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.

In terms of overall performance, quality, and features, one LCD rises above the others. The Dell 2408WFP looks the same as the 2407WFP, but it offers additional input options, an improved color gamut, and amazing color accuracy even without calibration. Dell has become the 800-pound gorilla of the LCD market, offering great products at very affordable prices. The 2408WFP may not be the cheapest LCD on the market, but if we had to choose one 24" LCD that would satisfy virtually all users, it's an easy choice. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect scorecard is the 38 ms input lag. That's enough to prevent the 2408WFP from receiving our Gold Editors' Choice award, but it's still worthy of our Silver Editors' Choice. If you're not an extremely competitive FPS gamer, this 24" LCD belongs on the top of your list.

For gamers, determining the best TN-based 24" offering is a bit more difficult. There are plenty of LCDs we have not reviewed, but we've seen enough that we feel comfortable in making a recommendation. The Samsung 2493HM and Gateway FHD2400 are the two favorites, and choosing between them can be pretty subjective. Samsung offers better overall color accuracy, but we figure users interested in color accuracy are already going to want an S-PVA panel, and we really like the design and appearance of the Gateway FHD2400. Thus, we are happy to give the Gateway FHD2400 our Bronze Editors' Choice award. For a price of only $450, you don't even need to compromise on input options or other features.



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.

Color Accuracy
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  • Rasterman - Friday, May 09, 2008 - link

    Yeah the figures reported are meaningless, if they were actually useful we wouldn't even need reviews :) I can't believe that a company as big as Viewsonic doesn't send a review site as big as Anandtech a review model, that is just ridiculous, they should be sending you guys a new model of every new monitor without even asking, maybe you aren't emailing the right person. BTW its awesome to see a reviewer actually answer questions and critics to a review, awesome job Jarred! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 09, 2008 - link

    I'm sure I'm not getting the right person at Viewsonic (and other companies as well), but that's the trick: *finding* the right person. Without an inside contact, it can be tough to get started.

    Generic PR Person: "AnandTech? What kind of a name is that? http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail50.html">Baleeted!" I'll try to meet with them next CES or something....

    PS - Anyone from Viewsonic read this? If so, email me! :-)
    Reply
  • 10e - Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - link

    Great review. This is what multifunction fans are looking for. I had this issue a year ago trying to find "THE" multifunction.

    You may want to mention that in terms of 720p and 1080p the Samsung stretches both to 16:10 with A/V mode off. I tested this and found that problem recently, which was unfortunate due to the fact that I liked it as a high quality TN.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - link

    I mentioned this on page 11, but I have highlighted (italicized) the pertinent text. I also clarified by indicating that 16:9 modes will always have the wrong AR. Thanks for reading and commenting! Reply
  • xerces8 - Monday, May 05, 2008 - link

    A picture says more than 1000 words :
    http://www.digitalversus.com/duels.php?ty=6&ma...">http://www.digitalversus.com/duels.php?...2=49&...

    (I can't create a link, seems the post javascript is broken, I cant make bold or italics text either, tried FF and IE7)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 05, 2008 - link

    You mean, http://www.digitalversus.com/duels.php?ty=6&ma...">pictures like this one? I don't see any large blowups of their comparisons available for download, so I have no idea exactly how they're testing. What I do know is that I provided images showing LaCie 324 and Dell 2408WFP clearly displaying a 40ms delay relative to an HP LP3065, and I've also provided a picture of the ASUS MK241H with a relative delay of 0ms relative to the same LCD.

    I've got nine other sample images from each of the tested monitors showing the evidence for my "input lag" conclusions. That's about as close to full disclosure as you'll get. All I get on that comparison you linked is a chart that apparently "proves" the ASUS MK241H has a 54ms average delay compared to a CRT, but then the same site lists the Dell 2408WFP as 69ms, the 2407WFP as 24ms, the LaCie as 41ms, and the Samsung 245T at 59ms. I got more or less the same result on the Dell 2407WFP and the LaCie 324, but nowhere near the same result on the MK241H, 2408WFP, and the 2493HM.

    Again, you've got at least one clear sample of my results for each LCD. Sorry, but I have to question their results without better evidence.
    Reply
  • Dashel - Monday, May 05, 2008 - link

    Hi Jarred,

    Not sure if this is based on the same test or what but there is this:

    http://www.behardware.com/art/imprimer/712/">http://www.behardware.com/art/imprimer/712/

    Which looks to be the same graph and results. To me your results seem to make the most sense if the 2408 is very similar to the 2407WFP-HC, then the input lag should be close too I would guess. I'm hardly an expert just tryint to be logical.

    The thing is I also see anecdotal claims of lag and people who have tested it getting in the 60ms range as well which leads me to wonder if there isnt some sort of defect or difference in some of the panels vrs others.

    Example of a test by an owner:

    http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1032124531...">http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1032124531...

    I'd love to hear Dells thoughts on it as well as what and when their revision is due to hit.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 05, 2008 - link

    I'd like to know what software people are using as timers. I tried about 10 different "timers" and discovered that a bunch are limited to the Windows default timing resolution - about 54ms. So they either scored "0ms" or "54ms" on the delay. I know this because I had screen refreshes where the timer was split in half; the top half would show for example 40.067 and the bottom would show 50.121.

    3DMark03 at least looks to be accurate down to 10ms - there are again pictures where the timer is cut in half, only in such cases I would see 20.23 and 20.24, so I can be sure that the timer is updated in .01s increments rather than in something larger.

    Without a lot more details about what software people use and large images showing the results, I must say that I'm very skeptical. I feel "input lag" testing needs several things to be even remotely acceptable:

    1) Run at native LCD resolution in clone mode (because built-in scalers could have an impact)
    2) Disclosure of the test software that manages better than 54ms accuracy.
    3) You need a high-end camera with a fast shutter speed to capture the results. Simply choosing "Auto" mode and snapping a picture doesn't tell the whole story.
    4) Provide at least one sample image at a high resolution that clearly shows what the camera captured.

    I met all of those criteria I think. In looking around at other reviews, I have not been able to clearly answer any of those questions. Perhaps that's why some of the other results are so different. I also tested at 2560x1600 to verify that I wasn't hurting the HP LP3065 by running at a lower resolution; since the scaling is handled by the GPU rather than the LCD (the LP3065 doesn't have a scaler), there was no penalty.
    Reply
  • DangerousQ - Monday, May 05, 2008 - link

    I cant believe this set of reviews is so one sided, why no P-MVA panels, I bought a BenQ FP241W about 3 monyths ago and the 6ms response time plus unbelievable colours make this panel really hard to beat, but you try finding any reviews on it. The one review I did find, a long time ago and have lost it now compared it to the 2407 dell and found it a better panel for less money! I know this cos I was going to buy the dell before I saw the review. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, May 05, 2008 - link

    Send me an MVA panel - or get one of the manufacturers to send me one - and I will be more than happy to review it. I don't have the means to go out and purchase $500+ test LCDs, so I review what I get sent. Dell, Gateway, Samsung, ASUS, and other major companies are great about working with review sites like ours. Other companies are not. Thus, I take what I can get. Reply

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