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Before Purchasing A Monitor

Comparison Of 15" LCD Monitors - Part I
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There are several points you need to keep in mind before purchasing a monitor.

The maximum viewing angle should be as wide as possible, ideally greater than or equal to 120° vertically (the horizontal angle isn't that important).

Although the response time is, unfortunately, not listed for many monitors, it should be as short as possible. The current best is 25 ms. But watch out! Some manufacturers differentiate between the come-up and come-down times, i.e. the time required for each pixel to glow white, turn black and then revert to white again. By this measure, a monitor with a come-up time of 15 ms and a come-down time of 25 ms has a total response time of 40 ms.

The contrast and brightness should be as high as possible - at least higher than 300:1 and 200 cd/ m², respectively.

The biggest downside to LCD screens is the fact that they may have one or more dead pixels. Fixing these white (TN + film) or black dots is absolutely impossible - which is a serious problem, since they can really be distracting. So before actually buying an LCD monitor, it's a good idea to find out how comprehensive a warranty your dealer offers - in other words, how many defective pixels do you need to have before you can trade in your monitor for a new one? Some dealers will exchange your monitor even if it only has one dead pixel, which is an ideal situation. Large department stores, on the other hand, prefer to shift the blame to the manufacturer. There's a very real risk that your display won't be considered defective until it has eight dead pixels. In my humble opinion, that's eight too many. Faced with this prospect, the best thing to do is to start looking around for another dealer who offers you a better warranty.

A Red Herring:

Don't let yourself be swayed by arguments about the monitor's vertical display capabilities. Pivot-enabled monitors allow you to display your pages vertically, but if you're using a 15" monitor, this function is limited, which is not to say useless. You can use the pivot function in the following situations:

  • Creating office documents. If you only work with text documents, displaying them vertically might be a real boon.
  • Editing images that are longer than they are wide. However, CRT monitors are better for this area anyway, since they display truer colors and have better contrast than TFTs.
  • Displaying Web pages. In an upright position, a 15" LCD has a horizontal resolution of 768 pixels. However, most Web pages are generally based on at least 800 pixels.
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