Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Bark: TFT Heaven

With it being Annual Bonus season, I've had my Annual Hardware Splurge for this year. I have to blame my artist friend Mark, with whom I was lamenting the cost of my 36,000 mile service (in the region of £650, thanks to needing to replace my rear brake disks and pads) with on MSN yesterday morning, and telling him that I'd never be able to afford a decent TFT monitor anytime soon. I head over to eBuyer to grab the link for the Benq 12ms 17" TFT I'd been hankering after for about 6 months - to show it to him - and then I spotted the 19" LG.

With my credit card taking such of a hammering anyway, I thought, "In for a penny, in for a pound!" and snapped it up (after all, there were only 450 of them left... *coughs* )- £242.05 with Next Day delivery, which is frankly a fecking STEAL. I tested it with Far Cry and Half-Life 2 at lunch, and if anything, the image quality is better than my old 17" CRT. The refresh rate is better at 1280x1024 (75Hz as opposed to 60Hz), plus the colour contrast and brightness is great. I'll have to tweak my colour profiles a little for a few games, but I'm very impressed with the image quality. With such a quick pixel response time, there's no ghosting with the graphics at all, and there's a "Lightview" feature that allows you to automatically alter the brightness and contrast profiles according to whether you're using the screen at day or night, and also has options for whether you're using an application like Word in Windows, or if you're playing a game or watching a DVD. It's all very clever. With it being a 19" TFT screen, it almost has the viewing area of a 21" CRT screen, though sadly not the resolution of one. Still, 1280x1024 is my preferred screen resolution (I find 1600x1400 too hard to read), it's as good as you need for gaming, and it's nice to have the same resolution I'm used to on a larger screen. It'll make a big difference to DVD viewing, too.

The other, more practical, benefits are that because the screen is so thin, I can put the monitor in the middle of the desk, directly behind the keyboard tray (instead of having it perched on the leftmost end, like the CRT was) without it taking up the whole desk, which has twofold benefits. Firstly, I'm not mangling my spine with bad ergonomics, and secondly, it frees up lots more desk space so my other half can essentially take over the whole desk usefully when she wants to work there. We might actually have more fights about who gets to use the desk in the bedroom, now. But I suppose that's what I bought the Xbox for...
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