LCD monitors have evolved rapidly over recent years, especially in response times and panel size. The latest release of 22" monitors has brought several high end monitors well into the price range of a budget gamer. Two of these stand out in particular, the Samsung 226BW and the LG L226WTQ. Both of these panels feature a 2ms response time, which is an essential requirement for gamers (as it reduces any ghosting effects as seen on slower panels). However, the Samsung monitor often retails at a higher price for an almost identically priced monitor.
Brightness :300 cd/m2
Colour : Silver / Black
Contrast ratio : 3000:1
Dimensions : 501.7 x 423.5 x 233.9mm (WxHxD)
Inputs : 1 x D-Sub, 1 x DVI-D
Pixel pitch : 0.282 x 0.282
Power consumption : stand by / sleep 45 Watt
Resolution : 1680x1050
Response time : 2ms
Vesa mounting : Yes
Viewing angle : 170/170 (°H/°V)
Warranty : 3Yr Manufacturer
Discerning consumers will look at the overall monitor specifications rather than just the panel size, as not every 22" LCD is built equally. This monitor appears to be ideally suited to gamers, primarily due to the very fast 2ms pixel response time (defined as the time taken for a pixel to cycle from black to white). The resolution of 1680x1050 is standard for 22" panels and is becoming a very common format for widescreen gamers. Most games from the last few years (such as HL2, BioShock etc...) should have native support and take advantage of the widescreen format.
If you have an older LCD you have probably noticed that in some games (such as BioShock) that it becomes difficult to view dark areas of the game, simply because many shades of grey are hard to differentiate. In this case, the higher the contrast ratio the better (as it increases the visibility of different shades).
Both DVI and 15 pin D-Sub connections are provided, ensuring that any type of graphics card should be compatible with the display. If you have a Blueray or HD DVD player you can view HDCP content over the DVI connection. Finally, a 3 year manufacturer warranty is a reassuring period of time should you have any problems with the monitor.
Appearance and Layout
The LG L226WTQ comes in two colours, however this evaluation covers the silver model (but a black monitor is also available). The bezel around the LCD panel is matte silver, with the rear of the unit and base stand appearing in a glossy black finish. The overall effect is quite attractive and fits in well with other silver/black PC accessories.
The monitor features a set of 6 buttons, one on the right of the monitor to power on/off and 5 others labelled: EZ Zooming, Menu, f-Engine, Source and Auto/Set. EZ Zoom is a function which allows you to change the resolution on the fly, the source button lets you change the monitor input and the f-Engine button allows you to choose from a variety of preset image modes (which alter the monitor settings) depending on the type of content you are viewing (text, movie or normal).
The LCD panel is supported by stand which allows you to alter the vertical tilt of the monitor to suit, however no height adjustment is included. A small clip is attached to the back of the stand allowing any power/signal cables to be neatly channelled out of the way.
As this monitor is primarily suited to gamers, the bulk of testing has been performed over a 2 week period of heavy gaming activity. The Crysis MP Demo, Half Life 2 and BioShock were the main test applications. The previous monitor used for these applications was a Dell 19" analogue monitor which is the sort of standard common 2 years ago. The system powering the display is a Q6600 @ 3.0Ghz, 2GB ram and 8800GTS 320.
The immediate consequence of upgrading from a traditional 19" monitor to the 22" widescreen was the increased area and resolution available in gaming. Any action games appear much more immersive and well suited to widescreen monitors.
Experience with other recent 2ms monitors suggests that the response times of the L226WTQ are equivalent, with no ghosting apparent during gaming. This is one of the most important aspects of the monitor as many current generation LCDs do still display some level of ghosting during fast scenes.
Overall, images and text appear crisp and vibrant - doing justice to both gaming and DVDs alike. As a side note, the review model did not have any dead pixels which is always beneficial.
If you have a powerful graphics card and do plenty of gaming then you really need a good quality monitor to do justice to your system. The LG L226WTQ fits this requirement exactly and is a bargain in comparison to other monitors in the class.
It is difficult to criticise this monitor, as the image quality is superb and the general consensus amongst fellow users is overwhelmingly positive. If you have an older monitor and are considering making the leap to a good quality gaming monitor, you won't regret the massive difference it will make.