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Buyers Guide: Computer monitors

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Write an opinion on how to choose the right computer monitor! No opinions about specific monitors please!

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      21.01.2013 17:56
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      Hints and tips for buying a monitor

      WHY CHANGE? (I'm assuming that no-one in 2013 is going to buy a CRT (tube) monitor. Other reviews in this sector are pretty old and still include the CRT as an option.) There are many reasons why you'd buy a new LCD (flat-screen) monitor. One of which is to accompany a new PC, either included in the overall price, or as a separate item. Or maybe your old monitor just breathed its last and a new one is now a necessity. This is how I've tended to buy monitors, i.e. alternately to my purchases of new PCs! I'm guessing that the older bulkier and more-expensive-to-run CRT (TV tube) monitors have just about seen their last days, so even those who have been able to sustain one up till now will be 'running on borrowed time' and shortly will be looking at a new monitor. Whatever, they'll have little choice but to buy a flat screen next time, however long they can make the old one last! New flat screens are far more energy-efficient than CRT screens, and many companies saw the sense of changing over in a wholesale fashion years ago, based on just electricity savings alone (plus of course the savings in desk space so they can pile more work onto you!) If you look around almost any PC store, you'll see that almost without exception, monitors are now 16:9 widescreen proportions*, rather than the older squarer 4:3, so in this respect they ape what has happened to TVs. (*except those that are even wider!) NEW CONNECTIONS Likewise, the way in which the picture is fed to them has also changed. Gone are the days when the only way was 'analog' through a VGA connector (D-shaped with 9 pins). Nowadays, there's also a digital feed usually called DVI. This is a somewhat larger plug than the HDMI socket on a digital TV, but unlike the HDMI lead, it does not carry sound signals. In all other respects it is similar, and you can even buy DVI/HDMI converter adapters quite cheaply. On the subject of sound, a handful of monitors actually contain speakers, be here again, as with panel TVs, the sound is pretty 'slim' hence most people use a separate set of speakers with their PC. Some monitors, like my AOC e2343f, have both VGA and DVI inputs, which is very useful if you are buying 'in between' buying PCs, as the day may well come when PCs only have digital video outputs at some time in the future. At the moment, most PC makers are still clinging to analog video cards, some with the addition of the DVI port so this isn't yet an issue. OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER? Well, there's screen size for one. Don't forget that the size is usually quoted in inches and that this is the diagonal dimension (as with TVs), and so a 23" wide-screen like mine will only be about as tall as a 17" in the old 4:3 format. Changing your screen from an old 4:3 to a new 16:9 is easy enough in the first instance, as a new monitor is one of the few bits of hardware that will run first time without any formal installation but until you make a few adjustments, you're going to get some slightly weird results, like photos of slim people suddenly taking on a new barrel-like quality! INSTALLING PROPERLY The problem comes because the proportions of the screen resolutions are quoted in 'dots across by dots down', not whether they are 4:3 or 16:9. For example, the old favourite VGA screen definitions of 640/480 or 800/600 are effectively 4:3, (both being a ratio of 1.33 to 1). However, using Windows as an example, you'll be confronted with choices like 1920/1080. As it happens, this is exactly the same ratio as 16:9 (1.78 to 1) and is in fact the screen resolution that I use on my 23" screen. It would be useful if the operating systems like Windows actually told you this instead of forcing you to resort to a calculator! Wide screens can bring many benefits beyond being a better showcase for movies and games. I can get two pages of a Word Document side-by-side on mine without resorting to minuscule type-size Beware not bothering with the maker's installation disk though. If they supply one, use it. For one thing it helps your PC identify the new hardware right down to its precise model number. You may be wondering, now that your monitor seems to be working just fine, why you should bother. Well, this is one of the few occasions where incorrect settings can actually DAMAGE the hardware. It's nothing to do with the screen resolution but everything to do with what's called the 'refresh rate', this being the number of frames per second that are transmitted to the monitor. Too few and you'll be conscious of screen-flicker, which is a common source of eye-strain and headaches. Too many and you run the risk of overheating the screen's electronics, with the possibility of causing it some permanent damage. Somewhere just above the eye's level of awareness is just fine, say 60Hz. If you watch a lot of action movies or war games you'll maybe want a higher rate, but beware of taking it beyond the range recommended by the screen maker. If that sounds a bit scary, just make sure you use the maker's disk and you'll be fine. WHICH TECHNOLOGY? Having made the jump to a flat screen monitor, there's in now more than one technology to look out for. The slimmest screens tend to be 'LED-lit LCD'. This method is now taking hold also in the TV market and explains why a 42" screen telly now only needs to be about 1.5" thick. Also, if you are buying a monitor 'in between PCs', you may want to get one that's touch-sensitive, so that a future PC running, says Windows 8 (or future versions) can be used to its full potential. However, if your wear out monitors faster than you do PCs, then you may want to give this aspect of 'future proofing' a miss this time round! TAILOR-MADE One last thing - do feel free to adjust the screen for a perfect fit, both physically and electronically, after all you're going to be staring at it for a long time. Screens that have to be looked up at are bad news for your neck - try watching Sky TV in a pub and you'll see what I mean. Use whatever height and tilt adjustments are available to make the centre of it just below eye-level so that a gentle downward tilt of the head is needed. With this kind of screen, it's important to make sure that you view the centre at 90 degrees to your line of sight, otherwise you may not get the full benefit of its colour definition. If you walk to one side of, or stand too far above an LCD screen you'll see the colours fade. Play with the on-screen menu until your picture is an exact fit for width and height. This is a separate exercise to setting resolutions and refresh rates, and is, in fact nothing to do with the operating system. After all, why would you pay for a 23 inch monitor and only watch 20 of them?

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        04.07.2008 20:06

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        out of date for 2008

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        01.02.2002 05:52
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        An opinion on the I. T. Works GC150AT (15" flat screen tft monitor) by Glenny My old monitor was getting a bit long in the tooth, it was a 14" Packard bell monitor that I got as part of a computer package about 5 years ago now and was starting to show it's age. For starters the screen was always Fuzzy & Blurred looking and I had to squint to make the text clear and readable, so enough was enough I decided it was time for a change, And WOW what a change. I always thought of these monitors as being outside of my budget, so whilst browsing my local comet store I was surprised to see such an amazing monitor for only £300, I know that you can get them from around £250 but the look of this one was light-years ahead, very modern & stylish and very robust looking, It looked as though it should be about £400. The edge of the screen is silver with a greenish blue strip on the bottom with good size silver buttons. So I thought why not, if it's good, it's worth it. So £300 lighter I went home to try it out, and it really is fantastic, you are best running the screen on 1024x768 resolution to get the most from it, but text is pin sharp and colours seem more natural and rich, and it doesn't bog down when playing dvd's either it is never blurred and always stay's as sharp as ever, I expect that's because it's tft. Tft means that very pixel or dot on the screen has a transistor controlling it,( so I've been told anyway). When you think of the workmanship that goes into a product like this, £300 seems little to pay. From what I can gather you are covered by a 15 month warranty, which seems a little tight fisted on I. T. Works behalf, a 3 year on-site would give more peace of mind for owners of there products, but it seems sturdy enough to last longer than that, only time will tell how well it holds up, but first impressions are good. My only gripe is that when I got it home and set it up it makes my Hp computer seem huge and I suspect will take some getting used to, but it's worth it!. This product is compatable with all MS Windows operating systems as well as macintosh, and if you ever should need to take the monitor abroad the unit has a built in power converter which automaticly selects between 100/120v or 220/240v. Top products and super quality, Five Star! Glenny

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          28.08.2001 18:50
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          Still using that 14" monitor that came with your Top of the Range DX-66 in 1995? Yes? Do you find yourself squinting at the text? Can't tell anymore whether it's your own men or the evil aliens you are currently obliterating? Might I recommend a new monitor? I said new, but I really mean, newer. A new, boxed, ooh-let's-pop-all-that-bubble-wrap monitor can cost hundreds of pounds, but have you considered buying second hand (or second user as the industry prefers it to be termed)? Many computer users are put off at the thought of a pre-used monitor - not least due to the typically 3-month-only guarantees, but bear with me, and I will try to change your mind. Earlier this year, I had to investigate the 2nd user monitor market for a magazine article I was writing. At the time I was using a tatty little 14" Smile model for all my hi-tech needs. I checked out all the companies offering massive discounts on used monitors, and discovered that there are savings to be had for the strong of heart. This is all very well, but how have they been treated in their previous life? Have they been abused? Kicked around? On the whole, no. This is the life story of a typical 2nd user monitor: In year x, an IT company invests massively in new hardware, kitting out all employees with the latest equipment. A major part of that investment is in the monitors, which not only need to be of high quality, but also meet all Health and Safety guidelines regarding radiation emission, brightness, glare and resolution. This hardware is then used routinely every day - switch on in the morning, switch off at close of play. However, in the background, this big investment is gradually being eroded by the vagaries of accounting and depreciation. One day it is decided that the hardware is now out of date and needs to be replaced, so the whole cycle begins again. Meanwhile, a great deal of older technology has to be disposed of, and so in c ome the 2nd user companies. They pick up the redundant gear, transport it to their warehouse, and begin the refurbishment procedure. Often, this could be as little as wiping the screen down and vacuuming the innards to remove accumulated gunk (the static present inside monitors attracts dust and airborne impurities). They also test the monitors to make sure that each one performs correctly. Any marks, scratches or other faults are noted, and if these are detrimental to the operation of the unit, it is scrapped. Often, a small cosmetic scratch can result in a healthy discount for the bargain hunter. So by now we have a batch of clean monitors sitting in a warehouse. The second user company usually has a block advertisement in a computer publication, such as Micro Mart. These ads always suggest phoning to check on what is currently available - this is due to the rapid turnover of stock, which is understandable, as the greater the quantity required, the greater the discount. As I said, the guarantee period is but 90 days, but from my own experience, anything that could go wrong should have already occurred. I bought the 2nd user monitor that I was reviewing, as I was mightily impressed. It cost (back at the beginning of the year) somewhere around £80 for a Zenith 17" flat square tube model. There is a slight scratch on the screen, which I can only see if looking from an angle; in normal use I don't notice it. Resolution is great, the picture is crystal clear and eye-strain is now a thing of the past... For those of us who can't afford new gear, the 2nd user option can provide a cheap route to some quality kit. Do take the obvious precautions when considering any purchase, as there are still sharks floating around in the sea of honest, decent retailers, but ultimately, "Don't fear the cheaper..."

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            18.08.2001 05:32
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            This is the monitor that I have got with my PC, please look over my advantages and disadvantages. This will help you make a good decision when purchasing a monitor. The monitor that I am very obviously looking at while typing this opinion, is the Gateway EV910 monitor that came as part of my £1400 PC package from Gateway. This monitor, (I may have only had since Christmas) has proven to me that it was certainly worth the replacement of PC. While the main differences are obvious from my CTX 15’ and my Gateway 19’ (Size); the monitor came with a whole load more of advantages that I never thought that I would have gained, and also some disadvantages. On the whole the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, thankfully. When comparing the monitor to my 3-year-old, 15 inch monitor, you will instantly notice a dramatic improvement in the picture. The colour and contrast are brilliant on this monitor, and more notable the picture is incredibly sharp. This does feel a little easier on your eyes, which maybe just me, but it just makes the PC experience so much better. Noticeably this 19-inch monitor is brilliant for games, giving you more to look at when playing. Those who have gaming consoles, like me, may have played it on you upstairs portable TV, and when the get the special chance to play it on the large downstairs, living room TV, you will notice the difference. The point is that you will certainly notice this difference if you had a smaller, older monitor before. While it may be good in a gaming environment, I can’t say in my everyday use, that it’s any better in an Microsoft Windows environment. I still use the same resolution for Windows, that being 800x600 in 32 bit colour the same as what I used on my 15 inch monitor. Everything has just been stretched; I have gained no more space as a result of the bigger monitor. Perhaps that’s not the fault of the monitor, I think I should be using 1024X768 to gain any advantage. Everything looks so odd, it’s all to small, most web pages are designed in 800X600 so they don’t appear correctly. Also as the monitor is so big, it needs a very deep desk to be able to house it; I had to re-arrange the whole room to house it. So this type of monitor has; Excellent picture qualities, (Sharp, good contrast) Excellent looking monitor (physical) A good range of functions e.g. move picture area and degauss Allows power save Reliable in my experience A 2-year warranty Problems are; Very big overall, goes back a long way on desk You may very well end up with the same resolution. A good overall monitor, very reliable, looks good, excellent picture, but takes up a large amount of desk space. **CONSIDER; a flat screen if space is a problem in your house/office**

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              13.05.2001 23:21
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              ● LAST UPDATED: 07/08/2001 ● The monitor is one of the most important and most expensive parts of your PC, both in terms of being able to use it and use it comfortably. Since you’re gonna by spending a fair bit of time staring at it while writing dooyoo opinions and reading mine (!) you will want to make sure that you get a good one. There is quite a difference between good and bad monitors, get a bad one and you could end up getting bad headaches and/or eyestrain. Not everybody realises that a monitor can have this affect – until it’s too late! There are currently two main types of computer monitor on the market, CRT and Flat panel or TFT (Thin Film Transistors/Technology) LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors are by far the most common and cheap option. Flat panels are however, much nicer, smaller but a lot lot more expensive. First then, I will deal with the CRT monitors, there is a lot to consider for this type of monitor, here are the things to consider when buying a CRT monitor... ◦◊◊◊ MONITOR SIZE / PRICE ◊◊◊◦ ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ The size of a monitor is the most important part of choosing a monitor and has the most bearing on price; here is your selection and price guide... ● 14” : £75 - £90 (£15 spread) ● 15” : £90 - £130 (£40 spread) ● 17” : £130 - £270 (£140 spread) ● 19” : £200 - £400 (£200 spread) ● 21” : £500 - £750 (£250 spread) ● 22” : £600 - £900 (£300 spread) ● 24” : silly money! (£1,250+) Forget about getting a 14”, these have been pretty much discontinued now. Come to think of it, unless you’re very hard up, don’t bother with a 15”er either. (I know, there are 101 jokes to be made there!). I would recommend either a 17” or 19”, there is a fair old price jump above that, although gamers, or graphic designers etc may want to opt for that extra bit of desktop real estate There are some things to bear in mind however when deciding on the size of monitors you want; these are... ● Actual Screen Size ● Manufacturers still insist on quoting the tube size as opposed to the actual visible screen size of a monitor, few actually quote the visible size as well – which can vary considerably. In general the viewable size of a monitor is about 1 inch less that it’s tube size, thus a 19” monitor is about 18” viewable, a 17”, 16” viewable and so on. This should be considered a good benchmark or rule of thumb, any less is bad any more is good, but and inch less than stated is fine! ● Physical Size ● The physical size of a large monitor can get very big, especially in depth so make sure you have the space to fit the monitor on your desk, and at a comfortable distance. ● Weight ● The bigger the monitor, the heavier – and believe me, they can get very heavy. Make sure your desk is strong enough to support its weight, a lot of the cheap and cheerful desks are not. ● Heat ● Monitors (CRT ones anyway) are renowned for giving off a lot of heat, and again, the bigger the monitor, the more heat it will generate. You’ll be amazed at how well this can heat up a room and in the summer this effect is even more noticeable. You can literally cook eggs on some of the larger monitors, so a well-ventilated area is best for these. As you may have noticed from the prices above, there is a fair spread in price for ea ch size monitor and that spread gets bigger, the bigger the monitor. This price difference can be explained by quality, the aspects of which I will go into in the following sections. At the end of the day, we all want the biggest we can afford and accommodate, however I would strongly advise against going for the cheaper end of each market for each sized monitor as quality really does rule of quantity (or size in this case!). ◦◊◊◊ MONITOR SCREEN TYPE ◊◊◊◦ ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ The type of screen used on a monitor is what makes for the majority of the spread in prices mentioned above, in the last section. There are basically two types of screen used in today’s CRT monitors; these are... ● Curved ● Found at the lower end of the price range, this is the old-fashioned type CRT display that, surprisingly, curves out at the corners. This makes for distortion, usually a less crisp image and glare is more of a problem. Although not necessarily a crap monitor in the sense of the other qualities described later in this opinion, a non-curved one is certainly preferable. ● Flat Screen ● Not too be confused with TFT LCD panels, flat screen CRT’s come under several different aliases (due to the manufacturers) all effectively the same thing (a flat screen!). Here’s what you find them called (note: some of these are used when referring to TFT flat panels screens too)... ▪ FST screen ▪ Trinitron ▪ DiamondTron ▪ FlatTron ▪ DynaFlat Out of these, the Trinitron (devised by Sony) is probably the best, best known and most desirable. Flat screen monitors get rid of the disadvantages of the curved screen counterparts, and offer a crisper, less distorted display with less glare. The only disadvantage is that you may notice a fine honeycomb grid across the screen. This is down to how the monitors work and you quickly find that you just don’t notice it, the advantages of a flat display far outweigh the barely noticeable mesh on the screens – honest! So, overall, a flat screen monitor is much preferred and will give a much better quality display. ◦◊◊◊ REFRESH RATES / RESOLUTION ◊◊◊◦ ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ This is another very important aspect of a good monitor, for those who don’t know, the refresh rate is the frequency in which the screen is redrawn (measured in Hz (hertz)) and the resolution is basically the amount of stuff that can be displayed on screen, basically how big your Windows desktop is (although paradoxically, things look smaller at a bigger resolution!). In all cases, the minimum refresh rate you want to provide a good flicker free display is 85Hz (some say 80Hz – ignore them!). 75Hz and you will notice slight flicker, 60Hz and you will be reaching for your sick bowl! Any more than 85Hz is good, I always like 100Hz but to be honest it doesn’t make any noticeable difference. So, in any resolution you want to run, 85Hz is the minimum – it’s the law ok! (unofficial made up law!) Here are the recommended resolutions and maximum recommended resolutions for each monitor size (those of you with bionic eyes may prefer even larger!)... ● 15” : 640x480 / 800x600 ● 17” : 800x600 / 1024x768 ● 19” : 1024x 768 / 1280x1024 ● 21” : 1280x1024 / 1600x1200 ● 22” : 1600x1200 ...therefore, you should ensure that the monitor you purchase can support these resolutions at a refresh rate of at least 85Hz. This is where paying that bit more money helps quite a lot. In general, all but the really crap monitors will support the recommended resolution at 85Hz, but a fair few drop to 75Hz at the higher recommended resolution. 75Hz really does make me feel queasy, so I really would not recommend these! The bigger the margin above 85Hz, the better! Unfortunately, it is frequently not made easy to discover this information. Looking through some ads I can see that often manufacturers either state the highest resolution possible which normally has a pants refresh rate or their own recommended resolution – which gives no hint to what other resolutions may give (oh, and often would give health and safety people a heart attack – 1600x1200 @ 78Hz on a 17” monitor, I feel sick already!!!). The one that did give good info was Taxan, unfortunately for them, it revealed that their monitor only just hit the grade! ● TIP ● You can adjust your monitors refresh rate from within Windows, this can give you an idea of what I mean about flicker, here’s how... ▪ Right click anywhere on your Windows Desktop. ▪ Select ‘Properties’. ▪ Click on the ‘Settings’ tab. ▪ Click on ‘Advanced’. ▪ Click on either ‘Adapter’ or ‘Monitor’ (varies with Windows version). You should see a list of refresh rates, ‘Optimal’ is often selected. Try setting a low refresh rate and see how much flicker you get, some monitors are worse than others! NOTE: Please consult your monitors documentation for the maximum refresh rate supported before setting a high refresh rate – although 99 % of monitors will just display a blank screen if not supported, it has been known for this to damage monitors – particularly older monitors. ◦◊◊◊ DOT PITCH ◊◊◊◦ ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ Although not amazingly important these days and it won’t make a great noticeable difference to screen quality or price, it’s still worth a quick mention. The dot pitch, sometimes referred to as aperture grille pitch is measured in mm (millimetres) and refers, basically, to the distance between each dot on the screen (more specifically, the distance between the nearest phosphor dots of the same colour – it gets complicated, check out... ◦ http://www.csf.org.uk/csf/dot-pitch/dotpit.htm ◦ ...if you really want all the details!). The smaller, the better, crisper image you’ll get. Overall, 0.24mm / 0.25mm dot pitch is a good figure to look out for, ranging up to 0.28 / 0.29 at worst. 15” monitors will frequently have higher values, although good quality ones will still be down around the 0.25mm mark. ◦◊◊◊ OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ◊◊◊◦ ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ Well, I’ve covered all the important bits of choosing a good monitor and should stress that they should be considered much more important than anything I say here. So what are the other considerations you should bear in mind when choosing a monitor... ▪ Obviously, its appearance! There a re some darn ugly monitors out there but also some really stylish ones. Beware however, style often lacks quality and feature in the computer market. ▪ Screen controls. All new monitors offer onscreen display, having a full set of controls will help adjust your monitor to perfection. ▪ Built in speakers? Many monitors offer built in speakers, these are gonna be basic tinny things (i.e. crap), but will do the job if you’re not into games or, err, music! ▪ Built in USB ports? Some of the more featured monitors boast a built in USB hub, this can be very handy if you’ve got a few USB devices (i.e. for quickly plugging in digital cameras etc). ▪ Warranty! Monitors very rarely go wrong, testimony to this is the fact that most manufacturers offer a generous 3-year onsite warranty, you don’t wanna RTB (Return To Base) warranty with a huge great monitor! Worth checking for, particularly for larger screens. ▪ A small, but good point is: does the monitor have a separate cable (the one that plugs from the monitor to computer)? If anything is going to go wrong with a monitor, 8 times out of 10 it's because of a dodgy cable. If the monitor cable is built directly into the monitor – you’re stuffed, otherwise you can go buy another one and problem is solved! You will see countless other pretty pointless statements with the monitor advertising. Examples are plug and play compatible – all new monitors are! TCO99/95 standard (safety and efficiency standards), PC and Mac compatible. None of these things make any difference to the monitor in general! ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ Well, that’s CRT monitors done and dusted! And there you were thinking, I’ll just go and buy a new monitor, erm, that ones looks nice. And now I’ve just complicated things a whole lot! Still, at least you’re gonna end up with a decent monitor now – providing you’ve taken all this onboard! Next up, Flat panel or TFT LCD monitors! Don’t worry, this bit is gonna be a lot briefer – honest! Here goes... ◦◊◊◊ MONITOR SIZE / PRICE ◊◊◊◦ ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ TFT screen prices are a bit silly and on a rather exponential scale. That said, they have dropped dramatically in the last few months, particularly for the 15” size. The reason for such high prices over traditional monitors is due to the failure rate of manufacturer, screens often end up with ‘dead pixels’ (i.e. dots that do not light up), if too many pixels are ‘dead’, the whole screen has too be chucked away. The bigger the screen, the more chance of ‘dead pixels’ and the higher the failure rate and it’s this that the higher prices compensate (along with the desirability factor). As manufacturing processes improve and demand increases the failure rate and thus price should drop, as they have done so recently. Here’s a price guide, although prices are liable to vary considerably over time... ● 15” : £350 - £700 (£350 spread) ● 17” : £700 - £1,200 (£500 spread) ● 18” : £1,200 - £2,100 (£900 spread) ● 21/22” : £3,000 - £5,000 (£2,000 spread) If you’ve just fainted, I do apologise! As you can see, unless you’re very wealthy, 15” is the only real option – and even that ’s a bit expensive! If you do have the cash for the bigger screens consider researching into projector and plasma displays too as these fall into this kind of price range. Here are the things to consider when you go to purchase one of these stylish sexy status symbols... ▪ Fixed Resolution ▪ Flat panel TFT LCD screens have a pre-defined fixed resolution, 1024x768 for a 15” model. Although the vast majority of new models have the options to stretch or shrink different resolutions to fit, it will never have the same quality. ▪ Ghosting ▪ Although getting much better, all flat panel displays suffer from ghosting due to the slower redraw speed of LCDs (i.e. similar to enabling mouse trails in Windows). This makes for poor video / gaming performance. ▪ Digital vs Analogue Input ▪ Digital input is better, but is not much use if your graphics card does not provide digital output (most do not), so check before you buy! ▪ Viewing Angle ▪ Has been a problem for years with flat LCD screens, you ideally have to be looking straight at the screen or the image will fade away until invisible! A wide viewing angle will help, so look for something around 120˚ to 140˚ if possible, the more the better! ▪ Viewing Size ▪ Although, less of a problem with TFT screens, the viewable size does vary slightly. The good news is that, the actual size is correctly stated unlike with most CRT type monitors. Look out for 15.1”, 17.4”, 18.1” as these are the most common slightly bigger versions! ▪ ‘Dead’ Pixels ▪ As mentioned before, LCDs often have the odd ‘dead’ pixel, the manufacturer’s determine how many can be and where on the screen before the panel is discarded – and they write this into the warranty. This being, it not uncommon for a new panel to have the odd ‘dead’ pixel somewhere. If one appears and it’s very close to the edge then it’s unlikely to be covered under warranty so you won’t be able to claim that it’s faulty – even though it may well be irritating to you! Try and see it up and running before you buy to minimize this risk. ▪ Other Features ▪ As with the CRT monitors, look out for built in speakers and other extras, auto adjusting screens and digital smoothing functions. A swivel stand is very hand on this type of monitors given the restricted viewing angle. Make sure you get a good warranty too, onsite if at all possible! ◦——————————& #8212;——————————̵ 2;———————◦ Well that’s me all done on flat panels too, if anyone wants to donate one to me, feel free! If you have the money, get a Sony monitor – they are top notch. Avoid makes like Belina and LG – they are not so good. Good luck with choosing your new monitor! Well, I appear to have run out of stuff to say now (oi – I heard that!), so it’s time to bring this opinion to a close. I hope it’s proved of use to you (‘very useful’ I hope!), feel free to leave any comments. I’ve taken note of previous comments about the layout and hopefully this is getting near perfection now!?! Cheers, Tobes (© 2001).

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                11.12.2000 15:55
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                If your building your own computer up then price is probably the most crucial thing to consider. For this reason you may decide to go for a second user monitor instead of brand new as it could cut as much as half the price off. These days there are loads of places that sell off old company computers that have been sold because of upgrading or even because of bankruptcy. The common models range from 14" - 17" with prices between £30 and £90. I recently baught a 15" DELL digital ultrascan monitor for £60 and when I was looking around the other brands were things like Compaq and Eizo. Digital refers to the controls and they have buttons instead of normal analouge controls. They offer good value for money but should be fully checked out before purchasing. New monitors offer as much as three years warranty and sometimes this is still intact on the used models. For a good selection of monitors try looking in the music papers

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