Pros: - Image quality - Fast screen response - Build quality - Price
Cons: - Subpar off-axis viewing - Control button labeling
When I came to replace my high-quality 19" CRT, I was torn between getting another CRT, or moving to an LCD screen. I was used to running my CRT at 1280x1024 resolution, but wanted the potential for more, as I do some video editing and some Flash and web development. I also play games, so having a screen with a fast response time was important (and we all know most LCDs are too slow to play games well). So I really began to compare 21" CRTs to 19" LCDs.
What I then realized was that my 19" CRT actually equated to a 17" LCD in visible screen size! And that has advantages, in that the native resolution of a 17" LCD tends to be the same 1280x1024 as the 19" LCDs, but in a smaller area, meaning the image is less pixellated or blocky. Also, 17" LCDs are now relatively cheap, meaning that I could buy one right now, and then plan on buying a second one later to double my workspace. And last, but certainly not least, manufacturers are making 15 and 17" LCDs with a MUCH improved screen response time (16ms), which actually makes game playing a pleasure on these new models.
Having said that, someone recommended the NEC 1760NX to me, and I was very impressed. It has both analog and DVI inputs, has a very clean design, and a thin surrounding frame (which will be handy when I buy another one for dual display). It is also one of the LCDs with the fastest screen response time available. Best yet, I was able to hunt around on the web for coupons, and bought it for less than $400 from a major supplier. That makes two of them less than $800, which is about the price of a single high-quality 21" CRT. But they use much less power, take less space, and actually give more screen flexibility.
Here are some 1760NX specific things that I have found in my three months of ownership:
- The 1760NX is particularly immune from glare. Many of the newer LCD have incorporated a clear shiny screen protector (including NEC's own 1765, the successor to the 1760). While that gives risk to screen damage, the matte screen allows me to work with no glare despite having three windows behind my home office - which was hell with my CRT. Now I can leave the blinds open and lights on and STILL have a glare free screen.
- The controls on the 1760 are excellent, except for the labeling. The menu has a high-end range of functions and adjustments, but the actual buttons on the monitor are basically impossible to read. You just have to press them and hope until you get used to them. The good news is that the screen LOOKS buttonless and very clean...
- The 1760NX shares both base model number and screen with a number of other NEC LCDs (1760M, 1760V, etc.). Some have only analog input, some have "multimedia" speakers built in. Trust me, you definately want the DVI input, even if you don't use it immediately. And the "multimedia" speakers on the other models are jokes - unless this is for a kiosk application, you are better off with separate speakers. In my mind, the NX is the version to get.
- One limitation of the 16ms screen response is a more limited viewing angle than current slower screens. If I look at the screen off-axis I can notice a color shift and loss of brightness. However, near-axis, the screen is so bright and colorful I actually have had to turn down the default brightness setting in the menu. And the trade-off, a very fast screen, is worth it to me. I wouldn't necessarily want to do a group presentation with it in an office however - get a 19" slow response screen for that.
- My 1760NX arrived with ZERO dead or stuck pixels. Others have reported much the same. NEC quality control is excellent, which is important as many vendors will not let you return it without a certain number of defective pixels.
The 1760NX offers all the most up-to-date features and a very fast screen response time, in a minimalist yet stylish package that lends itself well to dual displays. It's near-on-axis image is superb, but is best suited for a single user as off-axis viewing is subpar. With research to get a good price, it represents a very attractive alternative to 19" LCDs and CRTs, and a dual 1760NX display can be had for about price of a single high-quality 21" CRT.