What is a good monitor for a web designer?
October 23, 2007 7:27 AM   Subscribe

What is a good monitor for a web designer? I'm on a PC and would prefer a CRT monitor at least 21".

I need a new monitor. I am a web designer so color accuracy is very important. I know next to nothing about monitors but I've heard that LCD monitors do not represent color onscreen as well as CRT's. Would an Apple monitor work? Price isn't really an issue since my company is footing the bill.
posted by bingwah to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hopefully some experts weigh in, but as an amateur photographer, I calibrated my LCD (Dell 2407FPW) with a Pantone Huey, and I'm happy with the results. From the factory, the monitor pushed a little red, so when my photos were printed, they'd have a greenish cast (because my monitor lied to me and I got the colors wrong). After calibrating with the Huey, the results were, to my eye, perfect.
posted by knave at 7:33 AM on October 23, 2007

My father recently bought a 23" Apple, and found when he calibrated it that the relative RGB color balance was flawless; he only had to adjust the brightness down a little bit.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:46 AM on October 23, 2007

I've heard that LCD monitors do not represent color onscreen as well as CRT's

This might have been true with older LCD's, but not with modern ones, calibrated correctly. I do all my web design on dual 21 inch Fujitsu Scaleoview monitors, and they're perfect for my needs.

I also have a 21inch CRT Sony Trinitron that I haven't switched on in at least a year.

If money isn't an object, both Apple and Dell do great high-end LCD's. Go for a dual screen set up too, if you can.
posted by ReiToei at 7:48 AM on October 23, 2007

Free-standing (as opposed to built-in or laptop) LCDs have gotten a lot better over the past several years, with regard to color-fidelity. I swear by my old clear-frame 23" CinemaDisplay (properly calibrated)

For color professionals, calibration of any monitor (LCD or CRT) is key.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:50 AM on October 23, 2007

I've heard that LCD monitors do not represent color onscreen.

That's how your sites are going to be viewed - onscreen. As a web designer, you're going to have to live with the fact that 99.9% of people don't calibrate their monitors and your site is going to look slightly different to everyone. There's not much of a point in stressing out about it.
posted by lovetragedy at 7:59 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes -- I'm wondering why you feel that color accuracy is important for a web designer. Can you clarify that?
posted by amtho at 8:02 AM on October 23, 2007

Yeah, for web design it's best to have a display that's fairly typical, rather than unusually accurate, and CRTs are used by a shrinking number of people. Just get a mid-range, decent-sized LCD monitor (or two) and set it to display stuff in a way that seems fairly representative of how most people will see your work (which may involve calibrating then using the Proof Setup in Photoshop etc. to preview differing gammas, or simply adjusting it to seem fairly typical).
posted by malevolent at 8:13 AM on October 23, 2007

I'm wondering why you feel that color accuracy is important for a web designer. Can you clarify that?

I'm not speaking for the OP, but even a web designer should do their color work as accurately as possible. It establishes the baseline as to how the website should, ideally, look.

For instance, let's say the client calls you up, screaming that he just looked at his new website (that you built) and the pictures of the staff were all dark red and orange.

At this point, if you took pains to begin with a properly calibrated monitor with which to create accurate color images, you could assure the client that the images are perfectly accurate and that it's his home monitor that is the problem.

On the other hand, if you built the website without regard to color-accuracy, you have no baseline, and no leg to stand on, when dealing with client complaints.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:14 AM on October 23, 2007

Getting a CRT bigger than 21" is cra-azy these days, especially if you're not footing the bill. Those things weigh a ton and take up most of your desk. Apple hasn't even made CRT's for years.

You definitely want an LCD (or two). Apples are pretty much top-of-the-line, but I've heard that Dell makes some comparable models for cheaper. Now, if you could get your boss to swap out that PC for a Mac at the same time, you'd have a real setup going. :)
posted by designbot at 8:14 AM on October 23, 2007

I am a web designer so color accuracy is very important.

Would you be a print designer, having a calibrated monitor with accurate color representation would be very important. For a web designer this is, IMHO not that important since your work is going to be viewed on lots of different configurations, most of them crappy. (Think old screens, screens with speakers next to them that give them a nice magnetic rainbow effect, crappy laptop screens in bright sunlight, ...)

I really like Apple Cinema Displays (and don't really care that they're not LCD). There are very affordable calibration accessories in the $90 range to re-calibrate your monitor if this is needed over time.
posted by lodev at 8:15 AM on October 23, 2007

Response by poster: So it seems I'd be OK getting an LCD and calibrating it correctly.

I'm assuming I can hook up an Apple monitor to my PC with an adaptor? Anyone care to explain this?

The reasons I mentioned color accuracy are pretty much all the reasons Thorzdad mentioned. I guess I should have said it's very important to me, not necessarily web design in general. I believe it's important for a web designer to establish a base for what something should look like even though users aren't necessarily going to view the same thing due to monitor variations. I've found this especially helps when dealing with clients.
posted by bingwah at 8:27 AM on October 23, 2007

So it seems I'd be OK getting an LCD and calibrating it correctly.

You'll pretty much be able to use it straight out of the box. Apple LCD's come with a standard DVI connection. You don't need any special connectors.
posted by ReiToei at 8:34 AM on October 23, 2007

Modern Apple displays need no adapters; years ago they used a unique power-plus-data connector, but now they're DVI like everything else.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2007

Depending on your budget, I'd be looking at the NEC LCD2490WUXI. It's sRGB like every other monitor, but is calibrated at the factory for extremely even illumination, which is a nice benefit for any kind of work. And it has an extremely wide viewing angle so you don't get color shifts as you move your head around.
posted by kindall at 9:16 AM on October 23, 2007

Unless you're really attached to the style of the Apple I don't see why you wouldn't go with a less expensive Dell. At least my understanding is they use the same LCDs and the Dells seem to come with more input options as well.
posted by 6550 at 9:38 AM on October 23, 2007

Stavrosthewonderchicken's comment with anandtech forum link from a previous LCD monitor question may be helpful. I'm sticking with my 22" CRT for a few more years, but I don't do design work. If the sky is the limit, you want a monitor with an A-TW-IPS panel.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:02 PM on October 23, 2007

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