Guess I'll bump up this thread & stay out of the two monitor ergonomics thread so that one can stay on-topic.
I am a monitor snob. It's sad, but true. I'm not even stating this to feel superior to others, but I'm hyper-critical of every monitor to see and I focus & obsess on every imperfection I see. I sincerely wish I was not a monitor snob because then I'd save tons of money on monitors and be happy with whatever was found cheapest off the shelf.
I can post my history with monitors I've owned if anyone is curious exactly how far the depths of my monitor snobbery goes, but for now I'll keep things short.
A couple weeks ago my glorious (it truly was) 22" NEC MultiSync FP2141SB started to fail. It was either pay to have it repaired (and work out the logistics of moving a 75 pound monitor about town) or bite the bullet and do some research to see if LCD monitors were finally of decent enough image quality that I would actually be able to purchase one and enjoy it rather than sit staring at it day after day disgusted with its imperfections.
A quick tour through the local brick and mortar stores quickly revealed that anything with a TN panel was out. Poor viewing angles, shifting colors, and muddy color clarity were enough cause to discard any consideration of any unit with a TN panel right away. My NEC's Diamondtron tube had, over 7 years of ownership, set the bar very high. I did mention that it was a glorious monitor, didn't I?
I don't do PC gaming a lot, but when I do I want a nice experience with minimal or no ghosting so that eliminated every monitor that sports a *VA panel. Color quality is good on these type panels, but their response times aren't low enough for anyone who games or is sensitive to ghosting.
That left IPS panels. These are the most expensive type panels & they are in the most expensive LCD monitors. That's no surprise. My entire existence in the IBM PC-compatible universe I have been restricted to the upper price tier of monitors due to my being picky. (Who the heck pays $800 for a 17" monitor in 1998? I did.)
Only monitors equipped with IPS panels. This narrows the field sharply. Most people are perfectly happy with bargain-basement monitors that cost $160 and have the cheapest TN panels in them so monitor manufacturers don't put out too many high end models anymore.
Coming from a 4:3 monitor to the new 16:9 and 16:10 format monitors was also a factor. Display area calculators on the web revealed that anything less than a 24" monitor I was going to lose enough vertical height that it would be a downgrade.
The field narrows again.
Furthermore, a 24" 16:9 screen would even be too much of a down-grade for me I decide. Unfortunately, it seems monitor manufacturers have decided that 16:10 should be on the way out. Most monitors out and soon to be coming out are 16:9. Very few 16:10 monitors can be bought anymore.
The noose further tightens.
Wide gamut. I don't want it. I don't need it. Nearly nobody should want it or need it. Chances are if you think you want it or need it you really don't. If you are a pro photographer or video editor then you *may* need it. If neither of those are your profession then you most likely don't want it or need it even if you think you do. I can dig up the scientific reasoning on why if anyone is curious or demands to know.
Again things narrow considerably as for some reason monitor manufacturers seem to think if you want a large IPS panel you want wide gamut, too.
Holy crap. That doesn't leave many monitors at all to choose from. Once I factor in my price range of wanting to only spend $500 the choice was made for me.
And then there was only one.
There's only one monitor sold in the United States that has all my points of criteria and sells for less than $1,200.
Hello, HP zr24w. Hmm...not exactly where I was hoping this would go as I'm less than thrilled with HP as a company. Researching my choice, er...what I was left with as it wasn't really my choice as there's no other standard-gamut monitor of that size in that price range that is IPS available...I was left less than enthused.
Searching forums revealed people with all sorts of problems with this monitor. Backlight bleed, excessive heat, pink-green tinting (pinkish tint on the left side of the screen & greenish tint on the right), color banding, black crush, contrast problems, cloudy areas of the screen, bad pixels.....argh!
Why can't it be ever easy? Well, to be honest it never has been easy for me. You don't want to know how many monitors I've returned and exchanged over there years every time I bought a new one. At this point I'm wanting to just back away and pick something else. Except there is nothing else....the only thing that might do in a pinch is the Dell U2410 which while it's wide gamut has a factory calibrated sRGB mode. However, it's got its own laundry list of problems (including the pink-green tint problem) and anyone who complains on Dell's forum is basically told to suck it because they consider those defects to be within manufacturer specifications.
What the cuss?!?! If I decide to watch the new Star Trek movie on my new monitor and Zoe Saldana is sashaying across my screen I most assuredly do not want her to be pink or green, thank you very much.
What is there to do? Just like there was only one choice with the monitor there was only one choice with the way to proceed. Buy the HP zr24w from a company with a good return policy and keep exchanging it till I received a good one. No big deal...I've done that before. I can do it again.
Fortunately, things were about to go my way. HP has released this monitor through their Smart Buy program. In order to promote this monitor to businesses & get them to buy lots HP drops the price on the unit substantially. This means in this case this monitor is going around $400. Once the Smart Buy option goes away in a few months the price will be jumping to over $500.
Buy.com had one of the best prices & seemed to have a no questions asked return policy if I decided this monitor was for me. Free shipping as well. So far so good. Buy.com has a presence on eBay & sells this monitor through that outlet. Even better....8% discount with Bing CashBack...1% discount with FatWallet CashBack...2% discount for paying with my debit card...and awarded $8.12 eBay Cash after the sale. The price of $405.99 just became $353.21. With free shipping. Life may be good after all.
Figured all this up on a Friday night. Debated on it all weekend. Finally pulled the trigger at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning after going over everything ten times in my head to make sure my logic up to this point was sound. Went to check out....aw, man!!! Free shipping is stated as 7 to 9 business days!!! I want this monitor now. Need it now, actually, as my old one is deteriorating rapidly. What's the next step up in shipping? $30??? Heck with that...I'll just limp along. I can suffer through for the money savings. Click check out, double check all my rebates are in process, and go off to work.
Next day...Boom! Boom! Boom!! Monitor's here! Delivered at 11:48 a.m. by Mr. FedEx Guy. Delivery time span of 29 hours is near miraculous when you live in Indiana, let me tell you. How did it get here so fast I wondered as I checked the shipping label. It shipped from a warehouse in Indiana. Hmm....Buy.com probably should have charged me sales tax. How awesome...I haven't even opened the box yet & I've already saved more money!
Speaking of boxes, the one monitor came in...I was expecting one of those suitcase/briefcase style boxes you see the monitors packed in when you see them on the shelves of brick & mortar stores. This box looked like it housed a portable refrigerator.
I unpacked it and I was impressed. The build quality of the monitor surpassed what I had seen in the local stores & the way it was packed in the box was more than enough to make sure it would survive the trip.
Sitting it next to my CRT made my fear very evident. I was going to be giving up vertical height. Thank goodness I didn't go with a 16:9 monitor. It would have been unbearable.
Moved the old monitor off the desk & replaced it with this one...instantly a cramped desk became spacious. I opted to use the DisplayPort connector. Very odd...looks like a jumbo-sized USB cable, to be honest.
That was Tuesday. Now it's Sunday & I've spent a LOT of time with this monitor. I've gone over every facet of this unit with a preciseness that would make a forensic scientist look sloppy and I have to say I'm impressed as much as I hate paying HP a compliment. I was lucky enough to get a unit that doesn't have any of the flaws I have read about on the internet and believe me, if there was a flaw present I would have found it by Day Two. No dead pixels, no backlight bleed, no flaws.
The entire monitor has a classy look about it which is something I wasn't even looking for or expecting. The bezel around the panel is very thin between half an inch and three quarters of an inch. The HP logo badge is very small and understated centered on the top bezel. The model number is on the left of the lower bezel in light gray lettering. The OSD controls are on the right of the lower bezel with icons above each button in the same light gray color. The power LED is pin-hole sized, blue when the screen is active & orange when the screen is in power-saving. For those the power LED irritates, there's a setting in the OSD controls to turn it off if one wishes. The entire look of the monitor is very subtle with nothing jumping out trying to grab the attention of your eye like a lot of monitors do. This lets the monitor fade into the background and allow you to focus on the screen image. Perfect.
If this monitor can satisfy me (and it does) it can satisfy anyone.