What should I be Looking for in a Graphics LCD monitor? What should I buy?

3dstories3dstories Posts: 0
edited September 2012 in The Commons


What are the criteria for graphics LCD monitors that graphic artists use? What are the best brands too consider? Does anyone know of recent reviews/ review sources?


I’m looking at buying my first LCD monitor. I’ve had a Viewsonic CRT for a long time, back from the days when Nec Multisync and Viewsonic were considered very good monitors for graphics. I have liked the depth of color and contrast with this old monitor, and I used to have it color calibrated. LCDs seem achingly bright yet washed out by comparison (including one that I am borrowing right now to test). But the old monitor is asking to be replaced; the internal solder joints seem to be getting flaky.

I’m looking at replacing this monitor with a Viewsonic VX2453MH Led 24” a TN panel monitor with a 2ms response time that runs about $200.

http://www.viewsonic.com/products/vx2453mhled.htm


I do not want to replace my VGA graphics card until I get a new computer, but I want flexibility to upgrade when I do. My main reason for looking at this monitor is cost and decent color rendition (for its type of panel construction), but I think I might be unhappy with the color rendition and depth of blacks in this type (TN) of monitor. Is there something better?

What I understand to date:

I am told that (1) monitors are backed by either fluorescent or LED, and (2) there are three basic panel types, TN, IPS and VA.

http://www.tnpanel.com/tn-vs-ips-va/

The biggest influence monitor choice seems to be in panel type:

(1) TN (Twisted Nematic) is the most common. It is the cheapest to make and has the fastest response time, which is good for gamers (response times less than 8ms req’d), but it is not good on color or viewing angles.
(2) IPS and Super IPS (In-Plane Switching) has the best color reproduction, but they tend to have low response times (6ms and up) and because they are not made in quantity tend to be pricier. These seem to be best for graphic artists.
(3) VA (Vertical Alignment) has two sub-categories, PVA (Patterned Vertical Alignment) and MVA (Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment). VA appears to be a compromise between the first two technologies; better blacks and color, and faster response times. But I hear that what seems to be true on paper is not necessarily true in practice.

On the LCD versus LED backlight question, it seems that LEDs give a more even lighting and require less power, but that’s not really the deal breaker in monitor quality type. LEDs are newer and will be replacing the older fluorescent back lights. You can usually adjust the refresh rate (nominally 60Hz) to at least 75 Hz on all of these (for people/environments that conflict with the 60Hz of normal office fluorescent lighting), so it comes back to panel type, response speed and cost.


Please, I would like to hear anyone/everyone’s thoughts on what they think is the best LCD monitor for a Poser/Photoshop occasional video producing graphic artist to use.

What do you like and why?

What do you hate?

Where should I spend extra money that will make a difference?

Are there important points that I have missed?

Thank you!

Post edited by 3dstories on
«1

Comments

  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,259
    edited December 1969

    I'm sorry you didn't get any feedback on this back in 2012. Just out of curiosity, what did you end up purchasing, and how do you like it?
    I'm now in the same boat. My primary monitor, a nice CRT running at 1600x1200, is finally dying; it was gradually getting a tiny bit blurry, but suddenly took a huge jump and sometimes it is nearly unreadable. It looks like I probably won't be getting any more new CRT monitors these days, and quite frankly I'm worried that no matter what LCD monitor I choose, I'm going to be disappointed and discover I've chosen one I won't like.

  • TheWheelManTheWheelMan Posts: 992
    edited December 1969

    Personally, I'd say look at Dell's line of UltraSharp monitors. I bought this one in January, and had a 20" as my primary before that. I thought the 20" was great, but this one blows that one away in my perception.

  • sfaa69sfaa69 Posts: 254
    edited December 1969

    I learned a lot from the original post. But I have found buying monitors to be like buying shoes. Just like you would try on shoes to see how they fit, there is no substitute for actually viewing a monitor to see how it looks to you. Not very helpful, but it's the best I've got.

  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,259
    edited November 2013

    I will have to wander around town and look at monitors in person. That is a good reminder that perhaps a monitor is not a good thing to purchase sight unseen, despite reviews.
    It is unfortunate that there is no way to compare them side-by-side with my dying monitor though. Obviously one can look for obvious flaws in person (viewing angle, weird anti-glare coating colors or reflections, is black really black or just grey, etc), but memory is a poor judge to compare colors, plus the models in the stores likely aren't going to be color-corrected anyway. I have one LCD running here on an old computer, and the colors seem fine at first glance, with one eye closed, at the right angle, except for the color black. However when you display a photo on several monitors at once, you suddenly realize that some of the colors are in reality pretty far off. Perhaps one is just so used to looking at poor quality photos here and there that your mind corrects for it or something and you don't realize how far things have drifted without a good reference point.
    What would be ideal would be to hear from somebody who has run a good CRT side-by-side with an LCD and has made the necessary corrections and feels that they now match, but that's a pretty long shot.

    Post edited by sriesch on
  • TheWheelManTheWheelMan Posts: 992
    edited December 1969

    To be honest, a good modern day monitor should be far superior to an old CRT. Maybe I'm just not as discriminating as some, but I publish books, and sometimes help other authors publish theirs, and the books that I've seen in person usually matches my LCD monitor screen very well. Viewing the different brand of monitors in person and seeing what you like best is a good idea, though. I did that with my LCD tv. With the monitor, I knew what brand I wanted and already had experience with.

  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,259
    edited December 1969

    That's good to know. I admit I've been a bit removed from the latest LCD technology in recent years, so I probably just haven't seen any good monitors at the times when I've been thinking about it or paying attention to them.

  • ScraverXScraverX Posts: 151
    edited December 1969

    I'm in the boat of knowing what I like in terms of monitors /or brands of monitors. My top pic is the Mac Retina Displays. On my PC's I've always leant towards LG's.

  • macleanmaclean Posts: 1,030
    edited December 1969

    To be honest, a good modern day monitor should be far superior to an old CRT. Maybe I'm just not as discriminating as some, but I publish books, and sometimes help other authors publish theirs, and the books that I've seen in person usually matches my LCD monitor screen very well. Viewing the different brand of monitors in person and seeing what you like best is a good idea, though. I did that with my LCD tv. With the monitor, I knew what brand I wanted and already had experience with.

    I agree with that. When I finally decided I had to dump my old CRT, I was a bit suspicious of what I might end up with. I read a lot of reviews, and physically looked at a quite a few monitors, then took an AOC home on spec. I ran it side by side with my CRT and calibrated it, and it was perfect.

    mac

  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,259
    edited December 1969

    It seems that seeing them in person here in Portland OR may not be as easy as it sounds. I can't seem to find anybody who is stocking monitors of that resolution or higher except for the extreme high-end ones over $1000. Office?Depot? only offers them online, Best buy didn't have anything in that range, and Fry's had only 1 in that range, and they actually don't have it physically at the store yet, although they are expecting it someday. Other major computer chains I checked have gone out of business or merged with online-only stores since the last time I looked at them. I guess the lower resolution ones are a lot more popular. I may just have to order one from NewEgg or Amazon or someplace blind and cross my fingers.
    Reviews of every model I've checked seem to indicate a lot of problems with all of them, unfortunately. In addition to the occasional defect one might expect in a large run of products, it looks like if you don't choose a company with a good return policy, you can still get stuck with bad pixels (with some manufacturers warranties actually saying a few bad pixels isn't considered a defect, yikes) even on multiple replacements in a row, so be really careful with that, and people see streaks and lines of different colors, weird light bleed effects around the edge (also indicated as not a defect for certain monitor types), and the color black as grey, green, or blue.
    There has to be somebody in my area who stocks these. Or maybe I can find some organization that uses them, even if they don't sell them, just so I can see how they look.

  • ScraverXScraverX Posts: 151
    edited December 1969

    I've never had an issue with dead pixels - not that I've noticed in any case.
    I'd recommend LG and Samsung, brand wise as I've owned both and looked at a lot of them. - Thankfully in Australia we still have stores that actually stock monitors and have them on display; typically the larger consumer electronics stores.

  • frank0314frank0314 Posts: 8,796
    edited November 2013

    I use a ASUS LED monitor. I'll never go back to LCD

    Post edited by frank0314 on
  • XdyeXdye Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    If you wanna cheap monitors and excellent quality go to ebay and search yamakasi or shimian, they are korean monitors but they use the panels that apple discards for not passing the test quality, that means, they have 1-5 dead pixels (that u wont notice), but you will have a 27" monitor 2560x1440 LED Ips for just 350$ instead of 1000$. I bought one and was the best thing I have ever done.

  • StorypilotStorypilot Posts: 1,440
    edited December 1969

    I did a lot of research last year when I was looking for a monitor to use to roughly color correct a video project. I've found the cheaper NEC monitors to be a good balance of high quality and affordability (their higher end monitors are excellent, but expensive). They will be difficult to find to see in person, but I've been very pleased with mine having had it for a year now (EA232WMi, possibly smaller than what you are after).

  • alkenalken Posts: 169
    edited November 2013

    Love my 27" AOC LED monitor...great color and viewing angles for less than $300.

    Post edited by alken on
  • ShaninaShanina Posts: 66
    edited December 1969

    One thing to check is the tilt angle.

    I was given a new monitor for my birthday, a 27" but it bends forward for gamers, it's wonderful to have the big screen but the tilt is giving me a sore neck and I'm very close to being tempted back to my old Acer 24"....so make sure you check the tilt.

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 3,484
    edited December 1969

    What does AOA stand for? Is that an acronym or a brand name?

  • alkenalken Posts: 169
    edited December 1969

    barbult said:
    What does AOA stand for? Is that an acronym or a brand name?

    You mean AOC? It's a monitor brand.

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 3,484
    edited December 1969

    alken said:
    barbult said:
    What does AOA stand for? Is that an acronym or a brand name?

    You mean AOC? It's a monitor brand.


    Yes! I guess I must be blind. I thought I read AOA, but it is AOC. Thanks.

  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,259
    edited December 1969

    @barbuit, http://www.aoc.com/ . They seem to be lower resolution than what I was looking for personally though, unless I'm overlooking some models.

    @Shanina, you might be able to get a different stand for the monitor to adjust the tilt more to your liking. I don't know how many are replaceable, but I know there is a standard out there for the 4 back screws in some of them. I actually "built" a stand for one monitor that I wanted to turn sideways. It's pretty tacky, it's just some scrap metal, a board, and a can of sand, because I didn't care and can't see the stand behind the monitor anyway. However you could probably construct a nicer if still obviously homemade stand with a few screws and random stuff you have lying around. Or you could buy a shiny new one too.

    @Xdye, that's a great idea for getting a monitor on the cheap if you are willing to accept those issues. I'll keep that in mind for my 2nd monitor if and when I run out of spares, however for my primary monitor where I'm actually using the graphics I know I personally would be unhappy and notice bad pixels. I have seen monitors in the past with them and they were horrible, and I have had a camera with a bad sensor spot which was awful, not to mention dust specks that get on the sensor and lens occasionally which stand out, to me, like sore thumbs.

  • ShaninaShanina Posts: 66
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Sean...I did think about pulling it apart but I've had my head in Daz 4.6 for the past few days...a bright shiny new one...if I can find one and it's not too pricey.... sounds perfect...otherwise it's going to be a homemade job with plenty of duct tape;)

  • XdyeXdye Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    @barbuit, http://www.aoc.com/ . They seem to be lower resolution than what I was looking for personally though, unless I'm overlooking some models.

    @Shanina, you might be able to get a different stand for the monitor to adjust the tilt more to your liking. I don't know how many are replaceable, but I know there is a standard out there for the 4 back screws in some of them. I actually "built" a stand for one monitor that I wanted to turn sideways. It's pretty tacky, it's just some scrap metal, a board, and a can of sand, because I didn't care and can't see the stand behind the monitor anyway. However you could probably construct a nicer if still obviously homemade stand with a few screws and random stuff you have lying around. Or you could buy a shiny new one too.

    @Xdye, that's a great idea for getting a monitor on the cheap if you are willing to accept those issues. I'll keep that in mind for my 2nd monitor if and when I run out of spares, however for my primary monitor where I'm actually using the graphics I know I personally would be unhappy and notice bad pixels. I have seen monitors in the past with them and they were horrible, and I have had a camera with a bad sensor spot which was awful, not to mention dust specks that get on the sensor and lens occasionally which stand out, to me, like sore thumbs.

    I have been using it since months and still i havent found the dead pixels, maybe is just one, but is really hard to see when u run on 2560x1440 pixels so u have to find 1 between 3686400 in a 27", all other is like a imac quality except the finish of materials, that is uglier of course. But not bad deal for 600$ less.

  • Takeo.KenseiTakeo.Kensei Posts: 935
    edited December 1969

    If you want some reviews check digitalversus.com

    There are a lot of monitors review and comparison there. You can build your custom filter to reduce the list of possible candidate.
    Example : http://www.digitalversus.com/lcd-monitor/monitor-reviews-22-30-lcd-displays-a240.html#filters/pry=300&s2=5
    When you know what feature you want, the difficulty is often that you can't have all of them without some tradeoff or you have to pay the price

    I'd recommend buying a LED. And something I took into account in my last time buying a monitor : dead pixel warranty. I paid additionnal money to get an extended 5 year warranty with NO dead pixel. If I ever find one dead pixel, the monitor will be replaced. Last time I bought one It died just after the 3 years warranty. So now I rather extend the warranty so that I don't have to buy a new one because it dies just after the 3 years.

  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 19,981
    edited December 1969

    And something I took into account in my last time buying a monitor : dead pixel warranty. I paid additionnal money to get an extended 5 year warranty with NO dead pixel. If I ever find one dead pixel, the monitor will be replaced. Last time I bought one It died just after the 3 years warranty. So now I rather extend the warranty so that I don't have to buy a new one because it dies just after the 3 years.

    Yes, an extended warranty si certainly something I'd advise considering. I bought one for my Dell UltraSharp and when it developed a dead stripe just a couple of moths before the expiry of the warranty they replaced it (with a newer model). You have to weight the cost of the warranty against the cost of a new monitor, but I will certainly be getting one unless it's ridiculously expensive when I (eventually) replace this one.

  • TrishTrish Posts: 2,619
    edited November 2013

    I got a Acer 26.3" LED for around 150.00 at tiger direct...and I am very happy with it

    Post edited by Trish on
  • StorypilotStorypilot Posts: 1,440
    edited December 1969

    I had mentioned the NEC monitors before, I think this one is the newer and slightly larger model than the one I have.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/910902-REG/nec_ea244wmi_bk_ea244wmi_24_widescreen_led.html

    A bit more expensive than some, but a high quality product for graphics work without stepping up to monitors in the $1000 range.

  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,259
    edited December 1969

    Just wanted to report back with what I found.
    After a long and painful process that included multiple delays, three price increases, two companies, weeks of phone calls, two monitors delivered to the wrong address (thanks ONTRAC), one of which was permanently lost, and an as-yet incomplete misdelivered package claim filing, I was finally able to get the new monitor (after a short walk to retrieve it from somebody else's porch) after which the price immediately dropped. (I'm sorry, I had to share that.)
    I ended up ordering an ASUS VS24AH-P, primarily because of all the monitors I reviewed, it was the only one that didn't seem to have some problem reported by a bunch of people. I have only had it for a day so I can't comment on longetivity or any problems that may develop or become obvious later, and I haven't run color correction or gotten it completely integrated yet, however I can make a few comments from what I see so far.
    Overall it seems like a nice monitor and while I can't compare the colors side-by-side with the CRT it replaced they seem ok at first glance, except for one single issue that leaps out. You can't get a good dark black across the entire monitor because of the whole viewing angle thing. (The advertized 178 degree viewing angle must just mean that you can see it, not that you can see it nicely.) You can pick any spot on the monitor and move your head around until that single spot looks great with a nice dark black, but every other part of the monitor where the eye is looking at a different angle is faintly lit (brighter as the angle/distance from the original point increases), giving the overall impression that there is some nasty glare making the black fade to a shiny brighter color off to the side. Like what you might get if you ever tried to take a picture of a printed picture lit with a light bulb off to the side. This is exactly the same problem I see on the other old LCD monitor I have, which I had sort of been hoping to avoid, but no luck. I gambled on a monitor I didn't see in person and lost.
    I haven't decided what to do yet. I suppose I could go back to the local stores and look at the $1000+ monitors (and the single $600 one that's now in stock) and see if they look fine and if so, get one. $1000 + this monitor + possibly the 2nd lost monitor + possibly a new graphics card will be needed = OUch. I'm not ready to make that leap yet. I'm sort of hoping that maybe if I just stare at this one long enough, I'll get used to it, kind of like we all used to listen to the radio with bad reception and nasty static and got used to that (that was back in the early days, before CDs and color and fire.) :-) I did try watching an episode of something on it, and that issue remained pretty distracting throughout. On the bright side, although the overall picture looks wrong since you can't see it all at once, you can at least identify what it is supposed to look like by just wiggling your head around a little.

  • Coon RaCoon Ra Posts: 200
    edited December 1969

    ASUS VS24AH-P, $280 monitor, what would you expect it to be? It is brilliant for Word and Exel, not for professional graphic works. Plain uniform backlight and deep rich black cannot be under at least $600-800 but more likely $1000. Extra $500 - and you have the ability to write calibration data to monitor LUT like for NEC PA271W-BK for example (you'd need NEC software (around $400 if I am not mistaken) and the calibration device like i1 pro (not i1 display, definitely, this is "psychological serenity" version, not a profiling device) for $1500+). Well, after such spendings you would see a monitor. But messing with $300 thing hoping for miracle? It displays letters of screen font, it shows colored pixels, if you want to display a picture, that's all. It justifies its price, so, do not blame marketologists for their lies, it is their job.

  • MattymanxMattymanx Posts: 3,482
    edited January 2014

    I just bought a HP Pavilion 25xi IPS LCD monitor and I am very pleased with it.

    It does have its own gamma setting and I recommend shutting that off.

    Post edited by Mattymanx on
  • Subtropic PixelSubtropic Pixel Posts: 930
    edited December 1969

    I have two Asus PA 248Q monitors.

    The nice thing about these is that they use IPS panels. Apple's "Retina" screens are IPS too, to give you a frame of reference.

    The Asus PA248Q has a nice stand that easily allows adjustments in height, left/right, up/down(tilt), and pivot (portrait/landscape). They were supposed to be "tuned" at the factory, but they definitely were not the same. I manually tuned the one that seemed off, so now they appear to be the same; at least until I purchase a colorimeter and software. I currently have the monitors mounted on a heavy three-monitor stand along with an old Dell 17", and although they will still pivot to portrait, I haven't felt the need to do this yet.

    Note: No speakers in this monitor. I dislike monitors with speakers built-in anyway so this is ideal for me! I do audio too and I have my own M-Audio powered speakers, making speakers built into my screens as vestigial as my appendix. Having no speakers means the monitor maker can employ a thinner bezel, bringing each screen closer to each other in a multi-monitor setup. Remember, monitors next to each other have to be "Bezel X 2" apart. If you have a 1.5" bezel with speakers, then the screens will not be able to be placed closer together than about 3" (unless you angle one or more monitors so that it's "partly behind" the others). This can make you turn you head more to see your side screens. Thinner bezels is nicer to have.

    I plan to add a third PA248Q in the next month or so.

    The PA248Q runs around $300 from Newegg and Amazon, and I would highly recommend it to anybody doing graphic arts.

    After you purchase a nice IPS panel, the next thing you should buy is a colorimeter so you can set the colors for your main monitor (only one monitor can be set by colorimeter software per GPU chip in your system). That ensures that when you put a red shirt on Michael, everybody else doesn't see pink or purple.

  • LeatherGryphonLeatherGryphon Posts: 1,853
    edited December 1969

    OK, we have lots of anecdotal approval of various monitors. But contrary to the all too popular platitude "It's all good.", I would rather have an objective way of measuring goodness. Has anybody had any experience with monitor calibrators that work well on LCD, or LED, or other flat screen displays?

    I've been trying to dig up the courage to buy a monitor calibration tool (of reasonable price) but many seem to be from the era of CRT monitors, and I ain't got a CRT left in the house. I have four flat screen monitors and I want to calibrate them as close as possible to each other. Yeah, I could probably do it by eye but I want to move out of the 20th century.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Rocket Fuel