Articles: Monitors

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20-22 Inch Models

Like in the previous section, I have to begin with a piece of bad news. The era of inexpensive monitors based on S-IPS, MVA and PVA matrixes is over. The models I named and recommended in the last-year report – Dell 2007WFP, Philips 200WP7 and Samsung 215TW – are out of production, and there are no worthy substitutes.

The reason is obvious: the mass customer is satisfied with the quality of TN-based monitors and very satisfied with their pricing, so the demand for the more expensive monitors based on other manufacturing technologies is steadily declining.

The only alternatives I can mention are the Lenovo ThinkVision L220x which is based on an S-PVA matrix with a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels but it is expensive, rare, and some of its samples have a defect, low image sharpness. The 22-inch PVA-based Eizo S2231WSE and HP LP2275w are even more expensive and rarer.

The ASUS PW201 can still be seen in shops for some reason. It features an eye-catching design and a PVA matrix. Unfortunately, this is a rather mediocre model in its real parameters, being obviously inferior to the now-extinct models mentioned in the first paragraph of this section.

Cutting it short, there are almost no high-quality affordable 20-22-inch models with matrixes other than TN.

That said, it is no problem to find a professional monitor intended for image processing and color correction. It is the same UXi series from NEC that I wrote about in the last-year report. If you need a monitor with uncompromising color accuracy and you don’t mind paying a thousand bucks or more for it, you won’t be disappointed with the purchase of a MultiSync LCD2090UXi or LCD2190UXi.

The S-IPS-based NEC MultiSync LCD2070NX is cheaper but has simpler functionality.

There is also Samsung’s XL series, particularly the SyncMaster XL20 with LED backlight and a superb color gamut. However, this series occupies an ambiguous intermediary position. Its monitors are somewhat too expensive and unhandy for home (because they are optimized for specific applications) but are not set up well enough for professional processing of images, being inferior to NEC’s UXi series. Samsung should either improve the setup quality to compete with NEC or orient the series at the home market, especially as the LED backlight and lush colors can be a strong argument in marketing battles.

What to do if you don’t have that much money to spend? As usual, you can go TN, especially as TN-based monitors start from a very low level, about $200. I mean monitors with a DVI interface. Buying a monitor with a native resolution of 1680x1050 and an analog input only is unwise.

Everything I wrote about the specified parameters of TN-based 19-inch LCD monitors can be applied to their 20-22-inch counterparts. So, I won’t repeat myself. I will just name a few specific models that stand out among the others for some reason and thus may be of some interest to you.

Acer produces a good series of business monitors. The B203 ymdr and B223 ymdr feature a neat exterior design and good ergonomics. Take a look at them if you need monitors for your office.

Samsung’s business monitors are labeled with the letter B, and you may want to consider the SyncMaster 2043BW and 2243BW that have a restrained design and good ergonomics.

Acer’s home-oriented series is more interesting at 22 inches: the P223W has got a rather elegant stand. It is going to look good on your desk.

Acer has a lot of opponents when it comes to exterior design, though. First of all, it is Samsung with its SyncMaster T200 and T220. The Touch of Color series is remarkable for beauty as well as good setup quality.

The SyncMaster T200 and T220 are the basic models of the series and I think them the most reasonable buy. The modifications include models with the suffixes N (without a DVI input), G (glossy matrix coating) and HD (with an integrated TV-tuner).

The ASUS LS221H is an expensive but beautiful monitor, too. It has leather-like trimming of the bottom of the front panel and its matrix is covered with a sheet of protective glass (ASUS claims this glass to be very robust), creating an impression of the screen being flush with the front surface of the case. This looks just fascinating. I guess you should take a look at the LS221H alive if you base your choice on the exterior design (this is reasonable enough considering that most models share the same or similar specs).

Winding up my review of interesting 22-inchers, I must say a few words about the ViewSonic VLED221wm, the cheapest available model with LED backlight based on RGB triads. Unfortunately, there can be some confusion about what this monitor really is and does. Being an extended-gamut model, it is advertised as a monitor with "astounding color and precision".

But what does the LED-based backlight provide? It endows the monitor with an extended color gamut, i.e. the ability to display very saturated, very pure green, red and blue. An ordinary monitor will look pale in comparison, its red and green having a noticeable tincture of yellow.

What does it not provide? Color accuracy. Color accuracy does not depend on the monitor’s color gamut. It depends only on the quality of the LCD matrix and the monitor’s setup. But when it comes to that, the VLED221wm proves to be a typical home TN-based monitor with the ensuing consequences. Yes, it can display very lush green and red, but it is far inferior to professional monitors in the accuracy of halftones (even if we don’t count in the rather serious problem of adaptation of images for the extended color gamut). The VLED221wm is rather expensive and you must realize that this money buys you more saturated colors than with an ordinary 22-incher, and nothing more. The VLED221wm can create an impression in games and movies, but it is wrong to regard it as a monitor with high color accuracy.

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