BenQ E2400HD Review

SirGCal

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For a downloadable form of this review: http://www.sirgcal.com/reviews/benq_e2400hd.pdf
(updated 9/11 to include backlight bleeding effects from followup post below)

First off I would like to take a second to thank BenQ and [H]Forum for the chance to be a part of this wonderful offering to test a product and their encouragement to do so fairly and objectively. I think bringing actual users into the testing process is a nice way to get some other real world opinions instead of the raw numbers crunching that many of the review sites do. I hope my review is clear and if there are any questions, please feel free to email/PM me and I will make adjustments to correct any issues... So, Here we go!

BenQ E2400HD
Review by: SirGCal
November 9, 2008
http://www.sirgcal.com/


The Test Computer Specs:
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Toledo Core
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA8KN Pro SLI
RAM: OCZ PC3200 (2 x 1G)
Boot HDD: Western Digital Raptor 74G SATA
CD: BenQ DVD Burn Drive (IDE).
Power Supply: Rosewill RP550S-2MB
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 4850 R4850-512M 256-bit
OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3

Packaging
Packaging was Very Good to Excellent. Good foam support and strong cardboard box. From BenQ, was double-packed also for added benefit. Included in the box were the monitor, a CD, an audio patch cable, and a D-Sub (VGA) cable.

It did not come with a DVI or HDMI cable. Not a huge negative but would add additional cost to the purchase if you plan to run with HDMI or DVI cables. You can find them from retailers like newegg.com for as low as $13.




Setup & Pixel Check
Setup was simple enough; plug it in and reboot. The reboot was critical, as without it, the monitor would throw an invalid sync rate error when trying to go to 1920x1080 even though it did detect it and its capabilities on a hot-plug-in. Following the reboot the computer went to its old default system format (640x480, “great googa-mooga”) but then properly let the system select the resolutions. So be sure to reboot before this monitor swap.

Pixels are one thing with an LCD purchase that can make many people nervous. I spent a long time looking for bad pixels but every time I think I find one, it wipes right off the screen with my thumb… So far, so good…

Resolutions
I used the monitor in its native resolution of 1080p mode for these tests (1920x1080). However I did do a quick short test in other resolutions just to see if I noticed anything obvious. Conventional 4:3 (1.33:1) resolutions worked fine (800x600, 1024x768, 1152x864, 1280x960). Stretched evenly and smoothed out, they actually looked OK, just stretched. 16:9 (1.78:1) looked very good and excellent (1280x720 (720p), 1920x1080 (1080p, native resolution)).

As well as these other resolutions all looked very usable in windows: 1280x768 (1.66:1), 1280x800 (1.6:1), 1280x1024 (1.25:1), 1360x768 (1.77:1) 1360x1024 (little fuzzy 1.328:1), 1440x900 (1.6:1), 1680x1050 (1.6:1)

I did only test the VGA input and I did not test an actual console, DVD player, etc. as of the date of this test however. As a special note; some other sites (see the AnandTech’s Review link at the bottom) have reported problems with 720p resolutions using the DVI cable. I did not see any of these using the VGA cable what so ever. They also report no problems with the HDMI input. They also reported problems where 720p left bars on the sides. I did not notice this on my test system. I will hopefully (if I get a chance) hook up an HDMI device in the future and update this part of the review if I do find issues in that area. But right now I see no differences using VGA other than the perfect clarity of the 1080p when using 720p modes. It fills the screen completely and leaves no black areas on the sides for me as others have reported. Perhaps I have a newer firmware version then they reviewed?

Testing Environment & Controls
My home office is an extension off the living room. The floor plan is a 4 bedroom house but this room has had the walls removed to make it a three bedroom house with an open office. At the same time I do keep the house darker than most people. Due to this, I did find that I turned the brightness down to 30. To really get it true to the chart, 0 isn’t even dark enough… In a bright house (I opened the shades, turned on the lights and even moved into some indirect sunlight) keeping the brightness at the default level should be plenty. The monitor can be plenty bright. It has color and brightness features selectable (and individually adjustable) for Standard, Movie, Dynamics, Photo and sRGB modes. I included some pictures of the results of half (default) and zero brightness.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, but in both images in real life in a normally lit room, you can easily see the 1% black box.




The buttons on the right side of the monitor for control and adjustment are easy to push and relatively easy to find. Though they could have a touch more ‘feel’ to them as the little hump they do offer is small and you have to pay attention to know which button you’re on in the dark. If you have light, they are well marked on the front.

The stand has good tilt control but no height adjustment or landscape/portrait rotation. It does have a wire holder loop on the rear bottom to help organize clutter. Other than that, no frills but a functional and stable stand.

Speakers
Yup, it has speakers, how they work however very much depends on your application. Seriously, my aging laptop can blow these away in terms of sound quality. I even pulled all of the tape and plastic packing protective stuff off to see if it was somehow blocking the sound. Nah… It’s just cheap speakers. They even sound out of phase with each other. No bass what so ever. I am also an audiophile so I am extremely picky with my sound too. I had some cheap speakers sitting around that I plugged into the pass through on the monitor to fix that problem (my good speakers recently died… /cry).

However, the pass through the monitor has could be useful as it still allows volume to the passed through speakers to be controlled. And I did not notice any other sound shifting that was obvious using this method either. So, if this is for a very private room or office where you don’t need great sound publicly and want easy access and volume control for a set of headphones; then these obviously would work for that application very well.

Color Shifting
Color Shifting is a bit obvious, especially on some test patterns I used. Hey, it is a TN panel. And as those go, especially for the ones I have seen around this size, it’s really not too bad at all. I’d give my right eye for an S-IPS panel in this size and dimension (16:9) with zero input lag but until that happens; I think even I can happily live with this (and I am very picky). If the color shifting does not bother you, then this might be a great choice for you.

Problems & Customer Service
While using this monitor, I ran into the issue where going back to 1920x1080 and 60Hz would cause an ‘Out of Range’ error at the monitor. 59Hz would work in those cases, if you knew exactly what to click to get there obviously… So I shot off an email to BenQ to see if they had any incite on the issue.



With the ‘Out of Range’ error I got, I sent a few emails and received some phone calls from BenQ and I must say their willingness to go above and beyond to figure out the issue was absolutely excellent! At this time I believe the actual problem was a windows driver issue. I installed the BenQ Plug & Play Monitor driver (supplied on the included CD) and upgraded to the latest (went from 8.8 Catalyst to the 8.10 Catalyst package) drivers and so far have not seen the problem return. And if it did, a reboot so far always has fixed it (again, pointing more toward windows and/or driver issue and not the monitor itself).

Gaming & General Use
I’ve been playing some Portal, Team Fortress 2, Oblivion, Fallout, etc. and so far, the color shift is minimal enough to not be an issue or overly noticeable. And I am one of those people who notice all of that stuff and it drives me nuts. (I never used an Aperture Grill monitor because I could not stop staring at those darn wires…) So far I’ve been very much enjoying gaming on this monitor. Also working from home, I used only this computer for work during the test period to expose myself to it as much as possible.

Horizontal shifts (also often called buffering) and Vertical Tearing in the image were an issue and v-sync within the game did not solve the problem. However, in the ATI Control Panel, setting ‘wait for vertical refresh’ all the way to ‘Quality’ did solve the problem very well. The buffering effect was obviously an issue with the ATI drivers and not the monitor as it also happened with the CRT. With this feature turned on, games looked great and still extremely smooth at 1920x1080 due to the performance of the ATI 4850. Driver updates will also likely gain more performance in the future as they mature.

Using a black and white checker pattern tiled pixel image and moving it around in a window did result is significant flicker effect. I have a movie of this but it is of pretty poor quality (again due to my camera available during this test period) but does show some example of what happens. I may post a better video at a later date to reflect this issue but it is common with LCDs so I am not going to post the video at this time. This should also not effect many, if any real world applications.

Display Latency (Input Lag)
As for input lag, for any real purposes, 0ms-16ms (or less than one frame at 60Hz)… To get my basic camera to take quick enough pictures, I had to use the flash so they are a little washed out but you can clearly see the numbers. The CRT is on the left, the new BenQ is behind it on the right propped up on some magazines for more height to improve the picture results. The test results prove that input lag is, at least at 60Hz refresh rate of an LCD, about as low as you can get being nothing to just less than one frame.







About my Pictures
One issue with using a digital camera to take pictures of an LCD for testing is you’re actually testing two different systems; the Monitor and the Camera itself. In this case, the camera makes these pictures MUCH worse than they are to the human eye and in some cases adding items or color changes which are not there at all. These are mostly noticeable during the Nokia Test images so I did not post pictures of those tests from the camera with this report as they were showing a false negative effect. There’s still something to be said for a good film camera… And I don’t have one…

Conclusion and Opinions after Two Weeks of Usage
At the $399 retail price, this monitor is awesome. 16:9 for easy connection to consoles or stand alone high-def media players, very good color balance over all with color shift being average to good for TN panels, and effectively no input lag to speak of. All of these together at this price make this monitor really a great find. It performs very well.

Now I finally take my (I swear it is 100 pounds!!!) aging 21” CRT and move it off to the garage sale pile. Finally I have found a panel with at or near zero input lag, colors that are very much tolerable, no noticeable ghosting, and basically, the first flat panel I’ve used on my gaming box for more than a week that I didn’t take down and put back in the box. I have had some on my work machines for a while now but for my gaming rig, I’ve never been happy with them either due to performance or cost or both when compared to my very well working CRT. Now I have and for a very fair price. And I swear my desk just got huge on me…

Test Image Websites & Software Names Used for Evaluation:
http://www.gdargaud.net/Hack/DeadPixels.html#LCD
Nokia Monitor Test Program 1.0a and 1.0.0.1 (Used for many tests they offer however no pictures shown due to limited camera quality)
http://tft.vanity.dk/

Other Review Websites:
http://www.anandtech.com/displays/showdoc.aspx?i=3449 (E2200HD Received Editors Choice Award)
 

SirGCal

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What about Ghosting
In all of my lag tests, the LDC came through clear accept two images with a touch of overlap. However, I can also see that in a few of the CRT's photos. I attribute that to the poor camera quality and honestly there is zero noticeable ghosting. Since I was able to get clear shots of both (with the clock in motion obviously) then that would assume that the overlap I did catch was camera related or just perfect timing during a refresh. Also note, that 60Hz (the standard flat monitor refresh rate) is roughly 17ms so anything less that that is going to be hard to notice.

720p problems, anandtech reported, some others have seen
Since this was an issue in other reports, I focused some time here. I was NOT able to reproduce any black bars on the sides or top/bottom when running in 720p resolutions (1280x720). It was full screen and very respectable. I did get my test unit later than some others, perhaps firmware...?

the picture quality makes the resolution look poor
That's just the cheap camera I have. The resolution is very sharp and crisp. I am trying to get a friend to come over with his professional camera to retake photos. We'll see. Getting him here is sometimes about as easy as passing a watermelon through the eye of a sewing needle.

is the screen glossy or matte
Matte. And a very good non-reflective matte for that matter. Even my laptop matte screen reflects many times worse than my BenQ.

backlight bleed
when brightness is adjusted down to attempt to get proper black levels (which is still plenty bright for use, even at setting of 0), bleed is very minimal. Actually, I rarely ever even notice it anymore after the adjustments.
 

rhiridflaidd

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Lovely review. I have one pragmatic question though - is there a way of forcing 1:1 pixel mapping i.e. getting black bars down the side, if I want to run lower resolutions to maintain clarity and FPS in gaming - because many games will splutter on my rig at 1900x1200

Is there a compromise, practical and usable reolution for gaming?
 

hadoken83

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You can take a picture with a totally black background to see the backlight, my E24 seems to be quite in the upper and lower, a photo here:




thanks.
 

SirGCal

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I will take the picture; and there is no absolute 1:1 mapping for this monitor, but in all of the resolutions I tried, it auto-synced to have no bars on the sides... So I have not seen the bar issue that others have...

I will wait until dark to take the photos. Even at night, my room has enough light in it to throw a glare when doing that level of darkness... I will say this though; my black level picture looked like yours when I first hooked it up. A few weeks later, it's not like that anymore. It's very smooth and even. (with the camera, the bottom seems to be slightly brighter, but I think that's also shooting down at it.) But I'll get some good try-pod pictures tonight hopefully.

But until then, this is the best I can do: I will get some pushed ISO pictures tonight when it is darker (sun coming in the window right now sort-of makes this a real pain to take this particular test, even though it's not shining on the monitor, room is lit up enough to remove the effect.).

 

Javatango

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Very nice review. I appreciate the time you took for testing and the lengthy write up.

You said this is the first monitor for your gaming rig that you didn't return. What other LCDs have you tried?
 

SirGCal

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Very nice review. I appreciate the time you took for testing and the lengthy write up.

You said this is the first monitor for your gaming rig that you didn't return. What other LCDs have you tried?
Honestly, I lost count... Some Dells, Gateways, LGs, Viewsonics, etc. and this one 'D' one that I can never remember the name of... Some looked great but had a bit of latency, some had no latency but didn't look so hot... some were just mediocre. I use some Dells right now for my work systems (the ones actually at the office, where I never go anymore, go figure...) and they rock for quality, but maybe I'm just too anal but I notice the lag so I can't game on it. (that's actually been the only good thing from getting Dell as a supplier to work.. personally, I do not like their standard computers/laptops... but displays are nice.)

Or, I guess it's possible I just got one Gem of the BenQ's... but this one rocks... very clear, no borders on lower resolutions, no lag, etc...
 

SirGCal

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An upgrade to the original post... Here are the images for many various modes using a black background and various different settings on the camera: As you can easily see, I do not have the top and bottom super-bright bands that other picture shows. I USED TO when it was new. It seemed to even out over time. After the second day, I no longer noticed it anymore. (Note, my monitor does stay on 24/7 though it does get put into sleep mode probably 8 hours out of an average day.)











 

neveral0ne

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If I wanted 2 of the E series monitors, Would you recomend to get 2x E2200HD or the E24 ?
 

SirGCal

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If I wanted 2 of the E series monitors, Would you recomend to get 2x E2200HD or the E24 ?
Honestly, I haven't seen the 22 so I can't comment for absolutely. But I can't see it being much if any different than the 24. Anandtech actually posted the display lag to be a touch longer on the 22, but still near zero. Again, I think they just got different firmwares or something. I think either monitor you choose would be a good choice. Personally, I love this 24. But the 22 is quite a chunk cheaper... Choice is yours.
 

SirGCal

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What about the E2400 vs V2400W ?
E2400HD is 16:9, V2400W is 16:10. Other than that I haven't reviewed a V so I can't say much one way or the other. I personally wanted a 16:9 myself (true HD format instead of the slightly taller 16:10. If you plan to use it for anything other than a computer, the 16:9 is going to be a more true format for consoles or DVD players, etc.
 

hadoken83

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then think that should I change my monitor for another with less backlight, or you may end up reducing the time?
 

SirGCal

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then think that should I change my monitor for another with less backlight, or you may end up reducing the time?
mine evened up over time. but I also use it a ton.. Dunno if it was just luck, coincidence, or what. I also turned down the brightness right out of the box. I am not sure what effected what on this particular issue. I know it used to show brighter bands at the top and bottom, now doesn't.
 

hadoken83

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Ok, another thing that you have given to the monitor settings: brightness, constrast, sharpness, mode? thx
 

SirGCal

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Ok, another thing that you have given to the monitor settings: brightness, constrast, sharpness, mode? thx
Here are the settings of every frame of the monitor's internal settings as I have them set right now. If you want truer blacks, you could push the brightness down to 0.





 

Usama

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I have got the BenQ E2400HD. It does not seem very good, I don't like it. I also have the Dell 2408WFP, HP w2228h, Dell S2409w, HP w2448hc. The Dell S2409w is a bit better. I dont like the 2408WFP because of it's input lag. The HP w2448hc has alot of colour but once set right is very good. The HP w2228h is very good, good responce time, input lag, colour, looks nice and is cheap.
 

techminster

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I never bought anything at all from BenQ but this review is stunning, not 56K friendly but a great post!
 

SirGCal

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I never bought anything at all from BenQ but this review is stunning, not 56K friendly but a great post!
Ohh, yes, sorry... I've had broadband so long, I forget sometimes how it is with a modem... And I didn't make thumbnails this time. I'll do that this weekend if I get the chance. :eek:
 

TheManko

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I bought a E2400HD yesterday and I must say it's much, much better than my Hp w2408h. Compared to the Hp screen the response time is noticeably better, the colors are not over saturated all the time since it's not a wide color gamut monitor and the blacks are better. By that I mean that the E2400HD shows more steps in test patterns. A pleasant surprise is that the vertical view angle is better, maybe because it's 16:9 and not 16:10, so with the Benq the TN vertical viewing deficiencies are barely noticeable where they were in your face and distracting with the HP. Also the colors are pretty well calibrated at least my my screen out of box (I calibrated with my Spyder 3 pro). I'm very happy with it so far!
 

Druneau

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My experience(s) with this monitor:

-HDMI works great with PC, PS3 and Xbox360
-DVI, having "out of sync" problems.. tried a couple of things did not fix it yet.
-Out of the box when I would lower the brightness the back light would buzz a lot. I've had the monitor for two weeks now and the buzzing is gone.
- I had to tape the bezel so that it would not blind me.
-I've also done some input lag tests with my HP CRT (and I LOVE crt's..), this BenQ is very responsive.
-Alot of talk by BenQ about "AMA".. never found options for it (this and dynamic contrast option).
 

SirGCal

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-DVI, having "out of sync" problems.. tried a couple of things did not fix it yet.
Try putting in the BenQ supplied Plug & Play monitor drivers from the CD. That along with newest drivers helped me with that same issue.
 

TheManko

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My experience(s) with this monitor:
-Alot of talk by BenQ about "AMA".. never found options for it (this and dynamic contrast option).
I looked at the manual and on the E2400HD AMA is always on, so it's only on the E2200HD you can turn it on and off. Dynamic contrast should however be available in Photo, Dynamics and Film mode.
 

Druneau

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Try putting in the BenQ supplied Plug & Play monitor drivers from the CD. That along with newest drivers helped me with that same issue.
The first thing I tried was installing the drivers for the LCD. I'll sit it out for a while, it's not that much of an issue for me anyways. Can only happen in 1920x1080 in a game for the first time, once it works it works.

Might have something to do with Vista 64.
 

TheManko

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I tried calibrating the srgb preset and it has the best color balance of all the presets. Here's how the color profile looks in MCW. It's even better balanced than my old CRT!

 

voxndot

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I just set my Xbox 360 to RGB as well as the screen and just fiddle with the contrast/brightness..and it's pretty sweet! Iron man and Hellboy II on Blueray Look amazing!!
 

Raudulfr

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Thank you for the review.

I do have one question though: Is this monitor noisy? Does it emit any kind of noise or buzz? I'm a bit sensitive to buzzing :/


If it's noise free I just might consider buying this instead of the HP LP2475W (half the price!).
 

SirGCal

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Thank you for the review.

I do have one question though: Is this monitor noisy? Does it emit any kind of noise or buzz? I'm a bit sensitive to buzzing :/


If it's noise free I just might consider buying this instead of the HP LP2475W (half the price!).
Well, I first have to admit that my computer is to my immediate left and it's fans are the loudest thing on the desk by far, even though it itself is very quiet with 120mm fans, the 4850 can sing at temperatures. However, I have not noticed ANY sound from the monitor itself.

I am now holding the monitor to my ear and notice absolutely nothing. At least my particular monitor is absolutely silent so far.
 

Raudulfr

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Well, I first have to admit that my computer is to my immediate left and it's fans are the loudest thing on the desk by far, even though it itself is very quiet with 120mm fans, the 4850 can sing at temperatures. However, I have not noticed ANY sound from the monitor itself.

I am now holding the monitor to my ear and notice absolutely nothing. At least my particular monitor is absolutely silent so far.
Thanks for your answer.
 

Druneau

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On mine for the first two weeks if I tried to adjust the brightness between 25-75 then there would be very loud buzzing. So I kept the monitor at 80 of brightness. This review made me try a value of 30 again, and after some use (i guess) the buzzing is all gone.
 

McDork

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I have a little dated computer, 4800+(939) @3.0, 2gigs of ddr500, and a 8800GTS (512). Can my setup handle the resolutions of either the E2200 or the 2400? I do a little gaming, Crysis, and COD mainly, and I'm wondering if I'll lose much as far as FPS. Right now I'm using a 17" Dell 1702FP and I want to go bigger. Thanks
 

SirGCal

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I have a little dated computer, 4800+(939) @3.0, 2gigs of ddr500, and a 8800GTS (512). Can my setup handle the resolutions of either the E2200 or the 2400? I do a little gaming, Crysis, and COD mainly, and I'm wondering if I'll lose much as far as FPS. Right now I'm using a 17" Dell 1702FP and I want to go bigger. Thanks
You actually have more computer than I do, I just have a newer video card... (I'm running, a 4400+(939 also), But my bet is that an 8800 should do it OK. At least for now while you save up for something stronger...
 

One2The3

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Got a quick question. How does this set do movies? I've read superb and all but is there a lot or if any pixelation to be had?
 

SirGCal

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Got a quick question. How does this set do movies? I've read superb and all but is there a lot or if any pixelation to be had?
None that I've seen as long as you're running the native resolution and using high quality media. I do see a little bit watching some low-def streams like Hulu but then again you see those on a CRT also... But so far, movies rock on this, generally speaking. Especially with it's native 16:9 format.
 

One2The3

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Thanks for the reply. Its just that the Sammy T240HD had horrid pixelation in movies. : P I am looking around for a monitor again; probably going to wait till after X-mas or so.
 

SirGCal

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How does this monitor compare to the V2400W for PC-gaming?
Well remember, the colorshift is most noticable vertically, since the E is a wider monitor and the V is a taller one, the V shows more colorshift in that respect at the same size. Both are very low input lag. The E is the first one I've used that I found acceptable for my gaming rig.
 
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