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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:45 am 
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I needed a new monitor after my year-old Acer 2017 took a jab to the screen, shattering its TFT array like a pane of glass,
a star fracture in the upper right of the screen.

Yet the cracked monitor still worked OK; it was to be replaced because the screen is unsightly in the upper right corner. I should take a picture.
Even after the fall, I have been pleased with the value and continued good performance of the old Acer 2017
and so I focused on getting another one, but this time it would be a 22" widescreen Acer.

Acer's ace in the hole at this time is the vastly popular but aging AL2216Wbd . This was the monitor I was going to buy today.

Lucky me. Miami is the home base for Tiger Direct store there was the AL2216Wbd, and it looked good.
Ah, but next to it was another Acer, one I had not seen before: the recently discontinued-in-the-USA (at least), P223W.
Its specs are identical to the AL22, other than a claimed contrast ratio of "2500:1"
And I don't believe it but... here's how/why Acer claims such better contrast ratio:

CrystalBrite™, a fancy name for an Acer gloss finish screen with a silicon-based anti-glare hardcoat.
Side by side with its frosted screen brother (the AL22), the P233 just sparkled, brilliant, gorgeous, gotta have it good.

Tonight here at home I made subjective, side-by-side tests of the old Acer 2017 with this Acer P223W.
Result: I ain't never gonna have a frosty-face LCD monitor again. This is so much better.

IF I worked in an environment where there were glaring light sources from over my shoulder,
well---perhaps the frosted screen would have to be the first choice.
But I work in a dimmed room and with a lamp off to the right or left side, there is no reflection to be seen from the uber-glossy screen face.

So, what do you think? Most all of the consumer-grade LCDs today are with frosted faces.
The Crystalbright screen feature must have been a poor seller here in the USA for Acer;
their current online brochure lists the new Acer HDMI-capable P (Performance/Premium/Prestige) models.
They all lack gloss Crystalbright screens. :cry:
Conclusion: there are other, better makes of monitors with glossy faces
but they are all a good deal more costly than the competent, basic Acer.

My P233w is a freak in another way too: its front bezel is in snow white.
This one was targeted for the Mexican market (says so on the data label).
I was expecting to hate the white. But white turns out to be a boon:
see, the other bezel colour, sold in the UK and AU for sure, and I think in the USA, was gloss black,
and you know, dust and fingerprints grow on gloss black. But white stays clean looking,
and in the relatively dark room where I work, a white bezel becomes black in practice.

And mounted on a swing-out Ergotron LX arm, this white bezel helps me to avoid bumping into my monitor when I pass by on foot, if it was left in the swung-out position; I see it better then.
I work (ha, work!) from a reclining chair next to the computer desk, with the monitor hovering in front and center to my eyes, and push the whole thing to one side when I get out of the chair.

This is not a performance review so much as a suggestion to look at the choice of screen finishes when choosing a monitor for photo work.
When we adjudge paper photographic prints for detail, do we want a matte finish or a gloss finish on them?
The frost on an LCD faceplate is not even at the same plane or level with the pixel array,
therefore the loss of detail to diffraction could be said to be even greater than that of a satin finish paper photo print.

If you did not have an opinion before, what do you think about frost vs. gloss? Would gloss work for you too?

I feel that a gloss finish screen affords cost-free detail enhancement,
and in some working environments there's no downside to gloss.

Hope this helps someone,
Reid

------
EDITS: changes to the text above, removing incorrect info as I learn more.
Addendum:

Discontinued it may be, but this white framed gloss screen 22" monitor IS still available
at least at NewEgg and probably elsewhere too.
And this link contains savvy user reviews of the monitor in question.
Those reviews may sell you after all.


Last edited by Reid Welch on Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:29 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:58 am 
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To me, gloss finish is a step backwards to the CRT days. I'd always go for "frost" if there's a choice. I faced this choice when looking around for a new laptop. The gloss finish, however coated, does result in glare which is not present with frost finish. As for quality, I find all but the cheapest monitors are pin sharp so there's no advantage to gloss there.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:05 am 
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popo wrote:
To me, gloss finish is a step backwards to the CRT days. I'd always go for "frost" if there's a choice. I faced this choice when looking around for a new laptop. The gloss finish, however coated, does result in glare which is not present with frost finish. As for quality, I find all but the cheapest monitors are pin sharp so there's no advantage to gloss there.
I cave. The market is with you. However, I saw/see these monitors side by side.
In the store, the gloss screen showed reflections from the overhead lights, and would be annoying if that were my case in home use.
But still even in the store the gloss screen image just popped out with so much better contrast, clarity and detail.
And here at home in the near dark the gloss is a revelation of added contrast range and overall clarity. It may owe to more than just the glossy screen;
there might just be something genuine about Acer's claims for their Crystalbright screen bumping up the rated contrast ratio to 2500:1 I don't know,
I only know that this thing looks really, really good.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:01 am 
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Haha, frost vs gloss is much nicer sounding that matte and glossy.

I prefer "frost" because the colours are more natural. Gloss gives saturated colours that are nice to look at but not true to life so for photo editing glossy screens are normally not the best option. You will notice that all LCDs meant for professional use are of a a matte finish.

Glossy screens are aesthetically nicer though and for watching movies and playing games they are nicer to look at. It also seems to me that the backlighting on a glossy screen is more even, not sure if this is true or I'm just imagining it cos I've never heard of that being used as one of gloss' strong points.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:46 am 
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I can see why gloss can look better, but for me the lack of reflection is more important, so wouldn't choose it for myself.

My main experiences of the screen types were also in stores. I can't say I remember seeing any significant differences in contrast, although the conditions were far from ideal. Having said that, it was several years ago. Maybe the technology has moved on since then.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:45 pm 
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This new gloss screen CrystalBrite Acer continues to please here.
I've looked at it for several days now. It is an aid to my weak eyes.
The gloss is a mirror, yes, but it also contains polarized layers.
As I see it, a frosted surface can't avoid diffusing the image.
So while frosting may diffuse hard glare on the screen surface, it concurrently filters the display's output by scattering its output.
And if that constitutes a genuine image improvement, then the quality of the TFT array is in question, either on account of the basic nature of the technology,
or on account of lack of quality in the TFT array's design implementation.


---- older thread excerpt:

Sam P , Aug 06, 2005; 04:00 p.m.

Hey Guys. I believe technically the new anti-reflective screen layer is less "glossy" than the older anti-glare lcds.
I have an Acer laptop with 15.4-inch lcd with Crystal Brite, same thing as XBrite, ect., and also a Dell w/ 15-inch lcd with regular anti-glare,
and under all conditions both low-light and bright light the Acer shows significantly less overall reflection of light.

Because the anti-reflective screens actually absorb much of the incoming light instead of just diffusing the glare as anti-glare screens do,
overall light reflection will always be lower.

However, that's not to say that it might seem like the anti-reflective screen looks like it might be reflecting more light.
Here's my case in point. I have both laptops out and open with a bright overhead light on.
When in front of the Acer I can see the reflection of the lamp clearly - not just a bright reflection,
but a mirror like image of the light on the upper left corner of the screen.
But the rest of the screen is completely free from any "glare" or reflection.

As a matter of fact if I move my head or move the screen so that the reflection of the lamp is out of sight,
then the entire screen has no "glare" at all. However, if I move in front of the Dell,
I can't see a clear image of the lamp but I can see the diffused light source at the same area as the Acer.
The positive is that I can't see the mirror like image of the lamp, but the negative is that
the majority of the screen has some glare on it. Also it doesn't really matter if I change my viewing position...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:01 pm 
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For better or for worse, gloss screens dominate the laptop market.

SLAM

Filter :) the data and the polarized opinion as you see best.

I'll close with my inexpert opinion:
for straight-on viewing (which I do),
in a room without overhead or other distracting lights (which I have),
this CrystaBrite screen affords better results by far, with
wider-angle viewing by far, than the frosted screen Acer of otherwise-identical view-angle specs which it replaces.
Am enjoying reduced vision fatigue courtesy of the higher contrast ratio,
and so I can run the screen at lower overall brightness than before.
Bottom line: I am not a photo colour editing expert, nor do I aspire to that,
I only say that I can see into details better with this monitor than I could with its frosted face antecedent.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:21 pm 
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I'm a glossy fan all the way. I first bought a sony SDM-HS75P about four years ago. The punchier contrast, the sharper screen compared to a dull'ed anti glare coating screen, just can't be beat. I've since upgraded to the popular among gamers NEC 20WGX2, which is also a glossy screen. I now have the Sony as my second monitor for my other rig.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:35 pm 
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I think frost vs. gloss is mostly a case of personal preference. I also believe that:
- color-differences are not depending on frost or gloss
- contrast-advantages are only a little depending on gloss: If you have frost and no light in the room contrast should be the same

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:59 pm 
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I'm not sure anyone else has noticed this, but on a Viewsonic monitor (VX2235) which I bought on line before my NEC monitor, being a 22 inch monitor with a res of 1690 x 1050, as opposed to my current 20" of same res, the pixels seemed HUGE, you could clearly see the blocks of the pixels on the screen from even two feet away. This is not just the case of a difference in pixel size, but also the fact that glossy monitors tend to hide the lines of the pixels, so thats probably why the image seems to be sharper in normaly lighting conditions. I found this so annoying that I paid £30 to send the monitor back to the on line shop, and havent looked back since I got my NEC. The build quality of the Viewsonic was abysmal also. Completely different market/price, but still.

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