Flat Out!

Published Date
01 - Apr - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Apr - 2006
Flat Out!
With their sleek lines, thin profile, light weight and flat screens, LCD monitors have always caught one's fancy. Their high costs limited them to niche segments, though, but due to several factors, prices of LCD screens are plummeting. The smaller ones have now come within the reach of home users, and LCDs seem poised to replace CRTs for good.

There is a variant in the LCD space which must be talked about here. Regular CRT monitors and LCD panels come in what is termed the 4:3 aspect ratio. Your television set, for example, has a 4:3 display screen. Some displays, however, come in a 16:9 screen ratio, which means the width of the screen is significantly more than its height. Such a display is called a "widescreen," and makes for a better movie-watching experience.

While the widescreen aspect is another positive on the LCD's side, viewing angles have been a problem: an LCD tends to appear darker and discoloured when viewed beyond a certain angle. This is undesirable when the screen is being viewed by number of people seated at different positions-as would be the case if they were watching a movie. Some displays today apply a special coat to their LCD panels, which goes a long way in increasing the viewing angle and the image contrast ratio (more on contrast ratio later).

Before you pick an LCD monitor, we must point out another potential roadblock to its enjoyment. It might have a slow response time, which can lead to the appearance of trails, or what is known as "ghosting" of images. Ghosting is generally visible as trails behind fast-moving objects. It is a somewhat subjective effect-some people can see it, others cannot. It is thus a good idea to try out a movie or a game on an LCD panel before purchasing it.

We must tell you that LCD monitors aren't yet perfect for movies or games. Thankfully, at least one issue seems to be resolved: buyers were often told to beware of dead pixels before picking an LCD screen. (A dead pixel is one that is either always on or off, and is thus useless in general, everyday use.) With better quality control, however, dead pixels are rarely seen on LCD panels today.

Here, we compare a range of available LCD monitors. We received a total of 33 monitors for this test. Of these, the 15-inch category consisted of seven units from seven brands, the 17-inchers consisted of 15 from 12 brands, while there were 11 19-inch monitors from nine brands. NEC sent in the highest number of LCDs at seven. Our effort here has been not to help you make a well-informed purchase decision.

A Look At Features
Let us first take a look at some of the key features to look at before you zero in on an LCD. These are by no means the only features there are, but are certainly the most important aspects of such a display unit.

Pixel Pitch
The distance between two white pixels or two sub-pixels of the same colour is known as the pixel pitch of the monitor. A white pixel is made up of three sub-pixels-one red, one green and one blue. All the categories saw pixel pitches of 0.29mm and 0.26mm. Pixel pitch varies with monitor size, and is generally fixed across a size category. Needless to say, the individual size of each sub-pixel is smaller than the pixel pitch.

Native Resolution And Screen Aspect Ratio
LCD monitors have what is called a "native resolution," and cannot display crisp images at a resolution other than this resolution-unlike CRT monitors. If you change an LCD's native resolution, you will see a badly focused image, and hard-to-read fonts with blurred edges.

The 15-inch and 17-inch models we received had native resolutions of 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024 respectively. The 19-inch monitors had a native resolution of 1280 x 1024 when the aspect ratio was 4:3, whereas it was 1440 x 900 when the aspect ratio was widescreen, at 16:9.

The widescreen aspect ratio was only seen in the 19-inch category. The monitors with a wide aspect ratio were the Acer AL1916W, Asus PW191 and the CMV CT-937A. A wide screen is especially good when you're viewing wide-screen movies.

Luminance and contrast ratio are very important factors in any monitor, and they are even more important for an LCD. Unlike CRTs, in which these depend on the phosphor screen, LCDs have a fluorescent lamp built into the LCD monitor's casing. The brighter the lamp, the higher the luminance, and the better the monitor. The lamp rating is what determines the brightness level the monitor can achieve. A higher luminance means the LCD is easier to view in a bright room and from a distance.

In the 15-inch category, the NU L511E had the highest luminance rating at 300 cd/m2 (candelas per square metre). The rest of the 15-inch category had a luminance of 250 cd/m2. Under the 17-inch category, the Asus PM17TU had a luminance rating of 500 cd/m2-the highest we've seen amongst all the LCDs featured in this test. Note that this is a vendor-specified rating, and a rating of 500 means that the LCD can look bright even in a fully-lit room. The CMV CT-712A, with a luminance of 400 cd/m2, had the second-highest luminance rating. We were surprised to see that the highest luminance in the 19-inch category was 330 cd/m2 of the CMV CT-937A, while most of the LCDs in this category had luminance ratings of 300 or less. The lowest luminance rating was seen in the 19-inch Philips 190V-240 cd/m2.

Contrast Ratio
The ratio of the brightness of pure white versus pitch black that the monitor is capable of displaying is known as its contrast ratio. Monitors with a higher contrast ratio display images with better visual depth. A monitor with a higher contrast ratio also allows you to fine-tune its contrast settings to suit different lighting conditions.

Samsung SyncMaster 540N

As a rule of thumb, a contrast ratio of 120:1 is enough to display most colours. When the contrast ratio is even higher, the LCD is able to display more levels of grey. What this means is that with an LCD with a high contrast ratio, you will be able to see more shades of colour.

The NU L511E and the Samsung SyncMaster 540N claimed the highest contrast ratio of 500:1 amongst the 15-inchers. The others had contrast ratios of 450:1 and 400:1. In the 17-inch LCDs, the BenQ FP71E boasted of a very high contrast ratio of 1000:1-the highest of all LCDs in the test. This means the user has a wide range of contrast and brightness to play with. Most others in this category had a contrast ratio of 600:1 or 500:1. The ViewSonic VA712 had the lowest contrast ratio of 350:1, leaving little room for tweaking.

In the 19-inch models, the highest contrast ratio-800:1-was seen on the NEC MultiSync LCD1920NXp, followed by the Acer AL1916W with 700:1.

How We Tested 
The monitors were tested keeping in mind performance, features, and value for money. Before running the tests, the monitors were placed perfectly vertically in order to eliminate any uniformity issues, and were auto-calibrated. All the monitors were set to their native resolutions, and the drivers were loaded for best performance.

The Test Bed: Both the reference and the test systems were running on an Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz with 1 GB of DDR SDRAM, and were powered by an nVidia 5950 Ultra graphics card. The test rigs had a 120 GB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive. Windows XP Professional SP1 was loaded, along with the latest version of DirectX and other device drivers.

Features: In the Features tests, we looked for value-additions and other aspects that increased the user-friendliness of a display. The features noted varied in significance-some were simple, like the user-friendliness of the OSD (On-Screen Display); some were important, such as power consumption, depth and weight. One important thing we looked at was the monitor base, which decides the tilt the monitor is capable of-the more the better. Some LCDs can be rotated vertically for both landscape and portrait orientations. A portrait orientation is especially useful while reading a long Word file or a PDF document, as it reduces the need to scroll off a screen. We also rated additional features such as Web camera, additional inputs such as DVD-D, USB, etc.

Performance: We used the DisplayMate benchmarking software to gauge the LCD monitors' performance. This software uses images to test a monitor for criteria such as Point Shape and Visibility. For example, this test can be used to determine how accurately the LCD can display a fine point, and whether or not it is able to retain the round shape of a dot.
In the colour and greyscale set of tests, we checked for colour reproduction, the level-shift problem, and the streaking or ghosting effect. We ran the 16-intensities and 64-level primary and secondary colour intensities tests to see how well the monitors could display shades.
In the miscellaneous tests within DisplayMate, we checked for screen uniformity. We also tested the Reverse Video Contrast. The Pixel Persistence Test was run to check for jerks or image blurring.
We used the Passmark Monitor Test to check for image persistence at the edges. This is a measure of the LCD's response time.
For the viewable text angle test, we used a protractor placed in-line with the LCD panel, and the screen was viewed from either side. A document containing different fonts was viewed from various angles, letting us determine the angles at which the text still looked sharp. Similarly, for the viewable movie angle test, we viewed a movie from various angles and determined the angle at which discolouration of image began.

Price: We took the price of each monitor into account before assigning it a final score.

How We Awarded
The features, performance and price scores were given relevant weightages, and an overall score out of 100 was calculated.  The product that scored the highest was adjudged the winner of the Digit Best Buy Gold award for its category, while the second highest got the Digit Best Buy Silver award.
Response Times
The response time is the time it takes for a pixel to change its state from on to off or from off to on. These times for LCD monitors have traditionally been slower than those of CRTs. The effect of this can be seen in the form of trails following bright, fast moving objects, and also leads to blurry images. This spoils the movie-watching or gaming experience.

Newer LCDs have a lower response time, so their pixels switch much faster-allowing you to view movies and play games without the problems that were previously associated with LCDs.

At 12 ms, the BenQ FP51G had the fastest response time amongst the 15-inch LCDs. The ViewSonic VX922, which is touted as the world's "fastest" LCD monitor, boasted of an incredibly low 6 ms response time which, using proprietary techniques, they claim to boost to 2 ms, making it good enough for any purpose, gaming included. Similarly, the Asus PM17TU in the 17-inch category also claims to achieve a low response time of 3 ms using a proprietary technique. 8 ms was the lowest response time in the remainder of the 17- and 19-inch monitors. A response time of 8 ms is fine for watching movies, but may not be good enough for fast-paced games.

When you talk about an LCD  monitor, you instantly think of a compact device with sleek dimensions-so much more attractive than a bulky CRT monitor!

In the 15-inch category, the BenQ FP51G had the smallest dimensions: 330 x 337 x 134.6 mm. In the 17-inch category, the LG FLATRON L1730S had the smallest dimensions. The NU L921G had the lowest dimensions and foo print in the 19-inch category, making it the sleekest19-inch panel.

It's not often that you change the physical placement of your monitor. The weight is therefore not that important as far as a monitor is concerned. But it is always nice to have a lighter monitor, isn't it? Interestingly though, heavy monitors tend to be steadier on their feet-more stable on a table.

Of the 15-inch monitors, the Acer AL1515sm was the lightest at 3 kg, whereas the Samsung SyncMaster 540N was the heaviest at 4.5 kg. The CMV CT-712A was the lightest at 3.4kg, while the BenQ FP72V was the heaviest at 7.5 kg in the 17-inch category. Amongst the 19-inch LCDs, the CMV CT-937A weighed in at just 4.7 kg which is quite light for a 19-inch monitor, while the NEC MultiSync LCD1980FXi was the heaviest of the lot.

BenQ FP51G

Height adjustment allows you to set the monitor at a level that is most comfortable for viewing. This feature is very useful as far as ergonomics and comfort is concerned. If the monitor does not allow for this, you might need to adjust the height of your chair, which is not always possible. Height adjustment was entirely absent in the 15-inch category. Amongst the 17-inchers, the BenQ FP72V and the NEC MultiSync monitors supported height adjustment. In the 19-inch category, the Asus PW191 and NEC MultiSync had this feature.

A few LCDs also have the horizontal and vertical swivel feature, which is an added bonus. This lets you adjust the monitor's angle to suit your comfort levels.

All the monitors supported vertical tilt, a feature missing in many monitors in our last LCD test. There were quite a few monitors that also featured horizontal swivel adjustment; prominent amongst them were the Asus PW191, the LG 1950SQ and the NEC MultiSync LCD1970NXp in the 19-inch category. Amongst the 17-inchers, the NEC MultiSync LCD1770NX and the NEC MultiSync LCD1770NXm featured swivel.

Other Features
Most graphics cards today, even entry-level ones, feature a DVI interface. DVI provides a pure digital video signal, and if your monitor supports the input, then the necessity of conversion between analog and digital signals is eliminated. The result is a lossless transfer of the video signal, and the overall image quality being  better than with the D-sub interface.

This interface was not found in any of the 15-inch monitors, but was featured on a few 17-inchers and on most of the 19-inch models.

The 17-inch BenQ FP72V also featured two side-panel speakers and a USB Web cam on top, making it a good integrated solution. The 19-inch Asus PW191 was the only LCD monitor with feather-touch controls, but as we found out, it was difficult to use- the controls were unresponsive most of the time. Also, it was difficult to view the controls in a moderately lit room with the monitor turned off.

The NEC AccuSync LCD 1770NXM was the only monitor that sported a USB hub, providing a convenient way to connect multiple input devices to your PC.

Power Consumption
One of the better known pluses of LCDs is their low power consumption. However, it is also true that their power requirements are often not substantially lower than those of CRTs. 15-inch LCDs need anything between 25 W and 36 W. 17-inchers need between 40 W and 60 W of power, and the power requirements of 19-inch LCDs are similar to 17-inch units. You should check the power rating of the LCD you plan to purchase, and note whether there is a substantial power saving to be had with a different model. This might not make much of a difference to a home user, but in an office where a lot of monitors are deployed, the power costs will add up and most certainly make a difference.

NU L511E

In the 15-inch category, the NEC, NU and Samsung had a power consumption rating of 25 W each-the lowest in this group. The Philips 170S had the lowest power consumption in the 17-inch category. Even amongst the 19-inchers, the Philips 190V boasted of the lowest power consumption-34W-closely followed by the ViewSonic VX922, at 35W.

Looks Matter 
This year we have seen remarkable improvements in the design of TFT-LCD monitors. Dual-toned, double-hinged, adjustable heights, pivots and touch sensors, were some of the features we encountered in this comparison test.
Along with performance and features it is important to consider appearance and build quality. Since beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, you can get an idea about the "looks" of every monitor we tested from the thumbnails placed under our comparison table. As for their build quality, you have to actually see one to best judge it. Some models paid attention to such design aspects and some of them were just plain, and there is thus nothing better than touching and feeling a unit personally. Let's take a look at the striking models in each category.

There was very little variance in appearance under the 15-inch banner. Most of the models were the generic single hinge type, meant for tilting the monitor screen about the horizontal axis, with a simple black-silver colour combination. The LG Flatron L1520B stood out as the better-looking 15-inch monitor with its aesthetic design. The heavy, steel circular base assured that the monitor stayed put on the desk. The NEC AccuSync LCD52V was the only single-tone (dark grey) LCD monitor in the lot.

17-inch and 19-inch
This is where all the masala was to be found. Many of the design features, such as double-hinge and pivot, were common to both 17- and 19-inch displays; as such, we have clubbed these together.
BenQ, with its FP72V 17-inch unit, steals the limelight in its category. Its combination of ivory-white and grey exteriors along with speakers, a double-hinge mechanism and an integrated Web cam make it the most stylish monitor in its class.
None of the other 17-inch monitors had a double-hinge like the BenQ FP72V, but they differed in styling. For example, the New Universe (NU) monitors had a thin metal border as the frame to its screen, and others such as Acer, Gigabyte and LG retained the slim, bezel appearance. The Asus PM17TU sported a glossy or mirror-finish on its front face.
At first glance, you can easily pick apart the Asus PW191 from its 19-inch brethren. Its black piano-finish casing, enclosing the touch sensor panel, and its WXGA widescreen was very striking indeed. Its heavy base and stand made up of aluminium exemplifies superb build quality. Thanks to a pivot head located at the back of its screen, you can rotate it by 90-degrees to portrait mode. If you are impressed by the description so far, we advice you to read our full review as appearance is only the first impression.
The Acer AL1916W and the CMV CT-937A were other 19-inch widescreen monitors. The latter has a design that resembles the Nokia 7610 mobile phone with one sharp corner and the other rounded. We also liked the ViewSonic VX922 for its simple yet classy design.
Usually, the stand is made up of double-hinge (such as the one found in the Asus PW191 and the BenQ FP72V) by which the screen of the monitor can be moved up and down as a height adjustment feature. But NEC engineers have intelligently managed space by employing adjustable height without the use of second hinge. Two concentric rectangular box form the stand of the screen. The outer box moves up and down while the inner one is fixed to the base of the stand. A click is heard when the maximum height is reached. A user can choose any height between the maximum and minimum, and the screen will rest in that position until forcefully moved. Apart from this unique feature, the NEC monitors were plain-looking, with a dark-grey exterior.

A Look At Performance

The monitors were tested using display benchmark utilities-DisplayMate Video Edition and the Passmark monitor test utility, along with several real-world tests. These included the viewing angle test and looking for the ghosting effect under movies.

Sharpness And Resolution
We checked for the sharpness of images using the Point Shape and Visibility screen in DisplayMate. This test displays fine white dots against a black background. We observed the screen for pixel bleeding, and found that most monitors had some amount of bleeding at the edge. Bleeding results in a red, green or blue tinge at the edge of a pixel dot. We found the Samsung SyncMaster 740N in the 17-inch category the best in this test.

In the video bandwidth test, a fine white line is drawn on a black background. This test is used to see how accurately the lines are drawn, and whether there are any discrepancies in their geometry or characteristics.

In the 15-inch category, the Gigabyte GD-1503B displayed blue tinges running across the length of the line at the edge. This was also the case with the NEC AccuSync LCD72V under the 17-inch category and the NU L921G and the NEC MultiSync LCD1970NXp in the 19-inch category. This test is important for people who use imaging software, where accurate reproduction of finer elements is of prime importance.

NU QL-711V

The Samsung SyncMaster 540N in the 15-inch category, the Samsung SyncMaster 740N in the 17-inch category and the BenQ FP91V in the 19-inch category were found to be the best in their class. We must stress that we did not find too much difference between the monitors in this test.

Ghosting, or streaking, is a major drawback of LCD monitors. It typically occurs during fast-moving scenes in movies, or while playing fast-paced games. This puts a strain on the eyes.

To check for ghosting, we ran four different ghosting screens in DisplayMate, and found that most monitors returned good results, with the exception of the Gigabyte GD-1503B, the NU L511E and the Samsung SyncMaster 540N in the 15-inch category, as  also the NU QL-711V in the 17-inch category, which displayed a higher amount of streaking in the colour streaking test. We also ran an additional test that involved watching a movie clip that showed fast-moving objects, in order to confirm our observations.

Level Shift
In this test, we looked for white and black level shifts, which happen when two adjacent areas differ greatly in contrast. This results in the spillage of the dark colour into the adjacent white area. In this test, most of the LCDs fared well with very little shift visible. Level shift was not noticeable in any of the LCDs at any kind of alarming levels. Level shift, if high, can be a big problem in Photoshop-like applications, where there are often light and dark areas adjacent to each other.

Text-Colour Combination
Here, we checked for how the monitors reproduced coloured fonts on backgrounds of different colours. LCDs have red, green and blue sub-pixels that make up a pixel. When coloured text, say magenta, is displayed on a grey background, you can easily identify the black space between two magenta dots, making the font look serrated. We checked for the readability of the text and also if the surrounding colour spills off the text.

Of the 15-inchers, the Gigabyte GD-1503B returned the worst results-it showed colour spillage problems with fonts of almost every colour. The NEC AccuSync LCD52V returned the best scores in this category. In the 17-inch category, the CMV and Intex monitors were the worst performers, whereas others that performed better were almost on par. There were not many variations in the LCDs in the 19-inch category-they all did well.

Intensity Levels
In this set of tests, we looked for how well the LCD monitors could display 16, 64 and 256 shades of grey. Most LCD monitors cannot display more than 64 shades correctly; as such, the 64-intensities test with secondary colours and the 256-intensities tests are especially important.

In this, contrast and brightness play an important role-an overly bright screen will not display shades of grey in the light region, and a dark screen will merge shades on the darker side. We found that in the 15-inch category, the BenQ, Gigabyte and the LG fared better than the others. In the 17-inch category, both the BenQs, the LG, the Philips and all the NEC monitors were found to excel under this test, indicating that these had a better contrast ratio.

Philips 170S

Almost all the 19-inch monitors performed very well in this test. If a monitor performs below satisfaction in this test, the user will need to manually calibrate the monitor for contrast and brightness rather than relying on the auto setting.
Screen Uniformity And Reverse Video Contrast
In the Screen Uniformity test, a grey screen was used to check for odd colour patches, if any. In the Reverse Video Contrast test, coloured text on white and two different shades of grey was used. Most of the monitors in all the categories did just fine in this test. The exception was the NEC AccuSync LCD72V, which had many bad patches.

Passmark Monitor Test
We used the LCD pixel persistence test in the Passmark monitor test to check for the pixel persistence problem with the panels. In this test, a bright white block moves at various speeds across the monitor, ranging from 100 pixels/second to 800 pixels/second. The entire set of monitors in both categories failed to display even the slowest moving block without persistence-all of them therefore scored very low.

Our test results lead us to believe that none of the LCDs are at a stage where they could be considered good for games or movies. If you're into gaming, you're better off with a CRT. If you want to watch movies on an LCD panel, don't expect an exceptional viewing experience. For this reason, we also watched a movie clip with fast moving scenes to better judge the pixel persistence.

NU L921G

Viewable Angle Test
Here, we used a text screen in DisplayMate, and a movie scene, to find the maximum viewing angle of each monitor. In the movie test, we looked for the point at which the centre of the screen just begins to get discoloured whereas in the text angle, we looked for the angle at which the text is just readable.

The LG FLATRON L1520B (15-inch), CMV CT-712A and LG FLATRON L1730S (17-inch) and BenQ FP91V, CMV CT-937A, LG FLATRON L1950SQ and NEC MultiSync LCD1980FXi (19-inch) returned the highest results in this test.

Of these, the NEC MultiSync LCD1980FXi was seen to have the highest movie viewing angle of 150 degrees, which is the highest we have seen-significantly more than its closest competitor at 135 degrees. We could not find any discolouration of the screen at all, even past this angle. Most panels returned a higher viewing angle in text mode-this was because of the bright background. They suffered in the movie test because the movie was a mix of bright outdoors and dimly-lit indoors scenes.

And The Winner Is…..
Thus far, we have compared the features and performance of LCD monitors. But there is one more criterion that decides the winners-price. And so, here's our final tally!

15-inch LCD monitors
The BenQ FP51G had a good contrast ratio and brightness and was also the fastest LCD in this class with a rated response time of just 12ms. It was also the second-best performer in the category. It retails at just Rs 9,900, second only to the Gigabyte GD-1503B. Its lower price and overall good performance and features made the BenQ FP51G the Digit Best Buy Gold winner.

The NU L511E topped the features score because of better features such as its high contrast ratio and brightness. It was one of the lighter LCDs, weighing just 3.2kg. Though an average performer, its low price of Rs 9,999 makes it the Digit Best Buy Silver winner in the 15-inch category.

17-inch LCD monitors
The BenQ FP72V scored the highest in Features, but it was also priced much higher, at Rs 23,900.

The NU QL-711V had low power consumption, a good contrast ratio, and a good brightness rating. But it scored average in Features and Performance. However, with a rock-bottom price of just Rs 11,970, the NU QL-711V secured the Digit Best Buy Gold.

Asus PW191

The Philips 170S scored high in Performance because of its overall better image quality. It was priced at Rs 14,000, which is just below the average price of a 17-inch monitor. The Philips 170S was awarded the Digit Best Buy Silver.
The Advantages Of An LCD Monitor 
Luminance (Brightness): An LCD can be made brighter by increasing the brightness of the backlight. In the case of a CRT, an increase in brightness also increases the beam spot size; this lowers the effective resolution, yielding a fuzzy image.

Flickerless: An LCD display does not flicker. In a CRT, an electron beam scans the phosphor screen in horizontal lines from top to bottom and this illuminates the screen. This must be done fast enough for the eye to not notice a flicker, which is not always achievable. The LCD has a constant source of light over the whole screen which means that once a pixel is on, it stays on until turned off, and vice-versa.

Crisp And Sharp Image: For a CRT screen, the electron beam is circular when aimed directly forward, but it becomes elliptical when aimed at any other direction. This may cause image clarity or focus issues at the screen edge.
An LCD has millions of pixels hard-etched onto the panel, each effectively independent from its neighbour. With no scanning electron beam, distortion is not an issue. Therefore, the image always appears crisp over the entire screen.

Perfect Geometry: LCD monitors provide geometrically-perfect and distortion-free images, which is a huge advantage for graphics artists and designers.

Longer Life: The life of an LCD depends on the life of the backlight, which is composed of one or more tiny fluorescent tubes. The typical life of a backlight is stated to be around 50,000 hours to the half-brightness point, which is the point at which brightness is one-half the original brightness. This is the industry standard measure for product life.
In case of a CRT, the age depends on the formation of oxide layer on the cathode of the electron gun, which decreases beam current. Also, the phosphor ages and becomes less efficient over a period. The typical CRT half-brightness point has been found to be between 10,000 and 20,000 hours.

Power Consumption: The power required to run an LCD is about one-half to one-third of that required for a CRT with the same screen area. In addition to this, LCDs generate considerably less heat than CRT monitors because of the technological difference. This indirectly leads to a lower load on air conditioning, thus reducing running costs. Similarly, the lower power requirements of an LCD monitor make it easier to be used with an uninterruptible power supply, because the lower power required provides precious extra minutes to save important data and shut down the PC in the event of a power outage.

Low Emissions: A CRT monitor can generate electric, magnetic and even X-ray emissions due to the high-voltage power supply necessary to drive the CRT and the electron beam striking the phosphor screen. An LCD has no such issues because of the different technology.

Better Ergonomics: LCD monitors are smaller, more compact and lighter when compared to CRTs. Thus, they take up less precious desktop space. They can fit in locations where bulky CRTs just cannot. Those with VESA mounting can even be mounted on the wall. Some LCDs also have pivots to rotate horizontally, vertically and even from landscape to portrait mode, which makes them
more versatile.

Total Cost Of Ownership: The prices of LCD monitors have been decreasing in recent years. When calculated, one can imagine the power-saving features of LCDs reducing the total cost of ownership over a period of a few years.

19-inch LCD monitors

We found the NEC monitors to be a world apart from the others, due to their better features and quality. But they were also priced exorbitantly high, and remain beyond the reach of most.

The NU L921G had high brightness and contrast ratios, and a low response time, while weighing just 5.3 kg, scored good points under Features. It also fared well as far as performance was concerned. The low price tag of Rs 18,000 was the deciding factor in adjudging the NU L921G the winner of the Digit Best Buy Gold in the 19-inch LCD monitor category.

The Asus PW191 was in a class of its own with its wide-screen aspect ratio and unique looks. It scored the highest points in Features. We also found it to be a good performer. But with its heavy price tag of Rs 29,000, it had to settle for the Digit Best

Buy Silver.
In Conclusion
We'd like to confess that we had initially planned to carry out two separate shootouts of both LCD monitors and CRTs, but we were surprised at the very low turnout of CRTs. Manufacturers told us they are pushing for sales of LCDs over CRTs, hence the low turnout.

The wisdom behind this decision is debatable. If you recall our last LCD shootout, you would realise that the prices have not plummeted as much as we had hoped they would, and India is a price-sensitive market. People will still want to buy CRTs.

If you have noticed, there were many more 17- and 19-inch monitors than 15-inch ones. To us, it seems like manufacturers are bent on dictating purchasing terms.

We can only hope for a significant drop in LCD prices the next time round. Better technology should also bring in better response times. The transition from CRTs to LCDs would then be more likely.

Download LCD Monitors PDF File

Brand Company  Phone  E-mail Web Site 
Acer Acer India Pvt Ltd 080-25213520 rajesh_aiyar@acer.co.in www.acer.co.in 
Asus ASUSTek Computer Inc022-40058923mamta_bhatia@asus.com.tw in.asus.com 
BenQ BenQ India Pvt Ltd 022-25705230 kamlesh.salunke@benq.com www.benq.co.in 
CMV Cee Vision Technologies P Ltd 022-26733353 mumbai@chemoplast.com www.cmv.com.tw  
Gigabyte Gigabyte Technology (I) Ltd 022-2652669 sales@gigabyte.in www.gigabyte.in 
Intex Intex Technology (I) Ltd 011-41610224 info@intextechnologies.com www.intextechnologies.com 
LG LG Electronics India P Ltd 0120-2560900 response@lgezbuy.com www.lgezbuy.com 
NEC Shiba Comp P Ltd 011-26413437 shiba@del2.vsnl.net.in www.nec.com 
NU Shiba Comp P Ltd 011-26413437 shiba@del2.vsnl.net.in www.nu-global.com 
Philips Philips Electronics India Ltd 022-56912000 pcp.india.info@philips.com www.india.philips.com 
Samsung Samsung India Electronics P Ltd  011-41511234 vineet.kanaujia@samsung.com www.samsungindia.com 
ViewSonic Roop Technology Pvt Ltd 022-26681921 roop@vsnl.com www.viewsonic.com 

Team DigitTeam Digit  teamdigit@digit.in

All of us are better than one of us.