I've just switched to a flat monitor, or in techie speak, to TFT LCD (thin film transistor, Liquid crystal display) technology. I sit in front of a computer for around 6-7 hours at work every weekday, which means it was about time I upgraded to something that is kinder to my eyes. LCD screens have lots of benefits: * They don't emit radiation like the old CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitors * They consume about half the power of the old CRT monitors * The colours are generally more vibrant, and the text is rendered with better quality and detail. * Perhaps the most obvious advantage: they take up a lot less desk space, and since my monitor faces out into a corridor, it means it no longer bruises people when they walk past it * Less obvious, but still important: the screen size you pay for is actually the screen size that you get. What is described as a 19" screen actually has a 19" viewing area, something that didn't always apply with the old CRT screens. * And maybe the best advantage of all, LCD screens cause a lot less eye-strain. This screen doesn't flicker. There is less glare. I've actually noticed a marked drop in the amount of headaches I get at work, and that's got nothing to do with having a less stressful working environment. Which shiny new monitor to choose? I chose a Samsung SyncMaster 191T, (and then got my employers to pay for it). I like Samsung: I think they produce good quality equipment and I trust their brand. The SyncMaster 191T has a thin silver bezel (the bit that surrounds the screen) and a black base. I never actually thought I could be attracted to a monitor, but I was wrong: this fellow is quite smart, almost futuristic-looking. Going on appearance
s alone, I'd prefer the Samsung makes to the others any day. I tend to stick post-it notes to the edges of the screen, and I've had to invest in smaller ones as the bezel is really quite slight (about 2 cm). At least now the post-its don't manage to distract me from the screen itself! This is a very flexible monitor, and it offers lots of choices for positioning. I can adjust the height of the screen as well as turning it from left to right or tilting it up and down. No more getting someone to hold a monitor that weighs a ton up in the air so I can slip a book under it to get it to the right height. This one only weighs 6kg, and you don't have to pick it up to make the adjustments. If you wanted to, you could even turn the screen 90 degrees, so that you would be able to read a long document easily with less scrolling. I can choose whether I want landscape or portrait orientation (useful as I work with book documents). Basically, you can get as comfortable as you like, and still be able to see what you are doing. You can even attach it to a wall, if you feel so inclined. The clarity would have been enough alone for me to want one of these monitors. Nor more fuzzy text! The size and quality of the display is well worth paying for alone. To enable you to get the best out of it, there is the option to use either a Digital DVI video cable or an Analog one: and if you are using more than one computer, you can of course switch between the two; there is dual input, so this is all at the touch of a button. If you are in the know about this sort of thing, you'll no doubt require proof in the form of figures. How about a 500:1 contrast ratio. Or a viewing angle of almost 170 degrees? (horizontal AND vertical!) Persuaded yet? No? Let me just finish with a resolution of 1280x1024, and a pixel res
ponse of 25ms. (That means it's good for playing flashy games, and you won't get ghosting, which is what happens when your screen can't keep up with your game). The brightness is 250 nits. This monitor can display 16.7 million colours. I hope that did it for you. It worked for me! The display menu which appears on the screen has easy to use buttons on the bevel underneath the screen. I used to get tied in knots with the old monitor and go round in circles trying to get from contrast to brightness and back out again. It was a bit like being stuck in the hell that is MS-DOS when you really only understand Windows. However, this one has a "menu" button, and an "exit" button, which makes life easier. It's about as simple as it gets, and I didn't even need to open the instruction booklet which came with the box and packaging: there's nothing you can't figure out easily! Mine came with a three-year warranty (Better than I was hoping for, and I think above average). It cost around £500, and I think it's worth every penny.