Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Best External Monitor (and Stand) for the Money

The AURIA EQ276W 27" IPS LED Monitor 


This is an outstanding IPS monitor for a fraction of what you would pay for other "name brand"

$399 + $18 S/h or free instore pickup at Microcenter

The MicroCenter is the only place you can find one

The good

  • Great price
  • Great resolution
  • DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI  (and VGA) connectivitiy
  • 1 year warranty, and the ease of Microcenter's return policy

The bad

  • Short stand
  • Some Power Bricks runs hot
  • Some monitors come with dead pixels, but you can return it if you're an unlucky guy

Specifications << CLICK FOR DETAILS

Recommended Stand (Add-on)

To compensate for the monitor stand, consider purchasing this 3-Way Adjustable Desk Mount Bracket:


Details about IPS Technology 

I just found another blog written by a guy that knows about IPS monitors.  Here's some information you can find there:

Monitor Term and Specification Review


Color GamutColor gamut - This is the range of colors that a display can produce.

Contrast Ratio - This is a measurement of the darkest black and the whitest white.

Glossy vs. Matte Screens - Glossy screens are attractive but sometimes have annoying glare. If you end up picking a glossy monitor, then its a good idea to make sure it has an anti-glare coating.

Flexible Screen Positioning - Some higher-end monitors give you the ability to look at the monitor horizontally or vertically. This is especially important for photographers who may want to use vertical viewing for their vertical photographs.

LCD - LCD stands for "liquid crystal display". LCDs do not produce light and need backlighting to function. If a monitor is labeled only as LCD (not LED) then typically it uses fluorescent lighting to light the display.

LED Backlighting - LED monitors are LCD monitors. The difference is in the backlighting. LED or "light emitting diode" backlighting is much more energy efficient and doesn't use environmentally harmful mercury.

Pixel - The smallest unit in a picture that can be controlled. It's a single square or dot in a much larger image.

Refresh Rate - The number of times, per second, that a display draws the data to be displayed in the picture. Slower refresh rates can lead to eye strain; however, this is much less of a problem then it was in the past. Generally anything 60Hz plus is sufficient. 3D monitors generally have faster refresh rates (120Hz) for dual viewing technologies.

Response Time - Typically, gaming or entertainment enthusiasts will look for a monitor that has a quick response time. The response time is the time that it takes a pixel to go from black to white and back again. On any computer monitor this is measured in ms or milliseconds. The faster the response time the less blurring and ghosting users will experience during action packet sequences. A good gaming, entertainment, or video editing monitor should have a response time under 3ms. As we mentioned above an IPS panel monitor is less likely to have a fast response time.

TFT LCD - "Thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) is a variant of liquid crystal display (LCD) which uses thin-film transistor (TFT) technology to improve image quality (e.g., addressability, contrast)." (Source Wikipedia).

True Color - True color representation can show 256 shades of red, green, and blue which makes up a total of 16,777,216 color variations. Higher-end products do exist which have specifications beyond true color, in 30-bit color, for example.

Viewing Angle - In monitor specifications this is generally referred to as the degree, horizontal or vertical, at which an acceptable picture can still be seen.

IPS Vs. TN Panels

LCD Panel Types

Color GamutIf you already know what you need to about computer monitor terms and specifications, then jump to our list of the best photo editing monitors section below.

There are six types of panels: TN (twisted nematic), IPS (in-plane switching), MVA (multi-domain vertical alignment), PVA (pattern vertical alignment panels), AFFS (advanced fringe field switching), and ASV (advanced super view). For the purposes of this article we'll compare the differences between IPS and TN panels. If you'd like to read more about each panel type, then I recommend you take a look at this wikipedia article.

Do you know what type of panel you are using currently? TFT Central is a monitor database that has most existing monitors and their basic specifications. You can see what type of panel you currently have by using their panel search.

TN - Most monitor panels are twisted nematic. Twisted nematic displays are the most popular for the average consumer because of their affordability, low power usage, and faster response time. This makes them ideal for gaming, video, and general office use. TN monitors are not used for accurate color reproduction because they only use six bits per RGB color or 18 bits in total. This makes them unable to display the 16.7 million colors available in 24-bit truecolor. In order to simulate certain colors twisted nematic displays use dithering to make various shades. With dithering you may notice TN monitors advertising the full 16.7 million colors; however, it's important to understand that this is accomplished through only reproduction and the difference is noticeable when comparing a TN monitor to a IPS or other display panel monitor. Improvements to TN panels have certainly happened over the years, but many LCD TN panels only reproduce up to 26% of the NTSC color gamut.

IPS - IPS Panels have the wide viewing angles and accurate color reproduction(display 24-bit color depth) desired by most artists and photographers. In the past slow response times limited IPS monitors ability to watch and edit video. Much of the problems with response times have been solved; however, IPS panels are still not ideal for watching movies or gaming.

Go to the following URL to find a list of Top Rated IPS Panel Computer Monitors Under $1,000

Comparing TN and IPS Light Flow Through LCD Monitors

In a TN TFT display when one end of the liquid crystal is anchored to the lower glass substrate and a voltage is applied, the crystal compounds untwist, changing the angle of polarisation of the transmitted light. A downside of basic TN technology is that the alignment of molecules of liquid crystal alters the further away they are from the anchored electrode, turning at right angles to the substrates. This impairs the flow of light causing diminishing contrast, brightness and colour definition at wider angles to the screen.
IPS improves viewing angles of TFT monitors considerably, but means that two transistors are needed for every pixel, instead of the one needed for a TN TFT display. Using two transistors means that more of the transparent area of the display is blocked from light transmission, so brighter backlights must be used. The increased power consumption can make the displays unsuitable for notebook use, but in higher end, particularly multimediafocussed notebooks with widescreen movie viewing as a principle purpose IPS screens are employed. Wide angle viewing is certainly enjoyed, but the price is that battery life may be poor.
However, digital video and mobile TV has grown in popularity, and is of course commonly viewed on very small screen displays such as handheld cameras, mobile phones, handheld computers and PDAs. Since the size of these screens is so small, perhaps only 2 to 4 inches in width, front viewing isn’t possible for more than one person, so they need a wide angle of display. Although not the only solution employed, IPS has been adopted in many such devices, particulary by Hitachi who have consistently been one of the technology’s major adopters and innovators.


Well done is better than well said. ~ Benjamin Franklin

I purchased two AURIA EQ276W 27" IPS LED monitors.  They have both been great.   I've been using one of them for over six months;  No complaints.  But don't lose your power brick because it is a Korean-made model that I was unable to find online.  I challenge anyone to find one and successfully test it out.  I found one with the correct specifications but it ended up melting the plastic and almost caught on fire.

I don't believe that you can find a better IPS monitor for the money.  If anybody thinks otherwise, or if a model comes out in the future that beats this value, I'd like to know about it.




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  1. This is really useful stuff . I want to buy a Gaming monitor and this blog helpful regarding this. I wanted to thank you for this great article.I will be waiting for the new updates.

  2. Thanks for this wonderful article about the external monitor. I just read your review and found it very informative for those who are looking to buy a new monitor stand. Well, one thing that I want to say is that there are many budget friendly and quality options that are far better than this one. If you are looking to buy the best dual monitor stand for your monitors then you should take a look at this list of dual monitor stands. Trust me you will find the best one for your needs.