Sub-$200 Options


There are plenty of options under $200 these days, but we tend to have a philosophy of "go big or go home" when it comes to LCDs. Do you really want to get a slightly better quality 19" LCD when $20 more will get you a 22" LCD? We certainly don't, and thus our recommendation ends up going to one of the many 22" LCDs currently priced under $200. Acer is more of a value brand in the LCD market, but that doesn't mean the LCDs aren't good. In fact, other than flimsy base stands we've never had a complaint with any of the Acer LCDs we've used. Specifications are pretty much meaningless at this price point -- all of the 22" LCDs that cost under $200 will be very similar, i.e. TN panel, 1680x1050, 5ms response times, HDMI and/or DVI -- so it really comes down to price and availability. Acer is a global company so their products are available around the world, and their prices are also very good. The Acer X223Wbd won't be the best LCD around, but for only $170 it's hard to complain. It is missing HDMI support, however, so if that's important we would recommend the ASUS VH226H, which also happens to bump up the resolution to 1920x1080 and only costs $40 more.

$200-$400 Recommendations


Not surprisingly, this is by far the largest category in terms of the available options. You can get everything from good quality 22" LCDs (or 20" S-IPS LCDs) up to and including 28" monsters of somewhat dubious quality. If the latter catches your fancy, check out the Hanns•G HG-281DPB at Newegg, currently going for only $380. Yes, that's less than most 24" LCDs, so we wouldn't expect best in class performance. What would we actually recommend? 22" offerings are going to be slightly better in terms of features and quality, but we would recommend going for a 24" LCD. Our overall recommendation goes to the Gateway FHD2401, a slight update to our Bronze Editors' Choice FHD2400 that uses a matte panel instead of a glossy panel. You still get a plethora of input options, and one of the best base stands that we've ever used.

If you're still looking for other alternatives, Dell has recently launched their 23" SP2309W that has a native resolution of 2048x1152 -- yes, higher than 1080P. We actually think 1080P movies will look best on 1080P displays, but for Windows work a slightly higher resolution might be useful. You still get a TN panel, and the price is quite a bit higher than 22" 1080P LCDs at $380. Acer once again shows up with the X243Wbd for $290, and we also have the BenQ E2400HD that we recently reviewed, now at $330. We wouldn't call the BenQ E2400HD perfect, but honestly for the price it's very good, especially if you never intend on using it at anything other than the native 1920x1080 resolution -- and we always recommend using native resolution on any LCD. Its "younger brother" E2200HD should also be available shortly, with a price in the low to mid $200 range.

Index Forget Price - I want the Best!
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  • DorkMan - Saturday, December 20, 2008 - link

    First, settle on a size. I love my 24" panel for all my video editing.

    Okay, not settle on a technology. Very, very, simple rule of thumb: ANYTHING is better than TN, though TN usually has faster response times. Better how? Look at a beautiful color photo on the panel. Now move your head down a couple of feet, not up a couple of feet. The fancier panels will look the same, the TN panel image will change dramatically. But hey, if you don't mind, go for TN, which is significantly cheaper.
    BTW I was lucky to get one of the $299 P-MVA Soyo panels a little over a year ago. Fantastic image, saturated color, no black level shift as you move around. Wonder where Soyo found these Optronics panels when all the other guys didn't have them?
    Reply
  • DorkMan - Saturday, December 20, 2008 - link

    Sorry, guys, grease on my fingers from dinner. Replace "not" with "now" in the above post. Reply
  • Gunlance - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    I always enjoy browsing the LCD suggestion thread on the anandtech forums. The best place for really narrowing down your options.

    I'm still rocking my Samsung SyncMaster 215TW :)
    Reply
  • MalVeauX - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Heya,

    If you need a display larger than 28", it's time for you to just go up to an HDTV plasma with 1080p native res. It'll cost less than $2,000 that the 30" listed dream setups do. I have a 42" plasma that is 1080p and the text is actually crisp. No point in being limited to a small real estate screen size when a quality 1080p plasma can do the same thing for you.

    If you're using your display to code all day, literally, then stick with LCD's (in fact, get a wide screen that does portrait mode and then use it like that so you can see more of your code). But if you're using your display for casual use, gaming, and even video watching, you don't need a little LCD. Get something big. Make those high end machines and graphics cards do something wonderful that fills your face, not just a $4,000 machine on a tiny little 22" box that display all it does.

    Very best,
    Reply
  • RagingDragon - Sunday, December 21, 2008 - link

    The maximum resolution for an HDTV is 1920x1080 (1080p), while the 30" displays are all 2560x1600. Generally buyers of 30" displays are looking for the highest possible resolution at a reasonable pixel size (high cost, tiny pixels, and iffy hardware and software suppport make the 23" 3840x2400 displays impracticle for most buyers). Reply
  • Inq - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    Actually the HP LP2475 does not have an S-IPS panel but an H-IPS one just like the 26 NEC. Great display btw, it beats the 2408WFP IMO. Reply
  • rdh - Friday, December 19, 2008 - link

    My Westinghouse L2410NM was pretty well panned by everyone. But, you know, I have been using it as a monitor and an HDTV now since April and I love it. It has the real estate do serious Software development, and has HDMI/Component inputs for HDTV from my Dishnetwork HDDVR. My son's xbox360 looks great on it. It has a 1080p MVA screen, and a 1920x1200 base resolution.

    The time for Monitors + HDTV inputs and resolutions has come.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, December 22, 2008 - link

    We have several of these for work. If you need the VGA input the scaling can be weird, one had a broken menu/input select button, and at least one has a dead pixel, and there is the really annoying fact that it goes to a blue screen instead of shutting off when using the HDMI input. But for the price they were ($350-400 at Newegg) the image quality is great and the selection of inputs nice. Too bad Newegg no longer has them and everywhere else seems to be more expensive. Reply
  • Kairos - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    I bought a Samsung SyncMaster 2443BWX about five days ago, from Costco. It was marked down to $279, and since I got the last one in the store (apparently Samsung is phasing the model out), the display model (never turned on, just sat on the shelf), I got a 10% discount off of it. Actually, I didn't, because no one working at the store could figure out what 10% off of $279 was, so they ended up giving it to me for $200.

    It's a fairly bare-bones monitor (a panel on a stand with a DVI port and a VGA port, basically), but the panel quality is pretty good, and for $200 it's an amazing deal. I'm very satisfied with it, overall. Costco, in my experience, has always been a great place to shop for monitors. They'll often run really good clearance deals on old models, so you can get something nice for not much money.
    Reply
  • Wineohe - Thursday, December 18, 2008 - link

    Just received my 2408WFP today, although I paid a little more when I purchased it late Monday night.

    I set it up in a dual display configuration with the 1901FP it replaced, which is almost exactly 5 years old. I am shocked by how dim and off the colors are on the 1901FP. And to think I was debating the purchase. I can't believe I was actually editing family photos with it.
    Reply

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