Screen Test

Time for a monitor upgrade? Consider the benefits of going with a flat-panel display.
Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the October 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You're a professional. Your business is on top of technology, and your hardware is up to the task. It's time to invest in a computer monitor to match your reputation and needs.

You know the score when it comes to flat-panel displays. They're space-friendly, easy-on-the-eyes, affordable productivity boosters. A 19-inch LCD has a screen size equivalent to a 21-inch CRT, with a fraction of the bulk and none of that annoying screen flicker. Entrepreneurs who can make use of all the space include those who work with large graphics, document layouts, spreadsheets and databases. Or you may just want the ability to have two applications open and usable side by side.

Sony's SDM-S94 and ViewSonic's VP191s are two 19-inch displays that offer tremendous picture quality. The SDM-S94 has a feature that adjusts the display's output according to ambient light, but the VP191s holds the edge for sharpness. All in all, they have similar specs. The VP191s's display has an impressive range of motion for viewing flexibility, from tilt to pivot to swivel. The SDM-S94's base swivel is smoother than the VP191s's arm swivel design and doesn't disrupt other items on your desk.

Hewlett-Packard's L1902 19-inch display is a solid economic choice at $600 (all prices street). But as is often the case, pocketbook relief comes at the expense of features. The L1902 only offers tilt adjustments, which is fine if there's just a single user for the display; otherwise, it might become an issue. It's also analog only, and the picture quality isn't as sharp as other displays. But at that price, it's definitely acceptable for standard office use. The easy-to-use display menu is also a plus.

Samsung's $745 SyncMaster 193P features a clean, silver design and bright, rich colors. Setup is straightforward, with the auto adjustment feature kicking in for an effortless experience. It comes with pivot capability, but it takes a little effort and practice to swing the monitor around. Cable access for analog and digital inputs is located conveniently on the back of the stand base.

The $720 NEC-Mitsubishi MultiSync LCD1960NXi is a chunkier monitor than others we've looked at. It has analog and digital inputs, but you have to provide your own digital cable. You can get a lot of extra height adjustability with the stand, but there's no pivot. The images are clean, and this monitor would work for users who want no-frills design with a digital input.

The hardest part of setting up BenQ's $700 FP992 is getting it out of its tightly packed box. BenQ gets a high score for its slim-bezel style, as usual. As with the other pivoting monitors in our chart, it's a good choice for those needing to work with spreadsheets or other long documents. The colors are bright, and the simple cable management system is very effective.

A couple of monitors we didn't get a chance to meet in person are the $749 Planar PX191 and the $700 (MSRP)LG Electronics Flatron L1910BK. The Planar has all the high-end features, such as digital input and pivot. Like most monitors in this range, it also has a three-year warranty. However, Planar's free two-day monitor replacement component is a very nice warranty extra. LG's offering has a digital input and a convenient powered USB hub built-in. Once you've experienced a 19-inch LCD monitor, you won't want to go back to a smaller screen. They're not the cheapest displays on the market, but the productivity gains balance out the price tag.

Shopping List

Thin is in when it comes to monitors. Try these models on for size.

(866) 700-2367
Analog and digitalPivot, super-slim bezel, three-year warranty$700
(800) 888-9909
AnalogTilt adjustable, three-year warranty$600
LG Electronics
Flatron L1910BK
(800) 942-3786
Analog and digitalPowered USB hub, three-year warranty$700 (MSRP)
MultiSync LCD1960NXi
(888) NEC-MITS
Analog and digitalExtensive height adjustment, three-year warranty$720
(866) 475-2627
Analog and digitalPivot adjustable, three-year warranty with two-day replacement$749
SyncMaster 193P
Analog and digitalPivot adjustable, three-year warranty$745
(800) 222-7669
Analog and digitalTilt and swivel adjustable, three-year warranty$850
(888) 881-8781
Analog and digitalPivot adjustable, digital three-year warranty$819

Research editor Steve Cooper contributed to this article.


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