Two friends drag Agent 001 with them to buy LCDs. They do; he decides to wait for yet another price drop
As it happened, one day two of my friends got up and decided they wanted to get their computers slim and fighting trim. They had already upgraded their display cards (I’m talking about the same troublesome duo I mentioned last month), and were now looking for something beyond 17-inch CRTs, those eye-straining behemoths of old.
So we had a powwow on Friday, and 11.30 AM Saturday was set as the deadline to get to Lamington Road. We were armed with all the basic knowledge about LCDs, although each had different requirements and differing budgets for the “ideal” monitor.
A 17- or 19-inch monitor is pretty much de facto now. Don’t even think 15-inch unless you don’t plan on gaming or watching movies, and the price difference between a 15-inch and a 17-inch is not more than 2,000 bucks anyway. For the record, 17-inchers sport the same native resolution as 19-inch monitors (1280 x 1024). When talking LCD, remember the key word is native resolution and not maximum resolution.
Then there’s the whole widescreen-or-not decision. Basically, office work, Internet browsing, image editing, etc., are accomplished well enough with a regular screen. Movies and HD content means widescreen. Games are a mixed bag—some support WS resolutions and some don’t. Most of the later ones do, so WS gets another point here. Having a wider viewing angle is great for most games!
Upon reaching The Good Old Road, we walked into one of the bigger shops—a vendor I had patronised before. We looked at 17-inch monitors first. ViewSonic has a 17-inch widescreen (quite a rarity for this size!). The va1703w costs 9,000 bucks. Someone who wants widescreen on a budget should look here. Samsung’s 740N is available, but isn’t a viable option considering the price—Rs 9,500. BenQ’s FP71G is another good buy in the non-WS category—only 10,200 bucks.
The 19-inch category sees Samsung’s 940BW—now at a great price of Rs 13,000. This monitor has one of the narrowest bezels I’ve ever seen—great aesthetics. The ViewSonic va1912w is another option here at Rs 12,000. The va1930wm is similar to the va1912w; priced just Rs 300 higher, it looks a little better and has speakers inbuilt. All three of these widescreens support 1440 x 900. BenQ’s FP92W is another widescreen option, again about Rs 13,000. Yet another option is Acer’s AL1916W, again 13K, although this one has only analogue connectivity. Incidentally, there’s an AL1916 (the missing “W” denotes no widescreen—for a scant 500 bucks less).
The shocker was the 22-inch category. At 1680 x 1050, these monitors used to cost upward of 22,000 bucks just around eight months ago. The ViewSonic vx2235wm, which we tested in May of this year, was now happily selling for Rs 16,800! I was also surprised to see BenQ’s FP222W costing Rs 18,900. If you indulge in multimedia, then by all means go for the vx2235wm or the FP222W.
Acer’s AL2216W is just Rs 17,000, but it doesn’t have DVI connectivity. This dealer said he could arrange for a Dell monitor, the E228WFP (a 22-inch monitor), which would be Rs 18,500. Dell doesn’t sell monitors directly through vendors, but has an online shop. Buying through vendors who have jugad is only advisable once you’ve found out the exact price by getting in touch with Dell and comparing it with the best price the dealer is able to give. You need to tread softly here—it’s your hard-earned cash we’re talking about!
Now BenQ’s excellent FP241W was available on demand, but at a jaw-dropping Rs 44,000, this 24-incher is strictly for the rich. Bear in mind it has Component and S-Video connectivity, so consoles like the X360 and the PS3—and even DVD players—can be hooked up. Finally, the HDMI connect is a big plus, and makes this offering future-proof. Incidentally, this monitor fully supports a resolution of 1080p.
Friend #1 went with the ViewSonic va1703wm—9,000 bucks was the best price we could get. My second friend was torn between a 19-inch widescreen and a 22-inch widescreen. We took a break and lunch during which I tried to sway him towards the larger one. He is, incidentally, a movie freak—like me. Eventually I convinced him to splurge on the vx2235wm. We ended up paying 16,500 bucks for that.
On the way back, I was again ribbed endlessly—for not having been decisive enough to make a purchase. To be honest I’ve been eyeing 24-inch LCDs, but the exorbitant prices keep putting me off. I anticipate a fall in their prices over the next few months—so I’m sitting this one out.