The Lean Look

By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Oct - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Oct - 2006
The Lean Look
I recently moved a bit closer to good ol' office, and as some of you might know, I'm lazy. Too lazy to carry my chunky CRT over. I'd also upgraded my rig with an (ahem) Asus 7900GTX card, and was looking for a new mate for this baby…

And I was about to go the CRT way, primarily because I game a lot, but I lamented the sheer bulk that comes with the visual quality! A friend who'd taken the flat-panel plunge was all praise about them. I was sceptical-after all, LCDs are plagued with high response times. Higher response times translate to what we call ghosting and/or streaking-typically while gaming, and occasionally while watching movies. A decent response time should be around 4 to 8ms. LCDs also-usually-have poorer contrast ratios.

To placate my friend, however, I promised a cursory look at the very least at some of the LCDs available. Admittedly, I was yearning for something I could carry around with myself for our monthly LAN parties-I'd gotten sick of the crappy 15-inch monitors my friends used to set up.

As I discovered, widescreen LCDs have a good presence in the market now, and offer a 16:10 or 16:9 viewing experience. They are ideal for DVD and HD movie viewing (typically widescreen content), as well as gaming.

The best bang for your buck lies in the 17- and 19-inch segments, and I don't recommend a 15-inch screen any more-simply because the extra that you pay-about Rs 2 or 3K-is worth the larger display area!

Armed with the decision to get myself an LCD, I boarded a train to that hardware den of Mumbai, Lamington Road, or Lammy as we call it. Now I didn't want to show that I knew a bit about LCDs, and I also wasn't sure what screen size I'd settle for, so I played the innocent "Bhaiya mujhe LCD monitor khareedna hai" stereotype.

A shop I happened to stop by had a couple of LCDs on display. The good man pointed me towards a BenQ FP71E , which at Rs 9,950 is the latest from the BenQ 17-inch stables. He was quick to mention its response time-8 ms, "which is the fastest available, and good for gaming," to quote him. This monitor has a contrast ratio of 500:1, which should be good enough for all purposes. I noted that this one had inbuilt speakers, not bad at all if space constraints disallow desktop speakers. But I have an Altec Lansing MX5021, so I decided I wouldn't shell out extra for speakers. I was shown the 17-inch Samsung 740N, which at Rs 11,500 seemed a decent purchase. What I really liked was the very thin side bezel trim, that is, the front casing of the LCD panel, due to which it's ideal for a dual-monitor setup. The 740N has an 8 ms response time, and I found this model better aesthetics-wise than the slightly bulkier FP71E .

Popping into the shop next door, I asked to be shown 17- and 19-inch models. The shop owner promptly brought up a 17-inch LG 1730S which costs Rs 10,750, and the earlier Samsung 740N. The LG 1730S has a 16 ms response time, which can cause lag as far as games and movies go. He also had a BenQ 19-inch FP91G , which could be mine for Rs 13,750. BenQ models seem to be cheaper than their Samsung and LG counterparts. I also checked out an LG 1950S-a 19-incher-at
Rs 14,750. This monitor has a relatively slow 12 ms response time, but what put me off was the stand, which looked too boxy. I like to flash my hardware around-so I just dropped this one!

Shop #3 was a high-fi dealer who showed me a 19-inch ViewSonic VX924, priced at Rs17,000. The VX924 has a claimed response time of 3 ms. He also told be that he could arrange for a Dell flat panel; I enquired further, and got a whopping quote of Rs 40,000 for a Dell 2407. This is an amazing display, widescreen and 24 inches! That's 1920 x 1200 pixels of pure bliss. Lamenting my meagre resources, I shook my head, deciding against donating a kidney.

It had started to drizzle by the time I walked up to shop #4. Irritating-I certainly didn't want my new monitor to get wet; in fact, I wouldn't even settle for the carton catching a few drops of H2O! The shopkeeper was rather enthusiastic and even chatted a bit with me. He showed me two Samsung models-the 940B and 940BW, both 19-inch models. The "W" model is widescreen, and supports a 16:10 resolution of 1440 x 900. These two are priced at Rs 15,000 and 16,000 respectively.

I really liked the 940BW-the display area of this monitor is huge! It has a response time of 4 ms. He also showed me a couple of 17-inch models, one each from Samsung and LG-the same models that shop #2 had shown me. It was a no-contest, really. I bargained a bit, and managed to cut 500 bucks off the price. So my 940BW cost me Rs 15,500, and I was overjoyed! But drat-the drizzle had become a downpour. Well, we can't get what we want all the time, now, can we?

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