Buying a new monitor can be tricky. First, you must decipher the manufacturer doublespeak. Not all specifications are created equal, nor are they measured fairly: You truly can’t tell a book by its cover, nor a monitor by its box copy. And then there are the displays themselves. A monitor by itself might look good to you, but you won’t know what you’re missing unless you compare it against the competition.
We’re going to walk you through the basics of today’s LCD monitor technology and what it means to you, a consumer who wants the best picture for your pennies. But we’re not going to leave you hanging: We’re also going to review 10 monitors across a wide swath of sizes and prices to give you a head start on your purchasing decision.
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.
It’s no secret that the expensive Samsung 245T hosts an S-PVA panel beneath its slim black exterior. But this display’s performance is certainly worth the price. The 245T offers a stunning picture for its class, trumping our longtime favorite 24-inch panel, Dell’s 2407WFP, and even its latest rev, the 2408WFP.
This 1920x1200 display boasts a 97-percent color gamut and the effect is clear. The 245T dishes out notably vibrant blues, reds, and greens, and its color saturation remains strong at even very light levels. To us, the display’s colors feel just right: crisp and bold without any hint of oversaturation. But even if you disagree, the monitor comes with a number of preset options for tweaking the coloration to your exact preferences. We found success using the Mild preset, as Normal made images appear drab and Brilliant made our images look like a supernova.
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.
ViewSonic’s VX2240w is unwatchable at its factory default setting—the screen’s brightness is cranked beyond the point of acceptable image quality. Fortunately, we were able to tweak the display’s settings to produce an image that was at least similar in quality to the Gateway HD2201’s. While the VX2240 matched the HD2201 tit for tat in its ability to produce lighter shades of gray on a solid white background, the former exhibited better color saturation in the lighter shade levels.
We control the horizontal; we control the vertical after the jump.
We want to like this monitor, but too many issues stand in the way.
In DisplayMate, Gateway’s HD2201 consistently reproduced dark grayscale values, pushing out more dark shades of gray against a black background than we typically find from monitors of its class. The same can’t be said of the HD2201’s merely average ability to reproduce light shades of gray against white.
What's standing in this monitor's way? Find out after the cut.
NEC’s LCD2470WNX doesn’t offer quite as many input options as Gateway’s LCD, but it splits the difference between that monitor and the DoubleSight, with VGA, DVI, and four USB 2.0 ports. Like the other LCDs reviewed here, it provides the full range of ergo options—height, tilt, swivel, and rotate. The OSD, for its part, is fairly simple to navigate and includes the same variety of options whether you’re using the digital or analog interface. What’s more, it doesn’t squawk at you.