You will see five models of 22-inch LCD monitors in this review, from the simplest NEC LCD22WV to the full-featured Samsung SyncMaster 225MW. These monitors share quite a lot of common traits because they are all based on 5ms TN matrixes which are not exceptional in terms of viewing angles or response time, but highly popular due to low price.
As a matter of fact, 22-inchers are almost all based on TN technology. I know of only one exception: it is the Lenovo L220x which employs an S-PVA matrix.
Before proceeding to the body of this review, I’d like to make a few comments on the way of the presentation of the test results. There is a short list of highs and lows of each monitor at the end of its description. The recommended usage of the monitor is indicated there, too. This Recommended Usage item has proved to be somewhat misleading for some readers, especially such remarks as “viewing and simple editing of photographs” and “movies and games.” The first remark means that the monitor’s color reproduction quality is more or less acceptable for basic nonprofessional processing of photographs captured with inexpensive nonreflex cameras. I mean such things as keyframing, brightness/contrast correction, removal of the red eyes effect, etc. Such monitors will satisfy the majority of users. However, if you are a professional photographer and need as accurate color reproduction as possible, such monitors are likely to disappoint you. The color reproduction flaws will catch your eye even when you try to do some basic things. The usability of monitors for this application is evaluated basing on two parameters: gamma curves and color temperature setup. Moreover, I also take into account the model’s price category and the quality-related notions associated with it. For example, a color temperature dispersion of 500K among different grays is very good for a home TN-based monitor and very bad for a professional S-IPS-based one. But in most cases it would be as silly to compare these two monitors to each other as compare a car with a bus in terms of passenger seats. Such a comparison can only be made to demonstrate the advantage of the latter, but this demonstration is for professionals only. Ordinary people just cannot afford to buy a monitor that costs two or three times as much as home-oriented models of the same diagonal length.
When it comes to movies and games, the average response time (measured by the GtG method) is taken into consideration. By the way, all 5ms TN-based monitors have a real response time of 13-15 milliseconds GtG and fall into the same category in this test. This problem is subjective, of course. Some people can play quite comfortably on an old and very slow 25ms PVA matrix whereas others are not truly satisfied even with today’s 2ms TN matrixes (the problem is deeper than the formal response time, though, as we wrote in an older article). However, most users can see the difference between monitors with and without response time compensation. Therefore I classify LCD monitors into slow and fast ones depending on whether or not they have RTC.
Use the following link for a description of our testing methodology, the equipment we use, and for a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of LCD monitors mean: X-bit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology In Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this article abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the mentioned article for an explanation.
You can also view all previous monitor reviews in our Monitors section.