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Which 22 inch to choose? Six monitors tested with reaction times from 2 to 5 ms
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on December 19, 2006

Six monitors tested
We already tested the Acer AL2216W, and now it’s back. We also added to the list the Asus MW221u, Belinea 2225 S1W, HP w22, Fujitsu-Siemens L22-1W and Samsung SyncMaster 225BW.

Besides their price, they stand out with an additional VGA interface (which is always available), various designs, plastic or metal bezels and more or less accurate color rendering. There is also the "Zero dead pixel" policy on one of the screens, which is very much appreciated and an intelligent option.
Which 22 inch?
We were expecting a lot of products and finally they are here. Now all of a sudden, we have the 22", which overshadow the 17, 19, 20 and 21 inch, and some barely cost 300 €. Wide format is definitively in fashion and look for it to invade homes and living rooms. Convergence is no longer an issue. It’s there and it is no longer noticeable. The 16/10 format isn´t optimised for text writing but it is very handy for movies. However, the 22" panels introduced so far are all based on TN technology. This implies rather small viewing angles, at least the vertical ones and the image turns dark when looked at from below. This mostly concerns the little ones, of course.

Also, all but one have 5ms panels. The exception is the Asus MW221u, the first one for now and only 2ms 22".

Among the 5 ms, even if there are two panel manufacturers, AU Optronics and Samsung, this survey deals with a lot of similar products. In comparing them we ended up looking at details: color rendering, interface, finishing touches, and design. If the winner for you should be the one with the best reaction time, we will save you 2 hours and say the Asus wins. All the others are all equivalent with the same behaviour in games. Take a look at the last page to see which monitor slightly stands out in each area.

The 1680 x 1050 resolution of these monitors might be a bit surprising as it’s the same as the 20"s. There is no additional data on the screen but everything will be bigger. Too big? Not in our opinion. Here are the pitch results:


We see that letters on 22" monitors are noticeably smaller than with 4/3 on 15” and 19"s. In practice, we found them perfect for those who don´t want to end up with tired eyes like with 20" monitors.
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, and the quality of upscaling.

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

For game tests, after developing a response time measurement procedure last year with a probe and oscilloscope, we eventually came to the conclusion that results weren’t representative of what we actually saw on the screen. We then developed a new test procedure in the summer of 2005, based on pictures of images on the monitor. In this way we can capture afterglow in two environments. The first is between bright colors, and the second is for black and white (like in wire frame mode). The software used is Pixel Persistence Analyzer (or PixPerAn for regular users). 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. These results are consistent with what we see in games. Finally, practical tests are the same in games, HD and DVD video, web surfing, etc.

The test computer is self-assembled, has an AMD Athlon XP3500+ processor and NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX card.


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