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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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - link

    But that's exactly what I did in this review. Unless you mean a high-speed video camera that can record the changes in response to external stimuli (i.e. someone clicking a mouse).

    I think way too many people are losing sight of the forest because they're obsessing over the trees. I've given relative input lag, and it's accurate to 10ms for sure (and with averaging it should be accurate to around 3ms). At some point I may find an LCD that has a negative lag relative to the HP LP3065, and that's fine. As it stands, the best LCDs equal that LCD's lag.

    Input lag as a whole is only one consideration of a display purchase, and differences of 3ms (or even 10ms) are not going to make you suddenly superior in games. 50ms? Sure, that's a potential problem, but anyone who has played online FPS games competitively knows that you have to learn to anticipate in order to compensate for network lag that may be anywhere from 50 to 150ms even with a high-speed connection.

    If you want a display that offers minimal processing lag, so far the TN panels and 30" LCDs do great. I'd assume all the 22" LCDs do reasonably well, but having none in house at present I can't say for sure. Then everyone with S-PVA panels can call you an LPB.
    Reply
  • jmunjr - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    Though there are reports it now uses a TN panel, I am disappointed the Soyo Topaz S was not in this review. A bare bones S-PVA monitor for as low as $250 and easily $300 with no rebates? Ring me up! I have one and for the price it cannot be beat - period. At 24" TN monitors have too many shortcomings.

    Reply
  • bupkus - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    I read this article this morning and then my gf calls me an tells me she has a $100 Dell credit that expires tonight.
    I thought, why not sell my Samsung SyncMaster 225BW and get this UltraSharp 2408? Starting Price... $679.00, that's why.
    However, the E248WFP is on sale for $379.00. How does that compare?
    Reply
  • Dashel - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    Count me among those who want to know if it's even possible a revision will address the input lag on the Dell 2408. That's all that is holding me back from buying this monitor.

    Can they even get it down to 2407 input lag levels?

    Finally BenQ G2400W, see if they wont give you one to review! That's my back up plan if the Dell doesnt pan out ;)

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    The best S-PVA panel has a 20ms lag on average. Note also that the Gateway FPD2485W uses a Faroudja chip and ends up with 20ms while the TN FHD2400 uses a Faroudja and gets ~0ms and LaCie does the same and gets 40ms. My guess is that somehow in the interest of colors or something else the S-PVA tech is delaying what you see on the LCD. The built-in scalers may also be inducing some delay, but the TN panels have scalers as well and don't suffer from any lag. Reply
  • Dashel - Saturday, May 03, 2008 - link

    Isnt the 2407 an S-PVA as well though? You'd think they'd be able to at least match that level of input lag. That'd be enough to make me confident enough to buy one.

    As it stands, I'll have to see what revision A01 brings. I'll probably get one anyway. No 24" seems to have everything I want sadly. Good gaming non TN panel with plenty of inputs. The 2408 or that DoubleSight seems to come closest.



    Reply
  • GTVic - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    I would like to know if it is possible for game developers or hw manufacturers to develop controls in the games or in the driver control panel that would allow an adjustment for input lag. That way if you know you have a certain lag you can tell the game/driver to compensate. Reply
  • PPalmgren - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    I highly doubt this would be possible.

    When I first hooked up my NEC 2470WNX, I played some DotA in (a Warcraft 3 map) and noticed after 5 minutes that I couldn't click on anything as well as usual. The funny thing is this isn't really aim-intensive, being an FPS. I tested it out and realized my mouse's response was delayed on the screen. I then noticed the same problem playing BF2 and NS a day later. It becomes impossible to aim quickly because you aim based on where your cursor is visible. However, your cursor is not where you see it on the screen, its still moving. Its a constant fight of over-compensation ruins your gameplay. The next week, I put my old Viewsonic 19' back up and still use it for games. I STRONGY suggest buying a TN panel for games, having experienced the short end of the stick.
    Reply
  • GTVic - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    I think it certainly should be possible.

    There a maybe a few types of lag. One is due to an overloaded graphics card that is not able to draw enough frames per second to properly update your mouse position so you don't know what you are shooting at. There is nothing to be done about that except buy a better graphics card or reduce the resolution/quality.

    The other type of lag is when the game thinks one frame is being displayed and due to delays down the chain an older frame is being displayed. The game records your mouse click (gun fire) and calculates whether you hit the target based on the wrong frame.

    The lag is not enough to cause the audio to be out of sync but if the game knew that the display was constantly 3 frames behind then it should be possible to correct the problem. Would be nice if Jared could investigate that with ATI/nVidia/game devs.
    Reply
  • Dainas - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    Oh you don't have to go to TN, I have two 24" P-MVAs that suffer from none of the blatant lag in the aforementioned panels. Both are verifiably faster than the 20ms 2407wfp and coming from a CRT I had none of the loose feeling in fast FPS like CS:Source and CoD4. All these slow panels are more in the realm of 40ms.

    need only look at this to know TNs do not have an unavoidable technical advantage over VA panels and its likely the manufactures putting IQ over response in most cases ;

    http://www.digitalversus.com/article-357-3215-303....">http://www.digitalversus.com/article-357-3215-303....

    But then again considering these panels are dissapearing from the market one might have to go TN afterall for gaming.
    Reply

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