17 Inch Models
There is not much that I can say about this screen size. 17-inch monitors have ceased to develop, actually. Their prices have dropped to a very low level and they all have uniform parameters. Most of today’s 17-inchers have a TN matrix without response time compensation, a native resolution of 1280x1024, and an unassuming office-oriented exterior. The only model I know that deflects from the standard is the ASUS VW171D, but it differs in one point only: it is a widescreen model with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels.
If you look among larger monitors, you will see widescreen models not only aplenty but dominating. They have almost ousted “classic” monitors with an aspect ratio of 5:4 and 4:3 from the market.
Widescreen LCD panels are more profitable to manufacture. The diagonal being the same, they have a smaller total area, which means that the manufacturer can cut one wafer into more panels. However, transitioning the LCD panel manufacture to a different size takes some effort. Thus, it also takes some time to bring in the profit. But the monitor makers seem to regard the 17-inch market as hopeless and do not try to do anything about it. I guess the model range of 17-inchers will shrink to a minimum in this year and will come to resemble the current state of the 15-inch LCD monitor market.
As for shopping suggestions, today’s 17-inch monitors are entry-level products for office work. They have neither high speed nor high color accuracy, and the only reason for you to buy one is that you lack the money for a 19-incher. You can choose among the available 17-inch monitors by their exterior design and functionality (DVI interface, integrated speakers, etc) and disregard the specified parameters altogether – the specifications don’t mean anything in this market sector.