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Shopping for a New Monitor?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the for-the-discriminating-consumer dept.

Displays 653

Cecil asks: "Well, I've looked through the reviews and found several good displays. The problem is that quality can vary drastically from unit to unit. Just because the reviewer got a good screen doesn't mean you will. A lot of people say that it's a bad idea to buy a display device sight-unseen and from experience I have to agree. There are the big chain stores that will have monitors on display, but they will typically only have the 'value' models. So, what is your monitor buying process? What do you do to make sure you get the sort of high-quality display that'll last you through the next couple hardware upgrades?"

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Shopping for a new first post? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707600)


Shopping for a penal pump? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707712)

Dear Slashdot:

I'm looking for a penis pump that will make my schlong look as big as Michael Jackson's. Does that exist?

frist post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707604)

sry.. life long dream

Re:frist post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707618)

you missed (second).

Don't ask me why I was watching.

I want a roll up monitor (-1, Flamebait)

nycheetah (172069) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707606)

Then I can use it in all of those inconvient places with my roll up computer!

Screen Flavors (1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707681)

I like to lick the front of each monitor I am considering and take careful notes. I then compare and contrast between the subtle and not so subtle taste variations. After wieghing the choices carefully I am confident in making the right choice.

- Manny Tor Tater

Re:I want a roll up monitor (2, Interesting)

Goldfinger7400 (630228) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707717)

Not too far off from this, I've seen rollup LCDs the size and weight of a sheet of paper. Granted, they're black and white with a terrible refresh rate, but technology like this exists and would be incredibly cool if further developed. Unfortunately, the developers of this say that their funding has dried up.


The simple way WAS (I want a roll up monitor) (5, Interesting)

segoy (641704) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707773)

The only way to purchase a monitor:

1) Find a store that has a policy that will allow you to bring it back.
2) Pick up what you're salivating over in the store.
3) Take home: word process, hack, frag, or whatever floats your boat.
4) Repeat as necessary for n - 5 days (where n is the length of time you have to return it). I say minus five since I always miss the date by a day or two.
5) If you are in love with the monitor, keep it. Otherwise, take it back, chose another monitor.
6) Lather, rinse, repeat.

I did that at Fry's when I was looking for a new LCD monitor. I purchased something that looked great (and the salesperson said rocked) at the store, but when I brought it home- ugh.

I took it back and picked up a 16" Sony LCD. Zero defective pixels. Excellent res and definition. Zero regrets.

Go to lan parties (3, Informative)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707607)

Ok, it might not be a good general solution, but that's where I saw the totally boss Samsung 171P, and thus that was the next monitor I bought.

And yes, I did just use the phrase "totally boss". Deal with it.

Re:Go to lan parties (1)

macrom (537566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707730)

And yes, I did just use the phrase "totally boss". Deal with it.

It's all good, even Anakin Skywalker uses the phrase. []

Re:Go to lan parties (1)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707790)

I was under the impression that LCDs sucked for fast motion video like an FPS (Quake). Is this not the case anymore?

Fdf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707612)

yeah, i recently bought a terrible accusync. never buy accusync

Depends on Your Price Range (4, Informative)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707615)

Well you didn't really mention your price range but if you're looking for a good monitor that will last, expect to pay atleast $250. I made the mistake of buying a monitor (KDS) from a major nationwide retailer (Wal-Mart) only to have it crap out on me 7 months later, one month after the warranty expired.

That brings me to another good point, make sure the monitor has a good warranty so that if something does happen to it, you can get it fixed for next to nothing.

Re:Depends on Your Price Range (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707688)

Doesn't KDS normally provide a three-year warranty? In fact, I thought most monitor manufacturers did. Even the cruddy companies that go out of business after only two years will offer a three year warranty.

Re:Depends on Your Price Range (1)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707723)

They did until the supposedly switched to the Visual Sensations line, or atleast that's what the nice person at KDS Customer Service told me. They "offered" for me to send it in at my cost, pay to have it fixed (labor and parts) and then ship it back at my cost. About $120 altogether(the monitor originally cost $180) so I said "f--k it" and used the wonderful 14" CTX I had in my closet.

Re:Depends on Your Price Range (2, Insightful)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707707)


I spent around $US900 equivalent for my monitor in 1997, and I'm still using it. Sure, it's gotten a bit darker, but otherwise it's just as good as the day I hooked it up.

Really, a decent monitor should outlast any other component in your system.

Re:Depends on Your Price Range (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707732)

I also bought two KDS 19" from WalMart.

They were ~420 for the both of them. One was extremely blurry. I returned it. Been using them and loveing them for about 8 months now.

I suppose you could pull a little scamage on them and KDS would bite the bullet - just go up there buy a new one, then take the crappped out one back and say "THIS THING DOESN'T WORK, I WANT MY MONEY BACK."

You aren't technically lying because you didn't say you bought the defective unit 7 months ago. =p

Just an idea.

Re:Depends on Your Price Range (1)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707753)

Funny you mention that as I had one of my friend's do that with his 17" KDS LCD screen that went out after only 2 months. They took it back even without the box, though they seemed a bit suspicious.(This was at Wal-Mart IIRC)

From my experience, KDS doesn't seem to make the most reliable monitors but on the rare occaision that you get one that works, they work great. Especially for the cost.

Re:Depends on (more than) Your Price Range (2, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707752)

Cost isn't always a good indication. I bought an overpriced MAG monitor, only to have it start crapping out before the warranty ran out, then start working fine again. I figured it was a waste to spend a foutune to ship it to them only to have it returned saying that they could find no problem. Sure enough, a month after the warranty died, so did the monitor.

Since then I've run into several other people who have had early deaths of MAG monitors, one good friend lost three before he learned. He did send in two for rapairs, paid more than they were worth for shipping, and still ended up with dead monitors shortly after the end of the warranty period.

I switched to Viewsonic and haven't regretted it.

You can't judge quality just by how much you pay.

ugha first? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707616)

first post woo hooo ya haa

USA FUCK OFF (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707617)

Your government are fascists.

Re:USA FRENCH OFF (-1, Offtopic)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707680)

Would you rather we re-instate Saddam? Then you, Coward, are the enemy of the Iraqi people.

Deal with the facts.

Re:USA FRENCH OFF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707693)

Did I mention anything about Iraq? I'm talking about the Patriot Act and soon to be Patriot 2 Act. You are a brainwashed idiot.

Buy from reputable sources (5, Informative)

dtolton (162216) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707620)

Being a programmer I spend a lot of time staring at the screen. As a
result I spend a lot of time making sure I have the proper setup.
The monitor is typically the most expensive single component on any
computer setup I get. However it also has the most longevity, so
it's very imporant to get it right.

My favorite monitors are the View Sonic series. It's possible there
are better monitors out there, but I am incredibly hesitant to switch
from a brand that I know very well and trust implicitly. I now own
my seventh ViewSonic (multiple computers) and I've had a good
experience every time except once. On the most recent setup I have
two computers on a monitor switch, on one of the computers the
letters were slightly blurry. It was very apparent because the
letters were crisp on the other computer. Getting a new video card
fixed the problem.

In short here is my advice:

- Buy a brand well known for quality
- Buy from a store with a good reputation
- Go for good resolution and high refresh rate
- Pick a video card that is compatible with your monitor
- Talk extensively with people who have experience with the brand
you are considering.

Re:Buy from reputable sources (-1)

Slashdotess (605550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707676)

"Pick a video card that is compatible with your monitor" Impossible these days

Re:Buy from reputable sources (1)

antiMStroll (664213) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707742)

Getting a new video card fixed the problem.

Which highlights an important point, without knowing the hardware, and possibly video drivers, of the computer an in-store demo might be of no value at all in judging a monitor. The only safe bet is a money back return agreement.

Re:Buy from reputable sources (4, Funny)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707764)

Out of curiousity, do you truncate all your lines to 80 characters because you have a 15" monitor? ;-)

IIyama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707621)

IIyama's are pretty good, imho. Pretty good value, too!

Internet, then store, then internet (5, Insightful)

daevux (626542) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707624)

I do a lot of internet research first then I goto the store. Unfortunately, the store's don't do a good job of showing you the real quality of the monitors. My current monitor (Viewsonic VX900), which I bought sight-unseen, is incredible. The same one at stores doesnt look as good. Know your specs, read user reviews, and then goto the store.

i've only had 4 monitors in the past 12 years (1, Interesting)

stuph (664902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707627)

and the first 2 i had no real choice about the other 2.. well, i just really read reviews, found a price/performance point that worked for me, shopped around online for the best deal, and dove in feet first.. as long as the company had a good return policy.. with the price difference between local and online being over 100$ for the 19" monitors i've had, it was worth taking the chance to save the extra money.. plus, these days, monitor technology's getting so much better and so much cheaper, it's not as much of a crapshoot to buy 19" and 21" displays as it was say, 3-5 years ago when i bought my first one...

Quality Control isn't that bad.. (1)

sQuEeDeN (565589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707628)

I've found that, I hope, most manufacturers have a fairly stringent quality control process. (Not to say there arent a few bad ones out there.) I mean, a monitor is big and all, but as long as you get a new one with a warranty it shouldn't be a problem.

As long as you stick with a major manufacturer, you are probably safe. Of course, you still have to see the monitor in action, that is the most important part. However, I don't think you need to insist upon walking away with the display model. If the store one looks good, there is little chance the one in your box will look any worse.

If this really is a major investment, ask for a Satisfaction-Guaranteed sticker. That way, if it isn't perfect, you can still get your money back. I don't think this is an issue tho.

You could go for refurb/used and see before buying (4, Interesting)

jbridges (70118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707629)

I shop at a local clone/junk store that sells tons of refurbished monitors. They are hooked up so you can look at them. Generally the large brand name (like NEC) monitors seem to hold up well.

Maybe not as sharp or flat as some newer monitors, but they seem to last forever and are relatively cheap (less than a new noname piece of junk).

Re:You could go for refurb/used and see before buy (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707724)

Thats where I get my 21" inch monitors. I tend to go with the cheap ones (sub $200), but they tend to develop problems after a couple of years. One of mine has a spot that tends to be redder than the rest of the monitor and the other stopped doing 800x600 resolution but works fine in other video modes. I'm thinking of spending $350-$400 for the next monitor and having it last a while because I need higher than 1600x1200 resolution anyway. My friends who shell out that kind of money for a monitor tend not to have problems. Of course its easy for me to live with crappy off color monitors cause I mostly need them for slashdot, which looks ugly regardless of monitor, and coding. Every once in a while I'll get into playing doom lan games, but even with all the High res and open GL mods for it its still pretty ugly.

Word of mouth. (1)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707630)

It is still one of the best ways to shop for just about anything. I apply to this to computers and other products alike. Brose around the web and find real user testemonials, ask friends and co-workers, so on. Then once I narrow the choices down based on all of that I check it out in person.

Look out for cheap flat panels. (4, Insightful)

Deal-a-Neil (166508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707634)

My buddy has a flat panel that is huge (from Gateway) -- but the text/fonts look like an Atari 2600. Look for a wicked dot pitch, and if you're store shopping, crack open a word processor or command prompt, and look at the quality of the plain text fonts. With monitors, you always get what you pay for. And I agree -- you have to see it in person. And lastly, from this non-expert, I recommend that you look for dead pixels when you take it home. Download a shareware dead pixel detector, and look for those dead pixels on the LCD. (assuming you're picking up an LCD/flat-panel) If there are a lot, take it back for another.

Re:Look out for cheap flat panels. (1)

bigox (158657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707656)

And don't just look at one part of the screen. I've had trouble getting some screens to look good over the entire display. It's easy to overoptimize the settings for just one corner.

Re:Look out for cheap flat panels. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707782)

An LCD is a fixed matrix display and they have a native/optimal resolution. The only time I've ever seen an LCD with text that looks "like an Atari 2600" is if the LCD is not in the proper resolution. If the LCD is not in the proper resolution then interpolation will occur as there is no longer a 1-to-1 relationship between the output pixels and the pixels displayed on the LCD.

Maybe his LCD really is a POS but I've never seen one that is set up properly look that bad.

Otherwise, all valid points.

ask slashdot: shopping for a new butt-plug? (-1, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707635)

good fucking god!

stick with an time tested one (1)

trmj (579410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707637)

I personally am using the same monitor from 5 years ago. It's 15", 800x600, but works great and displays color beautifully.

The model is MV400. If you can still find one, get it as a backup if your main monitor dies. I have a spare myself, new in the unopened box.

(hint: look for one at staples, they were $30 when I got my spare)

Re:stick with an time tested one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707677)

you left your spare new in an unopened box? Won't it me funny when you take it out one day and find out it was DOA.

Re:stick with an time tested one (1)

someguy456 (607900) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707684)

What brand is it? You only included a model number. My old computer (also my first one) had a Compaq MV400, and the quality is still great. (And the JBL speakers weren't bad either). I'm guessing yours is a Compaq?

Re:stick with an time tested one (1)

trmj (579410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707728)

Yeah, I noticed i forgot brand after I posted. I even used preview. Oh well, can't have coherent thoughts all the time.

As for the speakers, I have long since upgraded to the Logitech (Labtec at the time) Z-340 2.1 speaker set. Much better than the originals.

Re:stick with an time tested one (1)

1000101 (584896) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707763)

you forgot the brand again. sheesh. lay off the weed man.

Spend the $$$ (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707638)

Spend the bucks and buy something higher up in the food chain. You don't get quality from the bottom end of product lines from any company.

Get the best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707640)

buy Apple.

hmm (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707641)

I usually buy the cheapest name brand I can.

Dude... (1, Funny)

rantou (138299) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707642)

Smoke pot and buy a Dell!

Watch out it leads to hard drugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707748)

such as a HP or Compaq. Watch out.

returns (1)

theraccoon (592935) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707643)

Firstly, I've found most online vendors, like Amazon or CDW or other online vendors, will accept a return, and even pay for the shipping if the item is damaged or unusable. Just check their return policy before busting out your CC. Secondly, I like to scope out the selection at "real" stores, poke at it, play with it, abuse it, and then find a deal online. Sure, shippings a bitch, but you save on the tax (and, Amazon does free shipping!). I haven't been monitor shopping in a while, so I don't have any monitor-specific advise. Me? I'm in the market for a digital camera and a 12" PowerBook. Yum.

Good place I know (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707645)

Sells what could be considered "Factory Reject" monitors that are actually fully functional, but the companies just wouldn't send out to sit on the shelves.

From their FAQ:

"Grade A - Monitor is in Great Condition

Has slight Cosmetic Blemishes, examples of which are (but not limited to):

Slight Scratches in case"

That's the grade you want obviously.

I got the IBM P202, 21" monitor, $225. Works beautifully.

Re:Good place I know (1)

olorin42 (251806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707739)

I would have to second this. I have bought two Dell P1110 21" Displays from them and they have both been delivered on time without any problems. I am very impressed with the displays, and the two of them together cost me less than one would new.

Advice (2, Funny)

mesach (191869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707649)

"What do you do to make sure you get the sort of high-quality display that'll last you through the next couple hardware upgrades"

Do lots of research, then goto Fry's and BYPASS EVERY EMPLOYEE IN THE BUILDING to get the monitor you want, not what some halfwit will tell you is good, then when you are thouroughly FED UP, Leave and goto BestBuy and repeat until you are exhausted and there are no more big electronics stores left, then go home Post an Ask Slashdot, and get the same mumbo jumbo from everyone here but they tell you it must be linux compatable.

Then by that time you should be thouroughly experienced in what is the best piece of HW to buy.

This started out trying to be funny, but alas I think I ended up trolling, its late, I don't have a job so my mind isnt sharp, and I dont have the constant supply of caffiene that I used to. Leave me alone.

Re:Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707674)

*makes a proper coffee for you*

we all have one of those days.

What's worked for me (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707650)

Is always buying Apple displays. I've had one dud one in 13 years, and it was replaced. The result was an excellent monitor all the same.

Doesn't work for everyone, but I spend all my computer time looking at the thing, I'm willing to spend a lot on the device. Don't skimp on cheapo, budget, or even midrange brands.

Katie Couric: Saddam Lover? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707653)

COURIC: Mik, we only have a few seconds left. But quickly, anymore information about Saddam Hussein's fate?

MIKLASZEWSKI: Not at all. Wild speculation. But U.S. officials insist they still don't know what happened when--after they bombed that site in western Baghdad earlier this week.

COURIC: So they haven't been able to confirm reports he was taken to Tikrit, and then Mosul, and then hopefully to Syria.

MIKLASZEWSKI: That--that's very unlikely considering the kind of U.S. forces that are arrayed up there.

COURIC: OK, Mik. Thanks. [End of Excerpt]

Hmmm.. So either KAtie couric hopes Saddam Hussein made it out of Iraq safely, or she's hoping the US will be "liberating" Syria next.

Trinitron (5, Informative)

Door-opening Fascist (534466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707657)

Get a Trinitron. They're pricey, but you won't regret it. They're brighter than regular monitors, as sharp as LCD screens, have excellent color and long life. The new ones have a special screen that is externally flat, but internally concave. This reduces glare but prevents the annoying edge distortion of normal flat CRT monitors.

Sony has an interesting description of Trinitron technology here [] .

If you're not adverse to looking on eBay [] , you can find some good deals there. Remember that many Dell, Sun, IBM, and SGI monitors are actually relabelled Trinitrons, so don't forget to check on them as well.

Re:Trinitron (1)

gricholson75 (563000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707729)

Ditto. I own a 19' Trinitron, and it's great. Also, on the reliability front, this one has been on about 16 hours a day for the past 2 1/2 years with no problems.

Re:Trinitron (1)

pogle (71293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707793)

I got a 19" as well when my old 17" Trinitron finally died. The 17" lasted 7 years in my possession, and before that was an office monitor at a naval base for who knows how many years (its an ancient Mac trinitron I converted to PC). The 19" Trinitrons are simply amazing, and better overall than any LCD I've ever seen (sharp, doesnt ghost, high res, and keeps a nice 75MHz refresh rate even at high res). Got mine at for $280, free shipping, arrived 3 days after I ordered...been 6months so far with nary a problem.

Re:Trinitron (1)

spanky1 (635767) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707738)

Yes, Trinitron monitors do indeed rule. That was all I used for many years. But I disagree with you on the "sharp as LCD screens" bit. I have now switched to two Sony 18" LCDs using DVI and they are noticably sharper than my previous Trinitron monitor. Plus it weighs a heck of a lot less, uses less power, and I don't have electron guns aimed at my face.

Of course, it isn't great for non-native resolutions. I need to upgrade to a dual DVI Radeon 9800 so I can run all my games at 1280x1024. :-)

Samsung and NEC know what they're doing (5, Insightful)

gnatware (138810) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707658)

These guys have been churning out great value for CRT and LCD monitors for many years now--why bother going elsewhere? They supply a vast range of sizes, prices and features, so you can easily pick the one that fits your (analog|DVI|flat|CRT|15|17|19|20|21) profile.

Reviews and good brand names help (1)

Neologic (48268) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707661)

then cross your fingers....

Since the monitor is what you stare at all day long, it is worth it to get spend good money to get quality.

A few months ago, I got a new 19 inch Samsung SyncMaster 957mb and have been more than happy with it. When I got it, I could not find any reviews of it, but I had previously purchased an older version (I think the 950) based on good reviews and was quite happy with that as well.

The things I looked for was size- 19 inches was right for my price range and a good overall size. Resolution- could it display the resolution I wanted AND at a refresh that was satisfactory, i.e. at least 80 Hz? Sharpness and vividness of colour are important to me, but unfortunately, you can't really ever get a good chance to inspect these before buying, which is why I pay attention to reviews from reputable and trustworthy sources.

The questioner is quite right in pointing out that quality can vary from unit to unit, that is why, no matter what monitor you get, buy it from a store that has a good return policy.

I'm so out of touch (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707664)

I can't even imagine shopping for a monitor--except attached to the mobile device I'm using. LCD's big (Toshiba) and small (Zaurus) are my fare. When I have to use a monitor it's only temporary and I hate it anyway. I bet there are more and more like me...

Viewsonic used to be good but..... (5, Insightful)

Dark Bard (627623) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707666)

I used to be a big Viewsonic fan. One of the best for the money but I had to replace one recently and got what should have been the new model of my previous monitor which I loved. It's the A90f. The first one I brought home I assumed was defective. The bottom of the screen has a nasty upward curve on the sides, no way to adjust that on the monitor. The other annoying problem is the image drifts. At times the toolbar would completely disappears. I've had to shrink the size of the screen to allow for that. I returned the first one and found I had exactly the same problems on the new one. Personally the next time around I will go flat screen. The color depth is much better now and I would assume they are more problem free. Not sure who to recommend for CRT monitors. Seems like everyone got so obsessed with making them cheaper the quality has suffered.

Re:Viewsonic used to be good but..... (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707719)

I used to be a big Viewsonic fan.

Me too. I'm typing this while looking at an eight-year-old Viewsonic 20G. Upstairs I have a Viewsonic PF790, which is a refurbished replacement for the original that completely blew out on me; and the refurb they sent has a red tint on the left side of the screen (so I don't think much of their support either.) Given the shipping cost, I didn't send that back too. :-(

Apparently they don't make 'em like they used to -- and monitors are something I would actually hang onto for a while.

Monitors vs. Projectors (1)

Natchswing (588534) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707668)

If you have the space, spread out with a projector. At home I use an Infocus projector. It doesn't have an absolute resolution but it doubles as a multi-media center quite nicely.

For serious work with limited space you need the 3840x1000 resolution. At work I have a pair of Sony GDM-FW900 [] monitors. Great resolution, crisp imagines, easy on the eyes. Beautiful

Buying an LCD? (4, Insightful)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707671)

Explain to the sales droid that LCD displays can have dead [or permanently alive] pixels. It probably won't know that knackered pixels are expected, but the vast majority of displays are perfect, so there's no harm in making sure you get a perfect one.

Unpack the display and plug it into a PC in the store. Now you need to check both a completely white screen and a completely black screen - because knackered pixels can be knackered either always on or always off.

To check always off, fire up Internet Explorer, go to "about:blank" and press F11 (full screen). This will give you a page full of white. Scan the page closely looking for "always off" dead pixels.

Then, to test for always on pixels, right click on the desktop and go to screen saver. Select "Blank" and then "Preview". Again, scan the blank screen and this time look for "always on" pixels - although these are much easier to spot!

Re:Buying an LCD? (2, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707725)

Be aware that it's possible for only one of the three primary colors to be dead, so it's always a good idea to check with a completely red/green/blue display as well as black and white. This makes it a lot easier to notice.

CRT vs LCD (5, Interesting)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707679)

My question is how long can an LCD be expected to last? I have a Compaq 17" monitor from 95 (8 years old) and it still works fine. I wonder though if I could expect that from a 19" LCD screen? For the price I would pay for one I would hope it would.

Re:CRT vs LCD (2, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707743)

If you keep your LCD on for extended periods of time, you'll probably find that the flourescent tubes around the edge of the screen start to get darker after a couple of years.

Most manufacturers are willing to replace these (for a fee, of course).

Re:CRT vs LCD (4, Informative)

tezzer (558085) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707761)

Don't expect an LCD to last more than a few weeks past the end of the warranty (12 months?). I'm staring at a 1-pixel vertical green line and a 1 pixel vertical red line near the right third of my lcd, crapped out 2 months after the waranty. I went to the tech at the local Best Buy and he took me in back and showed me a half dozen others with similar dead lines. His comment? "Buy the extended warranty, then you'll get a free replacement in a year."

OTOH, the green and red lines only show up for certain color values, so it's not all that distracting. Sucks for games though, can't tune them out.

Veiwsonic (1)

Trashman (3003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707682)

For me it's Display Size, refresh rate and a Good Warranty (you want at least 3yrs.) Plus I wanted an easy to reach USB hub. I paid a good chunk of Change for my 19" Viewsonic PT795 []
back in 1998. I've Coupled this with a Matrox G400Max and the Display is Comparable to anything with a Trinitron tube.

Bigger is better. (1)

NetDrain (167337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707687)

As a programmer and photographer, color/brightness/real estate are extremely important. Your monitor will last longer than your desktop in terms of obsolescence. Buy it once and use it for years and years, and you'll appreciate every minute of it.

Buy a name brand with a good warranty. You -don't- want it crapping out on you. Shipping the large CRTs back to the manufacturer is a huge pain in the ass (seventy pounds of pain, even), but if you have to, you want a reputable company. Samsung, Viewsonic, and Sony are some good companies, to name a few.

A very high refresh-rate is also important. When you're staring at the screen for 10+ hours on a hacking/photo-editing binge, you don't want your eyes to bleed due to bad refresh rates (especially in a room that isn't well lit).

Finally, don't go to some big computer store chain. Go to a local business where there will be salesmen who both know what they're talking about and have a passion for the subject. Furthermore, if they're small, they'll be more likely to allow you to test one of the models before purchasing so you can go over every square inch of the screen looking for defects.

Specifically, bring a jeweler's loop (or a photographer's loop -- they're the same. A mini, high-res magnifying glass) and scour the screen. Open a white text document full-screen and look for anything out of the norm. Dark colours in the corners, random dark pixels, and even tiny bubbles in the glass. I've seen it all.

Finally, good luck.

Wank and spank (-1, Offtopic)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707689)

How do i buy a monitor?

What mouse do you use?

What keyboard do you like best?

I know the MS Naturals are the best but they are teh momopowy so I wanna open source one.

Bleh. If theres nothing to post, dont post. The world will survive slashdot not updating every 5 minutes.

Re:Wank and spank (1, Insightful)

cranos (592602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707735)

I'm sorry you seem to have stumbled across a geek site rather than the brain dead "I live in a real fancy trailer hyuck hyuck" site you were looking for.

Funnily enough we are geeks and tech questions, whether they are about the latest and greatest or simple things like whats the best way to source a good cheap monitor.

Please hand in your pocket protector on your way out.

Yep, it's tough. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707690)

Keep in mind that stores often use a splitter of some kind to display the same image on many monitors from one computer. This just has the effect that they all look bad, and you can't tell much about any of them.

I buy sight unseen, but then I'm picky. If you can't buy from a local store that is easy to return to, then go with a brand that stands behind their quality claims. I currently own an NEC FE950+. The first one I got (via a web order) had bad geometry. NEC cross-shipped me a new monitor and sent me a voucher for the return shipment of the rejected unit. Pretty hard to beat that kind of service. Good luck!

Oh, I also love ViewSonic and was loathe to switch, just like an above poster. I thought the NEC would be better quality... I'm not disappointed with it -- it's a great monitor -- but it's no better, and was a bit pricier. Next time I will probably return to a ViewSonic.

I am not blind (1)

billh (85947) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707695)

I am not blind, partially because I spent far more than I could afford on the best monitor that money could buy about 8 years ago. The NEC XP21. High refresh rates, durability of a mule. The monitor is a little dim now, and falling out of focus, but it did pretty well for being on most of the time. I spent a good bit on a video card at the time, too. The refresh rate was worth the cost.

Don't go cheap on the monitor. You will look at it whenever your computer is on. Your computer might get tweaked, changed, upgraded, but your monitor will remain the same. Spend more on this component than the rest of your system put together.

If I were buying now? Probably the widescreen Mac display. I would prefer to wait for the next generation, but that Mac display is much cheaper than my XP21 was.

Apple or Trinitron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707698)

If you can't afford a good LCD, go for a nice Trinitron. Otherwise, Apple has the best displays I've seen. Even if you're not using a Mac you can get a converter to use it on a PC.

Fatwallet or Anandtech (4, Informative)

mesach (191869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707700)

Look at Fatwallet's [] or Anandtech's [] Hot Deals Forums for LCD's...

I always find Screamin deals on LCD's there, I bought 3 Dell 1900FP's Just before X-mas for $1300, Dell was running a Buy 2 get one free deal, and I couldnt pass it up the LCD's are GREAT

Check Linux Support (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707702)

I own a Mag v800 and its a great low cost 19 inch monitor. However my refresh rate in X sucks bigtime. Yes I entered the proper vertical and horizontal frequences from the manual but I can not get above 77hz in X. In Windows I use 100hz. I get headaches after several hours of using Linux or FreeBSD as a result.

Find out which monitors come bundled with penguin computers or Dells that come with Linux. Sony is a good brand that is well used.

My monitor shopping process (1)

Scumbag Tracker (650383) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707708)

I decide that I want a monitor, decide that I need it _NOW_, march to my local Bic Camera store, look for a 17" LCD in my price range, put it on my credit card, and carry it home. I am an unabashed impulse shopper; welcome to my life.

Dude, don't make this complicated. (2, Insightful)

Courageous (228506) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707714)

Buy from a small local shop. Call around. Tell them that you're particular about monitors, particularly fuzzy ones, and you'll buy from them if they'll let you connect the very unit you want to buy to your computer and video card right in the store. All of the small shops will say "no problem."

--Also Very Picky About Monitors

Monitor Buying (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707715)

I've bought only CRTs recently, all of them at a used monitor store. The store usually sends a rep to the local computer show (MarketPro being the one in my area). 17" monitors can be had for about $50-$60.

They tend to be bigger and draw slightly more power than a new model but it would take over two years of usage to make up for the difference in cost. You do get to see the display on the same monitor you'll be buying, so there's no danger of the display model being better than the boxed ones. What you see is what you'll get.

Try running the monitor at the resolution and scan rate that your card supports. A game may look wonderful at 800x600 but text may be absolutely crappy. The same for pictures. Lots of stores put some pretty pictures of flowers on the screen; they look very detailed but have very little contrast and brightness is difficult to gauge. Definitely try opening a word processing document or something that will highlight the contrasts. & Dell (3, Informative)

mackman (19286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707722)

Both I and a coworker have kept an eye on and waited for an opportunity to pick up a top-quality Dell LCD display for $500. You can get a 17" (1702FP) or 18.1" (1800FP) for about $480, both 1280x1024 with a 500:1 contrast on the 17" and 300:1 on the 18". DVI and VGA.

Buy SONY (0)

McNeany (596903) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707726)

I'm using a 20" Silicon Graphics GDM-20E21 monitor that I resurected from beside a dumpster where I live. Granted, it didn't work when I scavanged it... but 80$ woth of ic's later and I had a totally boss monitor for basically free. Also note that upon opening it up I realized that it really was just a sony monitor underneath. _Exactly_ the same schematic as the sony GDM-20.

Personally I strongly believe that Sony monitors are one of the best/affordable monitors on the market. They have had their trinitron series out and about since Noah floated his ark. They are tried and true. If one should break (they rarely do) they are _very_ servicable. I'm the IT geek for a pro A/V systems house. My company uses sony monitors almost exclusively. They really are the most reliable monitors I have had the pleasure of working with. Take a look around at really old televisions. If they are older than 15 years (and they are not dead) they are probably built around a trinitron tube.

Cinema Display (1)

dieplatte (665192) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707740)

I'm a Mac user, so I just bought an Apple cinema display. Yessss, the 23" sucka. Fact #1: Overall, the price is more than competitive, and beat out everything in its class at a couple of different showrooms (MicroCenter, CompUSA, Best Buy).

Their quality control is excellent in this department. We have two Apple stores here in Minneapolis, each with two or three of these big displays out for evaluation. One was rather dim, but noticed that the mac it was attached to had an older, feebler graphics card in it, why, I do not know. Compound that with the Apple drones saying horrific things like "well, it is about a year old..." promting heavy internet research on my part before purchase. Happily enough, I found enough anecdotal evidence to support my buying decision/technolust. The display is the best thing I could have done for myself at this point in time, and I went and did it. I know the ADC-to-outside-world-adapter does cost another small hunk of cash, but I would highly recommend this display to anyone on any platform.

Should mention that I tortured the Apple sales guy for at least an hour comparing and contrasting merits of the 20" vs. the 23". I did find the 20" to be brighter, but maybe, think about it, too bright! Contrast was higher too, adding a bit more detail in the 20". In the end, I'm glad I bought the extra pixels.

Sat infront of a strobe-light? (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707741)

How many of your mates and relatives who know nothing about computers have been sat infront of their monitor that is perfectly capable of 75Hz non-interlaced; but instead, it is configured at 56Hz interlaced!!!!

Agggghhhhh I've lost count. Even worse is the number of tech support people who don't as a matter of course configure a monitor for its optimum refresh rate.

It's not so much a problem now because the latest Plug'n'Pray systems means everything is set-up correctly, but with Windows 95 I came across it all the time.

Get someone who works in a computer shop.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707744)

I work in a computer shop - as a result, I've seen monitors come through by the truckload (typically 100-200 at a time).. we test them all before we send them out, and we handle defective returns (even if it's just to ship it back to the manufacturer), so I see what comes in..

Some advice:
Don't buy something cheap. You get what you pay for. If you're on a budget, you can get a decent monitor from a small manufacturer, but check (at least) for ISO-9002.. Most manufacturers will have a "low-end" and a "high-end" model for each display size... never buy their "low-end" model, always go for the good one (usually, the "low-end" models are the high-end ones that didn't pass QA.)

That being said, my monitor manufacturer of choice is Hansol... We don't sell them any more (due to politics) but their "professional" models are great quality, and reasonably cheap.. I have a 701P (not made anymore) and NEC multisync XV17, and the display on the Hansol is much sharper..

Return rate on them is extremely low as well (less than 1%)

Shadow Mask vs. Aperture Grill (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707746)

Doing CAD work I was used to shadow mask monitors [] (supposedly better for detail work), but I'm more than happy with my current monitors even though I do notice the horizontal lines every now and then.

Buy the highest refresh rate you can afford, and consider a dual screen setup if your video card can handle it. Two seventeen-inchers are better than one 21".

(According to my ex-girlfriend)

A good way to test a moniter........ (1)

Black Knight_61 (660780) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707747)

Step one: Remove cover from moniter
Step two: take a wrench that has no rubber handles on it (IE all metal)
step three: put it on the glass tube
Step four: While firmly holding the wrench to the
tube turn on the power
Repeat steps as nessecary


Trinitron (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707750)

Pretty much anything with a sony trinitron tube is gonna kick ass.

I've been pricing monitors for the lab (1)

sstory (538486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707751)

and it's been annoying. Sticking with the reliable manufacturers, Samsung and Sony, my biggest complaint is that each has a long list of monitors of widely-varying price but unclear distinctions between the actual product. There'll be a $17'' monitor for $260 and one for $399 and comparing the specs I can't see a meaningful difference. I've looked at hardware review sites, but had little success. I've found no comprehensive information which has enabled me to make informed monitor decisions.

Flats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707756)

I recommend the Viewsonic VG191b (to b or not b)

They rock, I have 2 at home as a dual display on my redhat box, and we just bought 10 more for the office, including one for out mame machine, you need the pivot for that...

Optiquest (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707758)

Optiquest, a line from ViewSonic, makes hella good monitors. The Q95 [] has a GREAT horizontal dot pitch and just looks fabulous. The whole Comp Sci. lab at my school [] has these.

Very nice.

Finding decent monitor resellers (1)

dgallina (665193) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707762)

It can be tough. I usually read *plenty* of reviews and then try to find the smaller resellers so that I can see them in person. Sometimes helps to call the vendor and find out what resellers exist in your area for the higher-end brands / models. Those resellers will likely be more expensive, but they are more likely to have what you want. Occassionally I've found decent monitors at a chain (Microcenter, CompUSA, etc). They usually don't have many or for long, but I've found a few good Hitachi 19" and 21" tubes and some good Samsung flat-panels that way. Gotta be careful sense a vendor may carry a cheap, crappy model from a vendor next to a higher-end unit of the same brand. Good Luck!

very personal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707766)

i think using a monitor is very personal. i got a 19" AOC after reading many 'real' comments on newsgroups.

since then (luckily) i have heard people complaining about it, like it reports 84.9Hz V instead of the standard 85Hz, the screen area is never straight no matter how you adjust it, etc etc....

to me, at US$180, i wouldn't worry too much about the above mentioned 'problems'. i'm using it to do some works, play some games, and none of those 'problems' really affect my usage.

so it really depends what your tolerance-level is.

$20 Sony Trinitron (1)

shibbydude (622591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707771)

This is ironic, because I just bought a Sony Trinitron 19" moniter from Best Buy for twenty dollars because some idiot tinted it and the film bubbled. The other idiots at Best Buy didn't know what the hell was wrong with the moniter, so I just picked it up and said "$20?". The manager said yes, so I took it home and pulled the film off. I saved over $500! This is the way to buy a high quality moniter!

Anyone seen the new 20" IBM flat panel ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707779)

Anyone has experience with the new 20" IBM
flat panel ? Does it have true black ?

Simple (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707781)

Step 1: Do your homework.

Read reviews. Lots of them. Go to the store yourself and look at some models.

Step 2: Take the test.

Find one you like. Buy it, try it. If it doesn't work the way you want, exchange it for the same model. If that one doesn't work, it's a piece of crap; exchange it for something different, or return it and pay the restocking fee.

IIyama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5707783)

I bought an IIyama 17" monitor back in 1998 that I am still completely happy with. It runs high refresh rates and gives great colors. IIyama is found in lots of CAD magazines, etc. and can be found on the internet. I bought it sight unseen and love it. They were teamed with Sony and Mitsubishi to create the Trinitron in Japan. It was expensive at the time but well worth it since I am very sensitive to refresh rates.

And no, I don't work for them in any way.

Viewsonic and (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 11 years ago | (#5707787)

I read a review of 19" crt's at Tom's and looked around for a deal. Provantage never shows up on pricewatch but I stumbled on to them somewhere. Got a Viewsonic P95f+ for $263.00 dropped on the front porch. UPS delivered it so they must have dropped it. A top of the line Professional series for $100.00 less than my 15" Graphics series of 5 years ago. Battlefield 1942 at 1600 x 1200 @ 85hz is amazing.The Viewsonic was rated by Tom's as just below the Iyama for a bunch less. I thought it was a good deal.
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