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22 inch LCD monitors: the 3rd wave!
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on December 12, 2007

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 – 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 « retinal cleaning ». 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 aren’t 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 screen’s 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, hasn’t 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 screen’s hidden menu. After this, there or some more or less correct theories in recognizing the source of the panel based on the series number. Here’s 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, Miraï 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 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 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.

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