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Group Testing Widescreen LCD Monitors 153

An anonymous reader writes "If you're in the market for a new widescreen display, there's a group test of five models at the Bit-Tech site. The test focuses on real world gaming and DVD watching rather than artificial spec tests, and there's also discussion of design, ergonomics etc. An interesting read for those making the jump to wide." From the article: "Let's define the point of this test. We're going to make the assumption that you've got a half-decent graphics card, and you're looking for a new flat panel to connect to it. You want to watch movies on DVD and in hi-def (either as Apple trailers or via BitTorrent) and you want to play the latest games. The price range we're looking at is the £300-£400 range. Above that, you start to get into the territory of 24" screens from companies like Dell and Samsung. Below that, you're going into a range occupied mostly by 19" displays at 1280x1024."
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Group Testing Widescreen LCD Monitors

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  • Hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:10PM (#15034389)
    Is ~$600-$800 (US dollars) really a reasonable prince range for this audience, though?

    I made $55k, which grants me significant free funds for someone still living at home with his parents. Still, my co-workers aren't even looking at LCD monitors above three or four hundred. For that you can get an okay 21 incher if you're willing to risk your money on the internets.

    But twice that for just a PC monitor? That's easily as much as the rest of the system itself. You can watch DVDs on a regular big-screen TV. Granted, that will cost even more (several times, probably), but you can also use it for cable, and video games. I just can't see this stuff being in the range of the typical slashdotter.

    Feel free to prove me wrong if y'all are a bunch of Mr. Moneybags', though :)
    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Funny)

      by hometoast ( 114833 )
      I made $55k, which grants me significant free funds for someone still living at home with his parents.

      Get an apartment slacker!

      Its ok to mod me down ;)
    • The pound's not that strong. £300-£400 is only about $500-600. That's still a lot for a monitor, but they'll probably pull it down soon, and it's really the kind of thing you wouldn't buy unless you had a bit extra tucked aside anyway; it's a frill.
      • Re:Hmm (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Google converts the 300 to 400 pounds to 521.85 to 695.80 USD.
    • I have an elderly 17" CRT monitor I'm going to replace when it dies. (Please die soon!) I've been watching the LCD prices drop and drop, now I'm thinking 21" if it dies now.

      That's nearly as big as my TV, so maybe it makes sense for me to spend double my monitor budget and replace my TV at the same time. I could mainly use a small part of the screen sitting at my desk (to avoid too much neck motion) and sitting back on my couch use it as a TV.

      • If you can sit back a little bit, a 1080p TV might do the trick. Both Sceptre and Westinghouse Digital offer 37" 1080p TVs. They work fine with Windows and Mac, probably Linux with at most a mode line change, and they are pixel-for-pixel capable on DVI input, something that isn't so common with LCD TVs. That gets you a sizable HD-ready TV that also works as a high resolution monitor. You'd want to sit farther back though for desktop work.
        • That is an interesting suggestion. Instead of using my monitor as a TV I could use my TV as a monitor. That's the kind of thinking this country needs!

          It would work pretty well I think. It could sit at the back edge of my huge desk, about 5' from my eyes. My couch could be 5' further back from my desk. If I keep my desk cleaner it'd be a nice setup.

          • But then how are you going to watch TV and use your computer at the same time?!?!?!
            • With a monitor that big, it'll be easy. Top 1/2 of the screen will be my movie, bottom left will be work, bottom right slashdot.

              Actually, I don't tend to watch tv while using my computer much these days. Between having no ads and choosing shows I actively want to see, it's easy to pay attention. Oh yeah, I don't watch live tv anymore. Too much bullshit. I download/record what I want and watch it on my terms.

    • But twice that for just a PC monitor? That's easily as much as the rest of the system itself. You can watch DVDs on a regular big-screen TV. Granted, that will cost even more (several times, probably), but you can also use it for cable, and video games. I just can't see this stuff being in the range of the typical slashdotter.
      For that price you get a monitor and something to watch movies on in one. Some people do not own a TV. At all.
      • I remember paying $730 for a 17inch Sony CRT. A little before that, you could pay over 2k for a 21inch CRT. I could take that 730 dollars now and nearly pay for a 24inch widescreen dell. I am amazed at how relatively inexpensive they are today. A friend just got the 24inch dell, it is a gorgeous. I have a 1905FP, and was considering another, now I think I will go for the 24

    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zenslug ( 542549 ) *
      I've got a friend whose dad runs a branch of an LCD manufacturing tools company (ie, they supply the tools to the people who actually make the LCDs), and I asked him about the future prices of LCD TVs. He says that by Christmas of 2006 a ~37" TV will cost under $1000 and by Christmas 2007 a 47" will cost under $1000.

      Granted, he's talking about TVs and not monitors, but since the tech is basically the same, we should expect the prices on monitors to drop at about the same rate.
    • The VX2025 is showing at 420 or so on newegg which isn't so bad. I'm interested in a comparison between that and the Dell2005FPW. About 400 bucks seems a nice price point for a widescreen 20 inch monitor.
      • by pyros ( 61399 )
        I just bought one from newegg a few weeks ago for like $340. I've been really happy with it.
  • Toms Hardware constantly is doing reviews of monitors and such, and just released a new review of 19 monitors [] the other day
  • by n0mad6 ( 668307 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:14PM (#15034427)
    that are the Dell 2005FPW and the Apple Cinema Display. The Cinema Display may not fall in the £300-400 price range they're talking about but here in the US, you can certainly get the Dell for less than $500.
    • [i]...and you want to play the latest games[/i] It might be kind of hard to push those framerates at those widescreen resolutions, especially with maximum detail with anything less than a top of the line rig.
      • Re:Games (Score:3, Interesting)

        by OctoberSky ( 888619 )
        Maximum detail is the keyword there.

        I have a Dell 2005fpw ($397 to my door from Dell!) with a decent rig (AMD A64 3700+ (754), MSI K8n Neo Platinum, 1 gig Crucial Ram, 7200 RPM Segate SATA, Sapphire X850XTPE (AGP), on board sound, and everything OCed a bit.
        I haven't bought a game since F.E.A.R. and Quake 4, and even with those I was still playing BF2 all day long so I can speak about that better.

        I ran the game at (shortcut hack) 1680x1050 which was really 1600x1200 stretched. I ran everything high except Sh
    • Yeah, I picked up the Dell and a desktop (e510 with a pentium D 2.8ghz and a gig of ram) for $750 a couple of weeks ago. The desktop itself ebays for around $500 so I figure I walked away with the monitor for around $250. I've seen it by itself from dell consistently for ~$400. The article seems way off (but I suppose it might really be that way in Europe).
    • 2005FPW Threadjack (Score:3, Informative)

      by superid ( 46543 )
      Thread contribution - I have a 2005FPW that I love. I found a sale at Dell for $380 shipped, and they apparently repeat that periodically. It looks great and I love the integrated USB. I game on it a lot and I've never noticed any stuck pixels or ghosts.

      Threadjack - Randomly and annoyingly it will just go blank. I power it off/on and it will come on for 3 seconds and go off again, like it's in a powersave mode. Sometimes unplugging AC power will fix it, sometimes not. Sometimes I have to reboot, somet
      • I've got the same, for 600 euro's (which, believe it or not, is cheap here in Europe) - although that included shipping and the sound bar. It's major drawback is that of most TFT's: significant light leakage. It's pretty uniform though, although the corners leak slightly more light. As you said: no stuck pixels, great ergonomics, good value. Lovely for text oriented stuff such as programming and reading slashdot. At least this site is not stuck on 800 x 600 as some sites are. Shame of the 1650 x 1050 pixels
      • I've got a 1905FP from Dell (the sale for the 20.5 widescreen started a week after I bought mine >.) and was having problems with it flickering during graphic intense applications (World of Warcraft in this case). Called Dell, explained the problem, and they had a new LCD monitor at my door the next day. Their customer service is top notch, and if you purchased the 2005FPW less than a year ago then you're covered. Give them a call and see if they'll replace it. My bet is that they will.
    • If they're not in the range they didn't "Leave them out", they weren't eligable.

      I'm sure you can pick up a 30" widescreen off the back of a truck in Hong Kong for £300 - £400 too but that doesn't count either.
    • I gotta agree with you, ignoring the dell 24" monitors is like doing a review of Peter Jackson movies and focusing only on "The Frighteners" and "Heavenly Creatures".
    • But apparently they couldn't get a test sample: c h_widescreen_monitors/7.html []

      If any of you have read this group test and came away disappointed that we compared every monitor except the one you're seriously considering ie Dell, then please do make your voices heard. Show the execs at Dell that you want to see bit-tech given the chance to review their displays. Head over to our Article Discussion forum and make some noise!

  • Dude... get a Dell (Score:5, Informative)

    by utexaspunk ( 527541 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:28PM (#15034526)
    I own one the Dell 24" display (2405FPW), and I have to say it is one of the best purchases I have made in a long time. The thing looks gorgeous, didn't have any stuck pixels or anything like that, has a nice thin bezel, it has DVI, VGA, RGB, Componenent and S-Video inputs, allows you to do PIP and side-by-side of 2 inputs. It functions as a USB hub and a memory card reader. The stand is well-made and adjusts smoothly with a wide range of motion (including being able to rotate it 90 degrees). It's also $500 cheaper than the 23" Apple cinema display. Dell's computers may be ugly pieces of crap, but I really feel like it is an unbelievably good buy.
    • I have to agree, Dell does good LCD panels. Not sure who their suppliers are, but when I got a Dell Notebook 5 years ago, regardless of how much of a piece of junk it is now, I wish I could rip off the screen and use it as my monitor. It's a 15" LCD with 1400 * 1080 resolution and it was bright and crisp and had good contrast. Even by today's standards, you can't find a Desktop LCD screen at 15" with more then 1024 x 768 resolution. I have rarely seen PC notebooks with such good quality screens, and I w
    • I have two of those monitors side by side on my desk right now and I have never seen anything sweeter. The best monitor I have ever used, by FAR and hands down. I love being able to use two vertical tab groups in Visual Studio without having to cut off half of each file - it makes browsing/referencing code so much easier.

      Also it has all of those nice inputs for my xbox360 dev kit.

    • I've both both the 20" and 24" Dells [], and I can testify that they're both excellent panels. The 24" is definately superior all-around but the 20" panel is excellent as well. Best yet, I only paid $1200 for the pair of them, thanks to Dell's frequent sales. Most single 24" displays sell for over that. I'd never buy another Dell computer, but their panels are second to none.
    • I just bought the 2405 and someone is coming to look at it soon as it is for sale and it is only days old. Beware that dell has a 15% restocking fee.

      Make sure you like LCDs before you buy. They are very different than CRT.

      I like a dim screen. The 2405 is very Bright, even at minimum settings. I tend to run my CRTs at minimum brightness so it hurts my eyes to use an LCD for long periods.

      Viewing angle issues bother me a fair bit. Dark tones shift when only 20 degrees off axis. If you sit close to a 24" wide s
      • I use mine mostly as my media center and thus usually use it from 4-5 feet away on the couch, so I suppose this is why it doesn't bother me. Are you not able to adjust the brightess through your video card?

        I also haven't been bothered by the viewing angle problem. In fact, the viewable area seems pretty good compared to a lot of other flat panels I've used.

        To each his own, I guess...
        • I use it for everything. It is great as a media center. At 5-6 ft it no longer too bright and the angle of view is a non issue.

          But sitting close enought to touch it and doing serious work. White fonts on dark backgrounds are searing bright. I get unwelcome brightness shifts in darker games. Yeah it can be further dimmed in the grapics card panel, but this has mixed results.

          Anyway it is mostly me that has the problem, this is a widely loved monitor.

          • I would agree that these are not for everyone. I have one of the 20" (or 21"?) Dell LCDs at work, and while I love it now (especially having two 8.5"x11" pages open on the screen when writing papers, etc. - just general screen real estate), it definitely took my eyes and habits about 2 weeks to really become comfortable using it at "business range".
      • 20 degrees? That's horrid. My 22" (now obsolete) Apple Cinema Display HD is way better than that. I sit close to the screen and never have such problems.

        I can also turn down the brightness, and I do. Visitors comment on how dim my display is, so it really is quite dim.

        You can't get this exact model anymore, but I hear the 30" display is nice...
        • I don't want to feed brand rants, but almost all the Apple panels are IPS panels which don't suffer view angle problem nearly as bad as the PVA/MVA panels that are in most other LCDs. IPS panels generally cost more, but worth it IMO.

    • What about gaming? I looked at their site and I don't see a response time listed for the monitor which is usually not a good thing. These big buggers then to be on the slower side when it comes to response times. Also, will it support 1600x1200 without streching (meaning, just have two black bars left and right of the screen)?
      • Yes, the black bar option is available for games w/out native wide screen resolution. I have used it for BF2 for instance.
      • I looked at their site and I don't see a response time listed for the monitor which is usually not a good thing.

        I had heard some reports regarding poor gaming performance, however my experience with computer games, with GameCube games running via component and with Dreamcast games running through VGA has been fully satisfactory. I am not aware of the exact response time of the display, however I have noticed no ghosting during any gameplay. One forum post elsewhere suggested that poor image quality in gam
    • I have the 2005FPW on a 4port KVM and love it. I have a Friend that is going to buy my 2005FPW so I can get a 2405FPW. Anyone running a 2405FPW with an Analog KVM? DVI KVM's are pricey and most say they can't do 1920x1200. Any Ideas?
      • I'd hook up one device with the DVI input and one with the VGA. I do that with my desktop and laptop, and it works great. I have the base for my logitech wireless desktop plugged into the USB port on the side of the monitor so that I can easily pull it out and plug it into the laptop. I don't see any reason why a KVM wouldn't work fine with the VGA input, though...
  • DVD scaling? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    We also found that DVD playback in general didn't scale particularly well; moving from 720 x 576 to 1680x1050 requires what is essentially a 100% upscale.

    What are they talking about here? The monitor shouldn't be handling DVD upscaling, it's done in software.
    • Re:DVD scaling? (Score:3, Informative)

      by ePhil_One ( 634771 )
      The monitor shouldn't be handling DVD upscaling, it's done in software.

      If you are using a HTPC. I'm actually using a Dell 2405FPW as a TV (Higher resolution and cheaper than the "TV" LCDs), so actually I am relying on the built in upscaling. Also, users whose systems lack the horsepower to drive games at full resolution, or players of games that don't support widescreen resolutions, will still be using the panels scaling capability.

    • The monitor shouldn't be handling DVD upscaling, it's done in software.

      Not exactly correct. Video scaling is in most cases done using the overlay of the videocard. This overlay is scaled in hardware to the desired size. So it isn't done by the monitor and it isn't done in software.

  • Dell 24" (Score:3, Informative)

    by flynt ( 248848 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:38PM (#15034591)
    They do not review the Dell 24" in this story, but let me say I have been so pleased with mine. You can usually get up to 20-25% off from Dell if you do a google search for Dell coupons. You will not be sorry if you get that monitor and have a card that can support the native resolution (1920x1200). I have had no problems with games (BF2) or movies on it.
    • Question:

      What kind of resolution do you run the games at? If native, are you running any FPS games?

      That's my only holdback about a monitor of this type. It may be nice, but if I can't get 50+ frames per second on UT2004, there's no point for me.

      Oh yea, I'm only running a 6600GT at that, so I'm sure I couldn't run this monitor native and play ut.
      • Well, I don't play many games to be honest. I can tell you my experience with Battlefield 2, a relatively newer game that is fairly taxing on systems as far as I can tell. The problem is, some games don't support widescreen resolutions, and some do it in an odd manner. For BF2, if you run in a widescreen resolution, it crops the top off of the display, so you're actually seeing *less* than in a 4:3 resolution. Not all games are like this, and I'm sure newer games and games of the future will have true w
      • I am not the previous poster, however I also use a Dell 2405 FPW.

        What kind of resolution do you run the games at?

        In general, I run at native whenever possible. If I am playing a game where the native resolution is too taxing for my video card which is a Nvidia GeForce 6800GT, I drop the resolution to 1680x1050, which is also a 16:10 resolution. I have noticed very little loss of image quality as a result of the non-native resolution.

        When running Quake 4 or Doom 3, I run at 1280x1024 and use the game's bui
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Every mainstream LCD monitor I have seen has very subtle hue or brightness changes with even very small changes in horizontal head position. Because of this each eye actually sees a slightly differently looking picture, due to the slightly different horizontal position of each eye relative to the monitor. This leads to what could be described as a "glare" effect. It subjectively appears like a glare, becaue it is similar to how a shiny surface appears in the sun, with different amounts of reflected rays hit
    • I couldn't agree more, though I think it is too subtle for most people, but I recently sold my new 24" otherwise beautifull dell widescreen.

      While they claim 170 degree vieing angles, they actually change tone with about 10-20 degrees, it creates a glare, or some other edge effect that almost seems to create a false 3d effect.

      Anyway I wouldn't say All. IPS panels seem MUCH better with angles so it might not be so bad, but IPS panels are more expensive and most monitors are PVA/MVA which change drastically wi
  • by ubersonic ( 943362 ) * on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:39PM (#15034598) Homepage Journal
    None of the displays have HDMI connectors and none of them support HDCP. This means you're not going to get a digital connection to your HD-DVD movies, but there is currently very little on the market that will.
    So you're screwed in a year or two. Is this like easter-sale?
  • Vista-ready LCD (Score:4, Informative)

    by pin0chet ( 963774 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:44PM (#15034632)
    I recently purchased a Gateway FPD2185w 21" widescreen 1680x1050 monitor. It is AMAZING value. For about $500, I get a display with DVI-HDCP support, along with VGA, Component, S-video, and RCA inputs. Its got DCDi by Faroudja for flawless 1080i/480i deinterlacing, and top-notch scaling video processing with a 12ms response time. It looks fantastic with my PC via DVI, Xbox 360 via VGA, and Dish HD DVR via Component. Also, the customizable PiP options are very useful. Furthermore, when Vista comes out and the MPAA studios start implementing ICT on HD DVD/Blu-Ray discs, I won't have to buy a $300 Spatz HDCP stripper to view the full resolution 720p picture on my monitor.
    • I recently purchased this monitor as well and I am very pleased with it. I like all the adjustments that can be physically made to the monitor (up down, tilt, swivel and pivot). Picked it up at Circuit City. Only thing that was annoying is that it did not come with a DVI cable. So I had to pick one of those up.
    • I'm just curious how much you get paid to adverti^H^H^H^H post your comments? Short of offering a link to buy it, that is the best advertisement I've seen yet!
    • I own this monitor myself and am nothing but pleased with it. It honestly is a very awesome little piece of hardware and I recommend any monitor buyers check this bugger out before making any final decisions. You'll usually find some on display at Office Depot or Best Buy stores too, so it's pretty easy to track one down in a store where you can actually look at it and see for yourself.

      I do think the Dell models are great too. They are a really nice value and I certainly recommend them as well. But,
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday March 31, 2006 @12:52PM (#15034695) Homepage
    At least for what I have been doing the widescreens suck.

    Many games do not like them. C&C generals zero hour strecthes. Doom3 is slower in widescreen mode and older games simply hate them.

    I instead took the monitor back and grabbed a pair of 19" AOC Lcd's for less money than the single Widescreen.

    I also get much more realestate for video editing on the pair of 19" cheapies.
    • I'm with you on the wide screen. I would love to get something like a 2048x1536 resolution flat panel, but as far as I can see everything over 1600x1200 is widescreen only, and will probably stay that way. It looks like big ass CRTs are the only way to get a really high resolution 4:3 picture anymore.
  • I've been using a 34 inch Syntax Olevia that I purchased six months ago for $1500 including shipping. It is awesome and compares to Sharp in quality.
  • I think I'll stick with 'artificial spec tests', far more accurate.
  • I have a 17" LCD monitor that does 1280x1024. I'd like to upgrade to a 19" monitor, but the only ones I've seen locally are also 1280x1024. In other words, the only difference between a 17" and 19" monitor are a couple hundred dollars and sitting a little closer to the screen.

    Why is that? A 19" CRT typically gets you more pixels than a 17" CRT, so why isn't the same true for LCDs? I'm sure I could buy find a higher-resolution model somewhere if I looked hard enough, but I'm really wondering why that seems to be the exception rather than the norm.

  • Who ever said that no monitors support hdcp are wrong. the newest models of the 24 inch dell lcd panel support dvi hdcp. So all you would need is a dvi to Hdmi adapter. We use regular dell lcd panels here and they are gorgeus. If it wasnt for the fact i just bought a 26 inch crt tv with hdmi hdcp ports i would have bought a 24 inch dell lcd widescreen display.
  • It's amazing how many people don't get the difference between DVI and VGA - firstly the image quality difference, of course, but secondly the conceptual difference between digital addressability and analog reprocessing. For instance, DVI enables subpixel rendering of text (as supported by OS X, Linux and even WinXP). I can't imagine using a screen that can't support that.

    Nobody today should be buying LCDs without DVI (unless price is the only factor). Your eyes will thank you. (Don't have a DVI card yet?

  • How are monitors "ergonomic"? Is that a measure of how shapely it feels when I lose touch with reality, and caress it up while I watch porn?
  • I just ordered one of these babys from Newegg for $415, free 3-day shipping too.

    Now I can get rid of my big old wood-burning monitor and get me some desktop space back.

    Just had to share. Widescreen baby!

  • after rebate, not including shipping at places like Tiger Direct. Not ultra high res, but more than good enough at 1366 by 768 for most non-demanding work. They make for a fairly nice display. This is being typed on one of them. A second is on my floor waiting to replace my monitor on my windoze machine that I use for quote feeds, etc. Beats squinting at a small screen to see if the number in the last trade was an 8 or a 0.

    These have come down by around 100 bucks since xmas. I suspect that as long as the ta
  • I think it's great that more games support widescreen resolutions, but I've wondered how that impacts multiplayer gaming. For example a lot of people play with fov in quake based games to see more on screen, but in turn some tournament servers would lock the fov to keep it a level playing field.

    How is that addressed with widescreen resolutions, if at all?
  • One of the biggest differences in LCD is wether it has a PVA/MVA/IPS/TN panel. Personally I don't like the tone shifts of PVA/MVA panels and would pay extra for an IPS panel, but it is very difficult to find out when they are used.

  • I'm pretty disappointed that they didn't touch the monitor I just bought. NewEgg is selling them like hotcakes ($349 after rebate for a 20.1" LCD)

    So far I'm pleased with it, and games seem fine, but I'd like to see how it holds up to other LCDs on a technical basis

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly