23” LCD Round-Up: Mixed Results
As a TN-based display, Dell’s S2330MX pleasantly surprises us with great color production, even besting the more recognizable U2412M. It still suffers from some of the issues inherent to inexpensive TN-based monitors, though. Uniformity isn’t great, and the viewing angles are rather forgettable. Plus, if you don't plan to calibrate your display, you’ll experience a significant amount of color shift because the default color profiles aren’t anywhere near what we consider accurate.
If you're on a budget, it’s hard to beat the Acer S231HL Bid’s $150 price tag. While color production and contrast are poor, input lag is very low. For $30 more, though, the S2330MX does seem like a better purchase for $180. Unfortunately, that also means stepping down from Acer's impressive three-year warranty coverage to Dell's one-year guarantee.
Meanwhile, LG’s IPS236V and Samsung’s S23A550H tie somewhere in the middle for color production. We weren't expecting that since the former employs an IPS panel, while the latter is TN-based. But the IPS236V uses an older variant of the technology known as S-IPS, which can't deliver the same impressive results as H-IPS or p-IPS panels.
Color production aside, the S23A550H is probably the best-looking TN-based display. It boasts decent uniformity and the best viewing angles of the three competing screens employing similar panel technology. Kudos to Samsung for combating weaknesses we might have expected.
On the other hand, LG's IPS236V exhibits traits common to IPS panels: great viewing angles and poor contrast. The inability to produce deep blacks is a particular annoyance to multimedia buffs because the blacks appear as dark grays.
In the end, Samsung and LG demonstrate different strengths. We’ve seen both monitors hover around $200 thanks to special sale prices. But, on a regular day, the IPS236V costs $250 as a result of the premium tied to its IPS panel. As we stated earlier, paying more doesn't always mean getting more, which is why you consider your needs carefully before heading to the checkout counter.