Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My New Toy: Chimei 221D Widescreen LCD

So yesterday, I finally joined the 21st century when my new monitor arrived. Previously, I had been using a pretty nice Compaq 21" CRT, but as I'm getting a new rig going, I wanted a nice widescreen LCD. I managed to find one for less than 300 bucks.

What I'm using now is the Chimei 221D 22" wide LCD monitor, and I'm really digging it. It is bright and beautiful, has both DVI and the old style VGA inputs, and at 5ms response time I have had no ghosting whatsoever. I'm really happy with it. Especially that it was 299.99 before the 100 buck Newegg gift certificate my friend and compatriot Josh (AKA "ppMcBiggs") got me for Christmas.

Of course, every piece of equipment has its caveats, and this one seems to have three:

1) The stand is a little on the light side. While providing adequate support for the monitor in most cases, the structure isn't as meaty as one might expect, and on an unstable platform the monitor could be prone to wobble. However, as I have a great big stable (and herniatingly heavy) oak corner-desk (also courtesy ppMcBiggs, incidentally) that isn't too much of a problem for me. Plus, it's got wall mounts, so there's always that option.

2) Some people are extremely picky about light leaking through, and this one has a little at the top... but you can only see it when the screen is totally black. When there's color all over the place (IE, playing a game or if you have a wallpaper) then it isn't an issue.

3) This is the one that gets me... there's no built-in enforcement of the 16:10 aspect ratio. Sure, a 1680x1050 desktop is really really nice, and the vast majority of the new games support widescreen resolutions, but I like a lot of old games, and their resolutions are all married to the old 4:3 CRT aspect ratio. Some LCDs have an option to keep the dimensions correct (kind of a reverse-letterbox, with the black stripes at the sides), but this isn't one of them. The picture gets stretched out to fill the whole screen, leaving the game looking a little warped. Fortunately, I'm in the process of getting an entire new machine built, and it will use this monitor... so I can play the games that support widescreen on my flashy new box, and my current box and its 21" CRT will play the older games just fine.

So, with the above things in mind, three hundred bucks for a 22" widescreen LCD with 5ms response time and 800:1 contrast ratio is a hella-sweet deal. Can't beat that.

And that's the view from bandit camp.


PPMcBiggs said...

A good LCD is a very nice way to spoil yourself. I hate using my CRTs at work now, and I have a hard time using my low-res laptop.

For another way to spoil yourself, check out this link:

this guy came up with a way to benchmark mice. He found some very surprising results. After reading this review I went out and bought the second place mouse (Logitech MX518). It has definately replaced my MX1000 for gaming. I have been a fan of cordless mice, so I was anxious about going back to a corded, but this mouse is good enough to forgive its tether. Even though it has less buttons and doesnt have side scrolling I still love it. You should check it out.

Gas Bandit said...

I dunno, man.. I think I'm a heap big cordless convert. Reading that article, I seem to be the definition of a high-sens user.. .IE, I rarely move my mouse more than 4 or 5 inches to perform a complete 360.

But I suppose I can come and try your new toy this weekend and see in person if it's time for another paradigm shift in my personal computing... but it's going to have to be pretty damned impressive to get me back on a cord.