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What to look for in a monitor

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by CES020, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Seems like an easy question, but it probably isn't. I have a dell monitor, wide screen, and it doesn't display color worth a crap. I don't have any calibration process in place at the moment, as we don't have a wide format printer and don't do much print related work, until recently when we began doing some sublimation. I've gotten by, by using color books and picking the colors from the book and making them that color in the software, but that's a pain.

    I recently went into a shop and saw they were using some vizio (sp?) stuff and it looked pretty sharp, crisp, and colorful, very unlike my flat looking dell.

    I'd like to get something that performs better, colorwise and something I can calibrate as well, but I'm not sure what specifications I'm looking for that would lead to higher quality color handling.

    Any suggestions? Good/better/best?

  2. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Look at the specs, if possible get a IPS monitor over a tft. TFT monitors are better for gaming and movies, IPS have wider viewing angles, better color, etc. I don't know enough about the newer LED's as to how they compare. Don't look at contrast ratios, supposedly there is no standard and most mfr's will artificially inflate those numbers

    NEC, Apple, Eizo are top brands. You may have a low end Dell. There is a reason that some 23-24 inch monitors are $199 while others are $1200. Even Dell has low and high end versions of their monitors.
  3. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    Consider Dell's UltraSharp line, for the money they're extremely good. We've got a few of them and won't hesitate to purchase more of them when the need arises. Combine one with a great video card and an Eye 1 Display and you'll have far better color reproduction than most people will ever need.

    That said, it's hard to compare different brands of monitors, the majority of them feature display panels built by someone else. My 30" Dell has the same Samsung panel as the Apple 30" from the same year, for instance. Samsung seems to be the biggest panel manufacturer, but there are tons of others... LG, Sony, Panasonic, etc., so the specs on paper aren't terribly important because usually when comparing one brand to another you're not comparing apples to apples. If you're going to buy a lower-end consumer grade monitor (meaning a $200 24" monitor), look at them in person in the stores, but don't expect much, they're that cheap for a reason. If you're buying a pro-grade monitor (meaning an $800 24" monitor for example), I'd feel comfortable buying any big name one sight unseen, they're that expensive for a reason...

    Ultimately, you get what you pay for. A cheap consumer grade monitor may have bright pleasing color, but it won't be accurate or very sharp and will probably be difficult to calibrate, while a pro-level unit will be significantly sharper and more accurate and will either need little to no calibration out of the box or at least can be perfectly calibrated without much headache.
  4. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Here's what I reccomend

    (3) 24"HDMI 24" samsungs
    (1) 100" high end 1080p Optoma projector
    (1) VAIO laptop 13" very portable
    (1) 21" Wacom Cintiqu screen tablet which can simultaneous display on any of the others.

    Attached Files:

  5. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

  6. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    Sep 27, 2010
    Mid TN
    I run dual monitors and one of them happens to be an Insignia and I have been pleased with that monitor. The other is a Hannspree(which is my main monitor) and it does it's job really well and has lasted past one computer already and is holding up very well with the equipment that I have on my custom built computer.

    Video cards are important, but ultimately, if you have a monitor that cannot display properly, you might have the right colors setup on the file, but you can't see them properly, so you don't know. So you still need to pay attention to the specs of the monitor, but they are right, there isn't an overall "standard" and numbers can be fudged, but there are some brands that you can "assume" that will give you close to what they claim.
  7. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    I think I'm okay on the video card. So any way to tell a good monitor without seeing it, as it seems retail electronic stores are becoming a thing of the past around here. About the only choice we have is best buy and I refuse to shop there over an incident with a faulty product they didn't want to make right.

    So how can you tell without seeing them? Doesn't the low end product on a decent line of monitors blur with the high end of a crappy monitor?

    What's a decent price to pay for a lower end mid range monitor. We're not doing magazine ads here, just a coaster or two with our dye sub.

    Right now my monitor has the soft screen, you can touch and see it squish. Is the glass front better for color?

    I know, sounds like a lot of simple, stupid questions, but I searched back a year or two on the forums and never found anyone talking about selecting a monitor.
  8. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
  9. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
  10. saktrnch

    saktrnch Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    For monitors I have 1 HP, 2 Acer's, and 1 Dell. The Dell is by far the worst and will get replaced. I calibrate it with a huey and it still is way off. For the money, the my Acer's seem to do well.

    A friend of mine has Samsung's and they are good. What you see on them is what comes out of the printer.
  11. night eagle

    night eagle Active Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Crowley tx
    i just bought a costo 27" moniter and its the best moniter ive ever had. clear, crisp colors, easy on my eyes, 3 year warrentee, only $300.00. as soon as my 2nd one dies (duel) i will buy another one....

    mark galoob
  12. rfulford

    rfulford Active Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    The preferred monitors for color accuracy and uniformity at the moment seem to be these three. No particular order but pricewise, I believe the HP is the highest and the NEC the cheapest of the 3.

    Eizo ColorEdge CG243w
    HP LP2480zx
    NEC 2690 SV (can be bundled with a calibration puck but in some cases problems have been found with the puck)

    The preferred budget alternatives are below. All are accurate and capable of producing 100% of the Adobe RGB color space but are also considered to be less uniform than the above.

    Dell U2410
    Apple 24” LED Cinema Display (glossy screen and mini dvi connector are big detractors)
  13. choucove

    choucove Active Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why a simple answer to, "What monitor to buy" is hard to find here is because its really as complex as asking, "What computer to buy." There are a lot of things to consider in figuring out what type of monitor is right for you.

    First, what is your intended usage from your monitors? For instance, do you just want to be able to view high resolutions for more work area, or is color calibration critical for printed media?

    Second, what is your ideal size or setup for your displays? Would you prefer to have two (or more) smaller monitors together as one extended desktop, or just a single larger monitor? What size would you like?

    Third, what is your ideal budget for displays? Your standard LCD/LED monitors can work just fine for the average design usage, but it becomes a little more flaky when dealing with exact color coordination between several computers and printers. If this is something your business needs then you are more apt to needing a higher end design monitor and calibration system.

    At our office, we just recently purchased several Dell U2410 ultrasharp monitors. They are about $500 each. At first it was very iffy whether the monitors really warranted the extra cost. After all, they were twice the cost of some of the nice Samsung 24" monitors were also looking at. However, once we noticed their color quality, their build quality, their connection options, and their extended warranties (5 year standard versus the majority being 1 or 2 year standard) it was obvious we made a good choice.

    However, if you don't think you need to step into the higher quality IPS design monitors yourself, or just can't warrant their expenses, there are still several great quality monitors out there for cheaper. The best price range right now is for monitors in the 20" to 24" size range. From personal experience ordering and having to replace out monitors I would only purchase three brands: Samsung, LG, or Acer. We have used some Acer monitors at our shop as well and some have lasted for years while a few of the Acer monitors died just after the first year. Still, they have good quality for a low price.

    Things to keep an eye on if you are looking into monitors:

    Native Resolution: This is the resolution the monitor displays best at, which is also its highest supported resolution. If you want a large display but it only supports 1600 X 900 display you will have a smaller desktop area than a monitor that supports 1920 X 1080.

    Response Time: Lower response times mean faster response to images on the display. Really there is not much difference here, but I would recommend on a non-IPS display you want to have a response time of 5 ms or less for the best viewing quality.

    Connections: What type of video inputs can the monitor support? Does it only have VGA connections, or DVI? Many newer and nicer monitors are starting to support a plethora of connections such as DisplayPort, Component, and more which allow you more freedom to connect different devices if needed.
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