Conclusion and Awards
Three years ago, I purchased my first 24" LCD, the Dell 2405FPW. It was on sale, so I got it at an absolute steal: only $1000! (Regular price was $1350 at the time.) Three years later, you can now find even better LCDs for roughly half that price. That's one of the great benefits of LCD technology over CRTs: prices may have started out higher, but they are dropping rapidly into much more affordable ranges. 21/22" CRTs seemed to bottom out at around $500 for years before they finally started to disappear altogether. There are still users that prefer the CRT experience, but after my upgrade three years ago I have never looked back.
Our roundup today examined five recent LCD introductions from different companies. Combine that with the 24" LCDs we've reviewed previously and we now have a good basis for ranking the current LCDs. If you're looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately we cannot come up with a single recommendation. The 24" LCD market has split into two segments. On the one hand, we have S-PVA panels that provide great colors and viewing angles but struggle with input lag, and on the other hand we have TN panels that may not offer the most accurate colors but they have no discernible input lag (at least when compared to other LCDs). We are not bothered by input lag, but competitive gamers depend on every potential advantage they can get, so 20 or 40 ms can and will make a difference. We will therefore select what we feel is the best LCD for each of these markets.
This is not to say that other LCD options are not worth considering. All of the 24" LCDs we've reviewed so far are at worst decent quality, and several can easily compete with our Editors' Choice recipients. The LaCie 324 for example is a professional monitor at a professional price; it's not something we would recommend for casual users, but imaging professionals and users in the desktop publishing industry might be swayed by its feature set. Depending on pricing, some of the other LCDs might become more or less interesting.
Unfortunately, we're still missing our "one ring to rule them all". [Ed: …and in the dorkness bind them?] What we'd really like to see is a single LCD that can combine the best aspects of the Dell 2408WFP with low input lag, and it might be interesting to see a glossy S-PVA panel as an option from one of the manufacturers. A lot of us still prefer matte finishes, but at least one of the editors has been swayed to the dark side by the Gateway FHD2400. If there is an inherent trait of S-PVA panels that causes input lag, another alternative we would be very interested in seeing is a 24" S-IPS panel. Considering our 30" HP LP3065 uses an S-IPS panel and matches the TN panels in input lag, that could be the perfect solution. We're sure there are plenty of users out there that would even pay extra money for such an LCD.