Displays of Strength
A sourcelist of monitors for graphics work.
If eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, then, monitors are arguably the windows to the essence of a job’s graphic. After all, how well a monitor in your production or prepress area performs can critically impact on your print work.
Does your monitor’s speed and resolution allow jobs to seamlessly progress throughout your shop’s workflow? Are you seeing the true colors that your client or designer specified? Does your monitor allow you to offer soft proofing? Is its size a benefit in working on jobs or a hindrance? These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself in evaluating your shop’s current monitors.
To help you in your hunt for the best monitor for your operation, we have assembled the following collection of monitor snapshots from many of the leading manufacturers. Generally, we have strived to highlight displays that are designed specifically for the graphic arts; in some cases, for companies that assign no such monitor category, we’ve strived to select one or two units that offer intriguing specs and/or features. Keep in mind that we’ve only listed a selection from each manufacturer; visit their website to check out their complete product roster. Also note that that the main text deals with desktop monitors only; see the sidebar on page xx for displays geared toward digital electronic signage applications.
Acer Group offers two Professional-level series of monitors with its Acer brand: B and V. The Acer B273H is a 27-in. widescreen LCD display that features 1920 x 1080 resolution, 300 cd/m² brightness, and 160° horizontal and vertical viewing angles. Other features include: adjustable tilt/height; DVI port with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection support and USB hub; and mercury-free LED backlighting. Seven different B-series models are available.
Gateway is also part of the Acer Group, and this brand includes the FHX2402L monitor, a 24-in. widescreen that boasts 1920 x 1080 resolution, 12,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 250 cd/m² brightness, viewing angles of 170 horizontal and 160 vertical, and 2-ms response time.
The 27-in. Apple LED Cinema Display offers LED backlighting, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 178° viewing angles, a 16:9 aspect ratio, 375 cd/m² brightness, 12-ms response time, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. Other features include: USB hub, a built-in iSight camera, and a 49-watt speaker system. Price: $999.
Also available is the 27-in. Thunderbolt Display, which features Intel’s Thunderbolt I/O technology (including two channels of 10-Gbps throughput in both directions) and allows for connecting of up to six devices through a single port. The Thunderbolt Display features in-plane switching, a 16:9 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 178° viewing angles, 375 cd/m² brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and an ambient light sensor. It also includes a built-in speaker system and a FaceTime HD camera. Price: $999.
AG Neovo Technology
The company’s L-W27 is a 27-in. LED backlit display that offers 1920 x 1080 HD resolution, 300 cd/m² brightness, 170°/160° viewing angles, 3-ms response time, and a 20,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The L-W27 also provides HDMI input and built-in 2W x 2 speakers. AG Neovo also features a 22- and 24-in. version of this monitor.
The Dell UltraSharp U3011, a 30-in. monitor designed for graphics work, features in-plane switching to minimize color deviation across viewing angles and 117% (CIE) color gamut with AdobeRGB and sRGB coverage. The display also offers: 2560 x 1600 resolution; 16:10 aspect ratio; 370 cd/m² brightness; 7-ms response time; and a static contrast ratio of 1000:1, and it features a CustomColor mode to adjust color values to personal preferences as well as a height-adjustable and tile/swivel stand; four USB ports; and more. Price: $1299. Dell also offers seven monitors in its UltraSharp line, starting at 21.5 in.
DoubleSight’s DS2200WA Dual Monitor Solution includes two 21.5-in. LCD displays, a Dual Monitor Flex desktop stand, and cabling. The DS2200WA features a 170°/160° viewing angle, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 250 cd/m² brightness, response time of 5-ms, and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The monitor stand is height-, pivot-, tilt-, and swivel-adjustable. Also available in a 19-in. version.
Eizo Nanao Technologies
Eizo’s ColorEdge CG275W is a 27-in. LCD monitor specifically designed for prepress, digital photography, graphic design, video editing, post production, and other graphics professionals. The CG275W features an IPS (in-plane switching) LCD panel with a native resolution of 2560 x 1440 (16:9 aspect ratio), and reproduces 97% of the Adobe RGB color space (it also has an sRGB mode). Maximum brightness is 270 cd/m², and it features a static contrast ratio of 850:1 and viewing angles are 178°. A built-in calibration sensor for self-calibration is included as is ColorNavigator software. Additional features include a shading hood that can be used in portrait or landscape mode, a FlexStand 2 with 90° portrait display, and an energy-saver that detects the user’s absence and prompts the monitor to enter sleep mode.
Eizo Nanao offers seven different models in its ColorEdge series of color-management monitors, and more than 20 models in its FlexScan series of professional LCDs.
The Gallery 1900 Platinum Xtreme-3 is a 19-in. display designed for graphics and video professionals. It features 24-bit MVA Active Matrix technology and offers a native resolution of 1280 x 1024, a contrast ratio of 1300:1, an ultra-wide viewing angle of 178° horizontal and vertical, and a 300 cdm2 brightness. Also available in black and white.
HP’s DreamColor LP2480zx Professional Monitor is a 24-in., color-critical display based on the company’s DreamColor Engine technology. It offers 1920 x 1200 resolution, a viewing angle of 178° and a 300 cd/m² maximum brightness. Features include: a tri-color LED backlight; 30-bit LCD panel technology; seven color-space presets for luminance, gamma, gamut, and white point; customizable user- and color-calibration settings with onscreen display; enhanced connectivity; and more. The company’s ZR30w 30-in. LCD is its largest Performance Series monitor. Resolution is 2560 x 1600; 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio; 370 cd/m² brightness; 178° degree viewing angle; 7-ms response time; 4-port USB hub. Price: $1220.
The 24-in. Prolite E2403WS-1 is the company’s largest LED display. It features a 1920 x 1200 resolution, 2000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 300 cd/m² brightness, 2-ms response time, and viewing angles of 170°/160°.
The 324i from LaCie is a 24-in. display offering a 10-bit P-IPS LCD panel to ensure uniformity and adjustable backlight stabilization to balance background luminosity of image to the working environment. It’s rated at 102% NTSC and 98% AdobeRGB. Other features include: 1920 x 1200 resolution; 178° viewing angles; 16:10 aspect ratio; 400 cd/m² brightness; 1000:1 static contrast ratio; 6-ms response time; and a stand with a 90° pivot. A blue eye colorimeter, blue eye PE software, and easy hood are optional. Price: $1399; $1499 w/blue eye Pro software and easy hood; $1699 w/blue eye Pro software, blue eye colorimeter, and easy hood.
NEC Display Solutions
The 30-in. NEC MultiSync PA301W, designed for professional graphics and photography applications, features a 10-bit widescreen LCD, 2560 x 1600 resolution, 98.2% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, 1000:1 contrast ratio; and 350 cd/m² brightness. In addition, the PA301W includes NEC’s SpectraViewII color-calibration solution, which includes software and colorimeter. Other features: MultiProfiler software for control over picture modes; four digital inputs; USB hub; and more. Price: $2549. NEC offers its SpectraViewII solution on three other monitors: the 24-in. LCD2490W2-BK-SV and PA241W-BK-SV and the 27-in. widescreen PA271W-BK-SV.
The PX2491W is a 24-in. wide-gamut TFT monitor geared toward the graphics professional and designed for color accuracy. It features: 1920 x 1200 resolution; 178° viewing angle; 16:10 aspect ratio; 6-ms response time; 250 cd/m² brightness; sRGB and Adobe RGB pre-defined color spaces as well as user-definable color spaces; glare-reduction hood; four USB 2.0 ports; and pivot/tilt/swivel and height-adjustable stand. Optional color-calibration sensor. Price: $2195.
The Quato Intelli Proof 240 LED Excellence is an Adobe-RGB and ECI-RGB optimized, 108% NTSC Wide Gamut proof display with 16-bit 3D hardware calibration and uniformity compensation. The 24-in., wide-panel display features a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 250 cd/m2 luminance, and 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution. iColor Display 3 calibration software is included, as is a hood and integrated ugra UDACT for user-based certification of the display.
Other Quato High-End Proof Displays include the Intelli Proof 300ex, 270ex, 264ex, 242ex, and 220ex. Its Creative Proof Displays include the Intelli Proof 242 LE and 220 LE. Distributed in the US through
Samsung Electronics USA
The Samsung 850 Series LED monitor features the company’s new PLS technology, for more accurate color and better viewing angles. The height-adjustable display has a 178° viewing angle, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 300 cd/m² brightness, 5-ms response time, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 1000:1. Four USB 3.0 ports.
Tatung Co. of America
The company’s 22-in. W22058-D LCD monitor offers a resolution of 1680 x 1050, 300 cd/m² brightness, 170°/160° viewing angles, 5-ms response time, and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The company also offers 15-, 17-, and 19-in. displays.
The VP2765-LED is part of ViewSonic’s LED Professional Series of monitors. The 27-in. widescreen LED backlit display features Advanced MVA panel technology, engineered for excellent picture reproduction. It also features: 178° viewing angles, 1920 x 1080 resolution, a 20,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (3000:1 static), a luminosity of 300 cd/m², and 25-ms response time. It also offers an Eco Mode, 4-port USB hub, 90° pivot, and a height-adjust function. Price: $561. ViewSonic also offers its Graphics Series of monitors as well as a Value Series.
Here are some of the most basic of specs to consider when researching a new display; we’ve strived to include these specs in the individual monitor descriptions in this sourcelist:
• Aspect ratio: The ratio of a monitor’s horizontal to vertical length.
• Contrast ratio: Also know as “static contrast ratio,” this is the difference in light intensity between the brightest white and the deepest black. Some manufacturers are now using a “dynamic contrast ratio,” which reflects a much higher number and should not be compared to the static ratio. Some manufacturers report both numbers.
• In-plane switching (IPS): a display technology that is engineered to allow for better angled and more consistent viewing (most sources report that IPS requires more backlighting and, hence, more power utilized).
• Luminance or brightness: How much light a panel produces, expressed in candelas per square meter.
• Refresh rate: The number of times per second a display is illuminated.
• Response time: The time it takes for a pixel to change color, measured in milliseconds.
• Resolution: The number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed; limited by dot pitch (the distance between sub-pixels of the same color)
• Viewing angle: Maximum angle at which images on screen can be viewed, without degradation to the image.
Displays for Electronic Digital Signage
Several of the companies referenced in the main text also produce displays specifically oriented toward electronic digital signage in retail or other applications. We’ve noted these below, and also included a few additional sources as well:
• HP (hp.com): Offers eight different displays in its Digital Signage series, ranging from 42- to 47-in.
• NEC Display Solutions (necdisplay.com): Indoor and outdoor LED Wall Modules that can be tiled in various sizes, shapes, and configurations; the company also offers more than 50 models of Large-Screen Displays, from 32 to 82 in.
• Panasonic (panasonic.com): Although not referenced in the main text, this monitor OEM offers five different displays in its Digital Signage series, for indoor and outdoor applications.
• Planar (planar.com): An array of solutions, from large-format LCDs and LCD video walls, to touch screens and outdoor displays, all found on a separate dedicated website: planardigitalsignage.com.
• Samsung Electronics (samsungusa.com): Its range of 50 Commercial Display Solutions includes LCD, LED, and plasma displays, from 22 to 82 in., including touch screens.
• Sharp Electronics (sharpusa.com): Also not in the main text; its PN-V601 is a 60-in. Video Wall LCD monitor with ultra-slim bezel, specifically designed to create video walls up to 5 x 5 ft.
• Tatung Co. of America (tatungusa.com): Offers 32- and 42-in. HD LCD displays for digital signage.
• ViewSonic (viewsonic.com): Offers displays from 24 to 65 in. and up, as well as media players; it also sells digital signage software from third parties.