17" LCD Part II: The Heavyweights Enter The Ring

New Inconveniences

Default settings are generally unsatisfactory. Start by running an office application. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to juggle the levels of red, green and blue to make the background as white as possible. A few hints to get you started: Samsung screens usually border on the pink and LG on the blue. Lower the dominants accordingly. Do as required to ensure the taskbar and menus stay properly gray.

Next step: adjust the brightness and contrast ratios to make the color range as wide as possible. For this, use a series of photos or, even better, color charts, or just a white square and a black square. Begin with medium brightness and contrast and adjust the settings until you get a really black black and a really white white.

Lastly and most importantly, you cannot change the resolution with impunity. These screens physically light up a specific number of liquid crystals - 1280 x 1024 pixels (w x h) on a 17" monitor. If you quit its native resolution, then it will have to interpolate the image, and this reduces the sharpness quite a lot. So you would be condemned to play in 1280 x 1024, which means you need to have a recent video card.

The six monitors we tested for this review should be added to the six 17" LCDs tested here and the twenty-one 15" LCDs previously tested here and here . This latest group is notable for its more advanced features. The average contrast ratio is around 400:1; brightness is now mostly 250 cd/m²; and response times of 25ms are widespread.

We put the monitors through the usual tests (office applications, games, photos, color charts, etc.). You can read about the details here .