than the entry level 22" LCDs on the market. We previously looked at one such monitor, the Acer AL2216W that currently sells for $230, so one of the first questions we need to answer is what exactly the w2207 provides that the Acer lacks. Other than a few extra features, we also need to look at performance, but for less demanding users we feel pretty confident in stating that you'll be hard-pressed to find an extra $130 of value in the HP offering. What about those of you who aren't so easy to please - is there a case to be made for the HP w2207? Let's find out....

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  • jc44 - Thursday, August 02, 2007 - link

    Initially that would have been the approx asking price (medical applicatinos I think). They got cheaper as time went on though they were never exactly cheap. The Viewsonic (VP2290B) and Iiyama badged versions got under ~$7000 I think (which was approx twice the price on an Apple 30" at the time). Currently a DG5 (the last iteration) goes for ~$3500 on ebay and a VP2290B is ~$1000.

    The T221 was the first monitor that made me think "The best LCDs are btter than the best CRTs - now they only have to get cheap enough".

    I was really hoping that they would take off and the price would come down to something like the current ebay prices. (And yes I did buy off ebay in the end)
    Reply
  • Great Googly Moogly - Friday, August 03, 2007 - link

    Aye, they're pretty damn cool. I've yet to see one in the flesh though. You still have to have 2 dual-link cards with it though? Doesn't it use 4 single-link connectors?

    And isn't the 48 Hz data rate (all 4 links) OK enough? (Yeah yeah, TFTs don't have refresh rates, I know, but there are other ramifications of a slow data rate.)
    Reply
  • yacoub - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    Not sure why 22" is starting to become prominent over 20". Must be cheaper to produce because tolerances and processes don't have to be as tight, since they're the same resolution just a larger (and thus more visible) pixel pitch on the 22" (0.282mm). Would rather stick with a 20", or if I want bigger then I'd get a 23-24" with 1920x resolution. Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    When comparing TN 20" versus a 22" panel with around $50 difference, i'd definitely go for the 22" mainly due to the larger screen space which makes games and movies more life-like.

    Sure the resolution hasn't changed, but why do people buy big screens with lower resolutions anyways? Just to get the bigger picture of course.

    Oh, I also think there is a typo on Page 5 at the last paragraph.

    You mentioned
    quote:

    There are differences between the Acer and HP, and we generally felt that the Acer looked a bit better in vertical viewing while the Acer is better in the horizontal plane.


    But shouldn't it be

    quote:

    There are differences between the Acer and HP, and we generally felt that the HP looked a bit better in vertical viewing while the Acer is better in the horizontal plane.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    I corrected the Acer/Acer sentence -- HP seemed to be a bit better in the vertical plane. Things for the comment. Reply
  • nilepez - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    quote:

    When comparing TN 20" versus a 22" panel with around $50 difference, i'd definitely go for the 22" mainly due to the larger screen space which makes games and movies more life-like.


    I think the difference is that if you buy an 70" HDTV, you're not sitting as close as you are if you have a 42". Besides, a smaller TV with accurate colors trumps a big POS set with crap colors (and I've seen some awful HD monitors).

    As a result, if the colors are better on the 20", I'd go with a 20".
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    I think a lot of the better 20" LCDs were IPS or PVA, which might account for the prices as well. Dell I'm pretty sure was IPS on the 2005FP (and FPW?). I think the cheaper 20" LCDs are now also using TN panels. Could be that they can only get the same amount of 22" or 20" panels out of a modern glass substrate, though... I haven't looked into it closely. Reply
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    P-MVA and A-MVA are disregarded in the article, even though they are among the best 'overal' monitor technologies, for 20" at least. Second fastest response time, 8 bit color, best movie picture quality, homogeneous viewing angles. It's superior to PVA anyway. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    I thought MVA and PVA were similar and only certain patents created separate names. Guess not. :) I have never actually tested an MVA panel to my knowledge, and most high-end panels use IPS these days. The next tier uses PVA, and then the lower quality stuff uses TN. The one of the days, though, I will hopefully get the chance to test an MVA panel in person. Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - link

    I have been using an HP LP series LCD which uses (at least when I bought it) an S-IPS panel. I could never go back to a TN or other panel with less acurate color display. Reply

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