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From time to time I have tried some monitors. My main work is coding (work, phd, etc). At work I have an LG Flatron L246WH which I highly recommend. However at home I have an LG W2363V with which I feel pretty uncomfortable when coding. Fonts, subpixels or whatever mess with my minds when using smooth fonts.

Currently, what are the best monitors out there, to best fit our needs?

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Asking for the best "now" might get the question closed as "too localised". Try rewording to ask for the features you need. You mention the font issue, so having control over that is a must for you. –  ChrisF Sep 16 '10 at 11:07
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I think instead of just spouting model numbers answers should give features instead. Eg Widescreen, size, pixel count, etc; then talk about model numbers –  TheLQ Sep 16 '10 at 11:21

10 Answers 10

up vote 16 down vote accepted

The main thing you want to know is the type of panel -- is it TN, VA, or IPS?

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/11/not-all-lcd-panels-are-created-equal.html

They all have strengths and weaknesses, but the TN has a lot of weaknesses and only one primary strength -- it's cheap. Apple, for example, has NEVER to my knowledge ever shipped a TN LCD.

I strongly advise avoiding TN panels if you want to invest in an LCD you won't mind keeping for a few years.

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Absolutely. Modern TN film panels are probably good enough if you don't want to spend a lot, but if you look around you can get a really good IPS panel for a reasonable price. They're worth every dollar. –  Matt Olenik Oct 16 '10 at 22:52
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2 years have past since this answer, 5 since the blog post. There are more IPS variants now, and there are cheap IPS panels, although with not so excellent colors (using 6-bit with FRC instead of full 8-bits). Not that it matters much for programming. –  vartec May 29 '12 at 10:08

I've been thinking about actually using an LCD projector part-time, to give some serious focal distance and rest my eyes a bit from close-distance work all the time. Haven't tried it yet, but pretty convinced it would help with comfort. YMMV.

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+1 for creativity :) –  fhucho Jun 25 '12 at 21:09

I love the Dell U2410, I have two of them at home. However at work I have 2 Philips 190S's and a Viewsonic VP231wb. The thing I've found is that it is important for me to have a monitor that can rotate to portrait. As long as I have a second monitor to the portrait monitor I find that the portrait rotation can be very useful for viewing code.

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+1 for portrait - incredibly useful for coding, in my experience. –  DefenestrationDay Jul 26 '11 at 1:16

I think having a stand that can lift the monitor up to the correct eye level is pretty important. Yes you can use a monitor stand but these take up desk space converting the footprint of an LCD back into that of a CRT.

I know you can get desks that are split so you can have the front and back on different levels, but these are bl***y expensive.

My old DELL FP2001's are ideal in this respect. They are now getting on for 10 years old and I'm getting some "burn in" and I'd like to replace them, but all the newer monitors I've seen don't have the height.

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When I'll get some cash I'll be on the market for a couple of LCDs with the following features, in decreasing order of importance :

  • a pivot for portrait mode (always lusted for this)
  • at least 1080p (the more the better !)
  • IPS panel (they are just better)
  • LED backlit (ditto)
  • at least 21 inches

It would take a seriously bad manufacturer to produce such a screen that wouldn't be great for programming !

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I have a HP w2448hc at work and I absolutely love it. Can't wait until my second one arrives next week. Very bright and very clear. Something you might dislike about it is that it is kinda shiny.

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More than one.

I'm currently using one main monitor for coding ("the work") and one to keep open "related" things (i.e. documentation, bug tracker, ...)

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As long as it's a widescreen monitor :) Not that I write extra-wide lines of code, but those toolboxes and stuff really eat up the workspace.

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I wasn't sure about widescreen monitors, but I'm using one at work now at the extra width is useful. –  ChrisF Sep 16 '10 at 11:06

Fonts, subpixels or whatever mess with my minds when using smooth fonts.

Depending on your OS/Applications there may be options (including or addon) to adjust the settings of sub-pixel rendering. Different panels have different sub-pixel layouts, and the rendering of the glyphs need to be set up to match the layout. The default matches common panels.

Another option is to consider switching fonts. There are lots to chose from.

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Windows 7 can alter sub-pixel rendering individually for each display in a multi-monitor setup. –  DefenestrationDay Jul 26 '11 at 1:15

I love both my monitor at work (Samsung 245T) and at home (Dell U2410).

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