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Monitor Roundup: 23-26 Inches

23'' to 26'' LCD Monitors

Our Tests

We asses monitors on a lot of different criteria: design, handling, measuring color accuracy, response times for games and movies ...

The ideal screen, of course, would excel in all of these areas. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case, and a compromise is often the result. If you're touching up photos, then you might want to put an emphasis on accurate colors, but if you're a gamer, then responsiveness is what you'll need.

This roundup includes products released within one year preceding the publication date of this article. The product selection consists solely of review units made available to Tom’s Guide by vendors. While the products listed here do not constitute a comprehensive listing of all products in the category, they do represent a broad range of what is available to consumers in this category. We will quickly update this roundup with new products as they become available to Tom’s Guide, and soon add data relating to product specifications and test dates. In other words, these roundups are a work in progress. Please check back frequently to see what’s new.

The computer monitor market has evolved once again.  22-inch monitors are becoming the standard entry-level option, so anybody looking for quality and innovation will have to look at monitors which measure 23 inches or more.  On these larger screens, we gain larger viewer angles, more diverse video inputs--HDMI is available on a growing number of screens but the component video found on consoles is increasingly rare--and better design and build quality.

Technology fans will be delighted to hear that manufacturers are now beginning to focus their attention on bigger screens, but it's something that has been coming for a while.  With the growing popularity of HD, more users are looking for versatile screens that are well suited to office use, photo editing as well as HD content (movies, TV, etc.)

Good healthy competition

Whether you opt for a 23", 24", 26" or 27" monitor, the resolution will be 1920 x 1200 pixels, although some 1920 x 1080 pixel screens have recently begun to appear.  This is a dream come true for film lovers!  No rescaling is necessary and films are shown with black bands above and below the image.  The only restriction is that you will have to step back a little.  Manufacturers still haven’t integrated the image correction circuitry which is already found in televisions, and the result is some slight flickering.

For less than $500, you might be surprised to find that there are not just 24" monitors, but also 26", with the latter sometimes at more competitive prices, despite often not being as responsive.  What should you use to choose?  Check that the contrast ratio is high, and that they include all of the video inputs that you need.  Not every screen comes with VGA, DVI and HDMI.

Above the $500 mark, you'll find screens that have IPS, VA, or PVA panels, instead of the TN panels often found in less expensive options.  The main advantage is that they have even viewing angles.  The image on cheaper LCD panels which rely on TN technology dips to black when you look at it from below.

One last point: ignore the advertized response times, and look at our tests instead.  We often find results that are very different from what's promised.