Holiday 2008 Display Guide

by Jarred Walton on 12/18/2008 5:00 AM EST
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  • silvajp - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    In our home we went with a 25.5" from Samsung, native resolution 1920x1200. It's larger pixels were much easy on our eyes compared to a highly recommended 24" from Dell offering the same resolution. Reply
  • silvajp - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - link

    FYI We have the Samsung 2693HM.
    Also note this model seems to our eyes very bright and colorful. In fact one of us is a Graphic Artist and find the color range very satisfactory.
    Reply
  • kondor999 - Saturday, December 27, 2008 - link

    As someone who was very confused about the "Contrast Ratio War" going on in Retail, this was super-informative.

    I'll officially stop perseverating on this meaningless spec now.
    Reply
  • gochichi - Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - link

    Dear Anandtech,

    This is your job. It is truly disappointing to see so little help coming from the review sites. Dell has 31 LCD monitors. That's one brand, one brand that has some of the best LCDs and surely must have some bad ones too.

    I've never seen a review of Dell's new high-RES 23" LCD. You guys mention it in passing. You guys also throw Acer a bone as an "overall good value", if you've never seen it, I certainly have. I purchased a 24" Acer LCD and returned it the next day. I preferred my old 17" MAG LCD (OLD! REALLY OLD!) to the junkiness of that Acer.

    I currently have a 24" LCD, a 17" LCD, a 21.5" LCD, a 32" 720P HDTV (as a computer monitor) , and I totally disagree with your assumption that bigger is better (it's not worse either)because most of the monitors you mentioned are below $500.00, they are all affordable. Some other criterion must be used.

    I think most people don't need as much help with the obvious things such as size. I don't need you to tell me that you prefer 24" screens, different sizes have different uses OBVIOUSLY. Can you instead tell me about the non-obvious, the performance, and so on?

    Because I would absolutely be interested in a high performing 17" LCD as well as a high performing 20", etc. etc. The brick and mortar stores are little help, 90% of the time they have useless setups with the resolutions garbled up.

    Every single Acer monitor I've seen I strongly dislike because of the image quality. Yet I've seen some very nice monitors in other sizes that I'd be happy to own, though I don't know the model numbers there are 4:3 ratio smaller Dells that are a pleasure to work on. (17" or 19" both).

    Obviously, it's absurd that Dell has decided to release 31 models of LCDs, and that every other manufacturer does similar things. Samsung is not much better, they have 20" models, 21.5" models, 22" models many of which (most of which really) are impossible to differentiate from one another.

    You guys could take a leadership role on this and really start untang ling this mess. Instead of this obscure, incomplete, biases guide (you yourselves called it biased, you said "bigger is better"). What are the 17" LCDs to look for? What are the 19" LCDs to look for? Etc etc.

    Even more importantly is, which models should we avoid? But then again, I'm not exactly trusting your judgment too much since the only brand that received a blanket endorsement (Acer) is one of the very worse in my personal experience.

    Other ways to divide LCD monitors: Glossy vs matte displays. From time to time I see glossy desktop displays and some of them are good, some of them not so much. For example HP's 20" glossy display is high quality. I would even appreciate a list of the brands and models that offer glossy displays (e.g. Dell's coating would be "TrueLife")as well as overall impressions on this.

    I think my job is to come here, click on Ads and buy stuff and I do that. Your job is to give me some reason to come and do so. These articles aren't as useful as they could be and I'm tiring of it.
    Reply
  • gammaray - Friday, December 26, 2008 - link

    I totally agree with you. Bigger isn't better even if it's just 20$ more.
    i WANT to know which 19" or 20" LCD monitors is the best right now.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    Why not? How many people are space constrained enough to need a 17" if you can get a $19 for the same (or $20 more)?

    My only experience with Acer is a 17" I bought for my parents last Christmas. It is a TN panel, so it has all the TN panel problems, but otherwise has been flawless.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - link

    You dislike Acer that much, eh? I've tested three of their displays; for the price, they're all good displays -- as in good performance with some drawbacks that are totally overcome by the very affordable price. And you still get a 3-year warranty (which I've used on at least one Acer display over the years) -- unless that changed? I've also used many of their other displays, and never had any serious complaints.

    The same goes for most LCDs though. If you don't want backlight bleed, you'll need to shop around more; if you want better color reproduction, again you'll need to shop around (or at the very least pay for a more expensive LCD). There can be a pretty significant difference between $320 24" LCDs and $1000 24" LCDs in terms of color quality, but will most users notice or even care? I don't think so.

    I'm working on other LCD reviews, but it takes time to get them and then run all the tests. At the end of the day, if you want a high quality LCD, you pay a high quality price. In most cases, you can tell a lot about the display quality just by finding out if it's a TN, PVA, or IPS panel. I'd take the latter every time given the option, but they invariably cost about twice as much as the same size with a TN panel.
    Reply
  • jackylman - Monday, December 22, 2008 - link

    No non-TN panels for under $400?! Man, I should've filled my garage with a bunch of ViewSonic Vx2025wm (20" widescreen PVA) when they were in the $300 neighborhood. I could be making a lot of loot selling them for ~$400. Reply
  • geok1ng - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I feel sad with the state of the LCD market today. Aside from the DS with 30 inches of S-IPS glory for $900 there are no options today that can rival the good old ones...
    A- My 5 years old Apple Cinema HD 30 inches is still on the top 10 of the planet. What 5 years old hardware can manage that much time on top!
    B- My previous LCD , an Acer 2616w , 26 inches of high coplor gamut S-MVA with decent input lag and HDCP simply has no similar on the USA market...i feel really good about the $600 that i payed 2 years ago
    C- The Soyo 24 inches SMVA is a fast nononsense sub$300 panel, and it is pretty much the only non-TN panel at 1920x1080 that does not costs an arm and a leg.

    But i agree with the directions that the low end market is taking, higher resolutions TN panels, instead of huge 28 inches TN panels. Today 22 inches TNs are the way to go for non professional uses, but we still need better and cheaper non-TN options for the quality oriented consumers.
    Reply
  • DorkMan - Saturday, December 20, 2008 - link

    First, settle on a size. I love my 24" panel for all my video editing.

    Okay, not settle on a technology. Very, very, simple rule of thumb: ANYTHING is better than TN, though TN usually has faster response times. Better how? Look at a beautiful color photo on the panel. Now move your head down a couple of feet, not up a couple of feet. The fancier panels will look the same, the TN panel image will change dramatically. But hey, if you don't mind, go for TN, which is significantly cheaper.
    BTW I was lucky to get one of the $299 P-MVA Soyo panels a little over a year ago. Fantastic image, saturated color, no black level shift as you move around. Wonder where Soyo found these Optronics panels when all the other guys didn't have them?
    Reply
  • DorkMan - Saturday, December 20, 2008 - link

    Sorry, guys, grease on my fingers from dinner. Replace "not" with "now" in the above post. Reply
  • Gunlance - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I always enjoy browsing the LCD suggestion thread on the anandtech forums. The best place for really narrowing down your options.

    I'm still rocking my Samsung SyncMaster 215TW :)
    Reply
  • MalVeauX - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Heya,

    If you need a display larger than 28", it's time for you to just go up to an HDTV plasma with 1080p native res. It'll cost less than $2,000 that the 30" listed dream setups do. I have a 42" plasma that is 1080p and the text is actually crisp. No point in being limited to a small real estate screen size when a quality 1080p plasma can do the same thing for you.

    If you're using your display to code all day, literally, then stick with LCD's (in fact, get a wide screen that does portrait mode and then use it like that so you can see more of your code). But if you're using your display for casual use, gaming, and even video watching, you don't need a little LCD. Get something big. Make those high end machines and graphics cards do something wonderful that fills your face, not just a $4,000 machine on a tiny little 22" box that display all it does.

    Very best,
    Reply
  • RagingDragon - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    The maximum resolution for an HDTV is 1920x1080 (1080p), while the 30" displays are all 2560x1600. Generally buyers of 30" displays are looking for the highest possible resolution at a reasonable pixel size (high cost, tiny pixels, and iffy hardware and software suppport make the 23" 3840x2400 displays impracticle for most buyers). Reply
  • Inq - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Actually the HP LP2475 does not have an S-IPS panel but an H-IPS one just like the 26 NEC. Great display btw, it beats the 2408WFP IMO. Reply
  • rdh - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    My Westinghouse L2410NM was pretty well panned by everyone. But, you know, I have been using it as a monitor and an HDTV now since April and I love it. It has the real estate do serious Software development, and has HDMI/Component inputs for HDTV from my Dishnetwork HDDVR. My son's xbox360 looks great on it. It has a 1080p MVA screen, and a 1920x1200 base resolution.

    The time for Monitors + HDTV inputs and resolutions has come.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, December 22, 2008 - link

    We have several of these for work. If you need the VGA input the scaling can be weird, one had a broken menu/input select button, and at least one has a dead pixel, and there is the really annoying fact that it goes to a blue screen instead of shutting off when using the HDMI input. But for the price they were ($350-400 at Newegg) the image quality is great and the selection of inputs nice. Too bad Newegg no longer has them and everywhere else seems to be more expensive. Reply
  • Kairos - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I bought a Samsung SyncMaster 2443BWX about five days ago, from Costco. It was marked down to $279, and since I got the last one in the store (apparently Samsung is phasing the model out), the display model (never turned on, just sat on the shelf), I got a 10% discount off of it. Actually, I didn't, because no one working at the store could figure out what 10% off of $279 was, so they ended up giving it to me for $200.

    It's a fairly bare-bones monitor (a panel on a stand with a DVI port and a VGA port, basically), but the panel quality is pretty good, and for $200 it's an amazing deal. I'm very satisfied with it, overall. Costco, in my experience, has always been a great place to shop for monitors. They'll often run really good clearance deals on old models, so you can get something nice for not much money.
    Reply
  • Wineohe - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Just received my 2408WFP today, although I paid a little more when I purchased it late Monday night.

    I set it up in a dual display configuration with the 1901FP it replaced, which is almost exactly 5 years old. I am shocked by how dim and off the colors are on the 1901FP. And to think I was debating the purchase. I can't believe I was actually editing family photos with it.
    Reply
  • DrewAK - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Newegg has the gateway 30" for $999.00 right now. Reply
  • DBissett - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Informative article, but the second paragraph under "$400-$800 High End Monitors" really needs some editing. The first sentence says we can find an S-MVA monitor. Then it says there is one available in the US but it's out of production. Then the monitor is discussed further, but the name of this product is never given. If it's available then name it, and if not then why discuss it at all? Too bad you couldn't get more to test. I too would be interested in the Eizo, although I've never seen one. I don't know where to see them in Houston. Reply
  • gorobei - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    they are probably referring to the hp lp2275. look it up on tft central. $360 at newegg right now. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Sorry... not sure how that slipped through the cracks, but the table on the table should have made is clear that I was discussing the BenQ FP241VW. Original MSRP was ~$900 I think, but I've seen it a few places for $600 now. Reply
  • OCedHrt - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    How does the Apple displays compare here (ie. what panel do they use)? I ask because my housemate is convinced that the demo photos look significantly more vibrant on Apple displays than on displays hooked up to a PC (he can't get the Apple display port display to hook up to a pc). Personally I feel it has to do with the different gamma settings that the photos are saved under as Apple displays are otherwise using the same sources for the panels. Reply
  • Rippar - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Apple displays use Active Matrix LCD's, though I think there's more than that to separate them from other AMLCD's. They have great (read: jaw-droppingly awesome) color accuracy, but at the expense of bad input lag (on the order of 60-80 ms, I'd say). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Ummm... everything is pretty much active matrix these days. Passive matrix LCDs are mostly used in cheap LCDs like digital watches. You can read about it on Wikipedia; I think there were some laptops with passive matrix tech about 8+ years ago, but I don't think any desktop LCDs were ever passive matrix. Reply
  • Rosaline - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Regarding the Dell 3008WFP, you state that it has very high input lag, presumably because of the digital scaler. This seems like a real shame, since the digital scaler I felt was one of the main appeals of this monitor.

    Interestingly, it is currently actually slighter cheaper than the 3007WFP-HC for UK buyers.

    Does this lag still apply when fed with a native resolution signal? Do you think that this lag is avoidable whilst still offering the advantages of the scaler?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I never could get one for testing, so I'm speaking anecdotally. Most reviews I've seen show the lag as being roughly equal to the 2408WFP/2407WFP/2707WFP, which all have in the range of ~40ms lag. Since I never have found any other IPS 30" LCDs with that problem, I have to figure it's the scaler. And I agree, it's a shame. If you don't need to use the display as anything more than a computer LCD, just stick with the 3007WFP-HC or the LP3065 (or one of the other S-IPS with no scaler). Reply
  • superkdogg - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I picked up the 22" Acer that you guys recommend a few weeks ago and couldn't be more pleased. Recognizing that you're not going to get the very top of the line for the lowest price, the monitor does everything I want from it, and the 16x10 resolution actually saves me more money because I don't have the itch to upgrade my graphics card constantly to take advantage of the the display.

    The drawbacks that I'd note on the Acer are that it does bleed light when sitting on an all-black screen like a blank desktop for example, and your comment about flimsy stand is dead on-if your desk isn't sturdy the stand may be flimsy enough to make you turn to a different monitor. If your desk is solid no problem at all, but if not it's an actual risk that your screen could tip over.

    Mine also had a stuck blue pixel, but only one so whatever.

    All-in-all, my desk is sturdy and I'm seldom sitting at my blank desktop where I can see the blue pixel and the light bleed so for practical purposes the monitor is awesome. I love it and consider it a great choice in the value segment.
    Reply
  • Goty - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    It would be interesting to see what the matte finish on the 2401 does to the perceived color saturation vs the 2400. I bought an FHD2400 shortly after the release of the article here and couldn't be more pleased with it. Reply
  • anandtech02148 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    nice review,
    I bought the Dell 2408 when it was 512, price have drop a little in 4weeks. Regarding input lag, some suggest using hdmi cable to connect instead of dvi to improve signal lag. Does this really work?


    Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I wouldn't see why. HDMI is DVI+Audio. Reply
  • USRFobiwan - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Nice but a little short I think. I have one thing I do not agree on HD TV's and their lag story. What about all the people that play their Xboxes and PS3's. Never seen any lag on those on the big screen

    Reply
  • dijuremo - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    He taking about input lag, not response time. Take a look at this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input_lag">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input_lag

    It has an animation/video where you can clearly see the LCD is running behing the CRT. Now you should realize how those kids frag you so much in counterstrike using their old CRT... :)
    Reply
  • HollyDOL - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    well, human optical nerves have reuse downtime of about 35-40ms, so anything below that is unrecognisable for human... Count in brain cheating with the image big way as well and you find out there is no chance to detect that without some device help. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Ever noticed flicker in a 60Hz or even a 75Hz monitor? I have. That means my eye can pick up changes of 13ms. Reply
  • HollyDOL - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    You are mixing two things together. First of all, CRT monitor flickering you can see is result of your eye catching with various pixel intesities over time... While LCD screen pixel loses only relatively small part of intensity before it gets refreshed, CRT screen pixel virtualy goes between nothing and everything every time. I'll try to find out pictures describing it and post it here later.

    Hard fact is that data running from your eyes to brain is transfered as a electrical currency (=fast) only inside neurons. Two neurons transfer the 'bit' between themselves using chemical reaction of Natrium - Kalium bridge. Simple as that to be able to transfer next bit, the chemical levels need to rebalance and perform further chemical processes to provide that and thus you have got huge speed bottleneck there.

    If your eye could pick up 13ms, you would see your old CRT screen like waved something with bad colouring and light intensity would go up and down like if you were turning your light in room on and off.

    It's very much same with watching movies - it seems fluent to you. You don't watch series of photos with sound (like you would if you had 13ms nerves), but movement. What everybody recognises as fluent movement is just and only your brain interpolating between two static frames it received through optical nerve... that's the reason all the videos are in about 25FPS (40ms) frame rate. Simply because human doesn't need more because human can't recognise more. Whoever says otherwise is either E.T. or lies to his own pocket. The hard cap of eye nerve bandwidth simply doesn't allow that.
    Reply
  • mczak - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    LCD screens do not lose any part of intensity whatsoever over time - unless you'd count backlight flicker (which is afaik several kHz)... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I can tell you from experience that you will certainly notice the 40ms lag on some monitors; I don't have a problem with 20ms models, but the 2408WFP, Samsung 245T, and several other LCDs are perceptibly slower. You can't *see* it looking at things side by side, but use it and you can feel the lag. Even in using Windows, the mouse just feels like its sluggish and unresponsive. Gaming is even worse at times, depending on the game and how competitive you are.

    I didn't think it was a problem either, until I got a few truly laggy displays and did further testing. For a while I actually just thought the lag was the cheap Dell mouse I had connected to a test system, and then when I tested one of the TN panels I suddenly realized that the mouse was fine. Basically it felt like I had a cheap wireless mouse where everything was imprecise.
    Reply
  • HollyDOL - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Well, don't forget there is significant lag on computer side as well. It takes some msecs for the software to move the cursor as well... Effect acumulates with further lag on monitor and pain begins. The lag effect should be much more visible with linux systems due to their switching of kernel and user modes of cpu. Could be worth trying out. Reply
  • Contech - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I'm wondering how soon the below review will be. Quote from the from the E2200HD review comments:

    RE: Lets have lots more 24" panel reviews by JarredWalton, 43 days ago
    I have a BenQ MVA panel up next for review, along with a couple other 24" LCDs. I'm going to be very interested to see if the MVA panel can offer colors and viewing angles equal to S-PVA but with processing lag equal to S-IPS/TN. Stay tuned....

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    If you read the third page, I say as much about the BenQ MVA panel, but the product is apparently no longer in production. If you don't mind the stand, it does quite well. As for the rest, a nasty cold/bronchitis laid me out for a couple weeks. Reply
  • HollyDOL - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Honestly I am disappointed how very few screens got to be tested.

    Having side job in computer store many various screens pass through my hands and honestly from what I had in hand it's Eizo, ....... [long nothing]... other manufacturers. They are faery tale expensive, but worth every cent - picture quality, ending, warranty service. After getting one home I doubt I would ever buy any other brand. Also at least those I worked with (S-PVAs) didn't show any imput lags at all.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Agreed. Talking about "ultra highend" without mentioning Eizo gives this a sour taste. Reply
  • SpaceRanger - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    But.. Look at all the great camera reviews they've posted over the past couple of months! Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I asked about getting a review of an Eizo or one of the high-end NECs last year when they started doing a bunch of monitor reviews, but at the time the manufacturers were not interested in sending any out for review and they were not interested in buying them to test. Too bad, would be nice to see how much you get for the investment over a Dell. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Honestly, I'm not sure there's a lot to improve on with the 2408WFP other than processing lag. Well, there's always consistency; I don't know if every 2408WFP is as good as the one I tested or not, but if they are the major differences are going to be price. The LaCie 324 is a high-end monitor targeting users that want consistent quality as well, and yet overall quality in the test units went to the Dell. Probably better support on LaCie, but I've owned quite a few LCDs so far (many Dell models) and have yet to replace one. Reply
  • Deadtrees - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    My friend just bought this brand new monitor for $320.

    24" IPS,
    Pivot,
    Built-in HDTV tuner,
    Built-in speakers,
    D-Sub,
    HDMI,
    HDCP,
    S-VHS,
    RF Antenna,
    DVI,
    Component,
    Composite,
    SP-DIF 5.1 Ch,
    Remote Control
    HDMI Input range Limit support,
    16:10, 16:9, 4:3 Scaling.
    PIP(Picture in Picture)

    Now, that's 'the' dream monitor.
    Also, 26" monitor with same spec. costs the pretty much the same.
    Before you ask me, no, this is not U.S.A.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Horsecrap until you give us a brand and model number. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Way to include the model number! Reply

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