by Liz Levy
In 1999, flat panel monitors gained enormous popularity. New models with larger display sizes and lower prices made it possible for many newcomers to adorn their desktops with these sexy, slim displays. With the year 2000 comes another wave of advancements (and price drops) that include new space-saving and ergonomic technologies, multimedia features such as picture-in-picture views, and digital video interfaces.
Flat-panel monitors have a multitude of benefits. Namely they are the ideal way to free up desktop real estate for other “stuff.” Their smooth, level screens also reduce glare and geometric distortion while providing flicker-free performance. This translates into reduced eyestrain for employees. The monitors give off lower emissions than standard CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) displays, which means they’re more environmentally friendly than standard models and can be used for specialized applications, such as in medical facilities and hospitals.
Flat panels are also finding themselves in many executive boardrooms and offices where aesthetics matter most. They help to create a modern, hi-tech image that many businesses want to present.
We expect to see many flat-panel LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays) as well as traditional CRT monitors incorporating new digital video interfaces as the year goes on. They produce clearer, sharper images and don’t require users to manually adjust a variety of tedious settings.
Some digital flat panels have video inputs for direct connections to DVD players, VCRs, and camcorders. This makes them well suited for multimedia applications, such as displaying video presentations.
Look for these sleek new 15-inch flat-panel monitors soon on a desktop near you.
NEC MultiSync LCD 1525X
NEC is helping to usher businesses into the digital age with the introduction of their 15-inch MultiSync LCD 1525X monitor that features both digital and analog connections. The dual-connection technology (which NEC calls Ambix) enables users to take advantage of the new DVI interface, which produces a superior image. For those with PCs that don’t yet support digital interfaces, this 2.2-inch deep monitor also accepts analog input through a second port. The unit has a native resolution of 1024 x 768 dpi, features portrait and landscape pivoting, and sports a four-port USB hub.
NEC Technologies; 877-NEC-EDIT; www/nec.com; $1,299
Samsung SyncMaster 570pPlusTFT and 570sTFT
The SyncMaster line from Samsung offers two new 15-inch flat panel monitors to suit those with different needs. The SyncMaster 570pPlusTFT ($1,254) offers advanced features that include image downscaling capabilities for viewing at a resolution of 1280 x 1024 dpi, picture-in-picture viewing, and built-in video input for direct hookup to a DVD player, VCR, or camcorder. The monitor has a wide 160-degree viewing angle and is housed in an elegant metallic silver cabinet that is only 6.6 inches deep at the base.
The more affordable SyncMaster 570sTFT ($1,039) is for those who can do without the bells and whistles of the Plus model. The monitor features a maximum resolution of 1024 x 768 dpi at a 75Hz refresh rate.
Both monitors come with a swivel base, can switch instantly between portrait and landscape viewing, and offer a USB hub as an option. Samsung backs the monitors for three years, including parts, labor, and backlight as well as toll-free24/7 technical support.
Samsung Electronics; 800-SAMSUNG; www.samsungmonitor.com; $1,254 and $1,039
Sony’s latest 15-inch LCD monitor the SDM-N50, is a fox with its ultra slim LCD panel which measures only a half-inch thick and a stylish lamp-arm-like base. The minimal design is achieved by placing all of the monitor’s video, audio, and power circuitry in a small separate box, which Sony calls the Gigabyte Video Interface (GVIF). It can be kept on a shelf or under a desk to reduce desktop clutter. The monitor offers solid performance with a maximum resolution of 1024 x 768 dpi at 75Hz refresh rate, and features stereo speakers all at just under six pounds.
Sony Electronics; 888-4SONYPC; www.sony.com/displays; $1,500
ViewSonic VP151 ViewPanel
ViewSonic’s new VP151 ViewPanel 15-inch flat panel monitor is another unit that incorporates both digital and analog inputs. The VP151, like the NEC, supports the DVI interface. The monitor also features picture-in-picture display.
The VP151 supports a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024 and features five downstream USB accessory ports, two integrated stereo speakers, and landscape/portrait pivot functions. The VP151 also includes a DVI adapter and is backed by a three-year limited warranty on parts, labor, and backlight.
ViewSonic; 800-888-8583; www.viewsonic.com. $1,550