Hard Choices: The Only 4 Monitors You Should Buy

What type of lizard is that?

Hi gang. So, if you’ve read part one of our modern gaming monitor opus, you’ll know at least two things. Firstly, there’s no substitute for a good underlying LCD panel. And secondly, things are looking up for penniless gamers on the hunt for a solid screen on a tight budget. In this second and final part on monitors, I’ll boil the current crop down to the only four screens, ranging from cheapo to aaargh-my-bank-account, that you should consider if you’re in the market for a new display.

At the end of the graphics guide I hinted that we’ve actually Apple to thank for monitor prices improving. It sounds implausible, but I’m afraid it’s true. The reasoning involves Apple’s near-blanket use of IPS panel technology. Whether it’s iPhone, iPad or iMac, Apple proudly touts its use of “superior” IPS screen tech.

Now, I agree IPS is the best screen technology, on balance. I also happen to know that just a few years ago, PC monitor makers couldn’t be arsed with putting IPS into mainstream monitors. I know this because I begged them to do it and the response was always the same, “punters are clueless, they won’t pay even a small premium for IPS.”

Apple’s evil iPad and its suspiciously wide viewing angles might just be a good thing after all.

Well, Apple’s use of IPS has ensured that the great, mouth-breathing masses now want IPS. They don’t know why, they just know IPS is a good thing. If I’m honest, it’s not a hugely healthy state of affairs – little is when it comes to Apple’s brand of rampant consumerism. But it has given rise to a new generation of cheap IPS panels. And that means TN is no longer the only affordable option.

However, just to complicate things, I’ve recently seen what I would class as the very first truly lovely looking TN displays. The technology gap is closing. On a related note, and as I mooted in part one, 120Hz refresh is a fabulous thing, too. But it’s only available with TN tech. Well, it is right now. The very first 120Hz IPS screen, the LG DM92, is due out very soon. I don’t think anyone has reviewed it yet, but I’m working hard to get my mitts on one. Keep your scanners peeled.

Anywho, giving advice re buying screens is pretty tricky. If it was up to me, you’d all be running 30-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 IPS screens because they’re bloody lovely and they’ll still be bloody lovely five years from now. In reality, we don’t all have a grand to unload on a screen. More to the point, you need one hell of a GPU to drive 2,560 x 1,600 pixels smoothly in-game. Pragmatism must therefore play its part, and its part goes something like this.

1. Arse-end screens

Until just a month or two ago, this category was a case of any panel you like, so long as it’s TN. Joy of joys, you can now buy a 23-inch, full-HD IPS panel for under £140. And it is the AOC i2352vh. It isn’t quite the monitor equivalent of the killer, you’ll-never-need-anything-better solution the Intel Core i5 2500K provides in the CPU space. But for the money, it’s pretty spectacular.

OK, the chassis build quality is redolent of a catflap in a force nine gale. Then there’s the shoddy tilt-only stand, which oscillates alarmingly at the slightest prod. Ideally, I’d prefer 1,920  x 1,200 to the 1,920 x 1,080 pixel grid you get. That IPS panel is almost definitely 6-bit, too. Oh, and there’s a tiny bit of backlight bleed at the edges. But the image quality is demonstrably nicer-than-TN, the viewing angles are super and it’s plenty quick enough for games. At this price, you won’t be disappointed. Or if you are, you’re being unrealistic.

2. Mid-range monitors

This is the meat of the market, where most of the action is and where you’ll be able to pick up a screen with relatively few compromises. Things are changing fast right now, but my current fave is the newish Viewsonic VP2365-LED, yours for about £200.

Ostensibly, it’s a pretty plane-Jane looking panel. But it ticks almost all the important boxes. It’s 23 inches of IPS, albeit very probably only 6-bit. The image quality is properly nice. The colours are to die for. Actually, they’re so vibrant I wasn’t 100 per cent sure the thing wasn’t PVA powered at first glance. And I can usually pick a panel type from 100 yards.

The viewing angle’s impeccable, too. It even has very little by way of the traditional IPS glow or surface sparkle. Hallelujah. OK, the LED backlight could be a little brighter. And it’s not quite as quick as the best TN screens. But I’m confident you won’t be disappointed with the in-game response.

Critically, it also has a proper stand with rotate, swivel, tilt and height adjustment and VESA wall-mount compatibility. What you don’t get is a sack full of bullshit image-enhancement nonsense, gaming modes or any other pointless frippery. It’s just a great panel in a decent chassis. The end.

An intriguing alternative is the BenQ XL2420T, a £280-ish 24-incher. On the downside, it’s TN and 1080p. But mein Gott, what a TN screen it is. I reckon the raw image quality is the best I’ve seen for this panel type. Yup, I might just be able to live with it and I’m pathologically anal about panel quality.

It also has a jolly nice fully adjustable stand. Tilt-only stands make my teeth itch, that’s how much I hate them. But the real killer feature is 3D Vision support. Not because I’m a stereoscopic 3D fan. I ain’t. But it means the XL2420T has 120Hz refresh support and that’s a very, very lovely thing. Oh, and because it’s TN, it’s super quick, too. In many ways, you could argue it’s the best pure gaming panel around. If it was 1,920 x 1,200 rather than 1,920 x 1,080, it would be very practically perfect.

The final candidate in the mid-range is the £450 Hazro HZ27WC. The idea here is to shove the same 27-inch IPS panel you’ll find in the 27-inch iMac into a cheap enclosure and flog it for as little as possible. Suits me.

The chassis is cheap and the stand is tilt-only, which is bad. But the IPS panel is lovely, which is good. More to the point, the massive 2,560 x 1,440 resolution makes for absolutely bonkers in-game detail. If you’re a strategy or RTC addict, believe me, you’ll weep with joy at the sheer field of view on offer. 1080p is paltry by comparison. Of course, you’ll need some serious graphics hardware to drive it, which adds to the real-world cost of going with this kind of panel.

Another downside is the stupid plastic screen cover on the model I tried. It’s meant to mimic the glass covers of iMacs, but all it does is add unwanted reflections. Mercifully, you can have it without the cover. For goodness sake make sure it’s not fitted. And be warned. Like all the other 27-inch IPS screens out there, the panel’s anti-glare coating is a bit sparkly.

As an addendum, there are a few interesting screens that currently don’t make the cut for one or other reason. One screen that ought to spank all comers in my mid-range shortlist is the Dell UltraSharp U2412M. It’s IPS, it’s a proper 1,920 x 1,200 16:10 panel and it’s baggable for about £250. So it sounds perfect. In practice, the image quality is a little bit dull, the anti-glare coating is rather sparkly. Sorry, but I don’t rate it.

Then there are the Asus PA246Q ProArt and the HP ZR2440W. Both are 24 inchers that nail all the critical metrics for around £350 – IPS, 16:10, 1,920 x 1,200. The Asus is newish and I’m still waiting to get hold of one. The HP is an HP, and that means a review sampling process unfathomable to human comprehension. Six might turn up tomorrow. Or I might not get one until just before they go out of production. With HP, and Dell for that matter, it’s usually the latter.

One further caveat is that neither screen is intended for gaming. That’s not to say they lack gaming chops. But it is worth bearing in mind. If either of them do indeed turn out to be the Jesus panel we’ve all benn waiting for, I’ll let you know. There are of course several much more expensive 24-inch  IPS screens aimed at the pro market. Nice as they are, they’re not designed for and I don’t view them as value for gaming.

3. Tip-top eye candy

This is the toughest category of all. Of the brave new generation of premium 27 inchers with 2,560 x 1,440 panels (lower compromise alternatives to the Hazro mentioned above), my favourite right now is the Samsung Series 8 S27A850D.

At £550 to £600, it’s getting a bit pricey. But it does offer novel PLS panel tech. I’ve only spent a couple of days in its company, so I’d want more quality time to be sure it’s genuinely a suitable gaming panel. But it does seem to combine the best of IPS and PVA tech in a single panel – you get great viewing angles, a nice smooth anti-glare coating, good blacks and decent response. If you’re wondering, no I don’t like the Dell U2711 much. I’ve had one knocking around for about a year. It’s OK, but the panel surface is a very sparkly and it has IPS glow-itus. It tends to sit gathering dust. I’d pay extra for the Sammy.

Thing is, if you’re going to spend that much money and drive that many pixels, it’s tempting to just give it the full 30- inch, 2,560 x 1,600 treatment. This is going to sound ridiculous, but having spent years using 30 inchers, a week with a 27-inch panel and the reduced vertical resolution felt really restrictive.

In reality, there’s not much choice in the 30-inch market since Samsung stopped making 30-inch PVA panels. Everyone is using LG-manufactured IPS panels now, as far as I am aware. Despite my own 30-inch fetish, I’m actually pretty reluctant to recommend any of the current 30-inch brigade. It’s been a little while since I set eyes on the Dell U3011, for instance, and I’ve never seen the Hazro HZ30Wie in action. Then there are the LG, HP, Eizo and NEC models to choose from. In truth, none are really intended for gaming. I love ’em enough to have three of ’em (two Dell 3007s and a Samsung XL30), but they’re not for everyone. My feeling is that the £750-plus price tags makes them of limited interest. Still, if enough of you shout out, I’m happy to go into further detail and book in a few of the models I’ve yet to sample. Let me know.

On the subject of high-res displays, along with the performance-related issue of pumping all those pixels, it’s worth remembering you’ll need a video card with at least dual-link DVI. Some screens also support HDMI 1.3+ and / or DisplayPort. Personally, I’m fine with dual-link DVI. But the other inputs are obviously handy if you’re tag-teaming your PC with a console. Given consoles are filthy, unforgivable things that proud RPSers wouldn’t dream of owning, I realise that’s a rather academic notion. I mention it purely in the spirit of full disclosure.

Ultimately, then, for most of us it comes down to a choice of the following four screens:

  • 1. AOC i2352vh
    Bottom line: £140, 23-inch, 1080p res, lovely IPS panel, cheap-shit chassis.
  • 2. Viewsonic VP2365-LED
    Bottom line: £200, 23-inch, 1080p res, fab IPS panel, great stand.
  • 3. BenQ XL2420T
    Bottom line: £280, 24-inch, 1080p res, best TN ever, stupid quick, 120Hz loveliness.
  • 4. Hazro HZ27WC
    Bottom line: £450, 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 res, IPS panel, cheapest option for true high-res gaming. 
  • As above, I’ll update if and when either of the Asus PA246Q ProArt and the HP ZR2440W hit Laird towers and prove to be monitors of messianic mettle. As they say in the exam room, then, discuss.


    1. JohnP says:

      Personally, I would love a good combo review of 16:10 30″ inchers and what graphics cards are recommended to drive them.

      I’ve had 24″ 16:10 for .. hmm, must be about 7 years now and fancy an upgrade.

      • Sensai says:

        I’m still sitting with a 24”, 1920×1200 Sceptre from way back when. It’s breaking and I need an upgrade, but I don’t know what to buy!

        I want 120hz, I want 16:10, but I also don’t want to have to break my bank account for it.

      • John P says:

        Nice username.

      • innociv says:

        Or just 16:10 in general.

        Isn’t that BenQ monitor 16:9?

        I don’t know why you’d want to just chop off 120 pixels from the bottom of your montior if you can help it. That’s like more than the space of the task bar and entire top ui of Google Chrome.

        I have an HP ZR24w. There is only some IPS sparkle if you like pretty much put your eye to it, and there is some slight ghosting. The image quality is amazzzingggg, though.

      • mdcvnvxnb says:

        I like it how we share the same love for the 16:10 monitors. I thought it was just me being so 2007ish. Whats the point that we don’t see them as often anymore? link to zeig.in

    2. Samonite says:

      iiyama E2473HDS 24”

      • voidburn says:

        Iiyamas are true underdogs. I had 3 24″ (I can’t live without proper multi-monitor for work, so always go in threes when it comes to displays connected to the pc).

        Iiyama was brought to my attention by some colleagues in the art department, and I was absolutely astonished by the quality/price they pack.

        One thing to mention, beside their undeniable quality, is the post-sale support. It competes with the best out there. If one of these babies breaks you can skip the retailer altogether, call up iiyama’s tech support, and they’ll have a new panel shipped to you in no time. Upon arrival of the replacement unit you simply give the broken one back to the shipping company. No cost involved whatsoever. Quick, competent, amazing service!

        Keep an eye on them!

      • Contrafibularity says:

        Iiyama was practically the only real monitor to buy in the flat-CRT era, as they gave Sony Trinitrons a good run for their money (and/or used Trinitron tubes iirc). When they entered the LCD market a bit late they immediately had solid offerings, so I would expect them to continue living up to their name. Thanks for reminding me of them as I’m looking for a new LCD.

    3. TormDK says:

      Good article!

      The trick question of the day must then be – should we, as part of the PC Master Race, prepare for “tomorrow”?

      Typically I haven’t replaced that many monitors compared to the amount other PC hardware that has been replaced over the years, so would it be a worthwhile investment to go for a top line product in preparation for “tomorrows” GPUs?

      • TormDK says:

        Are we seeing huge jumps in quality though?

        As noted I don’t buy monitors that often, so I don’t keep tabs on how fast they are evolving – where as I understand perfectly the jumps that the CPUs/GPUs are doing. Have there been any big evolution “jumps” the past few years for monitors?

      • ScottTFrazer says:

        Monitors, cases, keyboards and mice. Those are the pieces I don’t generally skimp on, because quality kit can last through 2 or 3 cycles of the internals of my rig. I spent about $500US on one of the early Dell 24″ displays back in 2006 and if I’m honest with myself, there’s little reason to upgrade it. It’s still very serviceable.

        But in 2009 I bought a 27″ iMac i7 and the display is _very_ nice.

        I rebuilt my gaming rig for skyrim last year and stuck with the old Dell panel, but this year might be the time to upgrade.

      • GreatGreyBeast says:

        I don’t think the future has huge bumps in quality coming for existing monitor tech, though of course prices will continue to drop for better hardware. But personally I’m holding off on buying a new monitor until I see what happens with OLED.

      • Initialised says:

        OLED is the next big thing (once it can scale to big screens).

        Once your screen budget goes over £750 seriously look at Plasma, currently the best tech for gaming at more than 30″ You need a room layout that works and the big pixels mean you need more AA to dejaggify it.

    4. mikejs says:

      This all assumes you’re using only one monitor, doesn’t it?

      What about multi-monitor setups? Ideally you need three monitors unless you want crosshairs on the join, and these look a bit big for that sort of malarkey.

      • Initialised says:

        I’d say five 16×10 20-24″ in landscape powered by a couple or three 7900s

      • Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

        I’ve been triple monitor gaming for a year now and would not go back. It’s especially good whenever I dip back into EvE Oline.

        However, something this article does not dip into is Nvidia 3D Vision. I recently swapped out my centre panel for an Asus 3D unit with the Nvidia active glasses and the effect is amazing. So far I’ve put in nearly 200 hours in Skyrim and every one of them has been with the glasses on. I tried it for 10 minutes without and the game looked dull and lifeless.

      • Kdansky says:

        Skyrim dull and lifeless? I blame their overuse of blue tint. It’s really hard to convey 3D when you are working with what amounts to monochrome most of the time. Luckily, this is easy to fix via mods.

      • Ragnar says:

        A 23″ 1920×1080 monitor (I have the U2312HM) is about the same size as my old Samsung 21″ 1680×1050 monitors. Not too big, not too small, looks great. Pair them with the Ergotech triple-monitor stand, and you have a fantastic setup (which could fit on even a small desk with the stand). Monitors run about $230 each on sale, and the stand is ~$250.

    5. Kreeth says:

      I got myself the Hazro for Christmas and it’s proper lovely. Coming from a 19″ PVA the extra space is mindblowing.

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        I’ve been lusting after the Hazro range for months now. Does yours support HDCP? The internet seems to be full of grumbling that the cheaper models might not support HDCP.

    6. Shortwave says:

      Yay for the XL2420T!
      I have the XL2410T, which is more or less last years version.
      But yea’ BenQ hit the nail on the head with these.
      Love love love it. 120hz for the win.

    7. Astatine says:

      I have a U2711 and I think it’s lovely, so ner. :-)

      • Malcolm says:

        Likewise. Picked mine up about 6 months ago from overclockers when they had a pile of b-grade (previously opened, but otherwise as new) for about under £450. Well worth keeping an eye out for.

        Goes nicely alongside by old monitor (a 20″ Dell 2005FW) for about as much screen space as I can comfortably fit on my desk.

    8. CMaster says:

      The title text pun.
      It took me a repwhile to get it.

    9. Lobotomist says:

      I have Dell U2410 at work

      Perk of being graphic designer ;)

      I wouldn’t recommend this monitor to anyone.

      Cant put finger on why. But it really ruined my eyes.
      And everyone else that tried using it agrees.

      • nootpingu86 says:

        How so? I love mine and I just play games on it.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Heck, i wish i could explain.

        Its like it has very strong glare.
        I mean we have couple at the office. And everyone that used them had hard time adjusting.

        Other guys at our design cave(i mean office), got LGs cheaper really more pleasant on the eyes.

      • Kadayi says:

        I have the same monitor and I have no issues with it tbh. The monitors a lot brighter because it’s 400 cd/m where as a lot of other monitors are around 300 cd/m. Can be a bit much initally, but once you’ve properly calibrated it, it’s fine.

      • DogPawHat says:

        got a u4212m, and to put it in layman’s terms, the out of box brightness level is too damn high. turn it down to something like 35 and you shroud be grand.

      • KilgoreTrout_XL says:

        Happy U2410 user here as well. Pretty stunning picture. It was on sale for $299/£191 at dell.com in mid-december.

        I wish the USB ports were on the right. That’s literally my only gripe.

      • Bluestar says:

        I’m not alone then. My eyes are fooked from using one.

      • Kadayi says:


        Might I suggest both you and lobotomist reset your monitors to the factory default settings and use a colour calibrator. My suspicion is you’ve upped the brightness/contrast to the max (default is 50%) and the intense white is what’s doing you in.

    10. CaLe says:

      24″ is feeling too small for me recently and I’d like a nice 27 incher. If that BenQ monitor was bigger I’d seriously consider getting it.

    11. xephyris says:

      The Asus VH236H is pretty highly regarded for gaming for its low input lag – also apparently the official monitor for Evo and MLG. An alternative choice to the four mentioned in this article, perhaps?

      • Moraven says:

        I have the VH242 and have no regrets on the purchase. Good budget monitor, great size, looks great.

    12. gimperial says:

      Surprised the Dell U2311H wasn’t mentioned.

      Such an excellent monitor at a low price.

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        It’s a very similar proposition to the Viewsonic VP2365-LED, but yup, that particular Dell is another good option.

      • Ertard says:

        Same here. Excellent IPS for a low price.

        Although, mine has been getting in the habit of being completely black and not receiving when you start it up though. You solve it by pulling the DVI out of the screen and putting it back in, which is very weird, but the only thing that works.

        No idea why it is this way.

      • Torn says:

        Missing the Dell Ultrasharp series is a pretty big mistake.

        The Dell U2311h (e-IPS Panel) is by far the best monitor I’ve had the pleasure of using in the mid-to-highish price range. It’s available for around £199 now. Has all the tilty stand amazingness and stunning colour reproduction.

        Looking around, the U3412HM looks to be an upgrade / later version for it available for £210 online.

        What’s more the general opinion online of hardware-savvy people is that the U2311h beats the above Viewsonic, especially for gaming.

      • Calabi says:

        Yeah have the same here, and its excellent. The colours, there is no way I’m ever going back to a TN after this.

      • battles_atlas says:

        Me too, lovely thing. Only bought it because the Viewsonic was out of stock for months on end – it was the first decent IPS to hit the £200 mark and it seems everyone wanted one. Dell was £50 more at the time but from a position of being unable to compare the two and so offer any meaningful conclusion, I think I definitely made the right choice.

      • Horza says:

        I’ve heard stories about U2311H:s having buzzing power sources somewhat often. Nothing onsite warranty won’t solve but still some potential extra hassle.

        Edit: Actually it was the led backlit U2312HM that had that issue.

      • Shooop says:

        I was about to make a new post about the U2312HM.

        Serious monitor reviewers (I.E. people who do nothing BUT review monitors) say it’s the best of all worlds – great color, blacks, and perfectly acceptable response times. All for under $300.

      • Sleepymatt says:

        Agreed.. I have U2312HM, and it’s bloody fantastic, and you can now find it for well under £200 if you shop around. Managed to get mine a while back at £192 when they were typically £220-ish, and it is so good it felt like stealing…

      • Wazootyman says:

        I snagged a Dell UltraSharp U2312HM for the absolutely bonkers price of $199 CAD (about £125) with free shipping shortly after Christmas.

        The image quality is excellent: it’s wonderfully crisp, the blacks are deep, the colours are deliciously rich, and the viewing angles are stellar. I was concerned it may not be fast enough for gaming, but I have yet to perceive any input lag or ghosting. The cherry on top is the excellent build quality, USB ports and fully adjustable stand.

        The only quibbles I have are with its slightly sparkly anti-glare coating (only really noticeable up close on a full white screen), and some modest IPS glow, especially in the bottom-right corner. However, it’s still miles ahead of my old Sammy TN panel, and for $199, nothing else comes close. If you can get it for thereabouts, it’s an excellent choice.

      • The_Great_Skratsby says:

        How is the response time on the U2312HM? I’m very, very tempted to pick one up but the 8ms seems a bit so-so, and it’s a little bit of a bummer that it has no HDMI. That being said, that price.

        • Ragnar says:

          The pixel response is fine. I don’t notice any ghosting, or inverse ghosting. The input lag is one of the shortest around. I like it, and would recommend it.

    13. supacoo says:

      What would you all recommend is the best between the following three:

      Viewsonic VP2365-LED 23″

      HP ZR24w 24″

      Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24″

    14. salgado18 says:

      Knowing that you’re a screen-addict, I know what you’re going to say, but what about the BenQ G2225HDA? It’s 22 inch, 1080p res, TN panel, good image and nothing else, and goes for around £85. The reviews I saw about it said the image is good, colors are good, response is good, everything is good, but it has no other frills, not even input ports (only VGA), but it’s very, very cheap for the image quality, resolution and screen size it offers.

      • Kdansky says:

        I have a 2220, which seems similar. It was dirt cheap too, and looks okay to my extremely untrained eye. It doesn’t blur, and it doesn’t flicker, but that’s about it. Colours are definitely not a high-point, and black is not dark.

    15. Lev Astov says:

      Yo dawg, I heard you like monitors…

      Hahaha, nice one, Jeremy!

    16. Valvarexart says:

      I am very content with my BenQ XL2410T. What is the difference between mine and the 2420?

      • Slinky MCPunchfist says:

        really I hate my 2410T so much inverse ghosting and black crush…yuck… really wish I’d gone with a different 120hz monitor…

    17. Dragane says:

      I like it how we share the same love for the 16:10 monitors. I thought it was just me being so 2007ish. Whats the point that we don’t see them as often anymore?

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        The explanation is in part one. It’s down to manufacturing economics. Manufacturers can squeeze slightly more panels and thus slightly more profit from a given quantity of substrate with 16:9 versus 16:10. That’s the only reason 16:9 exists in PC monitors.

      • Bobtree says:

        And they’ll be sneakily downsizing the bottom end displays to 2:1 and worse ratios in no time. “Hyper widescreen” FTL.

      • Wisq says:

        I sincerely doubt it.

        16:9 matches the dominant TV aspect ratio for ages now. It’s what console games use. It’s what TV shows use. It just doesn’t make any sense to try to push it tighter than that. Whether we like it or not, the gradual progression down from 4:3 to 16:9 was basically inevitable.

        It all comes down to those movies. People don’t like black bars. They think something’s broken. They would rather have parts of the image cut off than see part of their TV screen not being used. After all, they can’t see the cut off bits, but they can see those black bars.

        Go any tighter than 16:9, and we’ll have black bars on the side. That just won’t stand with customers. Not unless TVs go the same way at the same time, anyway.

    18. megurushi says:

      I’d rate the Samsung SA950D. I got it for the 3D having a PS3 and ATI cards. If you have nvidia I’d say the Asus VG278H looks nice, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for it.
      The SA950D is very sharp and smooth, nice design to. The blacks could be better though and some mild backlight issues, but I generally don’t notice.
      27″ is the minimum now for me, bigger screens feel more immersive. 3D is nice, but I don’t use much because of the performance hit. Some games it really is amazing. Ico on the PS3… Wow!
      I sometimes wish I’d gone for an IPS panel, just because I play Skyrim so much and not had a decent FPS for a while…

    19. MonkeyMonster says:

      What about more pixel versions so 1900×1200’s? 23/24/27ers?

      edit: so i’ll apologise for not properly reading the article… my bad. Seems there is no need to go bigger?

      I like small pixels so want more for the bigger size of monitor…

    20. Kdansky says:

      What about the Thunderbolt display on offer by Apple? Sure, it’s very expensive, but are the optics as good as the price tag suggests (which means: At least on par with all displays chosen in this list?)

      Or rather: If you didn’t care about the price, would you buy a Hazro or an Apple Display?

    21. supacoo says:

      What are the differences between s-IPS and e-IPS and such? Anything significant there?

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        e-IPS is a new cheaper version of IPS. The main difference is that, as far as I am aware, e-IPS panels are 6-bit colour per channel, rather than 8 or 10-bit. That means e-IPS screens use dithering to achieve pseudo 24-bit colour and beyond.

      • supacoo says:

        Thanks for the response.

        What do you think of the HP ZR24w? 1920×1200, supposed 7ms response rate, S-IPS, for roughly $350?

        Good buy, that one?

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        Sounds like it may be the same as the HP ZR2440W I mention in the article. Looks promising on paper, but I haven’t managed to get a sample out of HP.

      • PhoenixTank says:

        The ZR2440W isn’t the same as the ZR24W. As far as I can tell the 2440W is a newer LED backlit version of the 24W, the latter of which I’ve been a happy owner of for nearing 2 years now.
        Deserves a spot in your lineup between #3 and #4.

      • utzel says:

        As PhoenixTank said the ZR2440w is the successor to the ZR24w. Changes: LED background lighting, which results in less power consumption and a lighter and thinner screen. A HDMI port, and it is now (haven’t tested myself) able to show 1080p input without stretching from receiver/bluray player/console.

        I own a ZR24w for some time now and am very happy with it. I just got two ZR2440w to form an eyefinity setup, they seem also very nice so far, but the backlight bleeding is considerably worse and I’ll try to change them for another set.

      • supacoo says:

        Lessons in silly impulse-buying:

        I purchased the ZR24w today since the price is solid and seemed great (and it was available through Amazon Prime), come to later find out it will be useless to use with my PS3 for games and blu-rays since it doesn’t scale 1080p 1:1, but stretches it vertically.

        Too late to cancel the order; guess I’ll have to return it and eat the shipping charges. :(

        Seems like the perfect PC monitor but it’s idiotic that its scaler is so terrible.

      • PhoenixTank says:

        Most of the reading I’ve done has lead me to believe that LED backlights are a waste on screens like this. Supposedly can’t get true white colour from LEDs, only off-white, usually yellow-ish or blu-ish. Aside from the backlight bleed, any noticeable difference in the “whiteness” of the whites?

        Sorry about that, hope my post didn’t contribute to the impulse buy. I knew about that issue but honestly wasn’t at the forefront of my mind; used solely with a PC here so has never been an issue.
        Shame really, apparently a hardware limitation and couldn’t be fixed with a firmware update. Other than that and the built in USB hub powering down when you switch off the monitor, a stellar monitor for the price and a good alternative to the Dell U2410 for those who really don’t need the Adobe RGB colour space.

      • Derpentine says:

        I can also say that the ZR24w is a lovely display – It has less of a grainy coating than the Dells, which is a big win imho. Prices can be low if you shop around or have someone who can get them through a corp deal. CCFL is always better than wLED in my book, I’ve got 2 wLED Samsungs on family boxes, they take about the same time to warm up and the white point and approximation are both bad. My CCFL’s in 2x 226BW and 2x ZR24w’s however are pretty fantastic. wLED’s also age and discolour over their lifetime, while CCFL’s are an easily replaceable single point of failure with a long lifetime anyway.

    22. Berzee says:



    23. Shadowcat says:

      Thank you for this.

      My CRT has been extremely temperamental for months now. I haven’t replaced it yet because I’m damned if I’m going to spend money on a bad/disappointing LCD monitor, and (unlike ~3 years ago) I don’t think I can sanely replace it with a second-hand CRT, but I simply haven’t had time to determine what a good LCD might actually be!

      You sound like you know what you’re talking about and have similar priorities, so I shall definitely look into your recommendations.

      Can I assume that most LCDs do actually have a full range of colours these days? I first used an LCD at work five years ago as a second monitor alongside a CRT, and there were colours which were clearly distinct on the CRT but completely indistinguishable on the LCD. It was really off-putting. Since then I’ve never used an LCD and a CRT together, so it’s not something I’ve been able to test more recently.

      Good black / lack of backlighting bleed-through is particularly important. With the LCDs I’ve used, I’ve never been confident that I could turn off all the lights and play a game of Thief without wishing I was using a CRT. If you think your recommendations are up to the task, that would be good news indeed.

      Finally… do any of the manufacturers have better replacement policies than the others regarding dead/bright/generally-buggered pixels? That’s the other aspect of LCD monitors which always worries me.

      Thanks again (and for the other articles as well; this has been a good series!)

      • ecat says:

        8bit IPS should do you fine for colour range. In fact the extended colour range (gamut) of many modern LCDs may be more troublesome than the limited range of older LCDs if you use sw that doesn’t support the extended range. I’ve not noticed too many aberrations since moving to Win7 but ymmv.

        Return/refund/replace: I’m not aware of any major changes wrt dead pixel policy, but I’ve not checked for quite some time. As manufactures appear to be getting the hang of things I will say you are far less likely to receive a less then perfect panel these days.

        LCDs don’t do black. Turn off the lights to play a game and you will always wish you were playing on a CRT. Simple. You do become accustomed to LCDs but there are times and certain games that just scream to be played on a CRT.

    24. Lev Astov says:

      Very nice monitor info these past couple days, Jeremy. How about doing one of these writeups on projectors some time? I’ve been using projectors for years now, having a nice basement with a large wall to project on.

      I’m horribly addicted to the size and highly recommend it to everyone. It’s just nice to be focusing on a screen that’s 4m away and still has a huge field of view.

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        I love projectors, Lev, I reckon they beat big HDTVs with sticks. I’ve got a 1080p Optoma. But it’s a niche activity. At best it might make an entry in an article on interesting alternative gaming hardware.

    25. matnym says:

      All I want is a good 24″, 16:10, IPS monitor. After 3 years I’m now cursed and can’t “downgrade” to 16:9 :(

      • NegativeZero says:

        Dell’s 24″ Ultrasharp range, both the U2410 and the U2412M are 16:10, 24″ and IPS…

      • Horza says:

        Was about to buy the U2412m but went for the HP ZR2440W (costing me an extra 100e or so) after reading some Dell quality control horror stories.

        Also the HP has a higher backlight frequency (430Hz iirc) which is nice if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing.

      • utzel says:

        Horza: How is the backlight behaving on your screen? I got some quite big bleeding corners and a strange thin stripe (~5px) on the lower right edge on both.

    26. CaspianRoach says:

      Why do you want such a big screen? I’m quite alright with a 17″ monitor and I see no point in getting a bigger one. You’ll have to place it further away to comfortably overlook the whole screen making the image the same size as it is on the smaller screens. Not to mention you’ll have to buy a bigger table as well and an increased load on the graphics card…

    27. NegativeZero says:

      I’ve got the Dell U2711, replaced a very old Dell 24″, their 2005 model I think. Semi regret it. It’s a nice panel but it has a wierd shimmer to it that strains my eyes in high contrast eg looking at text. There’s just something off about it, I’ve never figured out what. I also would have preferred 16:10. At some point I’ll probably shelve it for a pair of smaller ones or a 30″.

      Incidentally I haven’t really had any problems driving the monitor with my old 5850. I may not be getting a million FPS but it handles everything I throw at it fairly well at very respectable detail levels etc, especially newer stuff that allows me to drop FSAA for more modern shader techniques.

      • Muzman says:

        Sounds odd. It’s been a while since I had to set it up but there was some reason you don’t really need to have it over about 50percent contrast and even lower brightness. It’s got all this overhead for the dynamic contrast modes that you don’t actually want to use, or something.
        So turn everything down if you haven’t already. There could actually be something wrong with it, too.

    28. Tengil says:

      “Well, Apple’s use of IPS has ensured that the great, mouth-breathing masses now want IPS. They don’t know why, they just know IPS is a good thing. If I’m honest, it’s not a hugely healthy state of affairs – little is when it comes to Apple’s brand of rampant consumerism”

      a) Way to be elitist about the most pointless thing possible.

      b) Consumerism is endemic to all consumer electronics, and what Apple should be criticized for is using the same slave labor as all other electronics corporations while pretending to be an “ethical” company.

      • TheApologist says:

        I’m not an expert, so genuine question – but isn’t it hard to separate the two? The market in relatively cheap consumer electronics seems pretty much founded on appalling labour conditions in countries where regulations don’t prohibit such practices. Aren’t Apple pretty much at the pinnacle of stimulation of demand for largely pointless hardware upgrades, made (just about) affordable through the use of slave labour?

      • Toberoth says:

        That doesn’t sound elitist to me, seems quite reasonable – most folk don’t understand the ins and outs of this kind of technology, but they’re more than willing to buy something that Apple says is good, just because it’s Apple. Sounds fair to me.

        Secondly, how is it pointless? You’re reading an article that’s dedicated to a relatively obscure facet of pc technology, which is itself fairly obscure these days. The observation about IPS seems quite relevant in this context.

      • Tengil says:

        You don’t see anything unreasonable about calling everyone who has been conditioned by marketing an idiot? And while consumerism and constant replacements are definitely what creates the appalling conditions in third world manufacturing the main thing that sticks in my craw about Apple and Apple supporters are the pretension that “ethical capitalism” is possible and that it is what Apple practises.

      • molten_tofu says:

        Well I’m an Apple user and I say Jeremy can be mean to me whenever he wants. Because it is hilarious.

      • Mo says:

        I’m fine with pointless Apple-bashing (it’s amusing, even as (especially as?) an Apple user), but this makes no sense. Aren’t consumers better off with Apple popularizing a superior display technology? As mentioned in the article, every other manufacturer is more than happy to maintain the status-quo, until Apple comes around and raises the bar, right?

        And maybe, JUST MAYBE, consumers want IPS because they notice their iPad displays look better than their monitors?

        Apple are (more-or-less) the only ones who treat the average customer with any respect, proving the “punters are clueless, they won’t pay even a small premium for [new, better tech]” philosophy wrong time and time again.

    29. pugz says:

      The Hazro HZ27WC seems like and interesting choice but I don’t see that it is actually available for purchase anywhere. Am I missing something?

    30. MikoSquiz says:

      Me, I’ve been looking at buying a nice cheap 32″ 720p display to put on my (computer-adjacent) living room table so I can move to the couch gaming. More screen acreage, the resolution can go hang.

      • DogPawHat says:

        you may as well get a 1080p hdtv, I mean do they even sell 720p anymore?

    31. alphager says:

      I’m a bit disappointed you only mention glare/anti-glare in passing. Depending on the location and lighting of the monitor, anti-glare is required.

      Nonetheless, good article!

    32. Ucodia says:

      I had a Iiyama 24″, famous in its time, I use HP ZR24w at work and well, none of them are coming close to the Asus PA246Q ProArt. Really it stunned me at the second I started my computer.
      First the colors are incredibly rich, it is like discovering new tones. Now, common monitors seems to have a really lifeless rendering to my eyes.
      Also it has every connector possible and every settings possible. For example the screen ratio setting, you can perfectly plug any device (Xbox, camera, …) without having to crop or break the scale ratio of the original source. This seems a pretty basic setting but it is the first time I got my hands on a screen that fits every scenario possible.
      Gaming, no problem really. I never had any noticable lag and my gaming style cover many fast paced gameplays. If somebody says that it is not suitable for gaming, the problem does not come from the screen, definitely.
      Also viewing angle is pretty awesome but that does not matter much for gaming. It has a lot of options dedicated for graphists.

      It is not a second mid-screen, definitely a first class, which is hard to believe for the price.

      • Fierce says:

        Very much agree. Also take notice Jeremy Laird, the review has already been done:

        link to hardwarecanucks.com

        Proudly reviewed by a countryman over 10 months ago, I think this might just be my next monitor.

        Sadly, it’s not 120Hz, but I truly wonder if it’s worth waiting for a 16:10 120Hz IPS panel in our current economic climate, especially considering the glacial pace of monitor innovation during even the best of times. As the review states, I would have highly preferred USB 3.0 and Compact Flash support as well, but that’s easily excused on the grounds of power complications or licensing issues for the compromising consumer. Regardless, the Conclusion page of the review is very true and telling. Asus deserves money for this one. Just like LG will totally deserve $1,000 from me if the DM92 manages to combine its sexy ass form factor with true 120Hz refresh and no game ghosting.

        Capitalism, ho!

      • Azhrarn says:

        I have to agree, I love my ASUS ProArt screen, lovely rich colours, good contrast, response time indeed hasn’t posed any issues for gaming.

        The only downsides in my opinion is that it’s a bit bright, mine is at 5% brightness, and I still think it’s a bit too bright, colour is still great at 5% though, as is contrast.
        The base and the screen are massive though. The screen alone is easily over 2 inches deep and the base is very deep as well, but it does turn to just about every angle you could ever want.

    33. Raticus79 says:

      I’m holding out for OLED displays (and others like Crystal LED) which are expected to finally hit the market around Q3-Q4 this year.

      For my home PC, I’ve had an Acer 24″ 3d vision monitor (120hz, lousy panel) and a Visio 37″ LCD HDTV (decent IPS panel) for a long time. I’m a big fan of the stereo 3D idea but it just isn’t that good on a small display.

      What I’m really hoping for is 120hz+ input frame rate support on the OLED displays. For some reason the “HDTV” world hasn’t clued into the idea of dual link DVI input – it seems like they’re locked into HDMI for some reason, and that can’t do 1080p at 60Hz per eye. Really worried that the OLED TVs are still going to be held back by HDMI.

      My wish list:
      – OLED, or similar, to get rid of the “sample and hold” effect that plagues LCDs with blurriness during panning even at low pixel response times
      – big (47-55″)
      – 120Hz+ input from PC via DVI/displayport/whatever supports it
      – HDMI support so 3D still works with consoles, blu-ray player, etc

      Here’s hoping.

      • Caerphoto says:

        For some reason the “HDTV” world hasn’t clued into the idea of dual link DVI input – it seems like they’re locked into HDMI for some reason, and that can’t do 1080p at 60Hz per eye.

        Dual-link DVI offers no means of preventing dirty pirate thieves from copying the digital signal going to the screen and thus funding terrorism.

      • Muzman says:

        Aren’t they looking to be small and slow and amazingly expensive?

    34. Tyrmot says:

      This is very helpful… While I know plenty about what goes into a PC – my corresponding knowledge on monitors extends about as far as the resolution and that’s it! So I have a 22″ 1680×1050 ‘active matrix, thin-film transistor (TFT)’ – which of your 4 categories does this fall in?? Is that a TN panel or what..?

      I really feel like I should upgrade this now but it is so confusing… I like the 16:10 aspect ratio though so what would be the best 1900×1200 monitor to replace something like that with? Any suggestions?

      • Derpentine says:

        Almost certainly you’re using a TN panel, I’d suggest shopping around for a solid replacement (Dell, NEC, HP are less risky)- know what you’re buying and spend the extra on IPS (generally easy to find 16:10 too), after all, output is how you experience games and such, so why cheap out on that?

    35. supacoo says:

      Any worth to the HP 2711x? Seems like it gets very solid reviews even as a $300 60hz TN panel.

    36. coagmano says:

      Argh! I can’t find the Viewsonic in Australia, nor is that Dell that was mentioned in comments (in fact, not a single Dell to be seen?)

      Might have to go for the AOC (180AUD=122GBP), since the BenQ seems too pricey (500 AUD == 340 GBP D: stupid Australia tax)

      Is there a good IPS screen that falls between the price of the AOC and the Viewsonic?

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        Viewsonic has a cheaper IPS with a tilt-only stand, the £160 VX2336s-LED. I’m looking at it tomorrow, I’ll try to report back.

      • Muzman says:

        The U2410 is a bit old now so you’ll probably only find it second hand. Otherwise you get Dell stuff from Dell Australia and that’s all you need to know for that.

    37. Rhygadon says:

      As a fellow partisan of the 30″ 2560×1600, I’d love to see that followup if you have the chance. My Dell 3007WFPHC has done heroic duty, but if there are newer panels that combine that sort of resolution with iGadget-level color quality, that would be awfully tempting …

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        I think you’ll find progress since the HC has been pretty incremental. I do like my XL30, but it’s flawed and out of production. There are some nice 30 inchers around, but you’ll pay handsomely for a relatively minor improvement over your HC. It’s really only IPS glow and a bit of sparkle that let the HC down. Well, and black levels, I guess.

      • RichardFairbrass says:

        I too have been using a Dell 3007 for the last 5 years or so and consider it possibly the best bit of computer hardware I’ve ever bought. Not a single deal pixel or any other problem in all that time.

        However after years of very heavy usage I realised that its brightness had diminshed somewhat, and so bought another 30″ to replace it last year (in fact just relegate the Dell to be the 2nd monitor). After a fair bit of research I opted for the HP ZR30W and have been very happy with it. It’s certainly brighter than the Dell (although that’s not really a fair comparison) and slightly cooler in colour temperature. Other than that the only difference I can think of is that it takes about 4/5 seconds to start displaying anything when its turned on, compared to less than 2 seconds for the Dell. Hardly a big issue though unless you need to be rapidly turning it on and off.

        Things might have changed since then, but the 30″ market seems to move so slowly I doubt there is much new out there that can beat it. There’s an NEC one which certainly looks to be better but costs almost twice as much and only really has the advantage of a larger colour gamut.

      • Rhygadon says:

        Well then, I’ll let the Upgrade Fund go untapped and focus on appreciating what I have! Thanks for the excellent advice — I’m really enjoying these columns.

      • Rhygadon says:

        Re: RichardFairbrass: It does seem that the color temperature on this one is getting noticeably warmer over time. I remember aging CRTs fading relatively evenly across the gamut; are LCDs more susceptible to “yellowing with age”? If so, is it worth trying to compensate with color temperature settings at the graphics card level, or would that just introduce worse distortions?

      • RichardFairbrass says:

        Rhygadon: To be honest I don’t know whether LCDs fade differently over time compared to CRTs. My Dell definitely has a slightly yellow/gray tinge to the whites that the newer HP doesn’t have. Whether it had that tinge 5 years ago when I bought it I really can’t remember.

        Whether to compensate or not really depends on how much you need to stick to a strict colour gamut. If you do then I don’t really think any sort of graphics card calibration or other software options are going to give you even vaguely accurate results. If you only care what it looks like then I would just adjust it using whatever method is available.

        I don’t know what OS you use, but Windows 7 has monitor calibration built in. I have used this to try to match the monitors as closelty as possible. It can using different settings for multiple monitors which is great and I found Nvidia’s colour adjustment controls quite crude in comparison. AMD’s might be better but it’s been a fair few years since I had a Radeon.

    38. HexagonalBolts says:

      PLEASE do an article on motherboards! They are one of the most bewildering things out there and every single one seems to be riddled with its own pros and cons.

      • Muzman says:

        Probably not a bad idea for an article, but I reckon it’s only going to be rudimentary. That’s probably helpful to a lot of people all the same, for demystifying the terminology of bridges and chipsets and such, but you’re unlikely to get a shoot-out style comparison because the array of features makes it impossible. The differences for people other than hard core overclockers are fairly marginal too.
        Once you’ve picked your processor just pick a list of features that you want on-board and find a model from a reputable brand that includes them. This will generally do you well.

    39. JumbocactuarX27 says:

      This may be heresy considering the site I’m posting this comment on, but something I’ve always wanted for my computer monitors is an alternate input for my consoles. Especially if it’s a second monitor I’d love to be able to just plug in an SNES or Genesis or even a PS2. I’ve got something like this set up now with my Wii, but it’s incredibly hacky. Does anyone know if my dream is one of folly or if there’s a somewhat sane way to go about doing this?

      • Contrafibularity says:

        Why would that be heresy?

        Anyway I don’t know what to say other than find a monitor with a few inputs including an analog one like D-Sub and then you can convert the signal of older consoles using a simple adapter. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean by “hacky”, but otherwise you’ll need to find a monitor with “component” input (those 3 coloured cables). At least, if I remember my SNES’s and PS2 outputs correctly.

        (Can also just use ROMs, most games work in emu)

    40. Hoaxfish says:

      I’m not sure if this has been mentioned before or not, but with Windows 8 coming with major touch-screen additions, I’m waiting for it to be released to see whether the price of touch-screen monitors starts coming down (not tablets, or intergrated all-in-one screen-PCs, but like a touch-screen that plugs into a normal base PC)

    41. zipdrive says:

      My main problem with 23″ 16:9 screens is that they actually cover LESS vertical space than my aging 5:4 19″ display. I don’t want to lose that height!

      This means I have to go with a 24″ panel, but you made no recommendations on 24″ ones on the cheap, and AOC don’t have 24″ brothers to the one in the article.

    42. mzlapq says:

      Two relatively old 22″ monitors with identical panels (8-bit e-IPS) are Dell 2209WA and LG W2220P.
      I have the LG (which has annoying touch “buttons”) and like it very much.
      You may have trouble finding them in stores, they might be a bit expensive, but they are both 16:10 and 1680X1050 (which may be a con, but is easier on the GPU).

    43. Groove says:

      I rather balked when £450 was part of the mid-range conversation. I’d always thought of £300 as being a super-high price point for a monitor.

      When I bought my current monitor I spent around £220 in… mid 2005, and I thought I was well setup for the future.

      • Vinraith says:

        To me, at least, this whole thing reads a bit like audiophiles discussing speaker cables. I’m not sure I could really detect any of the supposedly substantial differences that doubling the price of the monitor would get me.

        That’s not to say that knowing about the “best” monitor in a sane price range (ie the first one) isn’t useful, though I tend to think the cheapness of the stand is likely to offset some of the more ephemeral benefits.

    44. passingtramp says:

      I would personally prefer a monitor smaller than 23″. Is it always safe to assume that the smaller-size versions of the monitors you mention are equally good? Do smaller-size versions exist?

    45. kaervin says:

      Be warned that the anti-glare coating of the Dell 27 inch model is really not for everyone.
      I bought one at first and the monitor is really awesome, but I had the feeling it was ruined by the ugly coating.
      You notice the graininess especially with moving pictures.
      After some consideration i bought the Hazro one, since it has more or less the same panel,
      and the picture is much clearer, although the monitor is in general worse.
      I sold the Dell, and kept its stand which i use for the Hazro now.
      I wish Dell would release a Glass model.

    46. ttcfcl says:

      I have a HannsG 28″. It’s usually on sale less than US$300. It’s good but obviously not as good as the Dell 30″, but it’s a 1/4 of the price. They’re so cheap I want to buy two more and make a nice multi-monitor rig :)

    47. supacoo says:

      Shame, the HP ZR24W seems great unless you want to hook up your PS3 to it. Apparently it doesn’t properly scale 1080p through the monitor, so you end up with it stretched to 16:10. How ridiculous.

      Curious if the HP ZR2440w has the same issue.

    48. S0NofGUN says:

      Bought the Asus PA246Q a while ago, and I really like it. Noticed no ghosting or input lag. 1920×1200, IPS, superb image quality, adjustable stand, many input options (dvi, hdmi, displayport, vga) and simple and stylish design. Only con:a little bit pricey for an 24″.

      • Fierce says:

        And it isn’t 120Hz, which elicits a sadface as the wallet is opened.

    49. povu says:

      I can get the AOC i2352vh at the same price as the Dell Ultrasharp U2312HM (which I had been looking at before). Is the AOC one better?

      • Jeremy Laird says:

        The Dell is typically £30 to £40 more expensive. Is has a slightly nicer looking chassis but I can’t comment on the image quality as I haven’t seen one. I doubt the difference is hugely dramatic.

      • povu says:


    50. ksudeadeye says:

      The Hazro 27″ is basically impossible to buy in the US. Here’s a couple alternatives (the author mentions the Sammy in the article):

      HP ZR2740w
      Samsung SyncMaster S27A850D

      The HP is the best deal. The Samsung isn’t much cheaper than an AppleThunderbolt Display, but the panel is supposed to be quite nice.