The World is Matte (and Glossy) -- 19-inch Monitor Shoot-Out

The World is Matte (and Glossy) -- 19-inch Monitor Shoot-Out

 

 

 

We liked almost everything about the Samsung SyncMaster 932GW’s image quality. We liked how the glossy display produced smooth, consistent skin tones in photographs. We liked how it beautifully handled black-and-white photos. We also liked the clean text, at any font size. The only thing we didn’t like was the shadow detail—we found the SyncMaster 932GW’s shadows to be too dark and sometimes muddy.

 

The bottom of the display is about 3.5 inches from the desktop, and the neck
has tilt adjustment. The controls are complete and easy to use, but you should download the Mac version of Samsung’s MagicTune software (the bundled MagicTune CD has Windows software only) instead of using the hardware controls. Not only does MagicTune let you make screen adjustments with your mouse, but it also has calibration tools that are similar to the Display Calibrator Assistant in OS X. Then there’s the MagicBright tool within MagicTune, which provides 5 preset brightness settings that you select based on what’s on your screen. For example, a Text setting sets the brightness for reading text, and there’s a Cinema setting for watching movies.

 

Speaking of movies, the 932GW handled movies without any streaking. We saw consistent colors while watching Transformers and Lawrence of Arabia, but sometimes the picture was too dark. Our gameplay wasn’t interrupted by any stutter, either.

 

COMPANY: Samsung

CONTACT: www.samsung.com

PRICE: $269.99

REQUIREMENTS:DVI

Good overall image quality. Excellent text. Great MagicTune software.

Dark movie playback. Dark shadow detail in photos.

 

 

Images have extra pop on the AccuSync 19WMGX’s glossy screen.

 

The dazzling image quality of the NEC AccuSync LCD 19WMGX makes it a top performer in this roundup. Its color accuracy is very good, though it tends to lean a little bit on the oversaturated side. Photos and text look crisp and clean. Gradients in black-and-white pictures were smooth. And of all the displays, the glossy 19WMGX had the best movie clarity, which helped us enjoy Lawrence of Arabia and Transformers even more. We did notice some screen stutter while playing games, but not enough to affect gameplay. The native resolution is 1,440 by 900 pixels.

 

Like most of the displays in this roundup, the display stand has only tilt adjustment. The one drawback we found with the 19WMGX was the controls—they’re sparse. The only image adjustments are for brightness, contrast, and color temperature. But that’s OK, because the picture looks pretty good right out of the box.

 

The 19WMGX has a pair of forward-firing speakers at the bottom of the display. They sound clear, but they don’t have a lot of audio depth—the bass and highs are weak. But the sound is loud enough to fill a small office.

 

COMPANY:NEC

CONTACT: www.necdisplay.com

PRICE: $249.99

REQUIREMENTS:DVI

Great overall image quality. Best movie clarity of the group.

Sparse onscreen controls.

 

 

The w1907’s aluminum stand isn’t as elegant as an iMac’s or Cinema Display’s, but it does swivel and tilt.

 

Of all the displays in our roundup, the glossy HP w1907 strikes us as the most PC-looking—and considering that it’s from HP, that’s not a surprise. Its metal stand certainly lacks a Mac sensibility as it props the display 3.25 inches from the desktop, but at least it swivels and tilts. The odd gap between the bezel and the top of the screen makes us wonder how we’ll clean out the dust that collects in there. And the power button atop the display seems misplaced, or at least goes against tradition.

 

However, the w1907’s design doesn’t heavily influence our thoughts on the display. Image is almost everything, and the w1907 has nice, lively color. Our photos looked good, but we preferred the skin tone reproduction from the other two glossy displays. We also saw noticeable banding in our black-and-white photo test. Text looked good at large sizes, but at a 12-point size, we noticed some blurring.

 

While we heavily favor Samsung’s MagicTune display software, HP’s built-in display controls should be the model for the LCD industry. HP’s control interface looks like a well-designed separate application, not like the BIOS-like controls common on LCDs. You breeze through the settings effortlessly, and there are quick image presets for text, photos, and gaming.

 

COMPANY: HP

CONTACT: www.hp.com

PRICE: $230

REQUIREMENTS: DVI

A model for display controls. Lively color.

Small text looked jaggy.

 

 

 

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Ben

He certainly was kidding you.

I have the second display, the White Westinghouse one. It's just dandy hooked up to my Blue and White. But note: Don't even think about spending $279 or whatever on it, wait and look around. I bought mine at Bestbuy for $150 on sale, which is what the price should be sale or no sale [it unfortuantately-for me- dropped to $120 a few weeks later]. Roman give the speakers way to much cred. as the built-ins on my iBook sound better.

By the way, this display has BOTH VGA and DVI-D inputs. And the buttons are a pain in the butt to use.

Overall, lame but workable display: just make sure you get it cheap!

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Anonymous

Why in the world do you people need such big monitors? Are you trying to make up for a deficit in another department??? I say pitch the big and go for a nice 13" monitor. 15" at max. green screen is perfect!

I reserve my table space for things that are essential ...like a coffie cup, books, etc.

Are you all mindless idiots who have bought into the corp's pablum that big is better??? That my friends is so they can keep selling you stuff you don't need. 19" turns into 20" $500, 20" turns into 22" another 500 dollars. Having a brain so you can think for yourselves and stop buying into the force-fed intutionalization of yourself is more important. I say wake up and stop trying to make up for your short commings.

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Anonymous

Are you kidding me?? 15" max. That's insanely small for any productive use.

If all you do is check your email, fine. But many of us actually make a living using computers. I have (2) 24" and it makes things infinitely more efficient to run multiple applications and see them both at the same time.

Crawl back into bed, hang out with your only friend (books) and realize that the rest of the world has moved on beyond your expectations.

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Patrick

So can these be hooked up to an iMac?

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Anonymous

I agree. Why call this a review of "go big" monitors? I bet most people are reading this on 20"-23" monitors or larger. I'm now using a Dell 27" that cost the same as the Apple CD 23" - it's a splendid display with 3 year warranty and extensive input capability. I have used and still use Apple Macs since the early 1990s but Apple's ongoing failure to guarantee against dead pixels was too hard to take. The Dell picture and overall build quality is excellent. Manufacturer's prices keep falling so it's really attractive to "go big" now, unless you want to put up with Apple's rare price drops or persistent refusal to cover against dead pixels. Really - Dell offered to send a new monitor the next business day if I found any dead pixels. No - I don't work for Dell, instead I'm a very big Apple Mac fan but not in this instance.

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Frank

I'm really curious as to what led to the decision to review 19" monitors instead of 20" or larger. Aren't monitors below 20" pretty much yesterday's news?

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