This market sector is currently the most active one. Here you can easily find a model of any class, with any matrix type and functional feature.
The bottom of the sector is occupied by a few models with a native resolution of 1400x1050 pixels. These are all based on TN matrixes without Response Time Compensation and have poor vertical viewing angles and a low speed as a consequence. You can be interested in such a monitor due to its price or a rather large pixel pitch (if you find the native resolution of 19” monitors too low but the pixels of standard 20” monitors too small). In this category you may be interested in the Samsung SyncMaster 203B that features superb ergonomic properties for a very modest price.
Next go numerous models with 20” TN matrixes that have more common native resolutions. These can be divided into widescreen (1680x1050) and classic (1600x1200) models, but the latter category is in fact represented by the Samsung SyncMaster 204B alone – it differs from the above-mentioned 203B in the native resolution only.
The choice of widescreen monitors is much broader. There are first-wave monitors without RTC and there are models with fast matrixes (the latter can be easily distinguished by their specified response time – it is 4 milliseconds or better).
The rather slow 5ms models are mainly interesting as office tools. The Samsung SyncMaster 205BW seems to be the most interesting among them. Coming at a very modest price, this monitor is good ergonomically and has a relatively good set-up. Many people are going to like the Dell E207WFP which is somewhat more expensive than the 205BW, but has a better exterior design.
If you want a monitor with a fast matrix, you should take a look at models with a response time of 4 milliseconds and less among which the following can be noted as deserving more interest than others: LG Flatron L206WTQ, ASUS MW-201U, Samsung SyncMaster 206BW and SyncMaster 2032BW.
Alas, a low price and a good response time are the only strong points of these models. They are not very ergonomic (particularly, none of the mentioned four monitors allows adjusting the height of the screen), and the TN matrix has traditionally small viewing angles. The setup quality is often low, sometimes very low (the most common problem is a too-high color temperature of gray, which makes it look bluish).
If you want to have good color reproduction and functionality with a small response time, you can look at more expensive products based on *VA and S-IPS matrixes. A few leaders with the best price/quality ratio can be named here:
- Dell 2007FP has a classic resolution of 1600x1200 and an S-IPS or PVA matrix depending on the particular batch (the PVA version is more common)
- Dell 2007WFP is a widescreen version of the previous model; its matrix type may vary too (S-IPS is more common)
- Philips Brilliance 200P7ES has a resolution of 1600x1200 and an S-IPS matrix
- Philips Brilliance 200WP7ES is a widescreen version with an MVA matrix
- Samsung SyncMaster 215TW is a 21” widescreen monitor with a PVA matrix
As you can see, the first four models form two pairs in which the particular models differ in the screen aspect ratio only. What is better? Practice suggests that widescreen models are preferable for movies while classic models are better for CAD/CAM applications. For other applications (games, Internet, processing text and spreadsheets, processing photographs, etc) it all depends on your personal preferences and the interface of software you use (for example, if the program allows placing toolboxes and other such auxiliary elements on the sides of the workspace, the widescreen monitor proves very handy).
Although each of the five enumerated monitors is a very good product and will surely satisfy a majority of users, the models with S-IPS matrixes, i.e. Philips Brilliance 200P7ES and Dell 2007WFP, are special. These are relatively inexpensive monitors for working with colors (for example, for processing photographs).
Following 20” and 21” models there is a large group of 22” monitors. And many people get surprised at seeing that these are often cheaper than 20-inchers. There is a simple reason for that: all 22” monitors, without exceptions, are currently manufactured with TN matrixes, which means not only a low price but also a small vertical viewing angle together with poor color reproduction.
I discussed TN-based 20” monitors at the beginning of this section, and everything I wrote then can be applied to 22” models as they only differ in the size of the screen. Among RTC-less models the Dell E228WFP and the Samsung SyncMaster 225BW are worthy of your interest. Noteworthy among RTC-enabled models are the ASUS MW221U, LG Flatron L226WTQ, and Samsung’s SyncMaster 226BW with SyncMaster 2232BW. Alas, I can’t really recommend any of these monitors as the best one since all of them have some ergonomic drawbacks or a sloppy setup or both. So if you need a really good and universal monitor, you should get a few paragraphs back to the models with *VA and S-IPS matrixes.
Lately there have appeared monitors with a diagonal of 21.6”. They are in fact no different from 22” models. It has just become more expedient for the manufacturers to cut the wafers of LCD panels into 21.6” rather than 22.0” pieces.
I want to add a special word about the new monitors with an extended color gamut such as Samsung SyncMaster 226CW. Many users think that this means an improved reproduction of colors, but that’s not true. The extended color gamut allows the monitor to display more saturated and lush colors, but it depends on other factors how close those colors are to the desired ones. Alas, the extended color gamut is hardly a serious advantage for TN-based monitors that often come with rather low color reproduction setup.
Here’s the summary.
Universal monitors with good color reproduction, response time and functionality for home use:
Universal monitors with good color reproduction, response time and functionality for work:
Monitors for games and movies:
- ASUS MW-201U (review)
- LG Flatron L206WTQ
- Samsung SyncMaster 206BW (review)
- Samsung SyncMaster 2032BW (preview)
- ASUS MW221U
- LG Flatron L226WTQ (review)
- Samsung SyncMaster 226BW (review)
- Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW
Monitors with uncompromising color reproduction for professional image-editing applications.
- NEC MultiSync LCD2090UXi
- NEC MultiSync LCD2190UXi (review)