Let's be honest: we like big displays. Given the choice between any two computer LCDs, we would almost invariably take the larger display - provided that price isn't an overriding concern, naturally. That being the case, and looking at the current prices of LCDs, we have a serious problem even considering anything smaller than a 20" LCD. The difference in price between a 17" LCD and a 22" LCD can be as little as $75, and by the time you're looking at reasonable quality displays, the price difference can narrow even more. Widescreen displays are the trend these days, which is all the more reason to get something a bit larger if possible - note that in terms of screen surface area, a 19" widescreen is actually slightly smaller than a standard 19" 5:4 aspect ratio LCD.

It wasn't all that long ago that a typical 20" LCD could cost well over $500. After watching 20-22" CRTs bottom out at around $500 for more than five years, you certainly won't find us complaining about LCD prices dropping by 30% or more per year! There is a point of diminishing returns, however, and it's quite difficult to find any size LCD for under $150. Should you go out and purchase the least expensive (and probably lowest quality) LCD you can find for $150, or is it better to spend a bit more money to get one of the larger displays? Considering that the display is what you're actually spending all of your time looking at when you use a computer, we continue to recommend that you spend more rather than less money on that particular component, and the fact that a good quality display can last through several computer upgrades is merely one more reason to do so.

We're looking at HP's 22" w2207 display today, which at $360 costs quite a bit more than the entry level 22" LCDs on the market. We previously looked at one such monitor, the Acer AL2216W that currently sells for $230, so one of the first questions we need to answer is what exactly the w2207 provides that the Acer lacks. Other than a few extra features, we also need to look at performance, but for less demanding users we feel pretty confident in stating that you'll be hard-pressed to find an extra $130 of value in the HP offering. What about those of you who aren't so easy to please - is there a case to be made for the HP w2207? Let's find out....

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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - link

    For $1700, I would definitely pick up one of the HP 30 inch LCDs -- or the Dell that matter. Both of those used S-IPS panels and provide back lighting that has an improved color gamut. I certainly couldn't tell you what the NEC offers that would make it worth the price of entry, but unfortunately I have never been able to use one in person. Reply
  • nilepez - Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - link

    I think the difference is that the HP apparently has a lot of adjustments that you can make.

    I'm just guessing, but it may be something like the the old Sony Artisan or Barco monitors, where you could make adjustments to many different areas of the screen, not just the usual 4 (or less) that most had.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, August 2, 2007 - link

    IIRC some of the high-end Eizo and NEC displays can interface directly with color calibration equipment, and probably have better controls. Who knows, they migh hold their color longer or come with a calibration sheet from NIST or something too. Conceptually similar to the Artisans as a monitor designed to be very good for color-sensitive work. Reply

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