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LCD Monitors Buying Guide for Winter 2010

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Just like any computing device, monitors must be chosen carefully. Some are more suited for gaming or business purposes while others for movies. The good news is, we can easily find a convenient monitor designed specifically for your needs at an affordable price.

The evolution of LCD monitors is a long one. These devices are evolving slowly, yet their prices are dropping steadily. It seems inconceivable to buy a LCD monitor less than 22 inches, a size for which prices start from under $200.

Each monitor category has its own characteristics. For office uses, for example, you should focus on screen ergonomics, adequate height adjustment, pivot function and USB ports, essentially things that make daily use of computers more comfortable. For gaming, you should choose monitors that have better compatibility with 3D objects and refresh rate of 120 Hz. And finally, for moviegoers, a LCD monitor should be large and have wider viewing angles.

For Office Uses

When you spend plenty of time working with a computer, it is important to have monitors placed at appropriate positions. Your monitor should be capable of adjusting itself to your needs rather than the other way around. A monitor with good ergonomics should be your first choice for office needs. This means height adjustable stand, a rotating base, a pad that can swivel the screen for at least 90 degrees and the ability to display long Web pages, documents, spreadsheets and PDF. You should get a monitor that has USB ports to make it easier to transfer files between computers.

Samsung 2494HM

Samsung 2494HM

This is a monitor that you might want in your cubicle. In addition to its modern design, 2494HM offers very good ergonomics: height adjustable stand, rotating base, and two USB ports. Touch controls of the OSD (on-screen device) is quite pleasant to use, including quick access to preset picture modes. You may appreciate the clear matte panel (everything else is painted in glossy color) and the ability to display full HD resolution. One definite advantage: color reproductions are fairly accurate and can be better after some adjustments! There is only one drawback: the screen emits a slight buzzing tone when it automatically adjusts the brightness.

Pros:

– Good ergonomics design

– Good color palette

– Cheap connectors

Cons:

– Only two USB ports

– Plasticky look

– It hums when the brightness is adjusted

Philips 225P2ES

Philips 225P2ES

Those who are concerned with low power consumption may find the new Philips monitor interesting. It is equipped with the proven PowerSensor technology: two sensors are responsible for reducing the display brightness when the user moves away from the screen. Another benefit of 225P2ES is good ergonomics: height adjustable stand and rotating base. It doesn’t support a Full HD, but its 16/10 ratio is perfect for office uses. The monitor is also equipped with two speakers and four USB ports.

Pros:

– PowerSensor technology

– Good ergonomics

– 4 USB ports

– 16/10 screen ratio

Cons:

– No Full HD

– No HDMI

Dell SP2309W

Dell SP2309W

The SP2309W is somewhat uncommon: it features a 23-inches screen for a resolution of 2048 x 1152 pixels, thereby allowing you to comfortably view two Web pages side by side. The assembly is height adjustable, it can rotate 360° on its base but the screen can’t rotate. The SP2309W also incorporates 4 USB ports, a microphone and a 2 MP webcam. The screen shows a response time of 2ms that clearly exceeds the requirements of an office monitor, but certainly very comfortable to use. If the price (currently about $400) does not scare you away, go for it!

Pros:

– Excellent resolution and large screen size

– Good ergonomics

– 2 ms response time

– Well equipped (4 USB ports, microphone and webcam)

Cons:

– Expensive

– No speakers

For Gaming

Game addicts know this: to play well, they need a screen that reacts quickly! They also need a product that can support 3D objects better.

Acer GD245HQbid

Acer GD245HQbid

This screen is intended primarily for those who need 120Hz refresh rate, making it suitable for displaying 3D objects, it has ultra-fast response time of 2 ms and sleek design. GD245HQbid is also good for watching movies, thanks to its, high definition support, HDCP compatibility and good contrast ratio. The default colorimetry setting appears to be relatively adequate for displaying fast-paced games. However, GD245HQbid is mired in ergonomics terms: It doesn’t have height-adjustable stand, rotating base and USB ports. But in any case, it is still a safe bet for any gamer!

Pros:

– Fast response time

– 3D and Full HD supports

– 120 Hz refresh rate

– Good default colorimetry setting

Cons:

– Basic Ergonomics

– Limited features

– Inefficient dynamic contrast

Asus VG236H

Asus VG236H

Asus’s reputation in gaming monitor segment is second to none. The manufacturer does not contend with simple 3D displays. The VG236H supports full HD resolution at 23-inches screen, response time of 2 ms, refresh rate of 120 Hz, height adjustable stand and a rotating base. Ergonomics is obviously better than most gaming monitors. And you may appreciate the availability of more connectivity options. However, Asus has the habit of exaggerating its color setting.

Pros:

– Fast response time

– 3D and Full HD supports

– 120 Hz refresh rate

– Good ergonomics and more connectivity options

Cons:

– No USB ports

– Exaggerated default colorimetry setting

– High power consumption and slightly expensive

Alienware AW2310

Alienware AW2310

Another monitor that is totally dedicated to the gaming world: Alienware. The monitor offers 120 Hz refresh rate, good 3D support, 3ms response time and Full HD support. Alienware knows that players still spend much time watching TV and so it includes good ergonomics features: height adjustable stand in addition to 4 USB ports and a headphone output.

Pros:

– Good design

– Fast response time

– 3D and Full HD supports

– 120 Hz refresh rate

– Good ergonomics / 4 USB ports / headphone jack

Cons:

– Expensive

For Watching Movies

In this segment, the selection is a little more complicated. Many parameters come into account when you want to watch movies comfortably on a computer screen. Monitors with In-plane switching (IPS) have better color reproduction and more viewing angle than TN, although IPS monitors can be a little more expensive. In terms of screen size, you shouldn’t go below 24 inches.

Iiyama Prolite B2712HDS

Iiyama Prolite B2712HDS

The B2712HDS is a TN monitor with 27-inch display, with Full HD support, low response time of 2 ms, good default contrast ratio, height adjustable stand, and integrated speakers all for $400! Mediocre viewing angle of the TN technology is offset by good ergonomics.

Pros:

– Large screen size and fast response time

– Good contrast ratio

– Good ergonomics

Cons:

– Unimaginative design

– TN technology

– No USB ports

– Expensive

Samsung P2770HD

Samsung P2770HD

Looking for a monitor that can also serve as a TV? P2770HD from Samsung can be a good choice. The TN monitor offers a 27-inch display with a generous viewing area and its own remote controls. You can get excellent connectivity options; VGA, DVI, HDMI, YUV, composite and SCART. It has two powerful speakers, which are equipped with Dolby Digital Plus and SRS TruSurround HD. The modern design makes the integration of this monitor in the living room easy.

Some weak points: the response time is “only” 5 ms and it has limited ergonomics. However, at any rate, Samsung P2770HD is a very good compromise for those who want a combination of monitor and TV.

Pros:

– Good design

– HDTV support and excellent connectivity

– Good speakers

– TV tuner

Cons:

– Limited ergonomics option

– 5 ms response time

– High power consumption

LG Flatron W2753V PF

LG Flatron W2753V PF

Just like Samsung P2770HD, LG’s Flatron W2753V-PF also offers a TN 27-inch display at 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, high contrast and a modern design. However, it doesn’t offer TV tuner and speakers, but it has a 2 ms response time. Thus a good option if you plan to buy a dedicated external audio system. Ergonomics features are a limited as the TN display has poor viewing angles compared to an IPS display. The price is rather tolerable for a 27-inch monitor.

Pros:

– High contrast

– Superb Design and 2ms response time

– Good connectivity

Cons:

– Limited Ergonomics

– TN display

– No USB hub

Dell UltraSharp U2711

Dell UltraSharp U2711

It uses IPS technology; compared to the TN technology, IPS displays offer excellent viewing angles and greater display homogeneity when watching movies. The response time is however a bit slow, at 6 ms.

The monitor also offers a good contrast ratio, height adjustable stand, 4 USB ports, a memory card slot and excellent audio/video connectors. It costs you a whopping $1250.

Pros:

– IPS technology

– Wide viewing angle and good contrast ratio

– Good ergonomics and 4 USB hubs

Cons:

– Expensive

– High power consumption

– 6 ms response time

Apple LED Cinema Display

Apple LED Cinema Display

For those who own a Mac or looking for the epitome of elegance, or both, the Apple LED Cinema Display 27-inch is a great choice. As usual, Apple offers superb product quality and exquisite design. The Cinema Display is no exception, it offers LED backlight, 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution, IPS technology, ultra thin dimension, aluminum chassis, 2.1 speakers (49 W), iSight camera with microphone, 3 USB ports and a dedicated cable for connecting to Apple computers.

However the price exceeds $1350, its response time is only 12 ms (Note: 12 ms response time in an IPS monitor is roughly equivalent to 5 ms in a TN monitor, which is still adequate).

Pros:

– Good default colorimetry setting and IPS technology

– Good design and loaded with useful features

– Good connectivity

Cons:

– Mediocre ergonomics

– Expensive

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