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Four Wide Screen 19" Monitors Compared

Using The Monitor

At low brightness, the monitor was quite comfortable to use with office applications. But you'll have to take care not to place it too close to a window. You'll also have to be careful of the location of wall lamps, halogen lamps, etc.

Gaming on this monitor is feasible. It's not a hard-core gamer's display, but it's good enough for occasional use. Gamers will get the most out of the vivid colors the PW191 can deliver.

Video Games

I was waiting to see how the PW191 would perform screening movies. And sad to say, video noise is much too evident. A lot of sparkling was visible. Note that Asus offers a sharpness adjustment (which is rare on an LCD monitor) that lets you soften the focus slightly. That helped a little, but the sparkling didn't disappear completely. You'll need to be a good five feet from the screen for it to become imperceptible. On the other hand, the "Splendid" Cinema mode worked quite well. The colors were beautiful, though I needed to tweak the flesh tones some to avoid purplish skin. Fortunately Asus offers a flesh-tone adjustment directly in the OSD. I hate to harp on this issue, but the optical filter means that you'll have to watch your movies in total darkness, especially if the film tends to be dark (e.g. Sin City, The Matrix).

Video

Price/Performance

Conclusions

First the bad news. The touch-sensitive buttons are not sensitive enough, and if you change adjustments often, you may quickly find them a pain. Then, why did Asus have to use that damnable glare-filter technology? I know it's a general trend, but consider this: Sony, who first developed this technology, doesn't even dare offer it on its own top-of-the-line products. In my opinion, the same monitor without the filter would perform much better!

The selling price is far from excessive for a monitor of this quality. The finish is exceptional. It's probably the best-looking monitor available on the market today. And beyond the good looks, the picture is very sharp and the colors are very good in video games. In itself, the PW191 is a good product, but it's quite obvious that the panel was poorly chosen. It's slower than its competitors, yet doesn't solve the video-noise problems that plague them.

Overall Score

Conclusions

If I had to designate a winner, the Samsung 940BW would be my choice. It's the most flexible, nicely finished, and the most ergonomic. If your budget is tight, on the other hand, I advise you to look to the HP W19 for value you can count on.

But beyond those results, I need to point out the disquieting tendency for manufacturer specifications to deviate more and more from actual performance. This is nothing new. Manufacturers have always taken liberties with specifications. But with wide-screen 19" monitors, they are out of control. When you see two panels certified at 5 and 8 ms respectively when in both cases they actually schlep along at 20 ms, you can't help but get the feeling that we've reached a point of no return. Other manufacturers are more serious about specifications. And honesty about specifications is essential.

  • V3NOM
    from reading thigns on tomshardware on my 17" CRT i had for years and years to buying my first LCD a couple of months ago :S how embawwassing... anyway it's amazing. the better quality and viewable space on my 19" widescreen is just unbelievable compared to the often blurry writing on CRT's. my dad still uses a 17" CRT and whenever i rarely go over to his computer it's really plain at the difference between them. WIDESCREEN LCD FTW!!!
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