LG insists its W2353V-PF is based on a true eight-bit TN panel, a feature that would make it unique in this roundup, so we were surprised at how poorly the display performed with several of our DisplayMate benchmarks. We were also irritated by the display’s gimmick of rendering a black screen by turning off its backlight. This might be acceptable if the transition was instantaneous—after all, there’s no better way to achieve true black—but the fade takes at least two seconds, which exposes the trick.
The LG produced inconsistent color uniformity, with colors near the top of the display appearing significantly darker than the same colors shown in the middle and bottom of the screen. This same flaw also manifested itself in DisplayMate’s graduated grayscale tests.
HP’s new 27-inch 2709m is considerably larger than the rest of these displays; it’s also more expensive ($400).
The 2709m offers the same native resolution as the rest of the field, so it spreads the same number of pixels over a much larger area. As a result, DisplayMate’s high-resolution sample photos looked just a bit softer than they did on the smaller monitors. The HP also did a poor job of rendering very small text.
Those criticisms don’t matter when you’re watching a Blu-ray movie or gaming—this big screen shines here, and you needn’t worry about your videocard supporting an insanely high resolution as you would with a 30-inch display. Unfortunately, the 2709m suffers from the same specular reflection problems as Gateway’s mirror-like FHX2300.
Our initial impression of NEC’s widescreen 26-inch EA261WM LCD monitor was overwhelmingly positive, primarily due to the thought put into its ergonomics. What puzzles us most about monitor design is why—even with obscenely expensive panels—user comfort is so often overlooked. If you’re planning on shelling out a load of cash for a monitor, something as simple as height adjustment (rather than the default homebrew solution of piles of books) seems like an obvious feature. The EA261WM includes not only height adjustment but pivot, tilt, and swivel adjustments as well, making it easy to share information on your screen with coworkers or even switch to a portrait configuration, should the need arise.
The EA261WM is also one of only 26 monitors to achieve EPEAT’s gold rating, the highest standard for environmental friendliness. To further emphasize its green attributes, the monitor includes an ECO mode, which lowers power consumption, and a carbon-footprint reader tells you just how much you’re doing to save the planet by lowering the brightness on your monitor.
BenQ promises that its E2400HD LCD monitor will provide “a brand-new standard for personal digital audiovisual entertainment….” And while we’ve grown weary of marketing hyperbole, at first glance, this 24-inch panel has the specs to back up this statement. The E2400HD sports a 1080p HDMI interface and utilizes a 16:9 aspect ratio (rather than the more common ratio of 16:10 for widescreen panels), two features that should improve the movie-watching experience. OK, perhaps “brand-new standard” is a bit overboard, but as we unboxed it, we did think that a 1080p 24-inch monitor for less than $400 was certainly intriguing—even if it sports a 6-bit panel.
A 16:9 aspect ratio should, theoretically, provide a better image when viewing high-def widescreen movies because a 16:10 monitor has to either stretch an image by 10 percent or add black bars to the top and bottom of the image to compensate for the additional space. In our tests with multiple DVD movies, however, those ubiquitous horizontal black bars appear during playback. While TV shows and many movies (typically romantic comedies) are filmed in a native 16:9 aspect ratio, many films are matted using a wide 2.35:1 aspect ratio where you’ll still see black bars. Therefore, while the BenQ is capable of displaying a movie in its original widescreen glory, many DVDs will still not be able to utilize all of the screen’s space.
We had the LaCie 730 delivered to the Lab as a possible contender for our upgrading feature (page 25)—at $5,000 and change it’s certainly a comfortable fit at the high end of the price spectrum. Of course, it wasn’t just the price that intrigued us. The LaCie 730 includes a number of features that set it apart from other monitors we’ve reviewed—as well as one oversight that keeps it from attaining our highest praise.
While most monitors that come to the Lab sport 6- or 8-bit panels, the 730 has a 14-bit panel, which should greatly increase the color depth of this monitor. Additionally, the 730 includes an LED backlight rather than the more typical cold-cathode fluorescent backlight. An LED backlight should produce a truer black than a CCF because unlike the CCF, LEDs can switch on and off while a CCF is always on (for this same reason, an LED backlight should also reduce the amount of light seepage at the edges of a monitor). However, the first LED backlight monitor we reviewed, ViewSonic’s VLED221wm (May 2008), was able to create the darkest black we had ever seen but couldn’t differentiate the darkest grays in our grayscale test.
Dell’s 2408WFP is the latest in the company’s line of 24-inch panels, following on the heels of the much-beloved Dell 2407WFP (reviewed September 2006). Unfortunately for Dell, improving upon its predecessor isn’t enough to push the 2408WFP above other tested displays.
That said, there's much to like about the 2408WFP after the jump.
Acer’s native-1080p display wins points for hitting the widescreen 16:9 formfactor, but the P244w treats its colors with the same unpleasantness it treats its grayscales. The monitor’s color saturation suffers from a reduced range on both the top and bottom ends of the spectrum: Colors lose their vibrancy as they get darker and become washed out as they get lighter.
Hit the jump for the full scoop on this mediocre monitor.
The Gateway FHD2401 hits a ball or two out of the park, but we’re not terribly impressed by this 24-inch panel’s overall performance.
The display’s grayscale performance favors the darker side of the spectrum. The FHD2401 is able to distinguish among shades of gray against a black background, but a below-average showing in lighter grayscales hurts overall performance.