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Tom Reviews 13 LCD Displays 254

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the slimmer-is-better dept.
n3r0.m4dski11z noted that Tom's Hardware has a review of 13 LCD Displays for anyone who has been thinking about making the leap from the CRT to that fancy shmantsy LCD stuff thats all the rage with the kids these days. As usual, they do a pretty good job explaining the issues. In this case comparing CRT and LCD technology, as well as covering a ton of screens.
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Tom Reviews 13 LCD Displays

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  • Has anyone actually seen an LCD with good quality? Admittedly the ones I've seen were in stores, maybe sucky ones hooked up to sucky displays, but they all looked like crap. It reminded me of my first .39 dot pitch monitor.
    • by coats (1068) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:34PM (#2837986) Homepage
      LCDs display much better at their design resolutions than at other resolutions (think about it--you might say that they have "hard-coded" pixels, instead of "wherever the electron beam hits.") Stores, unfortunately, don't bother to set them up like this, and instead run their display samples at some stupid resolution like 800x600 that is way off the actual resolution of the screen. Result: they look horrible.

      A properly set-up LCD running at its design resolution looks sharp!

      • Agreed!

        When I first got my laptop I was blown away by how sharp everything was. I'm so used to using LCDs that I request laptops at work just to make sure that I get an LCD.

        The real downside has been watching DVDs on it. So sharp I notice every glaring compression error.

        • I find it hard to believe you notice compression errors on an MPEG-2 stream upwards of 8 megabits per second (DVD quality). There really shouldn't be any at all.

          It is much more likely that the "compression errors" are actually the LCD's poor ability to represent motion. They are notoriously bad at this.
      • I am on a philips brilliance 150P2 right now and the quality is fantastic. There is a slight blur when you scoll, but it is nothing that stands out unless you are actually looking for it, and even then it is not really a problem and occurs on all LCDs.
        The best thing about it is being able to pivot the monitor to play vertical mame games vertically. It works great in linux as well :)
      • Uhm...ever looked at a CRT with a magnifier? They've got hard-coded pixels, too.

        It's very instructive to watch with a magnifier while playing with the width and height controls, to see how they map the logical pixels to the physical pixels. Do that, and you'll see the real reason that CRT's look good at different resolutions.

    • The Apple 15-inch LCD is very sharp, bright, and looks awesome even from an angle. I'm sure some of these newer VGA models are also in that league, but I haven't seen them, so I can't really comment there.
      • by geigertube (265640)
        It looks like from the 'CRT vs. LCD' section in the article that LCDs pretty much suck for accurate pre-press work. (lack of accurate/high quality color, color depth, contrast, and gamma) Which, if I understand things correctly, is a major portion of Apples market. Are the apple LCDs just that much better, or are they leaving the market for pre-press monitors to third parties?
    • Re:Quality? (Score:3, Informative)

      by jarodss (243400)
      Check out one of these [apple.com], yes it's an Apple Cinema Display, but take a look at one, they are simply amazing, they are a piece of art, yes it requires a $50CND dongle to go from Mac-DVI for PC users, and I am a pc user, but they are so worth the money, they are great monitors.
    • Re:Quality? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cmowire (254489)
      I have seen LCD screens with good quality. My wife's laptop has the second LCD that didn't annoy the !$^$ out of me for certain applications. The Apple Cinema Display is the first LCD, although I've only seen it in stores. You probably saw an LCD that wasn't properly set up. Of course, every time I start using a CRT tube, I have to get /it/ set up properly, too, but that's another matter.

      There are two things that annoy me about LCD screens. One is the contrast ratio, and the other is refresh rate.

      At some point, the LCD manufacturers hit the contrast ratio that made the blacks look black. Before that, a little bit of the backlight would creep through the blacks. It made things look all muddy. It's fine for office applications, programming, and whatnot. But it made any sort of Photoshop usage nearly impossible, even for web design. This has now been almost fixed. The latest expensive displays are good enough to not be annoying. Granted, I still wouldn't spec out a system intended for prepress with one, but they are OK.

      What kills them for me right now is resolution. For the same price as a 1280x1024 LCD, I can get either a 17 or a 19 inch CRT that will do at least 1600x1200. I like a big, high resolution screen.

      The refresh rate is getting better, but it's still not quite good enough for games. Of course, for an office PC, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's also great for an office PC because the pixels are very square and very sharp, which makes things easier on the eyes.

      But the big thing is that a cheap LCD is going to suck more than a cheap CRT.
    • At work I have an NEC XtraView. This NEC model, which is much pricier than the "regular" NEC models of the same size, has a different electrode structure that results in much better off-axis performance. Color values, brightness and contrast are the same from top to bottom. It also appears to have a full eight bits of resolution for each of R, G, and B -- something that is not true for many less expensive displays. If you get far enough off to the side the image is dimmer, but this is going to be true for any light-valve technology.

      Personally, I would rather have this display than a CRT with the same viewable area.

  • by ergo98 (9391) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:26PM (#2837956) Homepage Journal

    When a new story is posted at Tom's, it gets front page status here. Shouldn't there be a "daily updates at well known hardware sites" category for those of us who go to those sites anyways? I just don't see what the point behind Slashdot getting cluttered with a "posting notification" for Tom's, Sharky, Anandtech, etc.

  • telling Tom's to take a hike. Great bit of negative web publicity, that.
    • I am going to buy a dozen monitors at my work place, they probably would be Samsung, but if they think "Tom's Hardware is just a website, not a magazine." then their mentality is what ? 10 years late ? They couldn't be more stupid.

      I, as a consumer, have been underrated by Samsung. I *just* check websites, and it's been a long time since I don't buy computer magazines. I am taking it personal. They don't want web users as consumers ? Fine. I will boycott Samsung. As a system administrator, taking care of 100+ machines, will NEVER more buy Samsung again. I am officially boycotting Samsung.
      Suggest you guys do the same. And write letters to Samsung, so they can learn how they screwed up.

      And, FYI, I am in no way related to Tom's Hardware.
    • I'm sure someone at Samsung profoundly regrets the sales lost (both of them) by withholding monitors from Tom.
  • Tom Pabst (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sivar (316343)
    Actually, unless it is Tom himhelft doing the review, Tom's Hardware is widely known for fairly bad reviews. Take a look at:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/mainboard/01q4/01112 6/ index.html
    ...which says that the KT266a chipset "blows away" the NForce, when the performance differences are right around 2-3%.
    Overall, I still like the site and most pf the reviews, though.
  • by Rev.LoveJoy (136856) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:31PM (#2837977) Homepage Journal
    Will be the year the average 17" LCD costs under $500. Witness the history of the CRT and what business has been willing to spend...

    Cheers,
    -- RLJ

    • by Tyrall (191862) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:52PM (#2838104) Homepage
      The difference in size between a decent 15" LCD ($500-$600 currently) and your 15.9" viewable '17 inch' screen is not massive.

      The problem with getting that lower price is that the manufacturers are seeing LCD as a cash cow, and a quick and easy method of getting their development costs back.
      • The cash cow point is a good one. I well remember 17" CRTs that were $800 and up. However, I also remeber the defacto standard size for a monitor going from 13" to 15" to finally 17" for you typical office PeeCee with the price dropping accordingly.

        I'm not sure what would be the 'standard' sized CRT today. Any new CRT that I purchase for my business is 19" (desktop space permitting), but I don't expect that I set the standard. :-)

        I think most users see the 19" CRS and the 17" LCDs as being analgous. However, you can get a good 19" CRT for $600 while with a decent 17" LCD, the price is still in the clouds.

        Cheers,
        -- RLJ

  • Samsung France... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by GypC (7592)

    ...really needs to get a clue.

    "Tom's Hardware is just a website, not a magazine. The testing monitors are reserved for the press."

    Sheesh.

  • Personally I'm inclined to wait for the OLED displays I keep hearing rumors about. They should be at least as good and much cheaper (and lighter) because they don't need a backlight. LCD's are still just to pricey when I can get a decent 19" CRT for about $300.
    • At least the current technology for OLEDs has a problem: has a much shorter lifetime than the other competing technologies -- how would you like it if your monitor "faded out" after 6 months' use (at 40 hours a day, that's about the lifetime of current OLEDs). Sad. :-(
    • I heard that the OLED monitors were superceded by the COMD monitors. COMD monitors are supposed to rule!

      Oh wait... COM+D monitors rock!

      Wait... this is the last time, I promise: .NetD monitors kick ass!

      T :-)

  • I noticed that we

    got more than 10

    words per page with

    this review, but

    not much more!

  • I don't know about you guys, but Tom's is one of the prime places I check out for hardware reviews. I don't trust most print sites for the news, like ZDNet, as they easily sell out.

    If Samsung thinks Tom's is just an online site, well, they've lost my business. And I really want an LCD. I HATE flicker.

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:02PM (#2838154)
      > I don't know about you guys, but Tom's is one of the prime places I check out for hardware reviews.

      Tom's used to be

      the same for me.

      But when it took

      longer to render

      each of the 20 pages

      of HTML

      at one paragraph

      per pageview and

      4-5 banner ads,

      I stopped reading

      Tom's Hardware

      .

      Which is a shame -- I cut my PC-hardware teeth in the early Pentium-I era learning about the distinctions between chipsets, the various busses and their overclockability, etc. at Tom's. Now I go to Anand, or any other similar site that features a "Print this!" button on their pages, and/or at least more than one sentence per pageview.

      That said, Samsung was pretty braindead to dismiss hardware websites as inferior to print magazines as sources for reviews. Particularly for leading-edge products (like LCD panels), you've gotta get the early-adopter mindshare, and I don't know any early adopters who get their tech information from dead trees anymore. (By the time the dead-tree magazine is printed, half the information in it, and all the pricing, is obsolete.)

  • THG's complaint about Samsung sure is interesting. From the letter Samsung sent to Tom's:

    Tom's Hardware is just a website, not a magazine. The testing monitors are reserved for the press."

    Umm, hello? I'd be willing to bet that THG has a higher readership than most hardware oriented print publications. Tom's is damn-near the definitive source for these things, is respected, and well-read. I can't believe Samsung screwed up like this.

    Oh well. I've never cared for Samsung much anyway.

    - Rev.
    • by ergo98 (9391)

      So you wouldn't buy from one of the LCD market/value leaders because they didn't cater to Tom's crew? As far as your feelings on Tom's, I don't know if you'd find industry wide agreement: I personally have seen some bizarro conclusions, and some personal biases and agendas (i.e. like issues like this where he or his crew didn't get a sample in a timely manner and it turns into a personal agenda against whichever company he doesn't like that week). I have little respect for any reviews that rely upon the goodwill of companies either: If Tom's is all that successful that they deserve such props then they should head down to the latest computer store and pick up the monitors (so they're testing actual retail samples rather than picks of the litter), selling them at auction or whatever afterwards to recoup most of the cost. Otherwise they end up in this "love/hate" relationship with OEMs and it seriously affects every review: there is always a colour of bias.

      • by UberOogie (464002) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:30PM (#2838320)
        Exactly.

        In this case, it is a short-term, long-term thing. By relying on vendor test models, Tom's is entering a dance that it cannot win with its outsider posturing.

        So Sansung decides it does not want to be part of a review. So Tom's posts a very unprofessional rant about it. Do you think Samsung is ever going to send Tom review units again?

        Now, on the short-term, it makes Samsung look bad. A popular and generally respected Web guide runs a review of products and you are not in it. Tom gets a some baby sucker-punches in. Maybe Samsung loses a couple of sales. Maybe enough to even be a fractional blip on their radar (but not likely). Tom wins short-term.

        However, the other participants see this. Eventually, some other big player decides it doesn't want to deal with someone that unprofessional, and refuses to send units. Now Tom has a big hole in its coverage, and its readership will fall off because of it.

        If you are going to play the independent news card, you can't be beholden to companies for review units.

  • by toupsie (88295) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:36PM (#2838005) Homepage
    Guess Tom isn't cool enough or rich enough to get his hands on Apple's 22 "Cinema Display [apple.com]. It is the best LCD monitor on the market for consumers. The only problem is that it is out of the price range of everyone except Steve Jobs.

    This is the only piece of hardware I have ever drooled over!

    • Steve jobs only gets paid $1 a year from apple! How could he afford that?

      Oh... you must be talking about his millions of stock options and bonuses...

    • The Apple Cinema Display works just fine on a PC. Either the DVIator (Dr. Bott) or the DVI-to-ADC box from Gefen will take the DVI output from a GeForce-based card and allow use of the Cinema Display. Best of all, standard drivers include support for the 1600x1024 optimum resolution. With an OS supporting sub-pixel anti-aliasing the results are awesome.
    • "Thank God Sex is not licensed under GPL or everyone would get to watch! -- me"

      No, if sex were licensed under the GPL, everyone would get to join in.
    • Actually, I like the Viewsonic VP230mb (see http://www.viewsonic.com/products/lcd_vp230mb.cfm [viewsonic.com]) better than the Apple Cinema Display. It has the same 1600x1200 resolution, by the way.

      And it is compatible with other things than Macs (as the cinema display is not). The best price I can find on it is $3940; the list is $5370.

      Even better is the IBM C220, at about 3Kx2.5K, but it requires a special IBM graphics card and special drivers. Moreover, it runs $21,000.

      HW/SW question for slashdotters: For my next system, I'm thinking of getting either a 1920x1440 or a 1600x1200 LCD (probably the VS VP201, instead of the 230--I can afford it better). I like large virtual displays under Linux/XFree86 (currently I'm running 2Kx1.5K that seems to be the most that nVidia will support under XFree86). What graphics card should I choose to be able to get VIRTUAL 3200 2000?

    • #1 monitor (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DarkHelmet (120004)
      I found this off of the link to Apple's Monitor Page

      With a resolution of 1600 by 1024 pixels, the Apple Cinema Display delivers twice the brightness, twice the sharpness, and three times the contrast of ordinary displays

      Yup, just like those G4 CPU's that are twice as fast as what Intel offers...

      Of course they're comparing a 700mhz Pentium 4 to their 700mhz G4. So what kind of shrimpy LCD are they comparing it to now?

      Need I mention... The brightness on that thing is 180 cd/m, and Contrast ratio = 300:1... Sucker. They're comparing their monitor to an LCD with brightness of 90 cd/m, and 100:1 contrast?

      Stop buying into Apple's hype.

  • by yerricde (125198) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:38PM (#2838022) Homepage Journal

    In addition to the advantages and drawbacks given in this section of the article [tomshardware.com], color LCD technology is inherently sharper than CRT. Because of the inherent misregistration of the red, green, and blue planes of pixels, it's possible to address sub-pixels individually, resulting in a nearly threefold improvement in the effective horizontal resolution. More info is available here [grc.com], Slashdot covered it here [slashdot.org], and software to sharpen bitmap images on LCDs is available here [pineight.com].

  • Since Apple has not put all it's eggs in one basket, going to all LCDs and trashing the CRTs... We finally get to see how they compare up to other LCDs...

    Or maybe they won't review any Apple products...

    I though for sure they would with all the hype behind the LCD iMac and such. Oh well.
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:46PM (#2838061) Homepage
    On a related note, Ars Technica recently pushed out a Flat Panel buyer's guide [arstechnica.com].
  • by peterdaly (123554) <petedaly@ix.net c o m . c om> on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:49PM (#2838079)
    As someone who sits in front of computers all day who has a preference for ungodly high resolutions, my laptop has really helped my eyes. I recently got a Dell Laptop with a 15" 1600x1200 LCD display. For years my eyes have not been great. Not bad enough to really need glasses, but enough to bug me every now and then. Since I started using the LCD, I have had ever decreasing eye problems.

    The screen is so much sharper than any CRT at high resolutions. I am starting to consider replacing my 21" sony trinitron (sp?) on my home desktop machine with an LCD. I want more screen real-estate than these 13" screens, but the prices keep coming down.

    If you have eye problems as a result of using a CRT all day long, I highly recomend a high-res LCD.

    -Pete
    • yikes, has it been 3 years since my dissertation already???


      Anyway, I had a then-current and very nice 17" magnavox on eyry, my k6, and a 640x480 lcd on a ~94 thinkpad 486 I'd picked up for $400 to write at night.


      I found myself frequently copying the dissertation to floppy so that I could edit onthe sharper screen of the laptop--my eyes teared after several hours on the crt.


      There's also the bit about being stranded two days with a deadline, and editing the out-of-date copy on the laptop, creating a diff, and patching the desktop copy, but that's another story :) [and another reason to use lyx rather than ms-word]


      hawk

  • Maybe I missed it in the review - but I didn't notice where they mentioned the dot pitch of the various LCD monitors. They cover technology type, response time, contrast ratio, and price, but I didn't notice any dot pitch ratings.

    I recently had to bite the bullet and buy a new monitor. I considered buying a flat panel screen for a while, but among the (many many) reasons for not buying one was that the dot pitch sucked. After having a 15" Trinitron with a .25 mm dot pitch for five years, I can't go back to those awful, grainy flat panels.

    So, I ended up buying a 19" Trinitron (think it's a .24 mm dot pitch). Cost me less than a 17" flat panel, better dot pitch, good refresh. Just had to pull my desk out 6" from the wall to handle it, and that's just fine with me.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Well if it's a Trinitron then it's not dot pitch, it's strip pitch. Stripe pitch is always smaller than dot pitch, even on comparable monitors, the reason is is that for a given pixel you need 3 colors r,g,b and the stripes are arrange like this |||| so the size of a pixel = 3*stripe pitch. For a conventional crt the phosphors are arranged in a triangular configuration, so the average pixel size is between 2 and 2.5 times the dot pitch. That is why the numbers are not directly comparable.
    • by frankie (91710) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:29PM (#2838311) Journal
      I didn't notice where they mentioned the dot pitch of the various LCD monitors.

      Non sequitur. There's no such thing as dot pitch on an LCD, just like there's no zoom, trapezoid, degauss, etc. Those are relevant only to analog CRTs.

      Each pixel of an LCD (at maximum resolution) is exactly the size of the associated RGB screen elements. It doesn't move. It doesn't wiggle across phosphor dots, because there are no phosphors.
  • Apple makes some incredible displays [apple.com], yet Tom didn't mention any of them. Is this anti-Apple bias or simply an oversight?

    It's not as if Apple's monitors only work on their hardware.
  • by MattRog (527508) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:53PM (#2838107)
    I own a Dell Inspiron 8000 with a GORGEOUS 15.1" UltraXGA screen. It's wonderful to look at and sometimes it's even easier on my eyes then my dual 19" CRT system on my workstation.

    However, from what I understand about LCD screens is that they need to be mated with particular video cards (digital, of course) in order to even come close to high-quality laptop LCDs. Laptop manufacturers mate the best LCDs with the best, tuned, video cards in order to achieve the best display out there. With a much wider array of desktop LCDs and video cards you'd be hard pressed to be able to perfectly match a digital video card to a LCD display without massive amounts of time, money, and trial-and-error.
    • Though this used to be the case, perhaps, now everyone uses DVI and everything is compatible and great.

      (The really-high end LCDs usually need special cards to support their crazy resolutions, and some pivoting LCDs might not work with video cards that don't support strange resolutions like 1024x1280.)
  • Samsung.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by John Miles (108215) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:00PM (#2838149) Homepage Journal
    Samsung's flat-panel product line is fairly easy to summarize, even without a formal review. I looked closely at several different models when upgrading my monitor late last year.

    The Samsung 170T is godlike, especially with a DVI connection. It has a 400:1 contrast ratio, 0.26mm dot pitch, and it's bright enough to be painful to look at in dim light. The 160-degree viewing angle will remind you of a CRT. Oddly enough, it's not much more expensive than their (far inferior) 170MP and other 17" models.... which explains why most mail-order houses are usually sold out of the 170T.

    I've replaced every CRT monitor in my house (three) with 170Ts, and couldn't be happier. There is only one dead pixel among the three.

    Sadly, however, the other Samsung monitors are all junk, no better or worse than everything else in the slush pile at CompUSA. I imagine the 170T is blown away by the 210T, but those are even larger, more expensive, and (probably) harder to find.
    • Actually, the 570V, analog only connection mind you, is exceptionally good among the 15' LCD monitors. In the lesat, I have no complaints.
  • I have a 22 inch samsung (not france) CRT monitor. Apart from the fact that the first one failed miserably and Samsung replaced it without a glitch, it works perfectly. Not one burned pixel, perfect color and contrast, 2048*1536 32 bit at 85hz and no distortion. I have seen quite a few LCD monitors, and I AM NOT switching. The difference is just to great. Anything below or equal to 72 hz gives me a headache and I can clearly see it. I wonder how people can work with a 40hz maximum refresh rate and a resolution that is at best 1600*1200 9but for that you have to go in the 18 inch or above LCD and it costs 5000$) .02
    • but for that you have to go in the 18 inch or above LCD and it costs 5000$
      A quick check with Google shows a best price for the Samsung SyncMaster 240T 24" 1920x14400 LCD at $4808.95. 20.1" 1600x1200 VS VP201mb at $1996, 21" 1600x1200 Samsung 210T at $3360, 22" 1600x1200 VS VP230MB at $3940.

      fwiw

  • Very bad review (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RovingSlug (26517) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:19PM (#2838263)

    Maybe I'm naive, but I'd say two very relevant qualities of an LCD display, hell any display, are size and resolution.

    As far as I can tell, few to none of the "Test Tests" pages provide this information.

    The "Conclusion" is actually just a summary of monitor properties with no rankings or opinions gathered presumably from a "review" process. Even then, the summary doesn't include size or resolution.

    On the first page, there's no description why these values are not relevant nor significant for the review. Instead, there's three paragraphs regarding why Samsung-France is big and mean for not sending a unit to "review". Not only does that seem like last-page material, it seems unprofessional to even print.

    Going back the introductory pages, I did find some references to "only of limited interest for a 15" monitor", and a few other references to "768 pixels". So, after correlating and cross-referencing text from a number of pages in the review, I can make the guess that all the monitors have 15" diagonal with max resolution 1024x768.

    Considering the quality of both the review process and the journalism, Samsung was right to not send them a monitor. And, I'm right to resume my practice of never visiting Toms Hardware.

    • Not sure if you caught it, but there are two (1 [tomshardware.com], 2 [tomshardware.com]) pages after the page listed as the conclusion. The "real" final page [tomshardware.com] does present a little better conclusion in terms of "last-page material".

      This review certainly seems to be setup only to judge if the LCD is ready to replace the CRT, and the conclusion certainly supports that deduction.
    • Re:Very bad review (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jodka (520060)
      "Very bad" understates its condition; It is a heap of crap.

      At one point the review states (emphasis added):
      "Another shock WHEN READING THE MONITOR'S SPECS - with a contrast ratio of 200:1, a brightness of 200 cd/m2, a response time of 50 ms and a vertical viewing angle of 90 and a horizontal of 120"

      So it seems that "their" conclusions are just copied right from specs given to them by the manufacturers. This means that any comparison between figures which they name is meaningless. Manufacturers test displays under different conditions, useing different test criteria, and then exagerate performance to an unknown degree. For a mesurement to be of any use, every monitor described must be tested with the same equipment, under identical conditions, using the same performance criterion.

      Consider the measure of viewing angle. The drop in luminance as a function of viewing angle is a continuous function. So how big is the viewing angle ? Well, it depends on what the monitor manufacturer considers to be an acceptable degree of luminance loss, that is, where he arbitrarily thresholds a continuous function.

      Consider measurements of luminance and contrast ranges: You can crank the luminance all the way up, and you can crank the contrast all the way up, but what happens when you do both at once ? Are luminance and contrast ranges independent variables, and if they are not, to what degree does your choice of one limit the other ? Did every manufacturer measure contrast range at the same luminance levels ? Did every manufacturer measure maximum luminance at the same contrast setting ?

      The point here is not that the manufacturers are to blame for how they portray performance. Rather it's that, to present a credible comparative review, you must make mesaurements yourself, so to hold the testing procedure and performance criteria constant.

      "... While the L365 can display very dark shades perfectly, whereas its rivals always tend to display them as black, it has certain problems displaying lighter hues accurately.
      "

      The obvious explanation is that he's set the brightness and contrast on the L365 so that the contrast saturates at the top of the range, and he's set the other monitors to saturate at the bottom of their ranges. Then he describes the L365 saturating at the top of its range, as if this is some great insite, and like it tells us anything at all about the L365.

      Oh, and let's have a look at the their test methods section:

      "We used N-Test for the following purposes...to verify whether the frequency is set automatically"

      1) WTF is N-Test, and if they are too lazy to tell us, why can't they at least link to it ?
      2) If they did this, why dont' they tell us the results ?
      3) Why don't they tell us the results of other tests which they claim to have done ? Except for the part about surfing the internet and playing quake, the claim that they did tests smells like horseshit.

      "We surfed the Internet...We ran ...games, such as Civilization III, Tropico, and Quake III"

      Lets summarize: They claim to do tests, but they do not give us the results of those tests. The results which they do give us are not their own results, but instead are copied from those given to them by the manufacturers. Their conclusions are therefore useless for the purpose of comparing the perfomance of displays, the fundamental aim of a compartive review. The authors are pissed that Samsung did not give them a monitor for testing purposes, though they did not give their own test results for any monitor which they were given for review. The only plausible use which the authors did make of these monitors was to play games and surf the web.

  • I stopped trusting THG after reading a glowing review of an nVIDIA video card blowing away the competition, while the page itself had a big ol nVIDIA advertisement at the top.

    Sure, nVIDIA's hardware truly does rock, but how do we know that the only thing paid for was the little banner ad?

    Then again, many, many print magazines pull the exact same shenanigans...
  • I have been looking to buy a 15" LCD in the near future. I had heard good things about the Samsung but I was disappointed to hear that they refused to provide Tom with a unit.

    After looking around their web pages for about ten minutes, I finally was able to find an email address to express my displeasure.

    Contact Samsung's PR department [samsungelectronics.com].

    I believe that Samsung makes the highly regarded Apple Studio monitors, as well.

    One question I have (as I read through Tom's article) is why a DVI connection will put you back about $100 more than a similar VGA-only LCD.
  • Planar PV174 (Score:3, Informative)

    by dsb3 (129585) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:34PM (#2838340) Homepage Journal
    I bought a Planar [planar.com] PV174 at the end of December and so far, haven't looked back. Total price was under $700 including shipping.

    Specs:
    * 17.4" LCD. 1280x1024 resolution
    * up to 75Hz analog, 60Hz DVI. (as it happens, when running analog I found it preferable to run at 70Hz to avoid some slight flickering)
    * Built in speakers (I don't use them)
    * Built in USB hub (don't use this either)
    * Built in pivot (don't use this - the model is available in black or white with a pivot or clear/translucent red/trans blue without pivot)

    * 220cd/m2 brightness
    * 400:1 contrast
    * 160degree viewing angle
    * 25ms refresh (15ms rise, 10ms fall)

    Frankly, from the research I did at the time the specs were far better than anything else in the 17" market (not to mention the extra .4" is nice to have) and the price was comparable or a little cheaper.

    I have a friend who uses the Planar 15" LCD on his Mac and is also very pleased with the way it performs.
    • Quick follow-up. There is one niggle with the monitor that I should mention. When viewing an entirely black screen (xlock -mode blank) there is a little white that shows through in the bottom corners. If I stare at the screen I can't detect this when running a normal desktop, even when using a mostly dark background, though.

      Also, the way the pivot works on the base makes it a bit fiddly to get the cables connected since they're on the back of the monitor, in the middle. Given that I won't be changing video cables for quite some time it's not a problem for me, but if you're planning on moving the monitor around a lot it might get tiresome.
    • Is this one of the Planar monitors which also has a TV tuner? I'm thinking of getting one of their 17-19" monitors as a CRT/TV replacement.

      IF the viewing angle is reasonable. Is this realistic you think?

      I haven't found a showroom for Planar's stuff, which is a shame. I'm really close to trying them out.
  • I seem to remember (but can't find) an article about a way to lower, by 50%, the refresh rate of an LCD panel. The best part was that it had nothing to do with the physical panel itself, but the hardware used to drive it. I don't even see it mentioned here, so what happened to it?

    Anyone? Bueller?
  • Why oh why... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by orpheus2000 (166384) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:38PM (#2838362) Journal
    ...can we have 14" Laptop LCD's that can have up to 1600x1200 resolution (via the Dell Inspiron 4100), yet the best these 15" Desktop LCD's (where power is not an issue) can reach is 1024x768.

    IMHO, that's f*cked.
  • by forii (49445) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:47PM (#2838406)
    I used to live in a place that was right next to a line of high-voltage power lines. And while that isn't a problem to my health, (a few fradulent scientific studies to the contrary), I was close enough that the magnetic induction would give every CRT in my house a 60 Hz signal on the display, so that the screen would move back and forth according to the beat-signal created with regard to the refresh rate.

    While this isn't a problem with TVs (which refresh at 60Hz), it was a MAJOR problem with my 21" Viewsonic CRT display, which, in order to get the benefit of the 1800x1400 display, had to be refreshed at 75Hz (going at 60Hz caused too much flicker on that huge display). Needless to say, trying to read tiny text, when the whole screen is shimmying back and forth at 15Hz was headache-inducing at the very least.

    This was when I shelled out the big $$$ and got a nice new SGI LCD (SGI 1600SW [sgi.com]. It has a good viewing angle, good contrast ratio, runs at 1600x1024 (enough to display two web pages side-by-side), is light-weight and compact (especially compared to my 75 pound Viewsonic P815), and best of all, had no electron beam!

    So if, like me, you have a problem with ambient magnetic fields, then I think that the only solution (until OLEDs come out, of course), is to get an LCD. And they're nice. Really nice. In fact, after seeing my display, all my friends went out and got LCDs as well. The only problem is that they're not nearly as cheap as CRT displays.
  • by Tom7 (102298) on Monday January 14, 2002 @06:47PM (#2838784) Homepage Journal

    I just got a new LCD myself! ViewSonic just released last year their VG191, which is a 19" TFT. It's MVA, 1280x1024, 500:1, 250 nits, and it pivots. I love it very dearly.

    http://www.viewsonic.com/products/lcd_vg191.cfm

    I got mine for $860, though prices seem to have gone up a little since last week (?). I think this makes it a great alternative to those ridiculously expensive ones like Apple's Cinema display. (Especially since I could not find a GeForce 3 with DVI-out at higher res than 1280x1024).

    Anyway, the real point of my post is this: If you go for a high-end LCD, do yourself a favor and get one that *pivots* or at least a VESA wall adaptor. I thought this would just be a kind of fun gimmick, but there really is nothing like reading a webpage in portrait mode. I leave my monitor like that almost all the time, in fact (I like to have a widescreen movie playing across the bottom of the screen and emacs up at the top. ;))
  • by jinx90277 (517785)
    I was disappointed by Tom's review, since it seemed to confuse one issue (which LCD monitors are the best within a specific class) with another (whether an LCD or a CRT is a better choice for a particular user). Aside from listing certain specifications, all it seemed to contain was a lot of subjective impressions with a negative slant, presumably because CRTs are the "better" product.

    Believe it or not, display quality is only one consideration for someone considering the purchase of a new monitor. In my case, I bought a 17" Samsung 760V (1280x1024 native resolution, 16+ million colors, 160-degree viewable angle in both axes) a few months ago and have been nothing but thrilled. Form factor was the major consideration -- given the weight and depth of a 19" CRT, it would have to be placed in a position which would have forced me to turn my head roughly 40 degrees to the right...for hours at a time. With a 17" LCD, however, the viewable area would be comparable to a 19" CRT, but I would be able to place the LCD monitor directly in front of me on my desk. I don't do image editing, but I do spend a lot of time writing, so the ultra-sharp text display and eyestrain reduction far outweighed the color table limitations of an LCD. Finally, since my system had a decently powerful processor/RAM/video card combination, I didn't anticipate a problem running games at the native resolution. (My guess was a good one -- I have had no trouble running Max Payne and Return To Castle Wolfenstein with full detail without motion trails or image degradation.)

    I did some research and took the plunge in the LCD market, but it would have been nice to have a decent side-by-side comparison article to read before buying. (I agree with the earlier poster -- in the store, the monitors are often running at a non-native resolution or are hooked to a computer with a terrible graphics card, making even an in-person evaluation somewhat misleading.) Sadly, Tom's article wouldn't have been helpful in the slightest.

  • As a consequence, the LCD monitor's biggest drawback, the lasting afterglow, has been significantly reduced.

    They just don't make them like they used to.

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