The Display Dilemma

Published Date
01 - Dec - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Dec - 2005
The Display Dilemma
Samsung and LG are the most popular brands, followed by Philips and Acer. ViewSonic has made an appearance. Sonys are difficult to find; so are NECs. BenQ is coming up with some good models

There are two things on my office desk I absolutely adore-my Eizo monitor and my Creative 4.1 speakers. Both these have a special place in my heart because of their antique value and the performance they deliver despite their age.

That monitor has been on that desk for nearly 10 years now, and is probably the only 17-incher I've come across that scales up to 1600 x 1200 @ 60Hz. Unfortunately, age is catching up with the Eizo, and much as I hate it, I have to switch to a newer monitor before the display artefacts render me visually challenged.

You've got to put a lot of thought and research into buying a monitor, because once bought, it tends to stick around on your desk for a really long time-and also because there are so many choices. And with just Rs 15,000 in my pocket, which was alotted by the accounts department, I had to make an informed choice.

I was tired of using a 17-inch monitor, so my initial thought was of going in for a 19-inch CRT, since I was sure of finding one within my budget. However, with LCD prices falling, I was also somewhat sure of getting a nice LCD at around the same price…

Samsung and LG over the years have grown to be the most popular brands, followed by Philips and Acer. After a period of dormancy, ViewSonic has again made an appearance. Sony monitors are difficult to find; so are NECs. BenQ is coming up with some good models in its TFT line-up.

No matter what shop you enter, you're sure to be presented with a Samsung or an LG when you ask for a monitor. Samsung seems to be the standard with almost all vendors; their CRT range starts from Rs 4,500 for the 15-inch model, and goes up to Rs 25,000 for the 21-inchers, the most popular ones being the 17-inch SyncMaster 793 S/DF that retails for Rs 5,500/6,500 (DF models offers the full-flat tube). The 19-inch SyncMaster 997DF was Rs 14,500, and I was tempted for the first time.

LCDs from Samsung still sell at a premium, and a 15-inch LCD will set you back by Rs 18,500; similarly, a 17-inch Samsung LCD retails for Rs 26,000.

LG has an expansive line of monitors. The 15-inch 500G CRT retails at Rs 4,300, whereas the 17-inch 700E retails at Rs 5,200. (If you're looking for a 19-inch LG model-well, they're not available any more.) The full-flat CRT models cost nearly Rs 500 to 1,000 more. LG has some value LCD monitors too-their 15-inch L1515s is at Rs 10,500, and their 17-inch L1720B retails for Rs 14,750. LG doesn't have any models in the 19-inch LCD category, either.

ViewSonic has both CRT and TFT monitors ranging from the 15-inchers to 19-inchers, and as expected, they looked splendid. The 15-inch E50 CRT retails for Rs 4,400, and the 17-inch E70 goes for Rs 5,600. The 19-inch E90, too, looks stunning. Do look out for sub-models in the 19-inch series-they're priced according to features; for example, the base model retails at Rs 12,000, and the flat-screen model goes up to Rs 16,000.

In the LCD panels, you can get a 15-inch LCD for as little as Rs 10,250. A 17-inch retails at Rs 14,500, and a 19-inch will set you back by Rs 21,500.  (Availability of ViewSonic monitors, however, can be a problem in smaller cities.)

Philips and Acer compete in the value segment, and offer great value if you are on a shoestring budget. The 15-inch CRT from Philips-the 105s-and the Acer AC511 retail at Rs 4,500 and Rs 4,299 respectively. Similarly, the 17-inch CRTs, the Philips 107s and the Acer AC711, come for Rs 5,200 and Rs 5,299 respectively. 19-inch CRTs will set you back by Rs 11,000 and Rs 12,999 for the Philips 109E and Acer AC915 respectively. 

Acer's 15-inch AL1500 LCD comes at a palatable Rs 10,500; so does Philips' 150s. When it comes to 17-inch, Philips beats Acer on the pricing front by a small margin-the 170s from Philips retails for Rs 14,500, Rs 500 less than Acer's AL1900.

Keeping in mind my limited desk space, I opted for a 17-inch LCD. This offers nearly the same viewing area as a 19-inch CRT, but I won't be able to run it at very high resolutions. I wasn't able to wangle a deal, though, and settled for the list price of the Philips 170s.

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