How bad are TN panels... really?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by nope7308, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #1
    I need a 24" monitor for general use, light photo editing, and watching HD movies. Although an IPS monitor would be ideal, I simply don't have the money. Poor viewing angles are my primary concern with TN panels because this monitor will double as a TV of sorts. Can anyone comment on the real-life viewing angles of TN-panel monitors?

    A VA-panel monitor would best fit my needs, but I can't find one that I like for $400-$500 CAD. I want a nice design that meshes with the Alu MB and a glossy screen. Based on those criteria, the Dell 2408 doesn't fit the bill. Right now, I'm looking at the Dell SP2309W (TN Panel). Any thoughts?

    I'm open to any/all recommendations - Thanks!
     
  2. LeoFio macrumors regular

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    #2
    On a TN panel, the color change is very noticeable when viewed from an angle. You really have to be looking dead on. Also, color change is apparant at the edges of the screen even when looking at the panel dead on because the viewing angles are different.

    Some people are not bothered by this, so you really just have to demo them and judge for yourself.
     
  3. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #3
    That's part of the problem. I don't know anyone who owns a 24" TN-panel monitor that lives nearby. Personally, I also find it difficult to judge the viewing angles in-store because everything is so controlled. That is, the content being displayed is fixed, there are non-typical lighting conditions, and some monitors simply are not on display.
     
  4. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #4
    Anything?

    Can someone please comment on their experience with TN-panel monitor(s), specifically in relation to general tasks, light photo editing, and HD movies? Thanks
     
  5. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #5
    TN panels can be problematic when you're working with larger (24"-28") panel sizes because you won't be looking at all of the panel at the same angle; it's possible (though less likely with newer ones as they've been working on rectifying this) that you'll see color shift within the photo or video you're working on. It would drive me crazy, because print matching display is difficult enough on high quality prints with excellent displays, and video is similarly finicky, though a lot less critical. Most people are less picky than I am. But if you're using it as a TV, if other people are around and want to watch from an angle that is not quite head-on, it could be irritating.

    That said, I've heard very little about the newer 1080p 16:9 monitors that use TN panels like the one you're thinking of buying, so I don't know how it'll perform. Monitor reviews tend to be few and far between; I'd suggest checking on [H]ardforum to see if anybody's got one there and has opinions. Failing that, see it in a store. If you decide you don't like it, you could get a decent monitor used....I picked up a NEC 2090UXi for $200 used, which was an absolute steal for a 20" IPS display.

    As a side note, most monitors that bother to use a better panel than TN are not glossy, because they tend to be used by people who need color accuracy and find glossy to be distracting to that goal. This has also been changing recently, but if you really want glossy, you're probably going to wind up with a TN as you're certainly not shelling out 's asking price for the new display.
     
  6. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #6
    Thank you for that very helpful response! I've been following the forums looking for reviews on the Dell SP2309W, but I keep getting conflicting answers. Some claim that the viewing angles are horrible, others claim that they're acceptable and better than most TN panels.

    I'm not a professional, but I am OCD. Like yourself, I'm quite sensitive to colour inconsistencies and poor viewing angles. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the Dell SP2309W on display anywhere. As far as I know, it's only available through the Dell online store.

    I appreciate the suggestion for a refurbished monitor - truthfully, I've been thinking about this myself. That said, I'm a little concerned because I've never purchased a refurb monitor. On average, do these monitors perform as well as the new ones? Are there strict standards/tests that refurb monitors must pass? What about cosmetic damages likes scratches or minor dents?

    I might just buy the 24" ACD refurbished if I ever feel comfortable enough (I can wait a few months). Does anyone have any experience buying refurb ACDs? Comments? Suggestions?

    Thanks again
     
  7. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

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    #7
    TN panels are worst in everything except gaming.
     
  8. sycho macrumors 6502a

    sycho

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    #8
  9. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    #9
    I have a 20" iMac which I am told has a TN panel. You know what? I have a very discerning eye, can see JPEG compression even at some of the highest quality factors, but I have been utterly unable to see any sort of artifact or "temporal dithering" no matter what angle I view the display. You know what? Viewing angle isn't an issue when you have a glossy display that you can use to check your hair when it's dark.
     
  10. integrat.ethis macrumors regular

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #10
    This test reveals how bad TN Panels are when it comes to vertical viewing angle: http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/viewing_angle.php

    Personally, I'm the type of guy that likes to see stuff the way the creator intended it - and I can't stand that the colors I'm seeing on TN panels aren't constant across the screen. As far as color accuracy and whatnot though, I don't think they're THAT bad for non-professional use.
     
  11. tr0jan macrumors member

    tr0jan

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  12. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #12
    According to like 4 different sites, my 24" Samsung is probably one of the best TN panel displays. It's the 2443BWX model. Cost $300 + tax at costco for me. At first, the colors of both displays were a little obvious... but after a few weeks, I actually like the color on my 24"; they seem more vibrant and bright compared to my 13". The colors are great, viewing angles are pretty good, very similar to the 30" ACD I saw at my local Fry's.
     
  13. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #13
    Trust me, the viewing angles are not similar to the 30" ACD you saw. If they were, you'd say color shifts within the panel itself looking at it head-on. There's a reason that only IPS (and one PVA, Samsung's) are used on 30" displays. Also, it's worth pointing out that more vibrant colors does not equate to better or more accurate color. A calibrated, color-accurate display will seem a bit more muted next to most TN panels.

    In terms of refurbs, everything I've heard indicates that they're pretty much utterly trustworthy, with no cosmetic damage because the factory refurbishing process takes care of that. But buying used is another alternative as well - check ebay. People tend to include images or describe defects fairly honestly; sometimes you can snag a great deal.
     
  14. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #14
    If you are using it to view movies off-angle or have others that may need to share viewing, I think a TN panel is probably not for you. I had (actually still have) a Dell 2005fpw IPS display that I love, and it has great off-angle viewing and very true colors. However, when it came time to upgrade to a 24" I didn't want to splurge for an IPS panel (the cheapes was about $900 at the time), so I went and looked at what was available. For my personal use, where I am generally the only one viewing the display, I use it straight on and a TN panel is good enough for me. I love my Gateway 24", but I realize that many will not. I paid $550 for it a few years ago when it first came out; similar displays are now much less.
     
  15. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #15
    Thanks for all the replies.

    What about the Apple Refurb store? When do you think the 24" ACD will be available, and how much do you think it will cost? I'm always hesitant to buy things off of ebay - especially with big purchases such as this.

    Is it possible to get an extended warranty on a refurb ACD? Also, what's the return policy? Does anyone know if I can apply a student discount on top of the refurb price? I'll most likely buy the monitor toward the end of the summer when (hopefully) I'm assigned a new student number.

    Thanks again for the input.
     
  16. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #16
    You'll be able to get the applecare warranty extension on the cinema display, when refurbs are available for purchase. However, there is no chance it'll fall within your price range. I don't think any IPS panels will; the cheapest ones I can think of clock in above $600 USD. Even for refurbs (Though as a side note, the Doublesight DS-263N refurb for $600 direct from them is an excellent deal).

    I think you're best off searching for a PVA panel, if you want to make it in your budget - such as the Dell Ultrasharp 2408. They periodically do sales on it, and it's a fairly solid display.

    You cannot buy a refurb and stack a student discount with the refurb discount. If you know someone who works at  (including retail stores), they have a better discount than you do.
     
  17. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #17
    Thanks for the comments.

    I've always felt that a VA-panel monitor would best suit my needs, but unfortunately, there isn't much selection. I'm not a huge fan of the Dell 2408 because I don't like the design and it comes with a matte screen. Do you have any other VA panel recommendations? Perhaps something similar to the 24" ACD?

    If I can pick up a refurb 24" ACD for $600 CAD with the student discount, I may just bite the bullet. Sadly, I haven't found too many 24" monitors that really impress me. It seems that most companies go with very cheap TN panels or very expensive (perhaps overpriced) IPS panels. IMHO, no one has really struck the price/performance balance that I'm looking for (save, perhaps, for the Dell 2408 - which I find ugly). Oh well, maybe a sweet VA-panel monitor will be released shortly... or not. :(
     
  18. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #18
    I would really hesitate to call IPS panels overpriced. In displays, you tend to get what you pay for (unpredictable defects aside). Yeah, tax and shipping put my 26" H-IPS display at closer to $800. But on the other hand, my photos look just like the prints now.

    I think it's also worth saying that in desiring a glossy, color accurate display you seem to be going for mutual exclusives that Apple, and only Apple is bridging. I can't think of a single PVA or IPS display that has a glossy screen aside from the ACD. And it would indeed be nice if you could snap up the ACD for $600 CAD, but there's simply no way it's going to happen...refurb ACD 23" on the older models (and I have every reason to believe the CCFL backlighting is cheaper than the LED backlighting now used) only dropped down to $800 USD. It's just not going to happen, I'm afraid.

    There are other PVA panels you could conceivably buy, but they are matte, and I couldn't tell you what they are off the top of my head - I mostly research IPS displays. Speaking of, the best value for money right now is the HP LP2475w - can be had as cheaply as $625 USD.
     
  19. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #19
    Oh well, a guy can dream...
    I call IPS panels overpriced because they could be cheaper if the market was bigger. Personally, I think if companies made a conscious effort bring the IPS technology down to the consumer level, IPS sales would take off and the price would eventually come down. BUT, that's off topic.

    I know that I want to have my cake and eat it too (glossy vs. colour accuracy), but I don't think I'm asking too much. Essentially, I want a monitor that can handle various types of media, and having a colour-accurate glossy display seems perfectly reasonable (at least in theory). I'm not a professional so I don't need perfect colour accuracy, but I want something respectable. Thanks for the HP recommendation... have any others?
     
  20. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    #20
    Well, it's amusing that you point it out, because this is why I'm always telling people I think they should spend a bit more for the IPS display: if we send a clear message to manufacturers that we will pay that bit more, they'll make more IPS displays and prices will drop.

    Also, my ideas with regards to computers is that they're not something you should endeavor to spend less on, but my opinion is necessarily irrelevant. I do, after all, own a Mac Pro.

    Let's see...like I said, I don't look for PVA panels much. Doublesight - and I know they seem like a no name, but they do use non-TN panels and actually tell you what kind of panels they use, big points in my book. People like their monitors a fair amount, too. Anyway, Doublesight has a 24" PVA, the DS-245W. They sell it for something like $525 USD, or pricegrabber has it cheaper here:

    http://computers.pricegrabber.com/f...06834/search=doublesight/st=product/sv=title/

    I know LG, Dell, and Samsung do sell some PVA models, the Samsung 25T, for instance. But again, don't expect anything cheap.

    Hope that helps.
     
  21. tmoney468 macrumors 6502

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