The bottom end of the monitor market has long been using sub-par panels in order to keep costs down, so it came as almost no surprise when monitor manufacturers started looking at cheaper panels in bigger displays. You can, after all, buy a 24-inch widescreen monitor with a 1,920 x 1,200 native resolution for around £200 these days if you're not concerned about quality and just want lots of desktop real-estate.
There is the infamous saying that bigger is, ahem, always better... but in the LCD monitor market, that's not quite true. In our opinion, it's more about how you use the diagonal size you're working with and anyone that cares about image quality or colour accuracy would agree – there's no substitute for a good monitor.
It's arguably the most important part of your computer because it can make the single biggest visual impact on your overall computing experience. Whether you're editing photos, watching high-definition movies, playing games or even just reading your favourite tech site, a high quality monitor can make a massive difference.
I've been lucky enough to see some of the best monitors on the market in my years as a technology journalist and I've seen things move forwards. At the same time, I've also seen the industry take a number of steps backwards as well and one area where that's really apparent was with the introduction of TN+Film panels.
Now, tarring all TN panels with the same brush would be a little unfair these days, because there are some that aren't so bad if colour accuracy isn't an absolute concern and there are others that are really bad. You can achieve respectable image quality with some of the better TN-based displays, while the bad ones just leave you with a sludgy mess on screen while you attempt to remove all of that nasty colour compression.
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Over the past week or so, we've been playing with NEC's all-new MultiSync 24WMGX3 24-inch widescreen monitor. NEC says it's designed for high-end gamers, lifestyle consumers and multimedia enthusiasts looking for a combination of stylish looks, great image quality and a plethora of connectivity options. Read on to find out how it gets on...