Updated 21 May, 2013, 8:08 pm IST
HD Monitor Comparison
| by Aaron Almeida
When one is in the market looking to build up a PC rig, they should keep in mind a range of factors that go way beyond the basic computing requirements. The trend of having just a simple computer is passé and one now requires a PC that is tailor made for their convenience. Brands manufacturing PC components are picking up on this consumer behaviour and are launching various products that suit individual requirements. The same can be said about monitors as well, since brands are releasing products keeping specific individual needs in mind.
In this monitor comparison, only the higher end monitors, which measure either 23 or 24-inches (across), have been taken into consideration. Some of these monitors boast of unique features, one of which is the Samsung 23B350 which packs in a TV tuner, allowing one to attach an RCA cable to it and watch cable TV. A couple of monitors, such as the Dell UltraSharp U2412M and the Asus PA238Qm have height adjustment features and also allow the display to be viewed in portrait mode, which can be great for photographers or graphic artists. These days, HD monitors are not limited to just those with TN (Twisted Nematic) panels, but there are improved panels as well, which come in the form of IPS (In Pane Switching) and VA (Vertical Allignment), with the latter believed to be the best of the three.
In this round up of full HD monitors, we pitted 13 monitors against each other with prices starting at Rs. 11,000 and capping off at Rs. 23,000. Since 3D monitors are making an entry as well we included them in this comparison.
The basis of this price bracket is that they serve different purposes, such as monitors designed for gaming, watching high definition movies, photo editing and a range of other uses. We tested the monitors based on a variety of factors, such as their design, build quality, features, performance and other factors. Based on those tests, we got two monitors here that we thought proved to be the best performer of the lot and the second, the best value for your money. Take a look.
ASUS PA238Q – Rs. 17,100 – Best Performer
The Asus PA238Q is ideal for professional graphic artists. As its model number suggests, it is a 23-inch panel that supports the standard 16:9 aspect ratio HD resolution of 1920x1080. It is based on an IPS panel, which is known to offer superior colors than traditional TN panels. It features a response time of 6 ms and has the ability to render 16.7 million colors.
The display comes with a bunch of connectivity options. There’s an HDMI, a D-Sub, DisplayPort and the traditional D-Sub port. If you’re looking for USB expansion ports, then there are four present - two at the rear and two on one side. Switching between sources on some monitors can be slow. In this display, however, there’s close to no delay in the switchover. The menu is minimalistic, but using it is simple. The buttons are self-explanatory and it's one of the easier interfaces to get used to. There's also a lot of customization that one can do to tweak the settings. Picture-in-picture is supported and it works well.
The display features a stand that allows you to raise the screen, rotate and swivel it. It can also be tilted easily for better viewing angles. The motion of the stand is fluid and rotating the screen is simple. The stand takes up a large area on the table. The display, itself has a thin bezel and there’s a neat red band along the bottom. The controls are positioned on the right panel of the display’s bezel.
Once the display was set up with the ideal brightness and contrast levels, it was run through gradient tests for colour intensities and detail. The gradient test where blocks with increasing intensities of grey are displayed appeared flawless. We noticed no interference with colours and patterns across any of the tests. Videos and movies looked great. There is no framing or blurring of the image. Colours are natural and there's good detail visible. Viewing angles are decent, too. The monitor doesn't come with built-in speakers, but you can connect headphones/speakers to the 3.5 mm audio connector on the display.
The Asus PA238 sells at a reasonable Rs. 17,100. Whether you’re a graphics artist or a gamer who wants a crisp display with natural colours and are willing to spend on an IPS panel, the PA238 will suit you well.
Acer 235HL – Rs. 11,999 – Best Value for Money
The S235HL has a unique design and specifications that can compete with some higher-end monitors. It is one of the better looking monitors in the market and features a stand located at the side, as opposed to being in the centre. This 23-inch monitor sports a glossy black bezel with sharp edges, giving it a premium look. This monitor is really slim and measures just 15 mm in depth at its thinnest point.
The stand does offer a fair amount of tilt, which can help in viewing it at different angles, but there is no swivel. The base is on the wider side, and the top features the controls for the menu, settings, volume and modes, while the base rear comprises inputs, such as two HDMI ports, an audio line out and a DVI port. Having two HDMI ports is useful, as one can have their PC connected as well as a Blu-ray player or a gaming console. The chief feature of this 16:9 display is that it is a widescreen LED LCD monitor that boasts of a resolution of full HD 1080p. The 5 ms response on this TN panel can allow gamers to view sequences in a smooth motion flow. We really liked the OSD, as the information onscreen was well-detailed. The monitor comes with a range of preset modes, such as standard, game, eco, etc, allowing one to easily switch between the modes depending on the content.
After calibrating the display using the Spyder3 Elite calibrator, we noticed that primary colours appeared accurate, while grays and whites rendered well with no colours, such as green, seeping in grays or pink tinges appearing in whites. Backlighting was not as good, as there were patches appearing in different areas of the screen. Viewing angles are quite good. HD content playback was really good; colours appeared accurate and did not look saturated. Skin tones appear natural and there was no orange tinge visible; an issue that is sometimes noticeable in some monitors. There was a lot of detail visible in dark areas, too.
The Acer S2350HL is designed for the avid video buff looking for a 23-inch solution for their desktop PC in a lower budget.
Dell UltraSharp U2412M - Rs. 20,000 - Runner Up
Another monitor that stood out that we thought worth mentioning in detail was the Dell UltraSharp U2412M. The performance was really good and with options, like swivel, tilt and height adjustment, it makes for a very good solution. However, it is on the pricier side and is the most expensive option in our round-up. There are a few things that make this display stand out - excellent performance in both detail and colours play a major part. The design is attractive and the build quality is sturdy enough to last quite some time. The 1920x1200 pixel resolution also means that you get additional workspace and the flexible stand offers a variety of possibilities as far as display orientations are concerned.
Dell UltraSharp U2412M
Here’s a quick look at the specifications, prices and our ratings for all 13 monitors -
Scores are out of 5 and prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
After testing all of thirteen models, it was a very difficult choice to actually pick out the winners as all performed really well after being calibrated with the Spyder3 colorimeter. The Asus PA238Q can be great for those in the photography or graphic designing line and gamers, too can benefit greatly from it as it offers crisp response time, which is beneficial especially in first-person shooter games.
The Acer 235HL is priced quite well and gives you your money’s worth all in a neat looking design form. The performance and features it offers is much better than some of the costlier models available, making it an easy choice for consumers not looking to spend too much.
If 3D is your thing, then we suggest waiting a while longer as the 2D to 3D conversion is not as great as those found on HDTV sets yet. However, we estimate, during the course of next year, 3D for your PC monitor will get better.
When it comes to warranty, all manufacturers usually offer the same period i.e. 3 years. Of course this could vary depending on your location and the retailer.
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