17” models currently occupy the bottom market segment. They used to have 15-inchers underneath until quite recently, but the latter have almost disappeared from shops today.
Low price is in the fact the single advantage of 17” monitors, but it is their main drawback, too. Profits are too low in this sector for the manufacturers to be interested in introducing new technologies into it. The maximum you can expect is that they carry over some new features from the more advanced 19” models.
The number one consequence of the low price is TN technology. There are no 17” monitors with *VA or S-IPS matrixes left in shops. So, if you don’t want to put up with poor vertical viewing angles, you should go right to the next section of this article.
The number two consequence is that there are almost no monitors with response time compensation among 17-inchers. Most 17” models have a specified response time of 5 milliseconds or higher, which, as you should know from our reviews, is indicative of a lack of RTC. This number of 5 milliseconds is only achieved on the transition between black and white while the average response (GtG) of such models varies from 13 to 15 milliseconds with a maximum up to 30 milliseconds.
You can find a few fast models among 17-inchers, though. I can name the LG Flatron L1760TQ, Samsung SyncMaster 731BF, the fanciful SyncMaster 760BF (see our review for details), and the NEC MultiSync 70GX2 Pro. The latter costs rather too much while not standing out among its competitors in anything. You may want to spend the same money for a very good 19” or an inexpensive 20” model instead.
But if the matrix speed of models with a specified response of 5 milliseconds and higher suits you fine, the choice of a particular monitor is in fact determined by your aesthetic preferences as the exterior design becomes the most notable differentiating trait. You can even skip the formal specs of products in this category as they are so similar in reality than you won’t see any difference.
Even the differences in design mostly concern the trim rather than the ergonomic properties. When talking about LCD monitors I call those case designs ergonomic that allow adjusting the position of the screen. A majority of 17” monitors allow adjusting the tilt only. The NEC MultiSync LCD1770NX allows adjusting the height as well, while the Samsung SyncMaster 760BF and one version of SyncMaster 740N additionally offer the portrait mode. The portrait mode is rather useless for TN matrixes because their poor vertical viewing angles become poor horizontal viewing angles, which is unacceptable for work.
The setup quality of 17” monitors is a random thing that depends on your luck. The manufacturers do not care about it much as the price category doesn’t demand them to. As a result, the accuracy of color reproduction on such monitors may vary from good to unacceptable.
Thus, purchasing a 17” monitor only makes sense if the price difference (a very small price difference, by the way) from 19” models is critical for you. It is also easier to find a 19” model that would meet your requirements in terms of setup quality, ergonomics and functionality whereas it is rather problematic to find, for example, a 17” model with both screen height adjustment and Response Time Compensation.
Anyway, if you are bent on buying a 17” monitor, you can choose from three product groups: a few models with fast matrixes (with a response time lower than 4 milliseconds), a few models with screen height adjustment, and the rest of the available models. You shouldn’t compare the specs of models in the latter group. Instead, go to the shop and compare the exterior design and image quality visually.
So, monitors for games and movies:
- LG Flatron L1760TQ
- Samsung SyncMaster 731BF
- Samsung SyncMaster 760BF (review)
Monitors with good functionality and/or good color reproduction:
- See models with larger diagonals