Question: Name something you likely spend more time looking at than your colleagues, clients, and even your own family.
The answer is your computer monitor, of course. It’s your window to cyberspace, every single business contact and calendar appointment, and other software that keeps your company alive and kicking.
So, shouldn’t you be spending more money on what you’re staring at for a good eight hours a day (or more)?
“Many people sleep on the same low-cost mattress for decades, without realizing that few other items are used as regularly or have such a direct effect on their general well-being — you can make the same argument for a computer monitor that an employee looks at for five days a week,” says Young Bae, senior LCD display product manager at ViewSonic.
Bae, with 16 years of experience in the display industry, says LCD panel technology has improved so much in recent years, in terms of both performance and cost, that many business users don’t realize how greatly an upgrade would enhance their productivity and space utilization. “It seems contradictory to see cutting-edge business and IT professionals still using a 10-year-old CRT monitor,” Bae says.
If you’re ready to make the upgrade, consider the following a look at a half-dozen hot displays for your business:
ViewSonic’s latest monitor — the VX2235wm ($450; www.viewsonic.com) — is a stunning 22-inch widescreen LCD that features a fast five-millisecond response rate, which is perfect for CAD users or movie animators. By day, the 1440 x 900 widescreen view is ideal for simultaneously managing multiple documents on the screen.
“Widescreen displays boost employee productivity with a relatively inexpensive investment on behalf of the company,” says Bae. “Users are able to view documents like sales reports, spreadsheets or Web browser windows side-by-side, allowing for faster analysis and research.”
FAST AND CHEAP
Samsung’s affordable19-inch SyncMaster 931BF ($299; www.samsung.com) for Windows or Mac is a deceptively cool analog/digital LCD monitor, thanks to its lightning-fast two-millisecond response time, an impressive 2000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and Samsung’s proprietary technologies — MagicTune, MagicSpeed, MagicBrightIII and MagicColor — to ensure high-quality images.
THE BIG APPLE
Apple’s award-winning Cinema Displays (www.apple.com/displays) include the 20-inch ($799), 23-inch ($1,299) and 30-inch Cinema HD Display ($2,499), all three are designed to be connected to DVI-equipped Power Mac G5 desktops, MacBook Pros, PowerBook G4 notebooks and Windows-based PCs. All three offer a stunning 16:10 aspect ratio, while the 30-inch has an industry-leading 2560-by-1600 pixel resolution.
GO BIG OR GO HOME
Remember when 15-inch LCD monitors were a big deal? Take a gander at Dell’s 30-inch UltraSharp widescreen display ($2199; (www.dell.com/); model 3007FPW), the company’s largest available flat-panel LCD designed for business professionals. Native resolution tops out at 2560 x 1600, while contrast ratio is an impressive 700:1. And the monitor supports multiple video and peripheral inputs.
Entertainment meets productivity with Sony’s sleek MFM-HT205 ($899; (www.sonystyle.com), a 20-inch high-definition display that can be used as a computer monitor (with digital or analog connections), television, or with any other video source, including a DVD player, video game system and so on. Features include picture-in-picture options (football game in the corner of a spreadsheet?), Xbrite LCD technology for bright a colorful images and SRS WOW 3D audio.
PRICEY BUT NICE
The Philips Brilliance 230WP7 ($1,499; www.philips.com) is ideal for small-to-mid-sized business: it’s ergonomically adjustable, includes a built-in USB hub and lets administrators track, adjust and support Philips displays over a network, if desired. The price, however, is quite steep for a 23-inch widescreen monitor. But it’s stunning nonetheless, with images that spring to life with clarity and color, an impressive 700:1 contrast ratio and a reasonable eight-millisecond response time.