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All About LCD Monitors
LCD monitors are not that different from LCD TV's. So what's the difference then? Well there are different things to prioritize when building the two screens. For TV's an ultra-low response time is not as important as with monitors because gamers especially need every millisecond they can get. TV's on the other hand are usually viewed from much wider angles than LCD monitors. So let's take a look at what features a monitor has in general and what is most important.
This is a crucial feature for gamers as a longer time results in shadow-tracks that 'haunt' the screen when quick movement happens. Swinging the barrel of your gun 180 degrees in a half a second to face our foe in counter-strike means that may things happen very quickly on screen. If your response time is long you won't see every detail and have annoying black shadows too!
Then again, when purchasing a monitor strictly for office use you probably don't need a microscopic response time, unless you can type at about 20 words per second that is!
The viewing angle is not that important here as most LCD monitors are viewed straight on. However if you want many people looking at what you're doing, by all means opt for a wide viewing angle. This basically means that when you look at the screen head on everything seems OK. Now move left and keep moving your eye line and see how colors change, darken on one side. The less of that you get, the wider the viewing angle.
With many LCD monitors there are some, maybe 1-2 faulty pixels in a screen. Producers usually have a policy about after how many pixels can you exchange the screen. Dead pixels are pixels always off therefore are always black. Check them over a very bright (best if white) background. Stuck pixels on the other hand are always on (hence, stuck) so they are always white, or bright-colored. Check them against a black screen. If you count a fiendishly large amount of bad pixels be sure to exchange the product, I'm sure that many retailers will help you even if you only find a few.
Tilt and Movement
This may seem to be an awkward thing to be picky about but I know that many people use their monitor unconventionally. Depending on what I am doing I sometimes put it on a flat part of my desk, straight ahead of me and sometime I put it in the left corner of the desk on a pedestal. Because of the viewing angle it's a great help that I can twist and turn the monitor as I see fit. Some models enable you to totally lay the monitor down, or to rotate it 90 degrees which is very useful for viewing web pages for example.
Speakers and Other Extras
If you want some basic sound capabilities you could aim for a monitor with mounted speakers. This won't give you surround sound, crystal clear quality, but will give you reasonable output. If you have a surround system but don't feel like using it while you only use the computer for work it could be a good alternative. Some of the newer models of monitor have mounted webcams too. These are generally of good quality and fit in the frame of the monitor, so they don't take a up a whole lot of space. Many other extras can be found on LCD monitors like external control, remote control, input boxes, and who knows what they'll invent two days from now? Be on the lookout and check the market thoroughly before you purchase one!