We pit a 60Hz panel against a 144Hz panel to see if hype over the higher spec is warranted
We all know how the game is played when it comes to selling tech products. Six cores are better than four, two GPUs are better than one, and 1GHz is better than 500MHz. Besides the underlying pixel technology, monitors have really only been sold on either size or resolution—until now. In the last few years, manufacturers have begun marketing panels with more than double the refresh rate of a standard LCD panel. Rather than the 60Hz refresh rate that LCDs have been stuck with since, well, forever, these new monitors push the refresh rate to 120Hz and even 144Hz. A high refresh rate promises smoother scrolling and less blur in games, but these qualities may not be for everyone.
Note: This review was originally featured in the May 2013 issue of the magazine.
Acer's trying to play all sides of the field with its new P5403 projector, Sporting an SXGA+ (1400x1050) resolution, Acer says the P5403 is equally adept at displaying spreadsheets as it is at beaming highly detailed images, and it can do 120Hz 3D as well. Advanced lamp technology with illumination of up to 3500 ANSI lumens and a 3000:1 contrast ratio means the P5403 shouldn't choke on text-heavy presentations, and with an optimized 5-segment color wheel, Acer promises high color accuracy.
Before you scream, “Who in their right mind would pay $500 for a 23-inch twisted-nematic panel?!” know that this is a 120Hz monitor, and that Asus is putting Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit—a $200 product—inside the box. If you’re excited about 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D movies (and have the appropriate videocard, playback software, and games), $500 is a compelling value. Oh, and the monitor’s pretty good, too.
Let’s discuss the aspects that temper our enthusiasm first, because this monitor isn’t for folks with critical applications such as photo and video editing. In fact, some of you probably stopped reading at “twisted-nematic.” Asus hasn’t magically avoided all the problems we associate with TN panels—e.g., limited color gamut, backlight leakage, inability to distinguish between the lightest shades of gray and full-on white—but it has done a great job mitigating those problems.
Take note, Rainier Wolfcastle, because these goggles may actually do something. Nvidia’s latest visual computing venture is a serious foray into stereoscopic 3D, a technology that has not found success among mainstream consumers (or even enthusiasts) in recent history. 3D movies and gaming at home have always been seen as gimmicky, a perception that can largely be attributed to the fact that you have to wear some pretty goofy glasses to experience the effect. In fact, past iterations of 3D stereographic technology (including efforts by the now-defunct company ELSA) have been especially troublesome because they required bulky headgear (that had to be tethered to your PC) that had a tendency to give gamers headaches after just a few minutes of use. Nvidia wants to reinvigorate the 3D stereoscopic market by developing its own glasses hardware and driver software, which they hope will avoid the pitfalls of previous efforts.
Do we have the technology to make stereoscopic 3D tech practical? And more importantly, is this something that, as a gamer, you’d be open to embrace?