LCDs gain size, drop prices

Two LCD (liquid crystal display) makers are showing at TechXNY products based on new technologies, new mixes of features, and lower prices. But buyers will want to shop carefully, as some of these products hit lower price points by trimming features.

New are a jumbo LCD from Samsung Group, as well as upgrades to existing monitors from both Samsung and AG Neovo.

Giant-Size LCD

At the high end, Samsung is showing a 24-inch (60-centimeter) LCD display with a 1920-by-1200 resolution, claiming it's the largest desktop LCD monitor available.

The SyncMaster 243T will cost US$3,029, almost $2,000 less than the company's existing 24-inch (60-centimeter) display, which is designed mainly for presentations, says Jim Muta, a Samsung engineering manager. To reach this price point, Samsung removed many multimedia features from its existing presentation monitor, such as support for digital video input and built-in speakers.

Samsung is reducing the price further through improvements in manufacturing, according to Monica Islas, Samsung product manager. Samsung is aiming the SyncMaster 243T at graphic artists and other designers who previously worked with two displays side by side, but may now be able work with a single large one.

SyncMaster Revamped

For PC users with more modest needs, Samsung has unveiled the SyncMaster 173T and 173B, upgraded models that cost $20 less than their highly-ranked predecessors, the SyncMaster 172T and 172B. Both the 172T and 172B earned spots on PC World's Top 10 17-inch (43-centimeter) Monitor review in October. The vendor also plans to offer 15-inch (38-centimeter) versions of the monitors.

The new products will offer slightly narrower bezels (the plastic around the front of the screen) than their predecessors. This feature is a plus for people who work with two adjacent monitors because it eliminates the tiling effect caused by the bezel.

Samsung also put the speakers in the front of the monitor instead of in the base. The products will no longer include a dual-hinge adjustment.

New From AG Neovo

AG Neovo is showcasing two new lines of lower-priced LCDs, the E series and F series.

The E-series displays feature specially formulated hardened glass that protects the LCD panel, according to AG Neovo representatives. This glass, which resists breakage, was formerly found only on the company's more expensive products such as the S series.

The E series will also include built-in speakers and a headphone jack, features not found in the S series. The 19-inch (48-centimeter) E-19A will sell for about US$750, or $700 with a planned rebate, according to Minson Chen, AG Neovo vice president. A 19-inch (48-centimeter) S-series display currently sells for about $800. The E series will also offer a 17-inch (43-centimeter) model that costs $500 ($450 with rebate).

The less expensive F series, which does not include the hardened glass protection, will be available in three models: the $299 15-inch (38-centimeter) F-415, the $399 17-inch (43-centimeter) F-417 and the $499 19-inch (48-centimeter) F-419.

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