We took a trip down to see monitor maker NEC yesterday, to find out what the company is doing about catering to the needs of geeks and gamers like us.
NEC itself is introducing two new panels today for gamers to get excited about. The GX2 Pro is an updated version of the display that we gave our Recommended Award to
earlier this year, sporting a better response time. This is going to come in at a price that will make it very attractive for those looking to game at 1680x1050. NEC is also intoducing the 2690WUXi, which is a 26" panel at 1920x1200. It has HDCP, new power saving modes and full ergonomic adjustment for maximum comfort. Because it has a larger size than a 24" with the same resolution, NEC says the display is a little easier to get along with.
There appear to be some changes under foot, however, in terms of the general market. Capacity for LCD production is increasing dramatically, and one rep even suggested jokingly that consumers "Shouldn't ever buy a new TV" - since LCD costs are falling by 40% a year, you can always have more if you wait.
In the desktop monitor market, there appear to be some slight shifts in terms of the sizes we're going to be seeing. Currently, the dominant formats include 17" 4:3, 20" wide and 24" wide. Going into next year, the vast majority of 4:3 sales will be 19" panels, with 17" being all but phased out. 22" will replace 20" as the 1680x1050 panel of choice for manufacturers, whilst 24" 1920x1200 will remain a high end choice.
If you're hoping to see a fantastically high resolution - say, 2560x1600 - in a panel less than 30" wide, you can forget about it. NEC says that none of the big Japanese manufacturers are going to produce those displays because of a perceived lack of demand. People wanting a smaller dot pitch on monitors are, we are told, "Very rare." There are some Quad-SLI users and old CRT gamers that would beg to differ!
Over the next 12 months, improvements to monitors will include better contrast ratios of up to 2000:1, as well as LED backlighting, which will provide more brightness, better power characteristics and an even wider colour range.
We're going to be putting the GX2 PRo and the 2690WUXi through their paces in these pages very shortly. Stay tuned! In the mean time, let us know your thoughts over in the forums.
You can check out NEC here!