Flat Screen/LCD Recommendations
December 7, 2004 9:50 AM   Subscribe

My Mom and I are looking to buy my Dad a nice, bright new flat/LCD monitor. Anyone have any recommendations? [+]

We're looking to spend, at the most, $300, and a smaller viewing area is fine, he only uses it to go on eBay (and to get mad at his email not working). I've found that, despite being pretty good with computers, I know nothing about monitors. Anyone know of a good one that's bright enough for someone getting on in their years to see well, and simple enough for a man who thinks a computer is magic to adjust easily?

(if this is too productfilter or something, please feel free to delete and take me into meTa)
posted by deafmute to Shopping (10 answers total)
Dell Ultrasharps are (IMO) quite nice. 17" for sale right now, $332.10 and free ground shipping. Or, the 15" is $260.10
posted by Irontom at 10:18 AM on December 7, 2004

Check NewEgg, they've almost always got a deal. For example, right now they have a 19" for $339. The brands won't be top-tier, but they all use the same panels anyway (mostly made by Samsung or LG).
posted by kindall at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2004

I recommend that once you get one, you turn down the luminosity and turn up the contrast. Most LCD monitors ship with the brightness jacked way up so it looks real impressive in the store set up next to the CRTs, but this has the effect of making the darker colors artificially bright. Turning down the brightness and turning up the contrast will have the effect of keeping the brightest whites about the same brightness, but the darkest blacks will be much darker, and overall color reproduction should improve significantly.

That said, I have a BenQ FP767-12, which is a mid-range model I chose because it struck a nice balance between faithful color, decent refresh response, and reasonable price, but it was pretty hard to find.

As always, Tom's Hardware Many of the stats quoted about LCD displays, such as refresh rates (one "slower" 20ms display technology does significantly better at doing smooth video and games than most of the "faster" 12ms technologies) and contrast rastios (see above re: luminosity; bear in mind that any contrast ratio above around 500:1 is pretty unnescessary when they tell you "this monitor has a 3,000:1 contrast ratio!") are misleading so its good to study up before you go into a store. Also bear in mind wthat while there are lots of different brands, there are only two or three companies that make the matrixes that compose the actual display, so while Dell may make a very nice plastic stand, you should be able to find an LCD with the exact same display technology for cheaper.
posted by ChasFile at 10:58 AM on December 7, 2004

Samsung 17" for $280 with rebate. (I don't know anything about the quality of the monitor, just saw the deal.)
posted by mookieproof at 11:48 AM on December 7, 2004

The Samsung 510MP is probably more than you're looking for, but you might want to consider it. 15" display with built-in TV tuner; has VGA, s-video, RCA, and TV coax inputs; does PinP. Best Buy has them for $350. I use one as a second monitor, but I usually have TV or a DVD playing on it.
posted by joaquim at 1:24 PM on December 7, 2004

ViewSonic has a few models in that price range, and they seem to be quite reliable. Dells panels (as much as I dislike Dell) tend to use the same components as more expensive panels and are a relative bargain as well.

I'm hesitent to recommend the BenQs because I shipped a bad bunch of them to a client... nearly all of them fritzed in a few weeks. I know that it's statistically insignificant anecdotal evidence but hey, that's what the PC world is built on!

As far as low-cost retail level vendors, I'll second the NewEgg motion. I've bought a few things there that my distributors don't stock, and never had a problem.
posted by mosch at 2:26 PM on December 7, 2004

I'll throw in another vote for the Dells. Though normally I don't find the quality of manufacturers like Dell/HP/Gateway to be very good, I've been setting up a lot of Dell flat panels at work and they're pretty solid. The newer ones come with integrated USB hubs on the side/back, which is nice for hooking up the keyboard, mouse, jumpdrive, etc without screwing with the tower.

The display itself seems bright and crisp, though I'm not a very good judge of that sort of thing. We've set up maybe two dozen of their displays over the past year, a few different models depending on when we ordered them, and I haven't had anyone report dead pixels or picture degredation, though I'm not sure our users would notice.
posted by mmcg at 3:04 PM on December 7, 2004

Me too, re the Dell 17" ultrasharp. I just got one, like it.
posted by mono blanco at 7:43 PM on December 7, 2004

AG Neovo F-417. Available here for $280. I have the F-419, which is the same thing but 19" instead of 17", and it's excellent. It has a higher brightness and contrast ratio (good stuff) than comparably priced Dells/Samsungs/Viewsonics, the construction is very good, and the thing looks sexy. Zipzoomfly is a very reputable retailer.
posted by swank6 at 8:37 PM on December 7, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers everyone, I appreciate it. I had no idea what direction to go in.
posted by deafmute at 10:44 AM on December 8, 2004

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