Buying Guide: Best Screens For Your New PC (Part 2) - BenQ EW2730, Philips Brilliance 273P3QPYES, AOC i2353Fh

12/13/2012 9:16:53 AM

The BenQ EW2730 is as much LCD TV as computer monitor, making it a great choice for anyone hoping to turn their PC into an entertainment center. However, it’s also as good for standard desktop use as it is for multimedia. Two HDMI inputs, a remote control and extras like picture-in-picture and noise reduction make it clear that this is a monitor with entertainment at its heart.

27” BenQ EW2730

27” BenQ EW2730

It isn’t perfect - the multitude of inputs nonetheless lacks a DisplayPort interface, and the stand’s adjustment capabilities aren’t quite as extensive as most monitors, but the colors are great, the blacks are dark and strong, and the price is pleasingly low for a 27” screen of this quality – substantially cheaper than IPS panels of the same size.

You might reasonably ask whether 1920x1080 resolution is too small for a 27” screen, but the way we see it, you’ve traded resolution for other features, and if multimedia is your plan for this screen, then higher resolutions aren’t much use anyway. Besides which, it’s that combination of large screen and low resolution that makes it possible to make a 27” screen a budget choice. Don’t argue with that!

Performance Choice: 27” Philips Brilliance 273P3QPYES

Active 3D requires you to wear powered glasses which are bulky and relatively expensive

With IPS panels plummeting in price, it can be tempting to ignore high-end AMVA monitors, but the Philips Brilliance 273P3QPYES packs a substantial enough punch to stop you in your tracks. Rich colors, huge vertical viewing angles and superb black level are just some of the benefits on offer.

27” Philips Brilliance 273P3QPYES

27” Philips Brilliance 273P3QPYES

Although there are DVI, DisplayPort and VGA inputs, the lack of HDMI might prove a turn-off, but the quality of the screen is enough to make you forget any inconvenience. The screen is clear and bright, the stand is fully adjustable, and three levels of customizable pixel overdrive gives you the ability to control what you see on a deeper level than on bog-standard monitors.

Again, though, the resolution is only 1920x1080, and for a 27” 455monitor this expensive, you could be forgiven for wanting 2560x1440. It’s also quite bad in terms of design aesthetics, with cheap and dated-looking grey plastic surrounding the screen. Still, if you’re after a monitor for high-definition video, this is one of the best, but office workers and gamers may want to look elsewhere.

IPS Panel Monitors

IPS panels were, for a long time, found only in the most expensive monitors, but recently, that’s changed. It’s now possible to find IPS panels in monitors that are reasonably affordable, even if you may have to lose out on other features (like speakers and USB hubs) to get one.

IPS panels produce arguably the highest-quality image, with huge viewing angles (as close to 180º as makes no difference) and very accurate color reproduction. The downside is that they’re substantially less vibrant than VA panels, and response times are much higher, meaning you can get noticeable blurs appearing when a lot of fast-moving images are on the screen, particularly on dark backgrounds.

IPS panels are particularly popular in high-end monitors due to their visibly better image, but you will normally find a price to match this perception. Although there’s no reason you couldn’t use IPS monitors for gaming and video, they’re not the most appropriate choice, and are instead considered ideal for those doing design or office work. If you spend a lot of time staring at Windows, you’ll appreciate the pinpoint line accuracy.

Good for: Designers, office work and quality enthusiasts.

Bad for: Cheaper models are poor for gaming, but expensive ones are great all-round.

Budget Choice: 23” AOC i2353Fh

As far as IPS panels go, the AOC i2353Fh is impressive for the 23” range. Thin and attractively styled, the viewing angles are wide, the brightness is high and contrast is acceptably good (if not astounding). Color reproduction isn’t quite as accurate as the best IPS monitors, but it’s still in a different league to TN panels.

The ultra-thin screen design means there are a few oddities. Controls and inputs are on the base, and because of this there isn’t space for a DVI, although you do get a VGA input and two HDMI ports. The integrated speakers are as good as you’d expect, and the inclusion of a Vesa 100 mount may be enough to convince some.

23” AOC i2353Fh

23” AOC i2353Fh

Again, it isn’t particularly astonishing until you look at the price. It outperforms almost any other IPS monitor at this price, and looks like it costs twice what it does. Undoubtedly an excellent choice for IPS buyers on a budget.


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