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LCD, David vs. Goliath: Iolair vs. Dell
by Vincent Alzieu
Published on April 28, 2008

24 inches: MVA vs. PVA
24 inch screens gain even more ground aided by successive price reductions. The biggest stride is made by Iolair as they offer a 24 inch for roughly 300 Euros, the price of a 22 inch, with an MVA panel and DVI (HDCP). An immediate advantage compared to the very good Iiyama which has been popular these past few months is the Iolair screen that isn’t subject to a poor lower viewing angle that darkens.

At the same time, Dell releases its 2408WFP, which has a PVA panel. The price is noticeably higher (a mere double) but the approach is a bit different. The 2408WFP wants in some way to never go out of style thanks to much better than average finishing touches, finer materials and much more developed functions.

The duel turned out to be extremely interesting with some unexpected surprises – sometimes good. Other times, the opposite occurred concerning the Dell. So what happened? At any rate, forget about the figures communicated in the characteristics. This test illustrates once again to what extent they are imprecise and especially misleading.
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 upscaling, 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 make 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 (or PixPerAn for those more familiar with it). 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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