One of my most important requirements for an effective working environment is pixels. The more I have, the more efficiently I can work. Starting in the days when dual-outputs required having an AGP and a PCI card working in tandem, and eventually bringing in multiple computers controlled via Synergy (on CDM) I’ve steadily upgraded to the point where I currently have 6560 pixels of desktop-width in front of me, spread over 3 machines.
The current biggest and brightest is a BenQ G2400W. After purchasing my first HD video camera, I spent several months looking for a reasonably priced monitor with HDMI input and the requisite 1920×1080 pixels to allow me to get a 1:1 HD preview. The G2400 was the first monitor I found with these specifications priced under AU$500 (around US$400).
Prior to picking it up, my biggest monitor was a Phillips 21″ CRT. It pushes out a respectable 1920×1440 pixels, and pushes down a reasonably frightening 28Kg. At its highest resolution, those pixels start getting a little small. I’m happy with lots of tiny text on screen, but few other people can use my setup on that monitor without squinting and leaning close enough to hear the photons bouncing off their epidermis. Upgrading from a CRT to an HD LCD gave me just about as many pixels, but much more clarity, more readable text, and considerably less flickering.
As an HD video camera monitor, the G2400W is great fun. Plug the HDMI output from your camera into the monitor, and suddenly focussing your camera no longer involves oscillating back and forth until it feels like the focal plane should be in the right place.
If you’re looking for information about gamuts, colour profiles, GTG response times, or contrast ratios: I’m sorry, but you’re reading the wrong review. All I’m interested in is getting Pixels, Lots Of Pixels, on screen. Most of my production work is beamed from projectors with ancient bulbs onto smoke-yellowed screens in venues whose only cabling option is “RCA”, so I find it hard to get excited about esoteric colour magic. Fortunately there are other sites who are happy to write 5 pages of text on a monitor: TrustedReviews and HardwareZone have you covered.
If you haven’t already moved in to dual monitor world, give it a try. I’m sure someone you know has a spare 19″ CRT hanging around somewhere that you can borrow. Once you’ve spent time editing with your timeline in one window and preview in the other, you’ll never go back. Even if you’re producing content on a laptop out in the field, beg or borrow an external monitor from somewhere, you’ll finish faster, and have more time for pre-gig beers.
As you’ve probably noticed, this isn’t really a review of this particular monitor. More an exhortation that you go HD, no matter what flavor. I quite like the G2400W for its HDMI input, and its big brother is available at Amazon for just over $400. If you’re not particularly in to BenQ, or HDMI, then there seems to be quite a few options well under US$400 (and AU$400 too!). Go on. Do it for the productivity.