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LCD Monitor Reviews and Buying Guide:

Computer monitors are getting larger just like LCD and Plasma television sets. A 17-inch LCD monitor for your computer might seem large, but more and more we are seeing 19 inch, 20 inch, and 22" widescreens available for cheaper prices. The good news with LCD computer monitors is that they are only getting better (as well as bigger) in terms of viewing quality and features like DVI inputs and USB hubs. In many of the reports we read online all the monitors get good to excellent ratings for things like display quality, viewing angle, ease of use, and value. Most LCD monitors are priced between $200 and $300 with the larger 22 and 24 inch models priced above $400. Which monitor is best? What brands perform consistently? Keep reading below to find out.

Firstly, the Internet has made it very easy to find the latest monitors and read reviews on them. We found excellent writeups on CNET, PC Magazine, Tom's Hardware Guide, and in magazines like Consumer Reports and PC World. The top brands are Samsung, Dell, Benq, HP, ViewSonic, Gateway, Acer, NEC, Apple, and Westinghouse. You can read owner comments and feedback on Amazon.com, Epinions, and in computer forums online. Not always do the expert ratings match up with what consumers think. Unlike LCD televisions which we expect to last for years and years, computer monitors tend not ot have the same shelf life and we don't care if we only keep them for 3 to 4 years (the lifecycle of a computer). Therefore, overall durability is not an issue when purchasing most monitors since they last without issue for years. It comes down to screen size and display quality that really make the difference for most people. Most monitors are just fine for looking at webpages, photos, etc. Some avid gamers prefer larger screens and those that can handle displaying graphics at high levels. From a practical standpoint, you want a monitor that has adjustable height, can swivel, and tilt when necessary. LCD monitors with built-in speakers or iPod docks are very convenient when you want to watch videos or view your photos while listening to MP3 files. If you are planning on buying a whole new computer system, you can often get a really good deal on an LCD monitor as part of the "package" price. Otherwise, you are on your own and need to seek out the best offers either online or in retail stores. We suggest the Internet as a starting place with sites like Amazon or Dell.com.

17-Inch LCD Monitor:

Samsung is a leader in LCD monitors and the Samsung SyncMaster 740BX ($220) makes a good choice in this screen size. Prices have really come down on 17 inch monitors as they are becoming less popular but they are still a great value. The 740BX from Samsung gives you a 1280 x 1024 screen resolution, 1000:1 MagicContrast contrast ratio, a 5 ms response time, and an ultra-thin bezel. The Samsung LCD monitor is height adjustable, and pivots/swivels. You can buy it online at Amzon.com. This flat screen monitor has excellent display quality and better than average viewing angle capabilities. Another 17" monitor worth looking into is the Benq FP72G+S ($200) which gets the 'best buy' award from Consumer Reports although the viewing angle is not as good as other monitors tested. If you do a search on Google you can find online stores that carry this model.

Best 19-Inch LCD Monitor:

This category proved to be the hardest to come up with clear winner. CR says the Samsung 940BX ($240) rates the best amongst the field but real owner feedback on Amazon.com is contrary to their report and totally negative. Instead we are saying that the ViewSonic VP930b ($330) is the "best" 19" LCD monitor. The ThinEdge design makes this monitor able to fit onto all desks and in tight spaces. You can adjust the tilt, pivot, height, and swivel and the XtremeView feature gives you very wide viewing angles. Owners say the monitor is "sharp" and has "rich colors". The contrast ratio is 1300:1 and the resolution is 1280 x 1024. The monitor is compatible with PC's or Mac's. We saw this unit online at Newegg.com.

Best Value 20-Inch Monitor:

Once again ViewSonic comes in as the top rated 20-inch LCD monitor with the ViewSonic VX2025wm. We trust the reviews done by CNET and their "techie" bunch as being honest and unbiased. The owner reviews we saw online were in complete agreement with the expert viewpoint. The image quality and fast pixel response rate were 2 factors that swayed almost all that use the monitor. Overall, consumers say this 20-inch widescreen LCD with built-in speakers has superior performance for less than $300 ($279 is the price). You can find it online at Newegg or Amazon.com.

Top Rated Widescreen LCD Monitor:

Looking for a real big 22-inch or even 24-inch widescreen LCD monitor? Some of the top choices in this range are the Samsung SyncMaster 226BW ($320) which is a great 22 inch monitor with the capability to view multiple open windows at once. Gaming enthusiasts rate this monitor very high as well as for viewing graphics and moving images. Technology has made it so that the larger monitors are often less expensive to produce these days than the older 19-inch models. Want to go even larger, the BenQ FP241W ($730) with a 1920 x 1200 resolution makes for some incredible graphics viewing. This BenQ monitor has all the bells and whistles with lots of connectors and it's also easy to adjust to your specific needs. If you are on a budget, then the Westinghouse LCM-22s2 ($340) is a great 22-inch model that gets decent reviews. The one drawback is viewing angle issues, although single users won't notice it as much as compared to having multiple people viewing your screen at once. Amazon carries it and so does the Best Buy for Business website.

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