Introduction

Most people like to get as much information as possible when it's time to purchase and new, relatively expensive item. Unless you have money to throw around, you typically don't want to overpay for something that underperforms. That's where roundups of a product category can be particularly useful; unfortunately, it's not always easy to get all of the products in one place in order to put together such a roundup. What started as a review of a couple new 24" LCDs eventually grew into what you see here: a comparison of five of the most recent 24" LCDs to hit the market... that we were able to acquire. Note the qualification at the end of that sentence; there are still plenty of 24" LCDs that we have not yet reviewed, but for now we'll take what we can get. Besides, trying to put together all of the information for this article took enough time as it is.

We've discussed LCD panel technologies in the past, and we've often had negative comments for TN panels in particular. The biggest problem with TN panels is that they have far more limited viewing angles, often to the point where a minor adjustment in where you're sitting can affect what you see on the display. However, it just may be that there are benefits to TN panels as well. Look at most specifications and you will find lower response times advertised for TN panels than for competing PVA and IPS panels. Perhaps the biggest advantage for TN panels, however, is price. As the original LCD technology, TN panels have had a long time to mature and manufacturers are far more comfortable with them. Thus, it's little surprise that the prices are usually lower than what we find on S-PVA panels.

It used to be that all 24" LCDs used S-PVA panels, but that has begun to change during the past year. Cost has certainly been an important factor, but regardless we're beginning to see more and more 24" TN-based LCDs. Of the five new LCDs we're reviewing today, three use TN panels while two continue to use S-PVA panels. The latter do indeed cost more, but they also target a different market. Where the TN-based LCDs are intended for the consumer market, the S-PVA LCDs generally target the professional market.

We have a ton of information to cover in this article, so let's get to it. We're going to let the images do the talking for a lot of the areas we normally dwell on, and focus primarily on any noteworthy items that may not be immediately apparent. Also, feel free to consult our short glossary of terms that we use in our display reviews before continuing.

ASUS MK241H Specifications and Appearance
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  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, May 16, 2008 - link

    I agree with Jarred on both accounts: you can't go wrong with the LP3065 or 3007WFP-HC, and input lag is far less than the lag time you experienced on the tablet. But if you're really sensitive to it, I'd avoid the Dell 2708, Dell 3008, Samsung 244T, and Samsung 245T, as those seem to have the worst lag of all.

    For unbeatable 24" color accuracy, the choice is obvious: NEC LCD2490WUXi (U.S.) or Hazro HZ24W (U.K.). I think they have mid-range lag (35ms?), which you probably wouldn't notice. The LP3065, 3007, and DoubleSight 26" are high quality IPS screens with very little lag, and for professional animation work, why not go bigger than 24"?
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Sunday, May 11, 2008 - link

    Jarred, I'm glad to see input lag drawing so much attention. You seem well aware of this, but I wanted to point out that the LP3065 was a poor choice for a reference monitor. It likely performs the same as the 3007-HC, which has measurements that bounce from 0-20ms; 3 increments on your scale (maybe 2 considering refresh rate). Some LCDs out there consistently measure close to 0ms.

    The editor's comments are completely out of context! ("They're huge, heavy, and require more power, and the best ones were made over five years ago. Sorry - LCDs are where everything is heading.") A heavy, power hungry, old, and obsolete 15" CRT would still be an ideal reference.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - link

    It would probably be a faster reference, but I'm not going to try to dig one up. Sorry. My place is crowded enough without keeping around an obsolete CRT. I sold off a couple 19" CRTs two years ago, and that was the last time I had one around for testing. I had to junk my old 21" CRT (from 1997) because I couldn't even give it away. 85 pounds now at the junk pile.

    As it stands, I will continue to use the LP3065 as a reference LCD. If I test an LCD that scores better than the LP3065, that's not a problem: it will have a negative "relative input lag" score. A CRT might very well score 20ms faster; my problem isn't with 0ms vs. 20ms (assuming CRTs can score 0ms); it's with 0ms vs. 60ms and perhaps 0ms vs. 40ms.

    Personally, I'm certainly fine with the LP3065 - it is in use on my own gaming system and I've never been bothered with any discernible input lag. Image tearing caused by turning off VSYNC is a much bigger concern -- and that's one area where I'd like to see LCDs improve; a 120Hz refresh rate would help a lot. But then we'd need all new graphics cards and connectors to manage the data rates for 120Hz at 2560x1600.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, May 16, 2008 - link

    I hear ya on CRTs being too big to keep around :)

    I thought your measurements would have more variation, like by 40ms, since in many lag tests I've seen, measurements varied by 20ms. But your variations were 20ms, including both the reference and the one tested. I'd have to agree that a CRT isn't necessary, since the variations are under control (but I'll still add 11ms to the final numbers, as you've talked about). I'm surprised your 245T results weren't higher.

    I have a 3007-HC and agree about the excessive tearing. And of course if the framerate can't stay above 60, I have to disable vsync and live with it. You gotta admit, it's quite nice that the 8800-series cards came out within a year of the 30"ers, and that those two separate technologies complement each other.

    I wonder why the DoubleSight is going EOL, if it's such a great monitor and hot seller! Does that indicate customer return problems?
    Reply
  • ShocWave - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - link

    Actually, I have a 2493HM.
    AV mode will display 720p and 1080p at the correct aspect ratio with overscan. What it basically does is fill the screen and crops out the sides.

    It's not 1:1, but better then nothing.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - link

    I just don't understand why anyone would *want* overscan. AV Mode takes 720p stretched to fill the whole screen and then overscans it, right? Or are you saying it only crops the left and right sides? (I suppose I could check if I dig the LCD back out.)

    I'm not a stickler on aspect ratios, especially 16:9 stretched to fit 16:10 - the information is merely listed for those who really do care. I still think the Gateway has a better approach and overall better design. The Samsung however offers better color accuracy and a non-glossy panel for the same price. It's a close second in the TN panel contest (out of tested LCDs).
    Reply
  • 10e - Saturday, May 10, 2008 - link

    Yes, that's exactly what it does. Takes the 720p/1080p image and "zooms" it so that it fills the screen vertically, but gets cut off at the sides. So you have a 16:10 "window" looking at a 16:9 screen that is missing some of the image left and right (about 5%)

    I use an image from the "TigerDave" site that shows exactly the amount of 720p and 1080p overscan a display will suffer. It does actually cut off a very small part of the image top and bottom as well.

    I don't know what Samsung had in mind here. The newer revisions of the 245T and 275TPlus have a built in image setting for 16:9 now that supposedly works, so why they couldn't fix this in a technically newer design (2493HM) is confusing.

    Reply
  • BattleRattle - Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - link

    Do input lag against a CRT... Its the analog of the CRT that matters Reply
  • viperboy2025 - Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - link

    How does this compare to other reputable LCD monitors, I can't help but think anandtech is commercializing Dell displays. I mean how about the profesional serious from viewsonic, VP2650wb. They don't have a 24" oddly, but they do have a 26", VP2650wb, at a similar price as the dell 24", costing $615 at onsale.com with free shipping at the moment.
    The specs of this monitor seem to be better at everything than the dell, as it has 26" (compare to 24"), same resolution, 3ms response time, same 110% color gamut, 4000:1 contrast ration (compare to 3000:1), only difference I see are the inputs, since the professional serious doesn't carry TV inputs. But viewsonic does has a line of the X serious, all of which have hdmi, component, composite, and s video components, which i even doubt most people would use anyways since they would be attaching this to a computer not using it as a TV.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - link

    Drop contrast ratio and response time from that list, as they are meaningless figures. Color accuracy with "dynamic contrast" is horrible on all the displays I've tested - you can see the screen get darker/brighter as you watch, and I find it extremely distracting. So what you end up with is a 26" display at a good price. Is it better or worse than the Dell? In color accuracy, I'd bet a lot of money that it's worse without calibration.

    For the record, Dell displays are already "commercialized". The only thing wrong with the 2408WFP that I can see is input lag. I made this quite clear. If you're looking for a good 24" LCD for professional work, I'd recommend it without reservation. If you want a gaming LCD, probably look around more.

    I can't review every LCD out there, in part because most companies don't send us samples. Viewsonic is one of those companies (I've emailed them at least six times in the past year without a single response). They can call something a "professional display" if they want, but that doesn't make it any more true than the "get rich quick" schemes you see floating around. It may or may not be a great LCD; I'd love to get one sent here for review. Note also that all it took was one email to LaCie and they jumped at the opportunity for this review. If you're looking for a true professional display and you want great support, I'd recommend them in a heartbeat. $300 more is a tough pill to swallow for casual use, but for professionals that should be a non-issue.
    Reply

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