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Chrispy_
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Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:50 am

TR & Anand are my go-to places for hardware reviews, but neither of them cover many monitors - both just picking up a select model that has gained some attention now and again.
If I go to any big supplier there are loads of monitors available - ebuyer.com (UK) has 646 models stocked, newegg.com (US) has 709 models stocked. There are nowhere near enough monitor reviews out there to cover even a useful fraction of those ranges.

The sites I used to visit for info on panel type, input lag, build quality etc (the sort of stuff the manufacturer tends to avoid listing honestly, or at all!) seem to all be dieing off:

I can still find current reviews of HDTV's but they don't cover desktop monitors, where you really need more info than the manufacturer's spec sheet gives you:

Do you gerbils have any good places for monitor reviews or are you also finding it harder to get good info on screens these days?
Last edited by Chrispy_ on Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:54 am

I cannot imagine this being very easy to do since there is a constant stream of new monitors all the time, and within some models, the panels change without notice. All we can really hope for is user reviews on some sites for the best, otherwise we have to use sneaker reviews.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:59 am

There also hasn't been a whole ton of progress on the monitor front. I think nearly every 27" monitor uses that same LG IPS panel that's been reviewed time and time again.

Honestly though it's not that hard to find the good monitors. The 8-bit Dell Ultrasharps, the IPS HP models, and Apple's Cinema Displays are all quality. At least for me, these days, those are probably the only three brands I'd buy from.

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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:13 am

Now you know why we don't review monitors! Death sentence.

;)

No, really, we are constantly strained for resources just covering our usual suite of things.

Monitors also have a problem that they share with laptops and a number of other consumer goods, which is that there are waaaay too many models offered, constantly being refreshed or customized for various sales channels and geographical regions. Being anything like a comprehensive or even sufficient resource for them would require a pretty huge effort.

That said, FWIW, I'd love to cover displays a little bit in the future, especially the most noteworthy ones. Good to hear there is some demand for reviews.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:53 am

Take the plunge and review one of the 27" Korean cheapies. :D
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:01 am

Yeah, have seriously considered it, but no one has time right now.... yet. We'll see. Those sure look attractive.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:10 am

drfish wrote:
Take the plunge and review one of the 27" Korean cheapies. :D


+1. Would like to read a TR review on one of these. I just hope my Soyo Topaz S holds out for a few more years.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:20 am

Damage wrote:
Monitors also have a problem that they share with laptops and a number of other consumer goods, which is that there are waaaay too many models offered, constantly being refreshed or customized for various sales channels and geographical regions. Being anything like a comprehensive or even sufficient resource for them would require a pretty huge effort.

Not to mention they have a longer road to obsolescence. Unlike video cards and CPU's a screen isn't quickly outdated. (Hugs my 2405FPW)
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:44 am

Damn, no decent sites for budget screens then :(
The point about there being too many models to cover was what I feared (and then there's the dreaded panel-lottery anyway).

Since there are few really good monitors, anything north of $500 has probably been covered multiple times and you can buy it knowing exactly what you're getting.
Unfortunately, when you're hunting for a screen for someone on a PC+Screen budget of less than $1000, you're basically gambling.

It usually comes down to what you want to gamble on though:
  • e-IPS - where you can get processing lag, slow response ghosting, poor black levels.
  • TN - where you gamble on viewing angles. Will they be fine or will they be so bad that the dark detail is already inverting at the top of the screen whilst the bottom of the screen is washed out?
Uniformity and build quality are always an issue at the low-budget end of the spectrum, too.

Anyway, +1 for TR doing more screen reviews.
Those Korean barebones screens with the LG 27" IPS panels look really interesting but I've been holding back because I may be losing too much compared to my beautiful old 24" Sammy 245T with the 16:10 and the MVA panel.
Last edited by Chrispy_ on Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:49 am

Someone should do a little write up of one of the cheap Korean models and send it into Cyril and Scott for editing.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:27 pm

DancinJack wrote:
Someone should do a little write up of one of the cheap Korean models and send it into Cyril and Scott for editing.

Editing still takes a lot of time...doesn't really sidestep the sourcing issues :wink:

But if TR users were willing to write reviews and post them on the proper forums (or request a special forum), I would love to read said reviews. I tend to trust TR users to give more qualatative analysis than the bluk of reviews on Newegg/Amazon/general internet.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:33 pm

I posted my impressions but I couldn't call it a review no matter how well edited it was. I simply lack the hardware to do the objective testing required. I just think it look purty. :wink:
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:49 pm

I'd honestly prefer more monitor reviews than hard drive or motherboard reviews. No offence Geoff, but I tend to find them a bit dull unless it's a really great or really bad model. They're just not that interesting components to read about.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:52 am

Another vote for more monitor reviews. Monitors are a big-ticket item which almost demand a hands-on review in order to know exactly what you're getting; especially in regards to input lag. Reviews are getting VERY hard to find. You can find 43 reviews of the latest GPU on the day of release, followed by a rundown of damn near every 3rd party variant a couple weeks later, but there's nary a monitor review to be found. Anandtech will occasionally dribble out a few of them, or do a very limited roundup of high-end models, but that's about it.

I would honestly be happy even if we kept it to $225+ models and 1-page max per model. Maybe just some standardized measurements (input lag, color/brightness uniformity, power usage, color gamut, etc) and a brief overview.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:12 am

Nutmeg wrote:
I'd honestly prefer more monitor reviews than hard drive or motherboard reviews. No offence Geoff, but I tend to find them a bit dull unless it's a really great or really bad model. They're just not that interesting components to read about.


Heh, yeah. I tend to ignore motherboard reviews unless I'm really bored - the exception was when the first graphical UEFI BIOSes appeared.

Since PCI and memory controllers have been on-die for ages now, performance differences between brands have been negligible. The rest of the info you can get from the manufacturers webpage, or in most cases even from specifications overview published by the online vendor you're buying one from.

About the only things of interest in a motherboard review these days is "how ridiculous are the heatsinks on this one then? ;)
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:57 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
Heh, yeah. I tend to ignore motherboard reviews unless I'm really bored - the exception was when the first graphical UEFI BIOSes appeared.

Since PCI and memory controllers have been on-die for ages now, performance differences between brands have been negligible. The rest of the info you can get from the manufacturers webpage, or in most cases even from specifications overview published by the online vendor you're buying one from.

About the only things of interest in a motherboard review these days is "how ridiculous are the heatsinks on this one then? ;)

Whereas I read each & every mobo review in the hopes that some manufacturer has finally seen the light and implemented the type of BIOS-level fan speed controls that keep me from upgrading from my relatively ancient Abit IP35 Pro.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:16 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
If I go to any big supplier there are loads of monitors available - ebuyer.com (UK) has 646 models stocked, newegg.com (US) has 709 models stocked.


Wow. That's a pretty amazing stat.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:47 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
It usually comes down to what you want to gamble on though:[list][*]e-IPS - where you can get processing lag, slow response ghosting, poor black levels.


Not necessarily - check out the TFTCentral review of the Dell Ultrasharp U2412M. It's praised for its responsiveness and black levels. Sometimes things get better. (and sometimes, not so much :-? )

Add me to the list of folks who would enjoy more TR monitor reviews.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:27 pm

Yeats wrote:
Not necessarily - check out the TFTCentral review of the Dell Ultrasharp U2412M. It's praised for its responsiveness and black levels.


This is exactly why I created this thread. Some IPS monitors are responsive with deep blacks, yet many others are not; Without reviews we'd never know!
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:56 pm

Prad.de still reviews monitors, usually 4-5 a month. Reviews from the most recent month are behind a pay wall though, and very few are translated into English.
http://www.prad.de/new/monitore/testberichte.html
Around 70 or so reviews since the date you mentioned. Still, if you and can tolerate a machine translation which does a passable job to at least get a good idea of the quality (and numbers are firm regardless of language) then there are a ton of great reviews there.

Aside from that all I can suggest is TFT Central which you mentioned, and PCMonitors.org [url]pcmonitors.org[/url] (no www. in front or the site will fail to resolve), but they don't do many reviews. Those they do are quite good however.
http://www.behardware.com does excellent monitor reviews, but their even less frequent.

http://www.Hardocp.com/http://www.overclock.net, usually have lots of people discussing monitors in their forums. I'm not a fan of either site, but their among the more active forums for monitor discussion and I trolled both pretty heavily when I was buying earlier this year.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:44 pm

The other thing about monitors is that they are somewhat subjective. Though you can quote specs and numbers, monitors are one thing many people want to see first before buying. Model may get a great review score, but if you compare it to another one and like the overall image quality better (say while looking in a store) you'd probably get one that looks better to you.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:12 pm

They're only subjective if you haven't got enough reliable measurements. Since the manufacturers mislead on much of the data, it takes good equipment to provide an objective measurement.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:25 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
They're only subjective if you haven't got enough reliable measurements. Since the manufacturers mislead on much of the data, it takes good equipment to provide an objective measurement.


I'm not an graphics or monitor expert or engineer, but intuitively it does seem there is some subjectivity with monitors.
Let's say you had quality equipment and measured three current high end monitors of a given size from different manufactures (say, HP ZR line, Dell Ultrasharp line, and Nec Professional line).
After getting a set of measurements for each model of say pixel pitch, brightness rating/luminance, contrast ratio, viewing angle, response time, color gamut, display colors, refresh rates, color accuracy, etc... it's likely that one monitor would come out "on top" depending on what evaluation criteria one was using ie; a monitor review roundup, though it's also unlikely one model would dominate in every numeric category.

As a reader of a review and user looking to purchase one of those models, a person may read through the review and purchase the "top" rated model, assuming it had the features/input ports (s)he was looking for. Though there is a chance if that same user were to read the review, go to a store which happened to have 2 of 3 of the models reviewed, and looked at the models side-by-side (and we all know how retail stores calibrate monitors on the showroom floor), (s)he may favor/purchase the "2nd" or "3rd" place model because they thought the image quality simply looked better.

When I was looking at HDTV's a few years ago, I read a lot of online reviews, and for me it essentially came down to a Samsung or Sony in the price/feature range I was looking in. Though I ended up purchasing the thing online due to price, I did go to a few local stores and actually looked at both models side by side, and to my eyes, the Samsung looked better. Some online reviewers favored the Sony, some the Samsung, but in the end I picked the one that looked better to me.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:17 pm

Egglick wrote:
I would honestly be happy even if we kept it to $225+ models and 1-page max per model. Maybe just some standardized measurements (input lag, color/brightness uniformity, power usage, color gamut, etc) and a brief overview.
I agree. I thought Cyril's review of the ZR24w was a nice fit for TR. It wasn't a comprehensive comparison between the competing models (which would be really expensive and time-consuming). But the description of his personal experiences was informative and assuring to potential buyers that it was a good purchase if their needs resembled his. That type of article has value.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:44 am

I've been coming to TR for quite some time now, and that is one of those things that I felt TR was always missing too, monitor reviews. I'd have to agree that the number of them, the slight tweaks, and the almost downright criminal way some of the manufactures report their monitors specs (thanks to a lack of standards) would probably make it difficult to review a constant stream of them. I'd think that if nothing else, having a few of the big name monitors and their newly touted displays being reviewed by TR with all of its attention to detail would be a blessing.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:04 pm

Great thread - another vote for more reviews of great monitors. The system guides accessories are helpful but limited (thanks for them too).

Re: subjectivity - comparing newegg reviews to comments here shows differences in taste, performance, and quality control. These are good reality checks for actual purchasers.
 
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:18 pm

Another vote for monitor reviews. Even if you simply did a basic review that had more detail than the retail box it would give us something to chew on when considering an upgrade.

Maybe even as simple as breaking down what type of monitor you would suggest for each of your system guide systems and linking to one (which i think u already do?). Given it would be a slow turnover because you would be doing it as extra the article could just be updated when new exciting tech comes into the consumer space at already defined price points. Like OLED. I dunno just kicking ideas around.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:28 pm

Thatguy wrote:
Another vote for monitor reviews. Even if you simply did a basic review that had more detail than the retail box it would give us something to chew on when considering an upgrade.

Yeeeow, no. Rushed, shallow reviews are worse than no reviews at all because they're a waste of time.

I would like to see a writeup on the monitors that go into the system guides, assuming they don't get refreshed on some sort of hyper-fast schedule.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:32 pm

All the peripheral sections of the system guides feel pretty stale. I guess that's because I've read them 15 times now.
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Re: Monitor review sites are all dying off!

Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:37 pm

grantmeaname wrote:
All the peripheral sections of the system guides feel pretty stale. I guess that's because I've read them 15 times now.

Now would be a good time to do that considering that the operating system page is going to need an update soon.

/HINT :lol:
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