Buying a good yet affordable monitor

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Gerry, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. Gerry

    Gerry Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Bay Area, California
    Hi there. Pardon the length of this post, but here are the details:

    My current, ~9-year-old monitor is on its deathbed, and I need a replacement pronto to go with my early-gen Mac Pro. Honestly, it'll be used overwhelmingly for non-photography stuff (no gaming), but I know that just having the new, larger monitor will help inspire me to get back to my photo editing. Anything I get will be a huge improvement, but what I'd like is:

    - 23" or 24" screen, greatly preferring a 1920 x 1200 screen resolution
    - IPS or equivalent panel for decent sRGB color reproduction
    - matte/anti-glare screen
    - ideally under $400, and aren't we all looking for the best deal we can get?

    After some research, it seems as though, if I had my druthers, I would probably go for an HP ZR2440w. Of course, the Dell U2412M appears to be essentially the same thing, but it seems to me as though the HP just nudges out the Dell. There were some runners-up, too, like the ASUS PA248Q that I imagine I would probably be rather happy with, too.

    So why don't I just pick up one of those? Well, because apparently there's no local store here in the SF Bay Area that carries them. Okay, one chain not near me carries the Dell, but doesn't seem to have them in stock, anyway. This would mean that I'd have to order one over the internet. Now then, I don't know about you, but this is one area where I think I'd prefer the ease of being able to return something to a retail store, if at all possible. I've heard about "Dead Pixel Policies" that allow for way more dead pixels than I want (which is zero, btw). And truth be told, I'm not good at all when it comes to returning things bought online. I'm just not. So if there's a problem, I don't want to end up eating it.

    My feasible options, it would appear, are:

    - Find as reputable an online dealer as possible and just order one of the aforementioned monitors, or something roughly equivalent. Does anyone want to allay my fears about getting bad monitors online?

    - Buy a used 23" Apple Cinema Display off of Craigslist locally. I'm guessing this will cost me between $200 - $250, which is $100 - $200 less than I'd be paying for one of those new monitors listed above. I'm sure I'd be happy with an ACD, but the question there, of course, is that since they stopped making the 23" matte screen model four years ago, is it worth it buying a (seemingly good) monitor that already has several years under its belt?

    - Forget my 16 x 10 ratio and go to the local Best Buy to pick up whatever bottom-of-the-line 23" e-IPS 1920 x 1080 they've got on hand. (Apparently, one of these. Hey, at least it'd be a less expensive option, too.

    - Something else that I haven't thought of yet. :confused:

    Looking forward to hearing any thoughts y'all might have. Thanks in advance.

    p.s. -- I wouldn't mind hearing opinions about CCFL vs. LED backlighting, too, since there are prior generations of the monitors listed above that are also out there.
  2. bhemmis

    bhemmis New to Mu-43

    Apr 13, 2012
    Naples, FL & Cleveland, OH
    Real Name:
    Brian Hemmis
    I bought a pair of Asis 23" LED monitors at Best Buy last year for $ 169 ea. Now they have a 24" for the same price. Check 'em out. Also the HPs get good reviews and are often discounted. Note I also have 3 Apple 20" ACD's.
  3. hanzo

    hanzo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 22, 2010
    Real Name:
    I would go with the Dell IPS.. if you are able to order from Dell site directly, it should be no problem
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    There certainly are no guarantees, but I've ordered 4 LCD monitors from Amazon over the years, and none have had problems with bad pixels. So long as the place had a good return policy (Amazon or B&H would be my top choices), I think this would be the best option. FWIW, I'm using the 24" HP ZR2440W and I've been quite pleased with the monitor.
  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    NEC often has great deals on refurbished monitors at You should be able to find a nice IPS panel at a very affordable price. I purchased two monitors from them and have been very happy.

  6. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I'm very pleased with my ViewSonic VX2336s (IPS). Got if from a seller on Amazon, no dead pixels, all working, amazingly cheap.
  7. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:

    I'm a retired I.T. worker and have had good experiences with Dell for many years.

    There is always the chance that you'll get a bad unit, but I've never had an issue with Dell replacing defective gear, either professionally or personally.

    They may or may not have the correct monitor for you, but I wouldn't cross them off of the list because of service concerns. Wherever you purchase your new monitor it might be a good idea to check their return policy - if you're buying off of the web you may find that the monitor isn't defective but that it simply doesn't meet your requirements once seen "in the flesh". Being able to return a unit within a few days without penalty can be a valuable option. Edit: I note that you're "not good about returning things bought on the Internet"... that may be an issue no matter where you purchase unless you can find a local brick 'n mortar that will order in what you need...


  8. simonz

    simonz Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2010
    New England
    I like the Dell U2412M

    I also like the Dell U2412M. Got one a few weeks ago from B&H in NY for $279. Great monitor, bright and sharp and my favored aspect ratio.
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    We've bought close to a dozen Ultrasharps without seeing a dead pixel.
  10. Cliff3

    Cliff3 New to Mu-43

    Dec 7, 2012
    Livermore, CA
    I would steer clear of Apple monitors unless you are using a Mac. Their characteristics (white level, black level, colors, etc) are controlled by the OS and not on the monitor itself as is the case with most other monitors.They're very nice panels - I used to have a 23" ACD and currently have a 30" ACD that I use with my Mac Pro - but probably not the best choice for Windows users.

    If Amazon has free shipping on returns, then you'd be hard pressed to go wrong with them.
  11. Gerry

    Gerry Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Bay Area, California
    Thanks for all the responses so far, gang. You're making me feel a whole lot better about the prospect of ordering online, at least. Then it's just a matter of finding a good deal on any of these good monitors. (Perhaps a refurb, even.)

    Luckily, I happen to be a Mac Pro user, too. The question I still have on this front, though, is whether it's ridiculous to get a nice 4+ years old ACD (locally off Craigslist as soon as tomorrow, even) when for only $100 - 200 more I could have the lastest-technology Dell or HP. Hmmm...
  12. Cliff3

    Cliff3 New to Mu-43

    Dec 7, 2012
    Livermore, CA
    If the price is right and the monitor is in good condition then go for it. My 30" will turn 4 this coming Summer. I calibrate it monthly with an i1 colorimeter and it is working just fine. The DVI-D connector is getting a little long in the tooth and I don't bother connecting the FW400 ports to my MP, but other than that it's a nice monitor.
  13. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    Real Name:
    I have the ASUS 24" IPS. I'm really pleased with the image quality BUT... I've had it for 1,5 years now and it already has two dead pixels. Even though it's one of the pro-models by ASUS, they require more than 5 dead pixels to replace it. That's weak.

    Maybe next time I will go with Dell or HP. But one thing is certain: I will never go back to TN-panels. IPS <3
  14. tuanies

    tuanies Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 13, 2011
    Graham, WA
    Real Name:
    Tuan Huynh
    I'd say go for the latest 27-inch LED backlit HP or Dell with 2560x1440 resolution if you can. The 30-inch panels are very old now and spending the extra $1-200 would be better in the longterm.

    If you're on a budget, you could always check out one of those Korean 27-inch S-IPS B-grade panels that are the same panels as the Dell and Apples but rejected. They're still B-grade and for $400 or so you can't really complain.

    Here's a review on one Those 27-inch IPS displays from Korea are for real - The Tech Report - Page 1

    Here's one from a reputable retailer if you don't want to buy from ebay Micro Center - Computers, Electronics, Computer Parts, Networking, Gaming, Software, and more!
  15. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    A lot of those B-grade 27" Korean IPS panels don't play nicely with Macs. Or at least, with a lot of the vid cards in Mac Pros.
  16. justinrphillips

    justinrphillips Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 2, 2012
    You just need a card that can do a dual link DVI. I have a couple of them and for the record they are not "B" grade. They are A- and they calibrate very nicely . I am all Mac only reason I bring it up. They are great deals on them though.
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The Dell and the Apple are both good monitors, which use the same panel. I pretty much always stick with Dell for PC or Apple for Mac. Most other displays don't come close to the crispness, though the Samsungs are usually next in line.

    Sorry I have no knowledge of specific models, or what's hot this year and what not. I just know the general makes.
  18. MikeR_GF1

    MikeR_GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    The Dell U2410 is a pretty good IPS monitor. It's been out for a while, earlier production wrinkles smoothed out, seems to hold its price.
  19. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have a mac pro, but all the listing on eBay explicitly state their monitors will not work with macs that have certain video cards (including the one I have). I figure I'll probably get a 27" Dell soon instead, as the price difference after import taxes and duties becomes less interesting than the potential risk and hassle of returns.
  20. justinrphillips

    justinrphillips Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 2, 2012
    The Dell 27" is not a bad monitor... I think they have a new one out now right with LED instead of CFL. I have a U2410 and it is a good monitor. I think the 27" Dell is wide gamut too where the Korean panels are only sRGB. I am not sure where you are, for US we have the open trade agreement with Korea so it shipped faster from Korea then Amazon does (2 days and I had it). I paid for one of the perfect pixel ones, but that is not to say that I was not very nervous when I fired that thing up. I have minor light bleed in the corners and I can live with that, I am considering through another 2410 and just going dual 2410's for the wide gamut.