Summary: Alan lines up five 19'' monitors in classic FiringSquad style with colorimetry comparisons and in-depth reviews of each panel. NEC, Hyundai, Samsung and LG showcase their 'good stuff'. With the top brands in the 'gaming LCD' segment represented here today, who will end up on top? Only one way to find out...
I screwed up in planning this article. To understand why, you have to look back to the LCD monitor round-up I wrote a few months ago. While we had 8 monitors in the competition back then, our monitor selection was disappointing. I did my best to produce a "definitive" discussion of color and LCD image quality, but it was really only a battle between a handful of monitors because many of the competitors were such poor performers. The problem was that with that article I had no role in selecting the monitors for review. So, when FiringSquad asked me to do another LCD roundup a month ago, I agreed only after ensuring that I could select the list of monitors to review. So, I went through various manufacturers websites, looking at the specs, and picked out monitors that I might want to buy on my own. The problem? I've ended up with a group of 5 stellar monitors, and figuring out how to distinguish the leader among the pack ended up being far tougher than expected.
The best LCD roundup is the one with the most monitors. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of our testing and the time demands of the "top-secret" articles I'm working on to be published June 27 (the most ambitious project I've done to date, add it to your calendar) I've had to limit the number of monitors in this Summer Roundup. Since we went with budget 17" monitors and threw in one non-DVI 19" last time, I decided to take a look at 19" monitors this time. We are also continuing to include a mix both gaming and office monitors into the roundup.
Like that new TV show on Fox, The Inside, every monitor was selected to participate for a specific reason. So, in alphabetical order:
Hyundai ImageQuest L90D+
Coming up first is the almost-legendary Hyundai ImageQuest L90D+. Or rather, legendary according to the hype that's on most gaming message boards today. From the specs, it easy to see why the Hyundai looks like the monitor to beat. It has a high-speed 6-bit 8 ms TN+film panel, which if accurate, means that you should expect the amount of smearing to be small enough to allow you to game competitively. However, in addition to the speed, it has an excellent 700:1 contrast ratio and 300 cd/m2 brightness.
The real clincher for the deal, however is the dirt-cheap pricing. At Newegg.com, it's less than $350, the same price as many of the 17" monitors we reviewed last time. Perhaps more impressive than its great specs and great price is that once gamers have taken receipt of the monitor, their actual experience seems to live up to the hype. Of the over 200 customer reviews at Newegg.com, the ImageQuest L90D+ has nearly a perfect 5/5 star rating. That's really saying something. Although we were unable to get confirmation, the L90D+ appears functionally equivalent to the Samsung 915N with the key distinction of having DVI support. The real question will be if the L90D+ is in fact the gaming monitor deal of the century, or if buyers simply have not experienced what an even better monitor will look like.
This monitor was submitted for our evaluation through Newegg.com, a sponsor for this article. This was a true retail sample.
LG Electronics Flatron L1981Q
The LG L1981Q was our next contender. Although this has a conventional 6-bit 8 ms panel, LG has what they call the F-engine, which features "Real Color Management" to express vivid natural colors, and "Adaptive Color and Contrast Enhancement" which promises dynamic contrast that supposedly enhances brightness and contrast without losing color. The other element that put LG on our map was that although the display was a gaming panel with 6-bits per pixel, LG was very focused on having a "calibrate by your eye" color calibration tool.
As you know, our survey of game developers indicates that game development studios, big and small, all invest substantial time and effort in ensuring that their monitors are properly calibrated. If LG truly offers an easy method for calibrating by eye, that'll be very impressive. Remember, we've spent over $300 on our colorimeter alone.
The LG1981Q was submitted to us by LG Electronics and was a used demo unit. In fact, it was one of the specific units used by ATI at their E3 2005 booth. It is available at online retailers for $600.
NEC MultiSync LCD1970GX
Next up was the NEC LCD1970GX. If you recall from our last article, the winner of the last article was the 1770NX, a 12 ms TN+film panel that seemed to offer it all: "fast enough" pixel refresh rates where the smearing didn't interfere with gaming and good "out-of-the-box" color accuracy (a key feature when watching movies, working with Photoshop, and ensuring that your games look the way the developers intended them to look.)
The 1970GX is NEC's 19" gaming monitor and features an 8 ms panel with "Opticlear" technology. Opticlear is similar to Sony's Xbrite technology that produces a reflective high-gloss surface screen. While this does create a disadvantage of increased reflection, the visual contrast is improved substantially. The 1970GX includes a USB 2.0 hub and has a brightness of 400 cd/m2. It sells for $500 after a $50 mail in rebate.
This monitor was obtained from NEC-Mitsubishi directly and was a non-retail press-sample.
NEC MultiSync LCD1980FXi
Next up was the NEC LCD1980FXi. While the 1970GX was a standard 6-bit TN film panel, the 1980FXi uses a more expensive 8-bit S-IPS technology with an internal 10-bit gamma LUT. This is one of the faster S-IPS panels from NEC, featuring an 18 ms rating. Recall that 25 ms IPS panels maintain consistent pixel refreshes regardless of whether it is a white to black or white to gray transition whereas TN film and MVA panels are fastest with white to black transitions.
What caught our attention from the 1980FXi is that it has been engineered for color accuracy. While it's not at the same level of the $3000 Eizo ColorEdge's, the 1980FXi has a hardware 10-bit gamma and 10-bit internal color correction which should allow superb color, particularly with gradients. Contrast ratio is 600:1 and the brightness is rated 270 cd/m2. This retails for $800 but can be found online for $700.
This is the most expensive display in our roundup, it was submitted for our evaluation by NEC-Mitsubishi, and is a non-retail sample. This was not a press-sample, but instead a unit distributed by NEC via lease programs or 30-day business evaluations.
Samsung Syncmaster 920T
From Samsung, we sought their 1000:1 contrast ratio monitor the Syncmaster 920T. With our Samsung-manufactured Dell 1703FP exceeding 1000:1 on our tests, we were eager to see what a high-end 19" PVA panel with an advertised 1000:1 could do. While these super-high contrast ratios may seem like artificially inflated marketing numbers, contrast ratio is also about the accuracy of your measurements. Reviewers citing 200 or 300:1 contrast ratios for monitors spec'd above 600:1 to 1000:1 simply aren't using sensitive enough equipment to measure the black level. As you can imagine, if you had a monitor with a white of of 200 cd/m2 and a black of 0.2 cd/m2, the true contrast ratio would be 1000:1, but if you were off by 0.2 cd/m2, then 200.2/0.4 would give you half that contrast ratio. Clearly, the accuracy of the black level is important and our colorimeter meets that requirement by identifying 0 cd/m2 with a CRT turned off, and being able to distinguish 0.01cd/m2.
The Syncmaster 920T's base isn't as cool as the LG's, but it does have multi-axis controls and the pivot ability. The 920T is not intended as a gaming monitor, and its 25 ms PVA pixel refresh rate is the slowest of the group. This monitor was submitted to us by Samsung, but appeared to be a retail unit. It is available for approximately $650, but Newegg appears to have it for just $420!
The next five pages are taken verbatim from the last monitor review. If you haven’t read this before, please take the time to do so because it’ll explain how we evaluate monitors. If you read the last article, feel free to skip ahead.
The Myth of the 8 ms Panel
The techie in all of us wants a monitor with the fastest possible pixel refresh rate. After all, the faster the better, right? Well, it turns out it is not quite that simple. It’s obvious that if your pixel refresh is too slow, there’s too much blurring. It’ll interfere with your gaming. However, when the motion blur reaches a threshold point, it’s no longer a hindrance to your gaming performance and actually helps to smooth out the framerates. On the other hand, monitors that are too aggressive with the pixel refresh times don’t have anywhere near the same color or contrast.
With CRT monitors, it was important to have a high refresh rate to avoid flicker. This isn’t a problem with LCD panels anymore because instead of using an electron gun to energize phosphors, the LCD itself is a transparent film (like a 35mm slide) with a static light source behind the panel. The cold cathodes fluorescent tubes that light LCD panels operate at tens of thousands of hertz. Many LCD panels have a native display refresh of 60Hz, and if so, it’s actually better to run your LCD display at 60Hz rather than 75Hz. Both will be flicker free.
Most people think that DVI is vastly superior to an analog VGA connection for a LCD flat panel. Those people are right.
It makes sense for DVI to be better. With DVI, images are inherently sharp because each pixel on the monitor reflects one pixel from the computer. In fact, there is no reason why non-DVI LCD panels should still exist since all LCD panels are inherently digital. An analog-only LCD panel actually requires additional circuitry to convert the information back to the digital format – with DVI, there’s a direct connection. More importantly for you, there’s no meaningful price difference. The cheapest 17” non-DVI monitor is $205 and the cheapest 17” DVI monitor is $220. If your budget is so tight that you cannot afford the $15 difference, you shouldn’t be spending your money on computer equipment in the first place. If there’s one absolute of buying an LCD monitor, it is to get a monitor with DVI support. As long as you stick with a DVI panel, your monitor will be sharp.
There are two myths when it comes to DVI. The first is that the analog VGA output allows better color. This is false and we’re not sure where the misconception comes from. With exception of $2000 exotic LCD panels, monitors can only work with 24-bit color. This means that the monitor can only consider integer values from 0 to 255 for red, blue, and green information. The DVI interface is perfect for transmitting these numbers. With the VGA, an “analog to digital converter” has to measure the voltage of the signal to figure out what integer is closest to the measured input.
The second myth is that analog VGA is just as sharp as DVI on today’s monitors thanks to today’s improved analog- to digital converters. This is a false statement perpetuated by well-intentioned but inexperienced reviewers. They’re well-intentioned because they’re trying to help you save money by saying that there’s no big difference – they’re hoping that there’s no difference. We want to help you save money too – but instead of telling you to go with a lower-quality but lower-priced monitor that’ll need upgrading in a one or two years, we want to help you find the right monitor so that you only need to buy it once and not have to upgrade for another 5+ years.
There definitely has been an improvement in LCD panels running analog VGA, but it’s not due to the analog to digital converter. It’s due to improvements in sharpening algorithms. Let’s explore this using a once top-of-the-line Samsung 915N 19” LCD panel with an 8 ms pixel refresh.
As you can see with a DVI signal, there’s no need to sharpen. If pixel #24609 is supposed to be black, the monitor shows black. This isn’t the case with analog. The unsharpened image reflects what’s really being received by the monitor. As you can see, it’s a terrible image. By applying a sharpen filter to the signal, it’s possible to increase the contrast between pixels. The problem is that this adds artifacts to the video. That’s the default sharpening set up by the “auto-adjust” feature. If you turn down sharpness to avoid the halo, the text gets blurry. Note that this test was done with a high-end analog-only LCD monitor and a modern flagship GPU – a budget panel, or a budget video card won’t have anywhere near as good of a picture.
Although today’s signal processing does a reasonable job and makes analog VGA usable, with a DVI connection you wouldn’t even need any signal processing to begin with. Since any video card capable of playing modern games is going to have a DVI output, we see no reason not to get a DVI panel. Remember, you don’t save money by getting a low-priced product that’ll need replacing in a few years – you save money by getting a low-priced product that has the endurance to last.
Contrast Ratio: It’s Not Everything
When it comes to picture quality, brightness and contrast ratio are often talked about. However, we want you to realize that the most important element is neither contrast ratio nor brightness, but color accuracy. It’s true that we want contrasty images that aren’t washed out, but when we use the term “contrasty,” we’re actually talking more about micro-contrast and color accuracy than actual contrast. To prove this to you, let’s see why contrast ratio alone isn’t a useful measurement.
The top has a higher contrast ratio and obviously looks better. What’s important to notice is that your brain isn’t simply thinking of the second image as having less contrast, but is seeing it as being blurrier and less sharp. There’s actually no difference in resolving power, but that’s not how our brain interprets things. That’s why looking at test patterns alone won’t be effective.
That first set of images shouldn’t surprise anyone too much, but let’s take a look at another set of images:
Which one looks more contrasty and less washed out? The second image is “less contrasty” and more washed out, but surprisingly, the contrast ratio in the washed out images is higher. There is a greater difference between the darkest black and brightest white in the washed out images than the nicer looking images. The problem is that contrast ratio only talks about the extremes of brightness and doesn’t say anything about the colors “in-between black and white.” That’s why looking at contrast ratio alone is misleading.
That’s not the only problem with contrast. Let’s look at these two images:
Clearly the first picture looks better, but in this case, it’s not about the second image being “washed out.” The second image has a higher contrast because the difference in intensity between the clouds and the sky is greater. Still, it looks worse.
What’s really important is a concept related to local contrast and “microcontrast” which describes the local transition between the light and dark. It’s not that you want a big “overall” difference between dark and light portions of the image. You want the transitions between light and dark to be rapid and visible. In order for the clouds to look perfect, you want to see all of the texture rather than have all the colors be the same. You want to be able to see the fine differences in color. Micro-contrast is what gives images that 3-dimensional, looking-through-a-glass-window effect. You want to see the difference between the light blue and the slightly lighter blue.
Colorimetry, or the measurement of color, is an important part of measuring a monitor’s performance. A lot of people assume that color accuracy is only important for photography or graphic design and art. That’s true, but the more accurate the color and wider range of colors that can be reproduced, the better the micro-contrast too. Now the color experts out there will tell me that local contrast and color accuracy are NOT the same thing, but ponder this: if an intense yellow color ends up being reproduced as a pale yellow, the overall image will also lose contrast.
Color accuracy is actually extremely important for gaming too. What if a game with washed-out and drab textures only looked like that because it was your monitor? When artists and level designers create textures and lighting, they’re making their artistic choices based upon what they see on their monitor. We surveyed a number of successful software developers ranging from junior start-ups with only one or two hits under their belt, to the studio powerhouses creating games that push the limits of NVIDIA and ATI’s flagship products and define the direction of the industry. Nearly all of them reported using color calibrated LCDs and CRTs as part of their design environment. They’re taking the time to make sure their games look their best… so should you.
Measuring color is easy – you can use a color meter... or a colorimeter. But which colorimeter? We used the X-Rite DTP94 colorimeter. The DTP94 is almost twice as accurate as the ColorVision Spyder used by some other review websites and is also better than the first generation Lacie Blue Eye colorimeters used by other reviews. In fact, the DTP94 is the colorimeter of choice for Kodak’s Matchprint Virtual Proofing System and FujiFilm’s Level One Monitor Profiling Package.
Still, the DTP94 is just a piece of hardware. It is nothing more than a glorified ultra-low resolution digital camera that can accurately quantify the color being displayed. For example, you could measure how red the red looks. The catch is that since monitors are non-linear, we need to look at more than the reds, greens, and blues. We need to look at more than 3 colors, but which colors? Fortunately, that’s an easy question. The colors we’ll be testing are those made famous by the GretagMacbeth ColorChecker. This is a patch of 24 scientifically selected colored squares in a wide range of colors that represent natural objects such as human skin, foliage, and blue skies and have stood up to the test of time. Doing well with these 24 colors is predictive for doing well with all 16.7M colors.
We allowed all of our monitors to warm up for one hour. We focused our attention on out-of-the-box accuracy for D65. There are two reasons for this: If you don’t own a colorimeter but still want accurate color, it might make more sense to spend a little extra on a monitor that is more accurate to begin with. Second, although you can measure and correct the color being displayed in 3D games and desktop applications, the color ICC profiles do not affect video overlay. You are stuck with the uncalibrated output when watching movies.
There’s no single color that defines white. We all know that white light contains a mixture of all other colors, but there is actually a wide range of colors that our brain interprets as being white. That’s why the white from an old fluorescent bulb and a halogen desk lap still look white. Color temperature is one way we can describe the different types of white. A better way to describe white is to describe the color using a CIE illuminant. D65 is such an illuminant and is the formal standard for the Internet and gaming, as well as HDTV, video, and film. This is what all TVs and monitors should be calibrated to out of the box, but that’s rarely the case. (More on this later.)
Many manufacturers adopt a cooler temperature for white. They do this because they think you are stupid. By choosing a cooler temperature, all the colors will be off from what’s the game and filmmakers intended. The catch is that cooler monitors and TVs will appear brighter and manufacturers think that if you see a bright TV, you’re more likely to buy it and assume it is better… Other manufacturers do a better job and may ship at the higher color temperature, but then have a setting called “Pro” mode or sRGB mode.
You might be wondering why we’re evaluating D65, an illuminant, instead of a color temperature of 6500K. The way to think about it is that on a chart of all possible colors, the 6500K color temperature is actually a line of white whereas D65 is a specific point of white. D65 reflects the true standard that studios calibrate to, and is actually 6504K. (D50 is an alternative illuminant used for calibration and is typically used in the print industry. This represents 5002 kelvin and helps artists better mimic what the printed output, when viewed under incandescent lamps.) Are these subtle distinctions between CIE illuminants and color temperature important? Yes, because review websites that try to quantify color accuracy using DeltaE measurements need to take this into account. DeltaE is the difference between what’s measured and what you’d expect from a blackbody radiator (the color temperature). A well-calibrated D50 monitor might have a DeltaE as high as 4.21 if you’re comparing it to a blackbody 5000K color temperature – it’s not supposed to be equal.
Alright, time to see which of our monitors came in last place
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Uncalibrated, the LG Flatron L1981Q had a contrast ratio of 538:1 (black at 0.36 cd/m2, and white at 194.00 cd/m2; this is higher than the advertised 500:1). Viewing angles with the TN film display were high in terms of having a reasonable level of brightness, however the white point shifted dramatically depending on your point of view (white would turn yellow). This is an underlying problem with all TN+film displays. Grayscale tracking was 6221K at white, but ran cool to 10312K at gray causing a slight blue tint even at the 6500K preset. While this wasn’t as bad as any of the cool-temperature white points from the previous 17” monitors, it ended up being worse than the other monitors in this round-up. Out of the box delta E was a disappointing 11.48.
When calibrated-by-eye with forteView, the grayscale tracking improved notably running 6216K at white and 6095K at grey. Delta E’s dropped to 6.10, putting it in the same class as an uncalibrated reference iiyama CRT and ahead of every uncalibrated monitor from the previous 17” round-up! As always, calibration affects standard desktop color and 3D gaming but not overlay-based video.
The 8ms panel appeared to be measured as full-cycle meaning that the level of smearing was small enough so as not to interfere with gaming. A single hot blue pixel was present on our monitor. Since dead/stuck pixels can be a consequence of physical abuse, and our specific review monitor was used by ATI as a display model, it’s possible that the defect occurred there. Uniformity was good.
Reference vs Uncalibrated
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|» Click here for LG Flatron L1981Q, product info, eBay prices, user reviews and web reviews!|
|4th Place||Page:: ( 10 / 15 )|
With the sRGB preset, color for the NEC MultiSync LCD1970GX was excellent with a delta E of 7.52, the best among the gaming-monitors in this round-up. Given NEC’s strong color accuracy on the last round-up, we think that NEC’s engineers know a thing or two about color. With the default setting of 100% brightness and 50% contrast, black was measured at 0.57 cd/m2 and white at 392.36 cd/m2 resulting in 688:1 contrast ratio, superb for a TN+film panel. When calibrated for a peak brightness of 99.36 cd/m2 (60% contrast, 18.9% brightness), black levels were 0.14 cd/m2 resulting in 709:1. Grayscale tracking was good with 6257K at white and 6266K at grey with normal brightness and 6707K/6242K under the lower brightness setting.
Reference vs Uncalibrated NEC MultiSync LCD1979GX
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|» Click here for Newegg's Real-Time Price of the LCD1970GX-BK, product info, user reviews and web reviews!|
|3rd place||Page:: ( 11 / 15 )|
Out of the box performance was remarkable. Contrast was 755:1 with a 0.28 cd/m2 at black and to 211.50 at white. Although Hyundai offers no color temperature modifications from the OSD, we found it unnecessary because out of the box grayscale was 6608K at white and 7029K at gray. This produced an uncalibrated delta E of 8.2846, but perhaps more remarkable was that much of the error is attributable to colors being a bit oversatured. As we’ve mentioned previously, when colors are oversaturated it’s not as big of a deal as when color temperatures of off. Once run through calibration however, the L90+ was only able to reach a delta E of 2.38, the worst in this group.
Our review sample was a retail unit provided to us by Newegg.com had one hot pixel in green at the lower portion of the screen.
Reference vs Hyundai L90D+ uncalibrated
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|» Click here for Newegg's Real-Time Price of the Hyundai L90D+, product info, eBay prices, user reviews and web reviews!|
|2nd place||Page:: ( 12 / 15 )|
Unlike our previous experiences with Samsung monitors (which were press samples sent as unit-only), we received a retail packaged monitor that included the MagicTune software. This is similar to the color calibration software from LG although it was somewhat less polished. Nevertheless, thanks to the better underlying 8-bit screen, the delta E for a calibrated-by-eye Samsung 920T using MagicTune was an impressive 5.01 – better than the best uncalibrated CRT. Out of the box, the Samsung 920T was less impressive with a delta E of 9.56 and grayscale tracking of 6684K at white, and 9096K at gray. At 31% brightness at black was measured at 0.14 cd/m2 at black and 139.06 cd/m2 at white for a contrast ratio of 993:1. At full brightness the black level was 0.27 cd/m2 and white was at 209.78 cd/m2 which only produced a 777:1 contrast ratio. Grayscale tracking here was 6003K and 7198K. Once calibrated, the Samsung 920T was superb reaching a delta E of 1.83.
Reference vs Samsung 920T uncalibrated
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|» Click here for Samsung SyncMaster 920T, product info, eBay prices, user reviews and web reviews!|
|1st place||Page:: ( 13 / 15 )|
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When we first received the LCD1980FXi, we noticed that the sRGB preset appeared a bit greener than expected by eye. This was confirmed with our colorimeter showing 7123K at white, and 7132K at gray. The native color preset was better with 6378K at white and 6617K at gray. We weren’t sure why this was the case and so we downloaded the GammaComp software from NEC’s webpage. This software allows you to reprogram the internal gamma curves of the monitor. We used this software to reset the NEC’s gamma curve to 2.2 and this resulted in a superb image. Color temperature now measured 6381K at white and 6568K at gray. Black was 0.51 cd/m2 and white was 306.16 cd/m2 resulting in a contrast ratio of 600:1. The uncalibrated DeltaE was an unbelievable 4.27. Out of the box, the NEC LCD1980FXi was superior to our original reference CRT out-of-the-box.
The 18ms S-IPS panel also performed admirably with brisk pixel refresh times that allowed us to enjoy games without interference from smearing.
Reference vs NEC LCD1980Fxi uncalibrated
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|» Click here for Newegg's Real-Time Price of the NEC MultiSync LCD1980FXi, eBay prices, product info, user reviews and web reviews!|
|Summarizing the rankings||Page:: ( 14 / 15 )|
|Conclusion||Page:: ( 15 / 15 )|
The LCD1980FXi clearly stood out of the pack, both in performance (good) and price (bad). We consider it the hypothetical Holy Grail at this time. While there are better panels out there (Eizo ColorEdge, or the $10,000 panels from Sony, Samsung, and NEC with Luxeon LED backlighting), the 1980FXi is the 19” monitor that does everything we’re looking for it to do: perform well in games, movies and maintain excellent image quality even with Photoshop work. With the NEC LCD1970FXi beating our iiyama for color accuracy, we are going to make it our new reference. More importantly, it sets a fair playing field for other manufacturers to aspire to.
The Samsung SyncMaster 920T also stood out of the pack and will probably be one of the monitors I will consider purchasing for my own use. Although it wasn’t the fastest for games and non-calibrated movie output wasn’t as good as the NEC LCD1970FXi, once calibrated it produced a superb picture that often had a 3-D appearance thanks to the incredible contrast ratio on such a large screen. With the new price drop at Newegg, the 920T is a highly recommended screen with the only caveat being that it's a 25 ms panel.
The Hyundai ImageQuest L90D+ wasn’t as good as the higher end 8-bit monitors from NEC and Samsung, but it held its own against competitors that were more than twice as expensive. In a way, it’s like the Neon SRT-4 – it doesn’t look very appealing nor can it act as a status symbol, but it’s really fast and really cheap. If you can afford a better monitor, it’s definitely worth spending the extra cash on something different, however no one will ever question your decision to get the Hyundai L90D+. Someone who was simply interested in a 19” gaming monitor and wasn’t that concerned about movies or photo editing should definitely need to keep this monitor at the top of its list.
Both the NEC LCD1970GX and the LG L1981Q find themselves in a tough position. They were great products with great features, but they somehow didn’t bring it all together. The LG L1981Q had the best design and the best software package of the group, but the price premium for the design was too high for us to make it a universal recommendation. All LG needed to do was to either bring the price down further, or make changes to their panel to maximize performance. Still, for someone in a business office needing to impress a clients, the LG should be on your short list, especially with forteView and its elegant design. Remember, despite coming in last place, the LG L1981Q is still a 85% product and that’s already better than a 4 out of 5 star rating. The LCD1970GX did an admirable job when viewed straight on, with brilliant color and brightness and in a way, for the solitary gamer, it isn’t a bad choice. However, its rich colors ultimately betrayed it, as the off-axis artifacts were only magnified. Still, between the smaller 17” LCD1770NX and the 19” LCD1970GX, we’d probably opt for the smaller 17” monitor.
As always, we’re always left wanting to bring more monitors into our round-ups. Last time, we had too many duds and this time, we had too many stars. Clearly, major gaps in our coverage are monitors from Dell, Sony, and Apple. Dell in particular will be an interesting monitor manufacturer to include in next-time’s round-up. Sub $500 pricing (after coupons) for their 20” 2001FP and 2005FP is certainly something we will need to explore more carefully. We’ll also want to bring in more monitors from companies such as Planar and Viewsonic; in fact, Viewsonic was trying to get their 4ms panel out to us, but they unfortunately were not able to send it out to us before the article deadline.
Of course, we’ll also want to get our hands on a Samsung SyncMaster 193p+ (note the plus), which is supposed to be an 8ms version of the 920T – 8 ms, 1000:1 contrast, and 178 degree viewing angles? Sounds exciting.
Our LCD testing efforts continue…
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