22 inch LCD monitors: the 3rd wave! - BeHardware
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Written by Vincent Alzieu

Published on December 6, 2007

URL: http://www.behardware.com/art/lire/689/


Page 1

Introduction

Update December 3, 2007: we add the Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW
The first version of this article came out at the end of October. This update seems necessary in order to add the latest Samsung creation, the 2232BW. Once again, we have a story full of twists and turns with the same problem of variable panels under the same screen name. In France, some were produced by Samsung while others were by CMO. And once again, we had to test the two in order to know the real value of this product. (By the way, we thank Alexandre, one of our readers, who actually brought his own screen to our offices for testing.) The good news was, as you will see in this updated article, the Samsung and CMO versions have very similar results in tests, much more so than those of the various 226BWs. It appears Samsung may have learned a lesson from bad experiences with former models.
22 inch LCD monitors: here comes the 3rd wave!
Threatened by the 24 inch, 22"s are putting up a fight. Prices are no longer continuing to drop and they remain at around the 300 Euro mark. In addition, for this price we find a growing number of models with a 2 ms response time instead of the omnipresent 5 ms of the first and second batches of screens in our previous 22 inch surveys.

In practice, the difference is definitely felt. 2 ms offers better comfort in games and movies Ė if we find reactivity particularly important. However, this is apparently becoming less and less the case. The proof is that CRTs are finally being relegated to a thing of the past for many users and are marked down in history as the bulkier products of a previous generation. Who will remember that tube monitors were much more reactive than 2 ms LCDs ?

In reality, the problem is less related to the reactivity of crystals, which in the end is very good with the best 2 ms TNs, and more to retinal persistence in the absence of some sort of ę retinal cleaning Ľ. While black frame insertion or "artificial sweeping" systems have been attempted on 24 inch models, the 22 inch remains exempt. And we might as well admit that we arenít expecting any revolution in this technology in the near future. Manufacturers appear to be at a standstill. Indeed, the future of the 22 inch is limited by a 24 inch that is starting to dip to the 400 euro mark.
For others, the main criterion can involve a screenís design, then maybe its ergonomics, and more and more often, color rendering.

Either way, if you put your trust in reactivity, color fidelity, or ergonomics, there is something for everyone in this survey.
Today, under the magnifying glass...

The first thing we notice on this list is the growing number of 2 ms monitors. Now, half of the models share this characteristic.

Here is a brief summary of the models tested to have a better idea of the interest of each one:

  • Asus PG221 : 2 ms with a base speaker integrated on the back
  • Belinea 2230 S1W : price inferior to 300 Euros
  • Iiyama ProLite E2201W : assures the presence of a 2 ms Samsung panel
  • LG L226WTQ : 2 ms Philips panel. Better than Samsung ?
  • Nec LCD225WXM : the return of this color specialist with a screen at a fair price
  • Samsung 225UW : integrated webcam
  • Samsung 226CW : 2 ms + wide gamut. An evolution of the 226BW.
  • ViewSonic VX2255wmb : tip top ergonomics.

    Note that theSamsung 226BW, still a top seller worldwide, hasnít yet done away with its panel worries. There are still S, A C, and even P versions with a total of five different panel sources. The biggest measure taken by Samsung to eliminate this problem seems to be the removal of any clear indication of the panel's origin in the screenís hidden menu. After this, there or some more or less correct theories in recognizing the source of the panel based on the series number. Hereís one in French but we hope still understandable.
    Useful links for the previous screen surveys
    The 1st wave : Acer AL2216W, Asus MW221u, Belinea 2225 S1W, HP w22, Fujitsu-Siemens L22-1W, Samsung SyncMaster 225BW

    The 2nd wave : Acer AL2216WD, Dell E228WFP, Fujitsu-Siemens L22W-3, Iiyama E2200WS, Lenovo D221, MiraÔ 522W10, Samsung SyncMaster 226BW S, ViewSonic VG2230wm, ViewSonic VX2235wm.

    And the individual articles:
    Samsung 226BW : A and S
    Samsung 226BW : C
    Panels that are produced too economically ?
    The tests
    We run tests for reaction time in games, delay of display, and video rendering (SD, HD 720p, HD 1080p). We also evaluate ergonomics, viewing angles, the quality of up scaling, and the panel's brightness homogeneity. In short, we look at all aspects of a screen.

    For color fidelity we use the LaCie Blue Eye Pro colorimeter, based on the Gretag tool and combined with the new LaCie software suite. More evolved than the previous version, this helps us to compare a monitorís display quality (color spectrum and DeltaE) in standard settings and after calibration. Results are sometimes surprising as itís often best to take the time to manually adjust colors (or at least contrast, brightness and color temperature).
    The results of our study of 18 standard patches makes it possible to create a table visually resituating the variation of colors compared to an ideal grey scale.

    Rather than a response time measurement with an oscilloscope, we photograph the monitor in action. This is an effective way of capturing afterglow. The program used is Pixel Persistence Analyzer (PixPerAn for short). Pictures showing these ghosting effects are captured with a Canon 350D at a shutter speed of 1/1000 s. We take 50 pictures in burst mode for each test to precisely measure the progression of afterglow between images. Otherwise, we haven't given up on the practical tests in games, HD and DVD video, web surfing, etc.
    Finally, we measure the delay to display images compared to CRT monitors.

    The test computer is self-assembled, has an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ processor and NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX card.


  • Page 2
    Input lag in games

    Input lag in games
    If you didnít already know, almost all LCD monitors have a small delay in display. To measure this, we photograph a chronometer which is precise to 1/1000th of a second displayed in clone mode on our reference CRT and the LCD we are testing. We take 12 consecutive differences, eliminating the two extremes and then find the average delay. The most reactive model measured up until now is the 22 inch Iiyama ProLite E2201W, which had no delay on our 12 measurements. Normally, we find a delay between 10 and 30 ms on most screens.

    For this test, we deactivate graphic card / screen synchronization to capture a more precise result instead a value that is rounded to the nearest image. For this reason, the resulting measurements are not dependent upon the fps value. An LCD functions at 60 Hz (even those that claim 75 Hz) and so 17 ms equals an average delay of a single image. In the same way, 33 ms equals 2 images. This may not seem like much, however, to an on-line gamer it could make a world of difference. For example, an adversary with an LCD or CRT will see his character two images before him. This can be compounded by the fact that the mouse can add another 1 to 8 ms (except very poor ones), and the graphic card adds a half image delay (at best and actually this can be 5 to 50 ms). More specifically in our research, we found that this can be a cumulative delay of 110 ms or 6.5 images. In this case, it is indeed noticeable and even bothersome for some gamers. For more details on this subject, see our article on LCDs images delayed compared to CRTs? Yes ! ..


    TN 2 ms : Asus PG221


    TN 5 ms : Belinea 2230 S1W


    TN 2 ms : Iiyama ProLite E2201W


    TN 2 ms : LG Flatron L226WTQ


    TN 5 ms : Nec LCD225WXM


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 225UW


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW


    TN 5 ms : ViewSonic VX2255wmb

    We can distinguish three categories of screens in this group:

  • delay of 0 ms: there are those monitors (which are unfortunately too rare) that have very little or no input lag. The best of all is the Iiyama. Itís even the first one to have no delay since weíve started this test. The Samsung 226BW S series is part of this group even if its lag isnít exactly zero.

  • 16 ms : Nec et ViewSonic. These screens oscillate between delays of 0 to 2 images. On average, there will be a one image delay between the sound and what is displayed but this is something you shouldnít notice.

  • more than 30 ms : Asus, Belinea, LG, Samsung (x3). These six monitors have an input lag of 2 to 3 images. Here, this is close to being a product defect especially for gamer screens. Why implant 2 ms panels if behind this there will be a 30 to 50 ms delay? Of course, this is not related and the two characteristics are independent. Either way, if they are trying to offer users good reactivity, adding a 2 to 3 image delay on the action in an FPS isnít a good thing!

    Note that for the 2232BW, we only carried out this test on the models with the Samsung panel as we did not have enough time with the CMO screen lent to us.


  • Page 3
    Reactivity tests

    Reactivity tests
    Initially, we wanted to physically measure afterglow with an oscilloscope. We approached an electronics specialist, Tektronics, and they were nice enough to supply us with a sensor + oscilloscope combo of their making. This was to be used to measure the transition from white to light gray, white to a darker gray, gray to black, etc. We came up with some great 3D graphs but the problem was that practical tests (based on a visual evaluation) didnít always match these results. A screen that was judged more reactive with the oscilloscope sometimes appeared to our eyes as being slower than other products. We therefore abandoned this method to come back to more practical, concrete, and in our opinion, realistic tests.

    Our other method in place since 2005 and based on photos, has proven to be more reliable and itís rare that these test results are deceiving. Either way, when this is the case we tell you.


    Hereís the concept in this test: A car moves from right to left at high speed. The movement isnít perfectly fluid and depending on its speed, the car is shown in several successive positions. When this process is sped up, the car goes very fast, positions are very close and the eye perceives a fluid movement.

    the perfect screen
    screen with a 2 afterglow images

    A monitor without ghosting effects would have previous images completely fading away when a new one appears. This is ideal, however in practice, it's often not the case as images progressively fade. Sometimes up to 5 afterglow artifacts remain on the screen representing the visible white trail behind objects.

    We capture this LCD defect with a camera at a shutter speed of 1/1000 s by taking 50 pictures per test. We then can see a monitorís ghosting effects, or the carís position in the entire process from the moment when afterglow is at its maximum, up until when the next image is about to be created and the previous image is the least visible.

    Here are the two extreme states between which each monitorís afterglow can oscillate.


    TN 2 ms : Asus PG221


    TN 5 ms : Belinea 2230 S1W


    TN 2 ms : Iiyama ProLite E2201W


    TN 2 ms : LG Flatron L226WTQ


    TN 5 ms : Nec LCD225WXM


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW Samsung panel


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW CMO panel


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 225UW


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW


    TN 5 ms : ViewSonic VX2255wmb

    Beyond these images, do we really see a difference between a good 2 ms and a 5 ms ? Yes. If you put the screens in clone mode, you will notice half the amount of afterglow on the 2 ms. Is this true for all 2 ms monitors? No. The 226CW failed this test and itís no better than a 5 ms. We confirmed this on a first model provided by Samsung and then on a second which was loaned to us for verification. In fact, activation of the overdrive doesnít change anything, or at any rate, we donít have the reactivity of the other 2 ms monitors.

    As for the other 2 ms screens, they are all pretty much equivalent. In this test, it was difficult to give an advantage to Asus, Iiyama, and LG despite the panels of various origins.

    In the same way, the 5 ms screens were identical in reactivity.

    One detail that stood out was that if you compare the worst 2 ms image and the best 5 ms, they are equivalent.

    Now if we combine the results from this page with those of the previous test:

  • only one screen is very reactive in addition to having a small input lag, the Iiyama ProLite E2201W.

    All the other 2 ms monitors have more than a 2 image delay.

    As for the two 2232BW, we had two main observations:
    1 Ė Reactivity was strictly identical for both models. This differs greatly from what we obtained with the various versions of the 226BW. The 2232BW-CMO no longer has an overdrive problem and is devoid of black afterglow behind objects in movement. Previously, this characteristic even pushed some users to turn off the RTA function (overdrive), meaning that they preferred 5 ms reactivity to this defect.
    2 Ė Samsung had to make a sacrifice for the above remedy and it meant decreasing the strength of the overdrive which in turn also decreases its efficiency. This is noticeable in some of the test photos and also is clearly visible with the naked eye. And for us, seasoned monitor testers, we even noted that this screenís reactivity was slightly below that of a classic 2 ms while a bit better than 5 ms TNs. In fact, the 2232BWs is halfway in between.


  • Page 4
    Color rendering

    Color rendering
    As usual with the help of our probe, we measured the difference between ideal colors and the ones actually displayed on the screen giving us a value called average DeltaE 94. We understand this data from our experience in this domain, however, this isnít the case for everyone. We therefore are putting into place a new notation system based on our measurements, and which will immediately give you a better notion of quality in this area. Currently, there are no standards for color fidelity and manufacturers can pretty much say and do what they like (see the saga of the Samsung 226BW...). This system will only be for our website but at least it will be a step in the right direction.

    By taking the differences between the measured colors and actual gamut found on the screen, a grade from A+ to F- will be given (and less if necessary). Of course, the higher up in the alphabet, the better the color fidelity. An A+ monitor will necessarily be factory pre-calibrated with an average DeltaE of less than 2 and with an extended gamut.


    Ouch! Here, we realize that we canít have all the finest characteristics unified on a single screen.
  • The Iiyama E2201W is reactive and there is no delay in the display of images, however, pre-set colors are imperfect.
  • The ViewSonic VX2255wmb offers good color fidelity without adjustment and there is little input lag. However, it is a 5 ms. On the other hand, it compensates for this with high end ergonomics.
  • Opting for a Samsung 2232BW on the other hand is like playing Russian roulette. Depending on the version, we either have very good color fidelity a B+ for the S model (meaning a Samsung panel) or, and this is rare, an E rating. Besides the outsourced panels that Samsung uses, we really never receive screens with such poor presettings. And however, Samsung assured us that it offers the same quality in both versions. You be the judge.

    Fortunately, with the Iiyama by changing brightness to 79, contrast to 30, red to 94, green to 91 and blue to 98 ; the average falls to 3.6 and with a significant improvement to the naked eye. This means the grade goes from a C+ to a B- which is much better.

    In the same line of thinking, for those consumers that unfortunately received a C panel in their 2232BW, there is some hope. We now understand why some readers mentioned a blue or red dominance. In fact, black to lighter colors were bluish, while in lighter shades to white they were pinkish. This would be an easy adjustment on a (very) high end model where you can independently adjust dominances; however, on an economical product such as this one, itís impossible. We ended up playing with auto and manual settings to finally have the best rendering in Personalized mode/Warm Colors. If we take our previous table, with these settings the 2232BW C receives a C+, a substantial improvement.

    The table above does not replace the usual detailed explanations. For those who are interested, here is the normal analysis of results.

    The color quality is measured with the LaCie BlueEye Pro colorimeter, which in fact, is a Gretag colorimeter coupled to the software suite developed by LaCie.

    Just to remind you, we work with a value called DeltaE. It represents a measurement between the color requested and the one really displayed on the monitor. The higher the result obtained, the less true colors are. More precisely, here is how to interpret the graphs:
    - Delta E > 3 : the desired color is noticeably different from the one on the screen
    - 2 < Delta E < 3 : color quality is satisfactory, but a graphic designer probably wouldnít be content
    - 1 < Delta E < 2 colors are accurate
    - Delta E < 1 : the result is perfect

    DeltaE by default


    You may have noticed that results are consistent with the grades above. There is the ViewSonic in the lead, then the others with an average dE of around 3, followed by those with a value of more than 4. Amongst all of these screens, only the Samsung 226CW is a wide gamut, and this doesnít really give it any advantage here. Moreover, Samsung doesnít offer the option of easily switching between wide gamut and sRGB. Colors are partially distorted and, for example, this prevents the proper display of photos. Also, our sensor which is wide gamut compatible failed to calibrate this monitor. Everything was well adjusted except in the extreme reds, which remained too intense.

    As for the 2232BW C, with presettings we find its dE in the above table and after manual adjustment this figure decreases to 4.4.

    Besides color rendering, there is a point that concerns more and more people, depth of black. We measured a constant brightness of 200 cd/m≤ in white.

    Depth of black (cd/m≤) with white at 200 cd/m≤


    The deeper the black or closer to 0, the better. You will perceive more contrast in images on these monitors. However, color fidelity also has to be good to really take advantage of this. Therefore we had especially good scores for the Belinea and Nec which combine good color rendering and depth of black. The Samsung 2232BW S series does well in this test for the same reasons. Note that the C version also has a good depth in black and besides its poor preset colors, the two versions of this screen are identical as you will see in the following tests. Moreover, some users complained on the forum that the C version had bleeding defects (backlighting which forms a bright halo along the edges). We looked for this on our two 2232BWs one of which was store bought and we didnít find any problems.


    By the way, in response to a few emails on this subject: We systematically measure the brightness homogeneity of screens; however, Iíve taken the liberty to not include this information except in two cases: a particularly good or bad result; and if the screen is destined for professional graphic artists. The reason is that a poor result in this domain can be misleading. For example, you might think that a screen with a 30% difference in brightness would be catastrophic while a 20 % difference would be much better. This only seems logical but is incorrect. Most of the time even expert eyes canít tell 30% difference is common and unnoticeable. On the other hand, pro screens are often at 15%. There is also another problem with this test given that the result depends on a number of uncontrollable factors. Homogeneity problems can come from too much pressure when closing off the panel, for example (rare); however the most common is from jolts during transport. Panel homogeneity is assured by mirror like reflectors that are in charge of properly dividing up the light from 2 to 16 backlights. Shocks can slightly change their position and therefore their efficiency. This can be in transport from the factory to the ship/truck/airplane, then in the trip to the store, and finally on the way to your desk top, the last two probably being the most critical. So in the end, you can see how our results might not be too representative of the overall product. Anyway, back to the tests!

    Most monitors are under the 0.30 cd/m≤ mark and so are at least satisfactory in this domain. The above measurements result in the following contrast ratios:

    Contrast ratio measured at 200 cd/m≤ in white (xxx:1)


    There were no bad results here. All have contrast ratios of more than 600:1 which is very good. This illustrates our opinion on the overall improvements that these monitors represent.

    Each time, we analyze 18 standard color patches and 16 of these results are given in the following graphs:


    TN 2 ms : Asus PG221


    TN 5 ms : Belinea 2230 S1W


    TN 2 ms : Iiyama ProLite E2201W


    TN 2 ms : LG Flatron L226WTQ


    TN 5 ms : Nec LCD225WXM


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW S


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW C


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 225UW


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW


    TN 5 ms : ViewSonic VX2255wmb





  • Page 5
    Gray rendering

    More on grey renderingÖ
    Unless you are an expert in monitors (and even then), it is difficult to imagine what these differences can represent. What is the most bothersome, however, is when we can immediately see color dominances on the screen. This can affect all colors but is particularly noticeable in grays where the eye can quickly see when blues or reds are overrepresented.


    Here are the screenís grays and reproduced as measured by our sensor. For comparison, on the bottom line are the ideal grays.

    Whether the screen you are currently using is calibrated or not, you should be able to see the differences between the two lines.

    TN 2 ms : Asus PG221


    TN 5 ms : Belinea 2230 S1W


    TN 2 ms : Iiyama ProLite E2201W


    TN 2 ms : LG Flatron L226WTQ


    TN 5 ms : Nec LCD225WXM


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW S


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW C


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 225UW


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW


    TN 5 ms : ViewSonic VX2255wmb



    Page 6
    Gamut : wide or not?

    Gamut : wide or not ?
    The transition to wide gamut screens could be one of the next trends. What exactly does this mean? Usually, monitors display colors in the sRGB space, in other words, with red/green/blue components. This is fine and corresponds to what everyoneís compact captures. However, pro digital cameras go beyond this and work in the NTSC or Adobe RGB space attaining more saturated and richer shades. Only screens that support this color space are able to display the images in question or in other words only the Samsung 226CW. At least this is in theory, because in practice (and we saw in the previous pages) that the 226CW tends to over-saturate colors. In the end, it is less reliable than sRGB monitors even with native Adobe RGB images (we verified this with photos from our Canon EOS 5D).


    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW


    Classic sRGB screens : Asus, Belinea, Iiyama, ViewSonic...


    Page 7
    Viewing angles, rendering in movies

    Viewing angles
    We take pictures of the monitors from a 50į angle from all sides. The claimed viewing angles in a productís characteristics are often exaggerated especially for TN screens.

    There are three types of technologies to choose from: TN, MVA and PVA, the last two being closely related. We could also add ASV Ė a variation of MVA from Sharp, in decline which we really only find in TVs.

    First of all, lateral viewing angles with IPS technology are by far the best. If this is the most important criteria for you, this is the type of screen you need. In second place comes the 245B, a TN panel. In the past (2 years ago), TNs were rather catastrophic from the side angles. Now, it is possible for several people to share a screen, even if they arenít perfectly in front of it. Finally, we have the PVAs and MVAs, which are more or less equivalent. Beyond 40į from both sides, there is a loss of contrast, which however isnít too extreme. In fact, there are only really problems when looked from below.

    Vertical viewing angles : The IPS screen always offers an image that is almost perfect at 50į and even beyond. In this area, other technologies are largely inferior. The PVAs are behind with a rather abrupt loss of contrast with an image that is still visible though not as flattering (black is more gray, white is pale, loss of depth). Itís the same but even more sudden with MVA panels. Finally, we have the TN screen. From above, the image loses all of its contrast. From below, it turns black. This complicates things when you want to use this screen as a TV and depending on the size of viewers, the monitor may have to be inclined.


    TN 2 ms : Asus PG221


    TN 5 ms : Belinea 2230 S1W


    TN 2 ms : Iiyama ProLite E2201W


    TN 2 ms : LG Flatron L226WTQ


    TN 5 ms : Nec LCD225WXM


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW S


    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 225UW

    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW


    TN 5 ms : ViewSonic VX2255wmb


    You should not be surprised as all of these 22íís darken when seen from below. Note that the loss of contrast from the sides is the quickest for the Iiyama.

    A complete viewing angle test was not carried out on the 2232BW C series due to a lack of time. However, a quick visual assessment suggests it is equivalent to the S version.

    Rendering in movies

    wide screen 22 inch monitors: we understand if this characteristic entices you to display movies on these screens. Either way, you will need to back up because no screen in this or any other diagonal size currently integrates a scaler or image correction circuitry. For this you will have to rely on the options offered by graphic (which you can find more information about in this article ATI and NVIDIA correct the twinkling effect of LCDs in movies ).

    Itís a different case if you connect the screen to a DVD/HD player. There can rescaling problems and different quality in 1080p and 720p, not necessarily with an advantage for the 1080. We are starting to find special options for this on certain 24 inch products and there is one 22 inch, the Asus PG221, which offers this function. The last menu has the choice of a 4/3 or 16/9 mode, and therefore displays black bands above and below the image instead of a systematic and problematic rescaling. This should be of special interest to those equipped with older generation game consoles such as the first Xbox and PS2. The latest game consoles are in 16/9 format which is well supported by all 22 inch monitors with a slight but negligible vertical scaling. Just verify the HDCP compatibility of the monitor if you have a PS3. Otherwise, you will have a black screen (on the DVI and HDMI connections) !


    Page 8
    Gaming: and the winner isÖthe Iiyama E2201W.

    Gaming: and the winner isÖthe Iiyama E2201W

    If first and foremost you are a gamer, reactivity is your first concern. Comfort in this area on good 2 ms monitors is significantly superior to a 5 ms model as any test in clone mode will show. This is even more important if your previous screen was a CRT. In terms of afterglow, 2 ms LCDs are the only monitors on which the transition to this type of technology will be the least felt if at all. On the other hand, what could be bothersome is the limit on the image rate. CRTs are free in this domain when LCDs are at 60 Hz or 60 images per second. Some monitors lead us to believe they function at 75 Hz. All that we have tested maintain this speed for 5/6 images and then skip the following one. In the end, we have an irregular rate and remain at speed of around 60 images per second.


    Another issue that could arise, particularly on this Iiyama and (weíve heard from some users) the Samsung SyncMaster 226BW, is related to Samsung 2 ms panels. Itís imperfect color homogeneity and is a recent problem only noticeable on some monitors. More specifically, viewing angles are smaller than usual and the slightest move can play on perceived brightness and colors. In our opinion, this isnít related to a backlighting problem or the Mura effect. We more think itís a defect related to the quality of the filter applied to the panel. There is already an entire article devoted to this on our site: Panels that are produced too economically? . Games can be affected, however, itís more critical when touching up images.

    As for this screenís colors, as we said previously, there could have been better pre-settings. But with a few manual adjustments : brightness of 79, contrast at 30, red at 94, green 91, and blue at 98 ; the average difference is reduced to 3.6 with a noticeable visual improvement.

    Ergonomics : they are basic with a fixed base, no card reader or USB hub. On the other hand, we have the choice between analog or digital connectivity with HDCP support on the DVI input.

    This brings us to the question: for gaming what should we choose, the Samsung SyncMaster 226BW S series (if you can find one) or this Iiyama? Already from the number of messages posted on our forum, the 226BW S seems also to be affected by narrow viewing angles resembling a homogeneity problem. This wasnít picked up by our sensor ; however, it would only seem logical that Samsung screens are affected by the same problem because they have identical panels. The only difference we found were in preset colors for which Samsungís are better.


    So on the one side we have:
  • the Iiyama with a Samsung panel, whose colors have to be manually adjusted.
  • and the Samsung on the other, which has several panel versions, of which some should be abandoned. We did prefer its design.

    But in the end, we have to pick the Iiyama because itís just too much trouble to have to verify panel version on the Samsung !


  • Page 9
    Multi-use : the ViewSonic VX2255wmb

    Multi-use : the ViewSonic VX2255wmb

    If reactivity isnít the most important characteristic and good color fidelity and a nice design are more your preference (most users, in fact), in our opinion, the best current (and former) 22 inch that exists is the ViewSonic VX2255wmb. We particularly liked:

  • its preset colors. Color fidelity was especially good on the model we received,
  • the good ergonomics. It sits on a vertically adjustable base and can be rotated (see the video, in French but you will get the idea)
  • the design. Itís a glossy bezel that has been a big trend since the release of the 226BW,
  • the integrated webcam. Itís satisfactory with good sharpness and average fluidity though there is a slight delay between the image and sound. Avoid too much movement.
  • ViewSonicís black and white zero dead pixel policy.

    If you arenít a pure gamer, we recommend this screen even if we would have preferred a slightly better depth in black.




  • Page 10
    The exception: the Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW

    The exception: the Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW

    We are tempted to say itís starting over; however, this isnít entirely true. Samsung has learned some lessons from bad experiences with the 226BW and it was explained to us that, "The polemic surrounding its panels killed the product". Samsung Korea thus had its engineers work on replacing the discredited 226BW and the result was the 2232BW.
    What changes compared to the 226BW
    Remedied : the difference in afterglow between S and C versions and they are now equivalent. On the other hand, itís just unfortunate that one was improved while the other was made somewhat inferior. To do this Samsung had to reduce the intensity of the overdrive and therefore its efficiency which our tests proved. However, before even taking out our sensor our eyes immediately detected it. Of course, we admit we arenít very representative of all users. The 2232ís reactivity is halfway between a good 2 ms and a 5 ms. This is very good but there is still faster Ė for example, on the Iiyama. At any rate, those who happen to receive a C will no longer have the black ghost image revealed in the tests with some 226BW versions.

    The same : preset colors. The CMO panel has an overall blue dominance. It is possible to partially manually remedy this but it still remains imperfect. Ideally, each screen should be individually calibrated with a sensor. So who has 300 Ä to spend on a calibration system for a screen that costs the same amount? Not too many people. We are therefore going to cheat and here is its profile. The profiles created are actually the property of LaCie whoís colorimeter we use (an updated Blue Eye Pro) so please keep the information secret!!!

    The essential question arises:
    How can we recognize a CMO version Samsung?
    This however is a trick question because no one is 100% sure on the origin of these panels. Or at any rate we arenít 100% certain on the method used to detect panel sources. So the real question is how can we recognize the better 2232BWs?
    The best answer would be with your eyes. Is color fidelity good or is there a problem? Note that even if it is highly probable, the correlation "poor colors/ CMO" is not entirely proven. In fact, the "schema" for determining the panel origin from the hidden menu is solely based on user experiences and there have already been a few exceptions. This system is not necessarily automatic nevertheless it does work most of the time. Here it is:

    Set contrast and brightness to zero and then press the Sourcebutton for 5 seconds. Look at the Panel info line. There should be an incomprehensible phrase such as M-ME22W0BAA-1002. Itís the letters in bold face, especially those in the middle, which are determinant (based on current understanding) :

  • xAx-xxxx : Samsung panel.
  • xLx-xxxx : AU Optronics panel.
  • xDx-xxxx : CMO panel.
  • xIx-xxxx : CPT panel.

    This is often but not always correct.
    So why two or three versions of this screen?
    So yes, Samsung once again is using panels from different sources and moreover they admit this right off. The more or less official reason circulating from their warranty department is that S panels (Samsung) are intended for units destined for Europe (at least Western Europe),the A (AU Optronics) is for North America (sorry, no test for this screen yet) and C (CMO) is for Asia. It would be difficult to explain such a distribution strategy.

    So why are C versions being found where they shouldnít be? Samsung responds due to the grey market. This means that the success of this monitor is so great that Samsung cannot necessarily meet wholesaler or major distributor demand. Some are therefore tempted to look to Asia which in fact will provide a supply of screens. We might also wonder if the price of the 2232BW C in Asia is the same as the 2232BW S in France. Between the difference in panel and the current euro/dollar exchange rate it could definitely be tempting to offer C versions for the price of the S.
    Samsungís point of view
    From the beginning and start of the very first rumors, we left messages for Samsung (but without response) to know if yes or no, would the polemic start over. The first response came the day after we said we were going to test a readerís 2232BW with a CMO panel. In short, their reaction was: "We are just finding out about this problem with your call and we will look into it. There will be no repeat of the 226BW saga which killed that screen. We will do everything in our power to rectify the situation if there is a proven problem".

    Actually, we did detect a "problem" and we even offered some solutions; however, there has been no serious reaction on Samsungís part to address this situation.

    Other than that, there was more interesting information in our only interview with Samsungís representative involving the 2232BW. First of all, he asked us why they were under fire for this practice when all manufacturers have the strategy of interchanging panels. Is this true? No, of course not. The question is more: who sells more than 10,000 units a month and is forced to outsource panels to meet the demand? Samsung, LG, and also Dell. And what do these three manufacturers also have in common? We have caught them all doing this and pointed it out. However, the award does not go Samsung here, but to LG who with its L2000C succeeded in continuously integrating an IPS, VA or TN panel all under the same monitor reference!

    There are others like Iiyama, Belinea and company that are happy to sell 2000 of one model per month, however, do they do the same? No, or at least very rarely. Normally, they will buy a stock of panels and will produce the monitor in question until they run out. There is then a change of model. Another advantage of smaller companies is that they are more reactive when a big problem arises. For example, following our first tests the latest HyundaÔ W240D looked very disappointing. Production was suspended that month and there was a change of panels and other supposed corrections. A W240D v2 will soon arrive with much better components as shown by the first results from a revised model that we received. Finally, even a highly successful screen like Belineaís 10 20 35W hasnít changed panels in 3 years!

    We brought up this point with Samsung and they agreed; however they added that they are in another league and large orders are very different. This may be true, but for this reason consumers may also be forced to look to smaller manufacturers for more assurance of what they will actually receive...
    The ultimate argument by Samsung (and they are right!)
    The last subject brought up in our (long) discussion was : Samsung is wondering if we arenít a little too curious and are overly exaggerating a problem that has been pointed out by none other than us. They clearly indicated that besides our articles and others that base their information on us without themselves testing the screens with the panels in question, no one has complained about their monitors. According to them, consumers have started returning screens to their warranty services under the sole pretext that we have said CMO panels were inferior to Samsung panel versions. This has been done without any verification by the client. Of course, we are in agreement. Also, what can we say when they tell us that in the case of the 2232BW, there was not a single telephone call from a client or store to their warranty services or offices to complain about the problems we revealed on this model? Here again, they are correct. Perhaps we should seriously ask ourselves: are we not just going a little too far and maybe our expectations do not correspond to the more normal standards of our readers?


  • Page 11
    Your input can move things along

    Your input can move things along
    Here is a relevant question: who are our readers on BehardWare.fr ? How close are they to our technical expertise? Are they really unable to see color dominances and unexpected black or white afterglow?

    We respond that we are somewhat acquainted with you, our readers. You are interested in the technical details, expect high quality (this isnít flattery, but this seems reasonably true) and are above the average user. You are often in the computer or electronics field. Are there some readers that have not understood this article ? If yes, Samsung prefers that they leave and find something more modest.
    To boycott or not boycott this brand ? We say not to boycott.
    The question often comes in mail on the forum where I am often accused of complicity (ok, maybe a bit exaggerated) with the brand considering that we do not call for a boycott of Samsung. In my opinion, I think itís more constructive to try and encourage improvements. We are simply at another stage that will have to be surpassed and this isnít the first time for monitors.
    The evolution of LCDs : a history of a maturing technology. First of all, reactivity.
    You may recall, our first LCD screen tests dating back to 2001. At the time, flat screens were just coming out and it was a heyday with prices (800 Euros for a 15 inch!) and characteristics. There was no consistency and, for example, most often the response time was not even given. Everyone considered it as secondary information that shouldnít be available to the consumers. Moreover, this was a specification we discovered a little by chance. Manufacturers took some time to realize that the widespread adoption of the LCD would have to go through a significant improvement in reactivity, a not too obvious point at the time. In the same way, the panel type was not systematically given (TN, VA, IPS...) and even today there could be some improvement in this area.

    So in short, reactivity was improved and significantly so. We arenít yet to the point of 1 ms screens that were promised two years ago (actually this has been somewhat forgotten) but TN 2 ms quality is good enough for most users.

    Round two, a larger conflict: the first criticism on dead pixels. What a mess! This started in 2003 and many manufacturers simply refused to respond. Another amusing point was that some invented their own often bizarre policies. For example, you had to have 10 dead pixels on a 17 inch screen for Samsung to consider replacement or Acer requiring that one of these 10 be in the center of the screen.
    In 2003, obtaining the legal standards, the ISO norm, and to correctly understand it (there were many interpretations) wasnít easy. As for us, it was said we were we looking for advancement by creating an inexistent problem that no mere mortal should bother with because it was beyond the normal competency of standard consumers. In fact, we actually managed to annoy one of the creatorís of this norm (also dealing with the means of determining contrast, viewing angles, etc.), which we didnít find too coherent. Four years later, all have taken note of this problem, which is now less relevant because LCDs have improved. In product specifications, following the ISO 13406-2 norm has become common if not systematic and it is most often accompanied by an explanation for those who may not understand this aspect.

    Round three: HDCP, the article on the expected and imminent activation of HDCP protection on HD digital signals and the PS3. Again they thought we were crazy because many manufacturers (graphic card and screen) explained that what we wanted and what we criticized them for, not integrating HDCP compatibility while they have known about this for years, was impossible. Today, no DVI monitors leave the factory without this famous compatibility...

    Round four : colors (more moderate except when Samsung was involved) : we changed our test procedure for LCDs at the end of 2004. We were betting that color fidelity was quickly going to become as important as reactivity for consumers. Once again, no everyone was in agreement, to say the least. However, the misadventure of the 226BW proves this to be the case. Itís now expected that a screen not only be attractive and reactive but also that photos from our digital camera or the internet be rendered with more natural colors. This is a recent phenomenon and not easy for manufacturers to systematically take into account. And we give credit where credit is due: the first manufacturer to offer general public monitors with good color fidelity was.... Samsung ! Moreover, without even telling us, it was them that introduced the first models with good colors by default. This was first on rather high end models, the P series, and then on more affordable ones. Furthermore, for a long time this has been a distinguishing characteristic of this brand (Samsung panels that is) and for two years it went without saying that if colors were good from the start, there was a Samsung panel somehow involved. Even today, Samsung Ė the panel manufacturer Ė is still the best in this area, which has been reaffirmed in the sagas of the 226BW and 2232BW.

    The next step will involve the integration of video correction circuitry. Once again, when we started testing with movies and criticizing the overwhelming shimmering, solarization and stair effect in rescaling, manufacturer reactions were lukewarm. The good news? We are currently testing a screen, not a hybrid, with the first circuitry of this type. And we will most likely receive another soon. Things are moving in the right direction.


    Page 12
    Conclusion

    Conclusion
    TN 2 ms : Asus PG221 : not a winner

    The PG221 started out so well but thenÖOn paper everything looks great, a 22 inch with integrated base speaker, 2 ms panel and a webcam. In addition, to flatter gamers there is the choice of 16/10 and 4/3 modes.

    This is all nice but in the end itís a rather bulky screen not too adapted for LAN parties (too heavy). The integrated speakers quickly show their limits (either way, everyone uses headphones) and any external 2.1 kit does better. And especially there is the price. This monitor is as expensive as a good 24 inch. Needless to say, we werenít too impressed.



    TN 5 ms : Belinea 2230 S1W : not a winner

    Here we have somewhat of a mystery product. For whom is this 2230 S1W intended?

    It has a 5 ms panel, default colors are average, the design and ergonomics donít stand out, and its price is similar to a good 2 ms.

    Mystery...



    TN 2 ms : Iiyama ProLite E2201W : recommended for games

    First of all, our main reservation about this screen is its very narrow viewing angles. Sometimes when looking at the center of the monitor you may get the impression that the upper part of the screen is darker. This isnít a problem with your vision and on the contrary you have a sharp eye.

    On the lighter side, we really liked its reactivity for the moderate price as well as the assurance of having a Samsung panel. (No risk of having a poor overdrive contrary to the 226BW series). In addition, after manual adjustment color fidelity was rather good.



    TN 2 ms : LG Flatron L226WTQ : not a winner

    We were particularly interested in the L226WTQ because it has a TN 2 ms panel from LG-Philips which weíve never tested. The verdict : itís equivalent to the Samsung in reactivity, however, preset colors arenít that great. And especially, we couldnít adjust them manually, because the dominances werenít homogenous. You will have to go find a colorimeter to have good color fidelity.

    One last bothersome detail noted by readers in France and elsewhere: there seems to be a (familiar) game of musical chairs in the 226WTQ and some users have found CMO panels in their monitors.



    TN 5 ms : Nec LCD225WXM : not a winner

    In the beginning, we were also very excited about this product because we found a bezel similar to a 20 inch favorite of ours, the 20GX≤. However, while the latter was equipped with an extremely reactive IPS panel, the LCD225WXM is much more modest being a TN 5 ms. It performs strictly the same as the other products with this characteristic ; a little more afterglow than a 2 ms screen in movies and games and with satisfactory colors.

    While they were at it, Nec also took away another detail we appreciated on its 20 inch ; the LCD225WXM doesnít have a USB hub. In the end we have a rather classic 5 ms monitor, more expensive than average without any additional features.



    TN 5 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 225UW : not a winner!

    It has satisfactory webcam and only fluidity is a bit disappointing. This is often the case for this component integrated on screens. Sharpness, however, stands the comparison with good Logitech models, for example. But what Samsung really touts on its website and marketing brochure are the large viewing angles, rapid response time and good color fidelity. This is strange.

    You may recall, this is a TN 5 ms... or in other words, a screen like the others in its category that darkens as soon as we look from below as well as quickly losing contrast from above. Also, in practice 5 ms monitors are currently the slowest on the market and the 225UWís colors were shown to be particularly off. Yes, it is an attractive screen but if we compare it to other models with equivalent characteristics, the design and webcam tack on an additional 100 Euros. This is a little too much, in our opinion.

    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 2232BW : It has our recommendation.

    There was a lot to say about this screen as it was necessary to clearly explain things. In the same way, we will clearly sum up the issues so that there is no mix up on this product. The 2232BW is a great screen that is quite reactive, very attractive and with rather rudimentary ergonomics because it isnít vertically adjustable, there is no USB hub or HDMI. There is however one particularity which it could have done without: some versions have good colors by default while others will oblige you to go through the OSD to decrease a definite blue dominance. Should this totally disqualify this screen? No, not at all. We appreciate that Samsung took into account what happened with the 226BW and the afterglow on the 2232BW is no longer variable. There is no hidden defect other than disappointing colors in certain cases, which for the most part can be remedied manually.



    TN 2 ms : Samsung SyncMaster 226CW : not a winner.

    This should be another solid link in the chain of LCD evolution. Itís the first of a new generation with a wide gamut inheriting everything its predecessors did so well. So theoretically, it should be equipped with a Samsung 2 ms panel simply enhanced with new backlighting to assure richer and truer colors.

    In the end, after two successive tests on different models, the 226CW is a screen with overly saturated colors, which canít be manually corrected. Our colorimeter even fails at this. In addition, reactivity is similar to that of a 5 ms and itís as if Samsung forgot to activate the overdrive. Moreover, playing with this parameter in the OSD doesnít change anything.

    TN 5 ms : ViewSonic VX2255wmb : recommended for all uses

    Color fidelity is good, itís mounted on a rotating base, and it can be vertically adjusted and pivoted. Also, there is a decent webcam. In short, this is our personal favorite but of course we would have ultimately preferred a 2 ms panel instead of the 5 ms. In addition, it doesnít suffer from the defect found on the Iiyama (zones which darken for no apparent reason) and its viewing angles are normal for a TN.

    In the end, we become accustomed to the minimal afterglow and we can fully enjoy this screenís nice design and very practical ergonomics.



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