24 September 2012 (All prices based on amazon.com and correct at time of writing)
For a while now the falling price of monitors has meant that the ‘sweet spot’ when buying a new screen for your pc is a 22” to 24” full HD 1900×1080 pixels (or just 1080p) model which can now be had for well under $200. It is therefore a great time to update that older screen of yours, as this new quality / price point makes upgrading from even the fairly recent 19” 1400×900 standard an attractive proposition. So, without further ado, let’s look at three sub $200 monitors.
Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H ($199)
With a generous 24” of screen space (well, 23.6” if you want to get pedantic) and super thin (19mm at its thinnest) design, it is easy to forgive the slightly plain ascetics on this LED backlit screen.
- Large 24” screen
- Thin and lightweight
- Picture quality is good, looking cool and well balanced, although text rendering is not perfect
- Energy efficient – the LED backlit screen helps the SyncMaster S23A550Hto pull only 23W, which is great for a screen of this size. There is also an eco-mode which Samsung claims to meet the standard of zero electromagnetic radiation.
- 1x VGA, 2x HDMI ports
- Inconveniently menu keys provide access to a confusing menu system
- A bit plain looking
- No DVI ports
This is a good monitor for the money. The large screen looks good yet is impressively thin, and the eco features make it an attractive buy for green conscious consumers. However, the inaccuracies in text rendering mean that if you want a monitor for office type work, you should probably look elsewhere
Dell Ultra slim S2230MX $138.89
Another impressively thin screen, the Dell Ultra slim S2230MX looks good (if a little flimsy). At 22” (27.1” if you really care) it lacks the screen real estate of the Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H, but at over $60 cheaper, do you care?
- 1 x VGA and 1 x DVI ports
- Good text definition
- Low 24.8W power consumption
- Games display clearly with no noticeable colour bleed
- Picture quality and color performance is good overall but there is a noticeable green tinge, some backlight bleeding, and a lack of vibrancy during movie playback
- Heavy ant-glare coating – this comes down to personal preference whether you like it or not
- Flimsy construction
While this monitor will not shake the world in terms of performance, it is a very solid offering for such a low price point.
LG IPS235T ($199)
Featuring a gorgeous IPS panel instead of the PN panels usually found on budget monitors, this 23” offering from LG sets out to impress.
- Good looking design
- Fantastic picture quality for the price, with good color performance and saturation, and a vibrant picture (but faint greenish tinge)
- Good viewing angles thanks to IPS technology
- VGA, DVI, and HDMI connections (which is good) but they are awkwardly placed
- Power consumption is fair at 25.01W
- Chassis feels plasticky and low quality
Overall, this is one of the best budget monitors available. This is mainly due to IPS screen, which is rarely seen at this price point.
I think that what this round-up shows is just how much you can get for your money when buying a computer screen these days. All the monitors on test perform extremely well, and make great purchases. The LG IPS235T is the clear winner thanks to its fantastic IPS panel, but the big screened Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H remains a fine monitor. While the Dell Ultra slim S2230MX cannot compete on a performance level with the other two screens on test here, it does offer very good value for money and is still a very usable bit of kit.