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June 27, 2006 10:54:57 AM

The new catalogs of many manufacturers are giving a starring role to 20-inch wide monitors. After 19-inch models became somewhat of a standard, the trend seems to be toward another increase in size. But are the new 16:10 aspect ratio panels really all that good? Here's our look at six LCD monitors, fresh from the factory.

Speak out in the Tom's Hardware reader survey!

More about : 20

June 27, 2006 11:51:24 AM

Quote:
.....but that xtra 4 inches is alot


That's what she said.

(sorry, I had to)
Related resources
June 27, 2006 2:59:58 PM

I wish the Acer would have done better. I'm not one who cares about looks, but I'm looking to get an LCD panel and it'd be nice if it could also be my TV. Oh well, I'll probably just pick up a good 19"er and a TV tuner.

-mcg
June 27, 2006 3:02:21 PM

I still prefer my Dell 2405FPW at 1920x1200 res... very minimal ghosting noticed... manufature spec 16ms, THG rated at 20ms tho
June 27, 2006 3:44:26 PM

I agree we all know the dells are the best, why arnt they in the test..
maybe cause they dont charge $1K for a 20.1? you can get their 24 for that....
June 27, 2006 4:29:52 PM

I actually own one of the monitors tested in that article (Great review, btw), the NEC 20WMGX2. I use it for office work and the occasional TV. (What?!? You dropped $700 for some office monitor? No, I actually won it!) This monitor looks gorgeous, even when it is off! I guess it is that "gloss" rendering. The color's are vivid and clear, and the speakers are pretty good, even though they are built-in. No distortion at high volume levels, and you can even tweak sound settings in the OSD! Bass, Treble, even a little thing to "balance" the sound between the two speakers. One slightly useless, albeit very cool, is that you can change the brightness of the little blue LED that tells the status of the monitor, whether stand-by, off, on.

Did TG use the Advance DV (Advanced Dynamic Video) mode to get to the 1600:1 contrast ratio? I believe that has to be turned on for it get to that ratio. Did you use the noise reduction? What about the Interlaced/Progessive Scan? Or was this all from a PC input? Just wondering!

~Ibrahim~
June 27, 2006 5:12:44 PM

i really like that viewsonic- i just added it to my wish list. great spatial uniformity and decent response time. i can't stand dark corners and edges.

great review guys. thanks!

-mpjesse
June 27, 2006 5:29:32 PM

I bought the BenQ they reviewed and I haven't noticed any of the problems they said. No ghosting in Halo or HL1, still have to test out UT (I'm using it on my notebook now, so no high-perfomance games 'til the end of the week). But I have seen no problems.
June 27, 2006 6:01:30 PM

Already ordered the viewsonic as well as the stuff in my sig excluding the 1900XT (will be getting that when all of it arrives).

I have been looking at 20-inch screens for a while it was between the viewsonic VX2025 and the NEC multisync WGX2, I opted for the viewsonic as it was £100 cheaper and saw a good review of it.

The review makes me feel even better about ordering it :D .
June 27, 2006 6:08:59 PM

Ive Been Using My Silicon Graphics 1600SW For 4 Years + (Yes I Know Its Only A 17.3") But I Will Not Upgrade To A New Wide-Screen Until These Monitors Can Look As Good, Produce Color As Good As My 1600SW And The Sad Part 1600SWs Have Been Around Since 1999! And The Responce Time Is 40ms!, But There Is RARELY Any Ghosting (About 5% Of The Time and Thats Only Black On White Or White On Black Transitions And You Only Notice It Unless Your Looking For It) Please Manufacturers Out There, Get Creative! Or Better Yet... SiliconGraphics How Bout A Revision2?

And Where Are All The LCD Monitors With A .23mm Dot Pitch? (Like Mine Has :)  )
June 27, 2006 6:24:37 PM

Why no tests on the Sceptre? They have a nice looking 20" widescreen for under $300($250 @newegg with rebates).
June 27, 2006 6:27:58 PM

Why oh why could you not inlcude the dell 2007fpw!!!!

I have yet to find a professional review/comparison of both the dell 2007fpw and the vx2025wm!
June 27, 2006 6:59:12 PM

i personaly use and love the viewsonic in the review.

I would recommend it as a multi-purpose monitor that won't completely break the bank.

Things i use it for

graphics
Video Editing
Gaming
Watching Movies
June 27, 2006 7:13:52 PM

I am thinking about buying the Viewsonic monitor but have run into a problem...

I know that there is no option in the OSD to force the monitor aspect ratio to 4:3. I don't like the idea that the monitor will start to stretch the picture,
if the game does not support widescreen resolutions.
So the question is: Can I somehow force the aspect ratio to 4:3
by the means of software so that the edges will be left unused?
Or would it be possible to change the screen size and position in the video card driver settings(I have Nvidia 6600gt)? If not, how visible will the distortions be?
June 27, 2006 7:22:39 PM

most games can be force to run at a 16:10/16:9 ratio and some even support it (HL2, SS2)

i used to run that monitor on the 6600GT at around 1280x1024 and it seemed fine. i could run the games at the screens native, but had to turn the detail down to get decent frame rates. Since my upgrade though i haven't needed to sacrifice detail to run at the native :D 
June 27, 2006 8:08:10 PM

But can I change the screen size and position in the nvidia control panel for this monitor?
June 27, 2006 8:11:20 PM

i think so, but since i don't use an nvidia graphics card anymore i can't try it.
July 3, 2006 12:43:46 PM

Hi.
Please tell me more about the 2405FPW.
I have a 2007FP which is "good" (no ghosting, high res, non reflective, etc)
My only complaint is it's not widescreen and the black is never "BLACK".
I had older notebook screens which actually looked better (also not as bright).
So,
How is the contrast ratio in the 2405FPW ? I can read the specs myself. But, I hope you can tell if you notice the black issue with a bright monitor which has a not high-enough contrast ratio.
Thanks.
July 3, 2006 1:05:36 PM

Well, an LCD with today's technology will never show blacks as well as a CRT. The BenQ I have is plenty good. No ghosting an BF2, UT or Halo, and looks great on the DVI connector. If you haven't bought an LCD yet, I would suggest the BenQ. And it's only $300!
July 3, 2006 1:09:32 PM

And how about the Gateway 21', FPD2185W? I own one and would certainly be interested in seeing how it compares with the others...
July 3, 2006 1:15:04 PM

Quote:
Please tell me more about the 2405FPW.


Hopefully Rich will reply too. I've used one at work quite a bit to do image editing and office apps. I really liked the image quality and contrast. I had no problems setting it up for demanding quantitative image analysis. I thought it had good to very good dynamic range in the very dark greys through blacks. Not as good as Sony monitors that cost more, but still very good. I strictly avoid gaming on the job but have a neighbor with a 2405FPW and have watched the kids play on it. Ghosting is noticeable but not gross. Overall in my opinion at least an A-, maybe a B or so for a gamer.
July 3, 2006 1:30:23 PM

I guess you guys have forgotten about Apple's Cinema Display... ...
Wonder how will it compare with the others... ...
July 3, 2006 1:55:30 PM

Theres a Samsung 204b 20.something " monitor and i like the price. Its 389.99, and a 4-6ms response rate(too lazy to check :D  ). Im gettin it for my next rig (probably kentsfeild)
July 3, 2006 4:57:13 PM

Dell didn't use the LG panel for the 24" so it isn't as good as their 19" monitors that used to get rave reviews. Even Dell's 19" Ultra Sharp didn't look as good as an older Sony 17" that I compared it too.

Sony and Apple still use the same panels so for panel performance they should be about the same. However, for color and such they will probably differ since I doubt they are the same backlights and such.

If you want to see the 24" Dell against the 23" Sony, there is an older review in Toms where they put them against each other. That is when Toms finally went pro-Sony.
July 3, 2006 6:52:57 PM

Thanks people for the replies.
Ya, I know a CRT has some advantages and cheaper, but after having a big LCD, I can't go back :twisted:
I expect I will spend a lot on a new monitor since it will probably out-live the rest of the system.
July 3, 2006 7:09:10 PM

Tom's used to have some of the best monitor reviews, but lately sloppy editing has cause them to decline.

Today's "Wide Format LCD Monitors: Part 2" review is a perfect example. The spatial uniformity graphics for the Samsung and Sony are identical, yet the text states "Sony SDM-P234 unequivocally had the best uniformity of all the monitors tested in this article."
Samsung, page 15
Sony, page 19
If the graphics are incorrect, that's a sign of sloppy editing/proofing. If the graphics are correct, then the Sony can't have the best uniformity since its identical to the Samsung.

Also, reviews of monitors often mention a "ratings scale" but then never give a rating. From page 16 of this same review:

Quote:
We rate the unit's suitability for FPS-, RTS-, RPG-genre games on a scale of one to five.The panel's reactivity is obviously the first point we're interested in, but the quality of the colors also has its importance with certain titles. And since this model offers good pixel interpolation, you'll be able to play in 1024x768 resolution without losing image quality.

But we were disappointed with the video performance - especially since this monitor had everything going for it on paper. While sparkling artifacts were very visible, color masses were very noisy when we watched DVDs. The performance was a little better than that of TN panels for gamers, but still far from the standard set by some 19" panels, and a little short of 20" VA panels.

Video
Here again we use a five-point rating system. While latency plays a role, we also evaluate the amount of video noise induced by the display. Good viewing angles are also crucial for multimedia use.


What's the rating for games? 3, 4, 4.5? What's the rating for video? If the rating is never revealed, how can the review be useful in making a purchase decision?

This excerpt also illustrates sloppy headings. The "Video" heading follows the paragraph that discusses video. Similar typographic issues exist for other pages. If the proofers aren't catching obvious errors like this, then I begin to doubt the copy editors are checking the content's accuracy either.

The problems mentioned above are not unique to this article -- they regularly occur in monitor reviews and are especially prevalent in round-ups/comparisons. So long as glib comments are being made as to quality/performance without supporting figures and sloppy editting causes mix ups of charts and graphs, Tom's cannot be considered a source for quality and unbiased reviews.
July 3, 2006 7:15:49 PM

Quote:
I still prefer my Dell 2405FPW at 1920x1200 res... very minimal ghosting noticed... manufature spec 16ms, THG rated at 20ms tho

Same here, worth the $950 I paid for it.

Very good monitor, mine doesn't bleed, and a lot of inputs, USB hub, and a 5-in-1 card reader :) 

I have a 19" Xtreme Viewsonic aswell, I really like the video, but that's really my LAN monitor, my baby always stays at my desk.

I always knew Viewsonic makes the best monitors :) 
July 3, 2006 8:37:59 PM

Quote:
most games can be force to run at a 16:10/16:9 ratio and some even support it (HL2, SS2)

i used to run that monitor on the 6600GT at around 1280x1024 and it seemed fine. i could run the games at the screens native, but had to turn the detail down to get decent frame rates. Since my upgrade though i haven't needed to sacrifice detail to run at the native :D 


What do you mean force the games into running at 16:10? Like, streath the 4:3 image to be 16:10? I always thought that widescreen monitors just displayed 4:3 ratio games in 4:3 w/ black bars on the sides. :?:
July 3, 2006 9:20:53 PM

I have that monitor; F.E.A.R. looks fantastic on 1680x1050.
July 3, 2006 9:27:00 PM

Quote:
most games can be force to run at a 16:10/16:9 ratio and some even support it (HL2, SS2)

i used to run that monitor on the 6600GT at around 1280x1024 and it seemed fine. i could run the games at the screens native, but had to turn the detail down to get decent frame rates. Since my upgrade though i haven't needed to sacrifice detail to run at the native :D 


What do you mean force the games into running at 16:10? Like, streath the 4:3 image to be 16:10? I always thought that widescreen monitors just displayed 4:3 ratio games in 4:3 w/ black bars on the sides. :?:

Are you joking that would be a waste of screen room :( . Genrally there is always a way to force a game to run wide screen whether it be editing the ini file or the shortcut properties. You can usually find guides to do it by using the holy google that we all praise as the master :lol: .
July 3, 2006 9:37:32 PM

Quote:
most games can be force to run at a 16:10/16:9 ratio and some even support it (HL2, SS2)

i used to run that monitor on the 6600GT at around 1280x1024 and it seemed fine. i could run the games at the screens native, but had to turn the detail down to get decent frame rates. Since my upgrade though i haven't needed to sacrifice detail to run at the native :D 


What do you mean force the games into running at 16:10? Like, streath the 4:3 image to be 16:10? I always thought that widescreen monitors just displayed 4:3 ratio games in 4:3 w/ black bars on the sides. :?:

Are you joking that would be a waste of screen room :( . Genrally there is always a way to force a game to run wide screen whether it be editing the ini file or the shortcut properties. You can usually find guides to do it by using the holy google that we all praise as the master :lol: .

What I was trying to ask was if a 4:3 game will be stretched to fit the screen or if the 4:3 game will actually run in true 16:10 aspect ratio? :?: I DON'T want a 4:3 game stretched to fit a widescreen, I would hate that. But if a 4:3 game could actually be forced to show more than the traditional 4:3 window then that would be awesome.
July 3, 2006 10:10:06 PM

Ah in that case I don't know off hand was doing some research b4. I am currently waiting for my viewsonic VX2025 which will be arriving with the computer in my sig on the 27th. I am pretty sure that it won't just be streched though.
July 3, 2006 10:35:17 PM

Quote:
Tom's used to have some of the best monitor reviews, but lately sloppy editing has cause them to decline.

Today's "Wide Format LCD Monitors: Part 2" review is a perfect example. The spatial uniformity graphics for the Samsung and Sony are identical, yet the text states "Sony SDM-P234 unequivocally had the best uniformity of all the monitors tested in this article."
Samsung, page 15
Sony, page 19
If the graphics are incorrect, that's a sign of sloppy editing/proofing. If the graphics are correct, then the Sony can't have the best uniformity since its identical to the Samsung.

Also, reviews of monitors often mention a "ratings scale" but then never give a rating. From page 16 of this same review:

We rate the unit's suitability for FPS-, RTS-, RPG-genre games on a scale of one to five.The panel's reactivity is obviously the first point we're interested in, but the quality of the colors also has its importance with certain titles. And since this model offers good pixel interpolation, you'll be able to play in 1024x768 resolution without losing image quality.

But we were disappointed with the video performance - especially since this monitor had everything going for it on paper. While sparkling artifacts were very visible, color masses were very noisy when we watched DVDs. The performance was a little better than that of TN panels for gamers, but still far from the standard set by some 19" panels, and a little short of 20" VA panels.

Video
Here again we use a five-point rating system. While latency plays a role, we also evaluate the amount of video noise induced by the display. Good viewing angles are also crucial for multimedia use.


What's the rating for games? 3, 4, 4.5? What's the rating for video? If the rating is never revealed, how can the review be useful in making a purchase decision?

This excerpt also illustrates sloppy headings. The "Video" heading follows the paragraph that discusses video. Similar typographic issues exist for other pages. If the proofers aren't catching obvious errors like this, then I begin to doubt the copy editors are checking the content's accuracy either.

The problems mentioned above are not unique to this article -- they regularly occur in monitor reviews and are especially prevalent in round-ups/comparisons. So long as glib comments are being made as to quality/performance without supporting figures and sloppy editting causes mix ups of charts and graphs, Tom's cannot be considered a source for quality and unbiased reviews.

I totally agree with you. I like the latency chart on page 19! http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/07/03/wide_format_lcd_...

I really like toms for reviews, but I am having trouble figuring out how they come to the conclusions as well. There have been some reviews where the numbers are totally opposite of what the conclusions are.
July 4, 2006 1:28:56 PM

Quote:
Well, an LCD with today's technology will never show blacks as well as a CRT.


I don't know... My NEC 20WMGX2 produces some very fine looking blacks. During boot up, with the Windows Logo and status bar, I can literally see my reflection off the black background. It looks as though only the middle of the monitor is on, the rest is somehow off. It just might be the gloss, but I've never seen a CRT do that.

~Ibrahim~
July 4, 2006 1:29:07 PM

you know, I have seen other discussions where the article writer responds several times in the first two pages. Now, I realize this is around the time of a weekend, but the last few discussions I have followed of articles having large glaring errors, seem to never get fixed, nor do the forum posts ever seem to get replied to from a THG employee.

Are we wasting our time pointing out problems or asking for improvements? is anyone reading this forum from THG? Is it my imagination, or does there seem to be more and more reduced interaction? Maybe they downsized? Hire a co-op student to read through the forums and articles and help with editing! geez!
July 4, 2006 9:37:43 PM

It would be nice to get a review of the Dell 3007WFP.

More precisely, to see a comparison of titles that can run at (or close to) WQXGA resolution and the frame rates generated.

Toms has already begun to do most of their games testing at 2560x1600, but it would be good to get a roundup, as well as see which video cards and combination (single, sli, crossfire or quad) is best suited for this monitor.

With regards to the usefulness of the input on the forums, I think it would be beneficial if the article editors did indeed follow up with what others here in the forum suggest/mention. Criticism and contructive input do no good if the people who publish the articles fail to receive it.

In much the same way as we respond to their articles, I would like to see, and recommend, that the various editors take some time aside to at least read what others are saying here, or much better if they were to respond and contribute to these forums.
July 5, 2006 3:06:24 AM

Quote:
Are you guys stupid or something? Do you think we have time to talk to you? We are very busy important people. If you are just going to use the forums to complain then we'll just shut down the forum. I never wanted to launch it in the 1st place. Tom wanted that but since he nor anyone else ever reads or responds to it I think its a waste of time to continue to support it. Besides Tom is off kite-surfing in Madagascar or spulunking in Krakozia. I haven't seen him in months. So stifle yourself woman! Now please click on our
sponsors and buy some stuff. Thank You,
Sincerely,
-THG.


Theres your answer, that told you.

That wasn't very nice though you might hurt someones feelings :lol: .
July 5, 2006 3:48:40 AM

Quote:
Are you guys stupid or something? Do you think we have time to talk to you? We are very busy important people. If you are just going to use the forums to complain then we'll just shut down the forum. I never wanted to launch it in the 1st place. Tom wanted that but since he nor anyone else ever reads or responds to it I think its a waste of time to continue to support it. Besides Tom is off kite-surfing in Madagascar or spulunking in Krakozia. I haven't seen him in months. So stifle yourself woman! Now please click on our sponsors and buy some stuff. Thank You,
Sincerely,
-THG.


You know what amazes me the most?
No one had ever registered that user! :lol:  :lol: 
Until now, of course.... :roll:
July 6, 2006 4:30:48 AM

Quote:
Are you guys stupid or something? Do you think we have time to talk to you? We are very busy important people. If you are just going to use the forums to complain then we'll just shut down the forum. I never wanted to launch it in the 1st place. Tom wanted that but since he nor anyone else ever reads or responds to it I think its a waste of time to continue to support it. Besides Tom is off kite-surfing in Madagascar or spulunking in Krakozia. I haven't seen him in months. So stifle yourself woman! Now please click on our
sponsors and buy some stuff. Thank You,
Sincerely,
-THG.

Wow! Seems like I hit a nerve! Firstly, forums are NOT used to complain, they are an important communication tool used by those who wish to contribute. Secondly, by your remarks, it seems that YOU are the one who is complaining. Thirdly, while I am not speaking on behalf of THG, I do not think THG considers the forums a waste of time, otherwise they would not invest the resources. Fourth, I am not a woman. And fifth, if you are who you say you are, then I hope you have somewhere to run!
July 12, 2006 4:29:15 PM

I know this has already been said but WHERE ARE THE DELL MONITORS. I know they are not the absolute best but they are really good, especialy when considering the price and all the IO.

I dont know if mine is just a really good pairing for my printer but the colors on my monitor are what I get when I print or order prints online and that is the most important thing for me.

For gaming it is ok. I dont notice any ghosting but I am not as picky as alot of people and my computer is slow enough to be a much greater impact on gameplay then any slight amount of ghosting from my monitor.

BTW has anyone else noticed that tomshardware seams to be doing alot of fluf and rehash lately. Where is the extreme overclocking. And the articles used to look more profetional to me.

I have more to rant on but I will leav it at that.

WHERES THE DELL!!!
July 12, 2006 4:42:35 PM

Quote:
Thanks people for the replies.
Ya, I know a CRT has some advantages and cheaper, but after having a big LCD, I can't go back :twisted:
I expect I will spend a lot on a new monitor since it will probably out-live the rest of the system.


I just could not help but second this. After my last monitor out lived 3 systems and was beginning to look a little faded after 6 years of use I got a 24" dell which I use for photo editing and my wife and I use for watching movies we rent and TV shows we download and playing PS2 on. Totaly worth every penny. I cant stand working on anything smaller now and would never go back to a CRT. Plus I have more desk space in from of my monitor to pile bills and other crud :-).
July 12, 2006 4:55:59 PM

Quote:
I guess you guys have forgotten about Apple's Cinema Display... ...
Wonder how will it compare with the others... ...


From what I have read and seen the apple cinema displays are great monitors but they are not any better then the Dell monitors. Additional apple monitors cost twice as much, have less inputs and are not fully compatible with PCs (Alot of there settings must be adjusted through the OS. I would not be suprised if you could find a piece of open source software out there to adjust the monitor settings in windows.)
July 12, 2006 7:25:23 PM

It's the same deal with the Dell 3007WFP - your only controls on the monitor are two buttons for brightness, everything else has to go through the video card driver, which comes down to the all-important brand of video card in your machine. In fact, this monitor doesn't even come with any software utilities to enable driver support, you need to download a "supported" driver. :evil: 

nVidia has support for the Dell 3007WFP but I have yet to see any ATI machine with driver control settings enabled. Dual Link DVI will get this beast up and running at 2560x1600, but it is not enough to get the full use out of this display - if you want access to settings such as contrast and color temperature, driver support is also a requirement.

Considering the price of this display and the size, I cannot imagine why the manufacturer failed to include a display calibration chip in the hardware. Relying on driver support for a display is not exactly plug-and-play friendly.

As I had posted earlier, THG should do an in-depth review of this display and see which video cards/drivers actually work with it.
August 22, 2006 11:35:21 PM

Someone needs to explain to me why the ASUS PW191 averages $350. There are a number of widescreen 19" monitors with the exact same specs (Acer PL1916W, Gateway FPD1975W, Hanns-g HW-191DPB), and they average $170 - $200! On a related note, why does Tom's Hardware review the absolute most expensive model available in a 19" widescreen format? For me personally, it tends to stomp on their credibility (i.e. ASUS made it worth THG's while to review this particular monitor). Can anyone explain this to me?

Iamfalcon

[Violent oppositions to this post are welcome by the author]
January 10, 2007 7:12:35 AM

It would be nice if someone could compare the Viewsonic VX2025WM with the VX2035WM. I'm not quite clear on the difference between them. They are both 20" and appear to be very similar.
April 27, 2007 11:02:10 PM

I am dissapointed in the reviews on monitors. This area seems to be lagging pretty far behind the the industry releases of new products. I recently was shopping for a 20 to 24 inch wide screen and there are many many more choices than what has been covered by THG. I purchased a 24 inch BenQ after reading reviews from a number of other sites. It is excellent. Has 1:1 mapping so if you want to force a specific aspect ratio for the screen you can. You can scale to the 1920 x 1200 resolution. Image and colors are great. No ghosting that I can tell in first person shooters. I am dissapointed because I have felt THG has done an really good job in the past with technical benchmarking of performance.

Come on guys, get off your tooch and get cracking!
November 17, 2007 9:58:12 AM

What do you think about LCD Asus VW202S ?
And about LCD Belinea 2025 S1W?
Please help, I need to decide what monitor to buy.
First, i wanted a 19" wide. But now, i'm very confused. The cash limit I have is around 325$.
Thanks.
!