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Help Finding a Good Widescreen LCD for Text?

Old 02-17-08, 07:16 PM
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Help Finding a Good Widescreen LCD for Text?

I remember when the Dell LCDs first came out, text rendering was shit, even with ClearType. Then there were the UltraSharps, and the difference between the regular 2007WFP and the UltraSharp model was staggering. Now there's the "UltraSharp" 2008WFP, which I've seen, and it's a noticeable step backward. The "UltraSharp" means nothing. I guess it's fine for gamers, but I don't see how anyone who deals with text can tolerate it.

I assume the issue is S-IPS vs TN, but I don't know enough about the technology to know whether there's more to look at than just those factors.

In any case, I am looking for something in the 20-24" inch widescreen range, hopefully with a resolution of at least 1920x1200. I won't be using it for gaming, so I don't care about any kind of motion delays. I'd estimate a 60/25/15 breakdown of software development in text editors/browsing the Internet/image editing. I'd certainly like something with good color reproduction so my image editing doesn't look like crap, but mainly I don't want to deal with blurry text all day.

Currently, I have a Sony G520 21" CRT, and it's served me well. But it's freakin' huge and is finally starting to show some age. I'd like to replace it at a reasonable price, but not if the replacement is actually a downgrade. The 2008WFP line is a downgrade.

Suggestions?

Thanks,
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Old 02-18-08, 08:52 AM
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Hmm if it's strictly for text, I don't see why you should use higher end panel. Cheap TN panel should do it unless viewing angle is an issue.

But 1920x1200 resolution is kinda hard to find under 24" range. I have no idea about laptop LCDs, but that's what I get from my research.

That being said... the Viewsonic VX2435wm sounds like a good idea for you (24" TN Panel with resolution of 1920x1200). Although.. well at $670 (Amazon's price)... may be you can find a similar deal on an older Dell 2407FPW - which uses S-PVA panel.
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Old 02-18-08, 09:05 AM
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What concerns me is that all the TN screens I've seen in person look terrible when rendering text. Comparing an older 2007WFP UltraSharp with the new 2008s is significant, and I haven't seen anything in a b&m store (other than some stupidly expensive screens in the Apple store) that looks tolerable. Everything I find is TN, though.

Viewing angle and motion response are non-issues. It will be on my primary development machine, used almost exclusively for writing code and wasting time here.

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Old 02-18-08, 11:07 AM
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I had a 21" Sony CRT and I know what you mean.

I recently got a 24" Acer that has a very good screen. Amazing viewing angles so it may be P-MVA instead of a TN one. I'm not sure. It could just be an advanced TN.

Images look really good but since I primarily work with text I can't use it -- text is too hard to read compared to my old 19" Dell/Samsung monitor. Characters are well formed, but I can't get the contrast set to make them stand out well enough against the white background. It's going to my son who primarily plays games.

In addition to the feeble text rendering, I found the text size on a 24" to be just a little too small for my taste due to the pixel size. The 19" 4:3 monitor I'm currently using has has .294mm pixels. The 24" 16:10 has .27mm pixels. So I may consider a 22" 16:10 that has .277mm pixels, but that doesn't have much more resolution than my 19". Just a wider screen.

You might take a look at the 24" Soyo that OfficeMax has on sale this week. It's supposed to be a P-MVA panel.

http://www.officemax.com/omax/catalo...skuId=21361009

A $30 off coupon makes it a very good deal. It's built pretty cheaply but people seem to really like its image.
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Old 02-18-08, 11:31 AM
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Thanks a lot, X. How do you actually buy one of these?

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Old 02-18-08, 12:00 PM
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It used to allow you to buy them online but I don't see that option now.

You might want to go to the store to look at it first anyway.
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Old 02-18-08, 12:15 PM
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Mission accomplished. The OfficeMax across the street has 6 of them. Unfortunately, their display model is in terrible condition and connected to a bank of monitors over VGA at non-native resolution, so it's pretty much impossible to tell anything about it. Fortunately, the return policy is 30 days.

It sure is ugly, but if it gives a decent picture, I really don't care. I'll let you know how it turns out. I only did some light research before taking off to the store, but on the surface, it seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. We'll see if the result matches the hype. Thanks again for the suggestion.

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Old 02-19-08, 12:35 AM
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You cant really beat that Soyo for the price. Your just not going to get a new 24" non TN panel for anything near that. But if you were disappointed by the 2008WFP, the Soyo is certainly not going to be an improvement over that. If anything its a downgrade. Its also had some issues with reliability.

If the Soyo doesn't prove to your liking check out The Samsung 244T/245T.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:07 AM
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Well, I got it hooked up, and my first impressions are very positive. It's obviously a step back from the glory days of my CRT, but that's just the switch in technology. I'll run it through some color and contrast tests later, but my primary goal -- solid text presentation -- has been met. Fonts look as good as I've seen on a consumer level LCD, certainly better than the 2008WFP. There are a couple of dead pixels in relatively inconspicuous places, so I'll start exchanging them until I find a better one.

Response delay is noticeable. Typing this post, I can see the difference, and mouse movement looks a bit odd. I don't know if this is simply an adjustment I'll have to make switching from CRT to LCD or if it's a flaw in the display, but it's mildly annoying.

It definitely looks like a "cheap" display from the build quality, but it has all the necessary functionality. I don't need to sink money into a rotating stand or a camera or USB ports or HDCP, so it suits me perfectly. And really, where I have it seated on my desk, most of its cheap look blends away. Next to a flashy LCD, it looks like crap, but on a desk by itself, it looks perfectly fine. One thing I find amusing is that the entire scheme is black except the provided DVI cable that has bright white connectors. It looks a little silly, but in my setup, you can't see it. There's no cable management, but again, not that big a deal.

Right out of the box, with no adjustments, the picture is better than almost every LCD I've tested on this journey, including many that cost a lot more. That's a good start. It remains to be seen how much I can improve on it with calibration.

My video card allows me to get creative spanning desktops, and I think I can even set it up to give me (1920 + 1600) x 1200 (I know I can do 3840x1200). Unfortunately, I've tried to run an LCD and CRT in the same office before (different computers), and I nearly had a seizure switching back and forth between the technologies. It probably won't work out for me, but I'll mess around with it anyway.

das

Last edited by das Monkey; 02-19-08 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:15 AM
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If you want to do a return and rebuy I just may have a $30 off $150 coupon around here somewhere, if you don't.
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Old 02-19-08, 02:44 AM
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I do not. Can you use those in-store?

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Old 02-19-08, 10:27 AM
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Looks like it's online or phone orders only.
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Old 02-19-08, 10:35 AM
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Oh well. Thanks anyway.

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Old 02-20-08, 12:06 PM
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More impressions:

It's hot, from the front and the top. If you lean over it, you can definitely smell the heated components.

I'm still not used to the lack of precision switching from CRT to LCD. I notice it less with each passing hour, but there are still some images where I miss the LCD.

Colors, on the other hand, are pretty damn good. I never got blacks this deep on my Sony, no matter how much time I spent calibrating it.

1920x1200 is fantastic. So many websites are designed with that annoying (and lazy) fixed central width that I wasn't sure I'd gain much from the added resolution, but I've already found coding advantages with the additional real-estate. And at 24", I haven't lost any physical height with the added width.

Considering the price and my requirements, this is a mighty fine monitor. Many thanks, X.

das

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Old 02-20-08, 12:12 PM
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I've read that people think it's a good idea to get the $29 Office Max 3-year warranty. I think I'd probably go for that myself.
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Old 02-20-08, 12:31 PM
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They told me at the register it was $49. $29 would be more reasonable for a $280 product.

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Old 02-20-08, 12:40 PM
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Maybe it is $49. I saw it mentioned someplace (FW? AT?) that it was $29 so I was assuming that it was because it went under $299.99. I know it had been mentioned as $50 or so earlier.

Maybe it depends on using a coupon and getting it for under $250? I don't know. I don't think I'd go for $50.
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Old 02-20-08, 01:07 PM
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Yeah, I don't like the idea of spending 20-25% for insurance. I'll look into the details further, but I believe it has a 1-year warranty already. If it breaks after that, technology will have hopefully advanced, and prices will be such that I can get something better anyway. That may not be true, but it's a good enough excuse not to pay the money.

Amusingly, since I hooked this thing up, I've been convinced that it was crooked, higher on the left than the right. Since you can only adjust pitch and not roll, I figured I'd just live with it. Just to be sure, though, I broke out a level. Turns out, it's perfectly level. My desk, on the other hand, not so much. Since my CRT had 360 adjustment, I never even noticed. Oops.

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Old 02-22-08, 08:53 AM
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I got this same Soyo 24" 16x10 model back in December (and compared to another "cheap" 24" Acer, a poorer TN panel, that I tested), the Soyo was a much better option with similar price points. I just like being able to fit 6 windows for surfing now (and the text is fine on webpages when viewed on the Soyo).

There is some backlight bleed-thru if you are looking at a black screen at certain angles (looking at video or DVDs with a 2.35 AR), but for everyday use for me, it's sharp enough, and with good colors and viewing angles. ObeseWalleteers thought that this Soyo was a P-MVA panel at the time of my purchase, not sure if more information has surfaced, but it is much better than a TN panel. For the $300 price point, it's a 24" monitor that you can live with (of course, you can spend more, but I didn't want to sink another $200 to get the very best when $300 would suffice for my purposes). At the time I purchased the monitor from OM, they quoted me $29.99 for an extended warranty, perhaps something changed in the new year as far as warranty pricing, but I decided to not go for the warranty for a $300 purchase.

At work, I have a 22" Viewsonic, and it's got much better blacks, but, it's got it's own issues with morse-code-looking bleed-unders when I stack windows on top of one another, and I don't know what triggers it (sometimes playing a video file can trigger it, other times it doesn't). I suspect video drivers being the culprit, but I have the most up-to-date drivers available for my ancient laptop (5.5 years old).
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Old 02-22-08, 09:26 AM
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I went back to the store and see the confusion over the warranty. It's $29.99 for an additional year (on top of the manufacturer's year) and $49.99 for an additional 2 years. $29.99 for 2 years is a reasonable price if it's a no-hassle return, but after reading all the fine print on their warranty card, it seems like it would be about as much hassle as dealing with the manufacturer.

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Old 02-22-08, 01:21 PM
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Ah, yeah, now that $49.99 figure makes more sense to cover that 3rd year. I also read the fine print, and it involved too much gymnastics in terms of shipping the monitor back, and going through their version of a RMA process and getting paid (can't remember if it was just OM bucks, or cash back up to the purchase price if the unit couldn't be repaired). Just going to roll the dice on it.

My former 19" LCD was a nightmare in terms of image retention if I happened to leave it on, and the screen saver didn't kick in, due to some weird pop-up that slipped by and played havoc with the screen saver. The Soyo seems to be more robust in handling a "paused" screen than that old LCD, so that's an improvement.

I still have a Sony-based CRT monitor in the back room, but since I rarely use it, I didn't really notice minor LCD lag as far as typing goes, as I was on that other crappy LCD and was accustomed to its screen refresh behavior already.

I don't really know of many other 24" monitors at the $300 price point that are better than the Soyo at this time, but there are always deals to found on model close-outs here and there. What's bad is when a manufacturer will slip in a better screen for the same model number during its production run, and it then becomes hit-or-miss as to getting a TN panel or P-MVA panel, or better panel type.
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