Why do all “professional” computer displays look awful?

I’ve been doing some research on the web about buying a new desktop computer and a display for it. I’ve been using a 2005 first generation white Macbook as my primary computer for the last eight years (and it’s still going strong, despite the display flickering quite often and the second battery is not doing so great…).

Just for the record (and bragging): I use it mostly with Linux for programming and OS X for graphics and music, and there’s also Windows 7, but I only use it to make cross platform programming.

So as I’m mostly using my laptop as a desktop anyway, I’d like my next computer to be a desktop with a big screen (instead of the 13.3 inch screen on the laptop). I’ve been looking for the 27 inch displays that are on the market. They’re slightly out of my price range, but I’m the kind of a person who’ll use that same display for hopefully 10 years or more, if it lasts that long. (I still have my PanaSync S70 as a second monitor, which I bought in 1998.)

But why do all 27 inch screens either lack features or if they have the features, they are really really ugly?

What I want in a monitor is a combination of really good design (because I have to look at it every day, and if I had clients, they would too) and the right features. I do films and colour grading very seriously. I used to do it professionally too…

I’ve now learned that even wide gamut monitors would not help me, because most of them just have settings for sRGB and Adobe RGB. What I’d really need with video colours is Rec.709 colour space. That is funny, because any cheap HDTV kind of supports it (probably not accurately, but that’s the only colour space they’re showing.) If I’d want a computer monitor with support for Rec.709, I’d have to pay more than 2000ā‚¬ for it. (Maybe the Eizo CG276 or the HP DreamColor). But I’m an adventurous person, and always so out of money, that I’d be willing to try out calibrating an Adobe RGB monitor into kind of supporting Rec.709.

So, I’m not demanding Rec.709 from my list here, because I can’t afford them anyway. My demands are:
1. good design
2. wide gamut (Adobe RGB or Rec.709)
3. no PWM (I’ve heard the internet rumour that Pulse Width Modulation is used to control brightness on many monitors, and it basically flickers the screen at a very high rate, and that might cause problems with us sensitive people… So, I don’t want it, even though I have no first hand evidence of this happening.)
4. no glossy surface, no strong antiglare treatment either. I want my screen semi-glossy or semi-matte.

Here’s a quick rundown on several candidates for my new display, and their plusses and minuses, which eventually lead to the conclusion, that I’m not buying any of them! None of them meet the requirements. Let’s hope that the next generation of 4K and UHD displays will fix these issues…

The Apple Thunderbolt Display
is a very nice looking display, but the features are a joke with its ultra glossy glass screen and lack of input options. Even the very short thunderbolt wire is not detachable, so you could have a longer one. It is white-led backlit, so only sRGB.
+ design
– too glossy glass
– only sRGB
– no inputs, no HDMI, no DVI, only displayport or thunderbolt, might be enough still, if the cable was detachable

Here’s pictures of an iMac to show the glossy glass in a windowed environment.
Too many reflections on these iMacs

The LG EA83
is an almost bearable looking monitor. The design on the front is almost nice, and the screen is semi-glossy and supports Adobe RGB. The bad rumours of the internet said it has PWM. And the backside has a messy design with that strange holder for the power supply and those ugly blue usb-ports. (I really don’t need my USB3 ports to be blue. Please stop with that, everybody who is doing it.)
+ Adobe RGB
+ 10 bit colour (I’m under the impression that no NVidia consumer GPU supports 10-bit colours. Please, say it ain’t so.)
+ good design on the front
– blue USB ports and power supply holder

Ugly blue USB ports

Samsung S27B971
(the new matte one)
+ glossy glass got removed, and is now semi-glossy matte, more matte than LG EA83
The stand doesn’t have that many options, but it seems ok, I don’t really need pivot
+ good design, but not great design. Bearable design.
– only sRGB
+ no PWM
This is the monitor that is closest to getting bought by me.

A bit UFO, but Okayish

Dell U2713WH and Dell U2713H 27ā€ sRGB/AdobeRGB
— really bad design, looks like Compaq Presario PC from the early 2000
The Dell U2711 really looked much better with its straight lines. It didn’t look good, but it still was much better, and I might even concider it…
– integrated power supply might buzz, depending on unit, says the internet
– ugly Dell logo on the front, I don’t like Dell… šŸ™‚
+ Adobe RGB on the 2713H.
+ no PWM (I’m not sure).

Compaq Presario

Asus Pqsomething 27ā€
– ugly PC design

Fujitsu P27T-7
– white casing isn’t properly white, but some sort of light grey, might still be ok
+ good design, but
– looks a bit big
+ great stand
+ 0-watt standby, if it works (on some review unit it didn’t)
– fujitsu logo on the top feels strange, logos on the back are OK
+- I like fujitsu, but do they really know how to calibrate displays?

Fujitsu P27T-7

HP ZR2740W
– all HP displays seem to have a really horrible PC design, just boring

EIZO (most of the same things apply to NEC)
– your designs are horrible, I just hate the rounded stand bases. The transformers kind of looks of the stand and the back are really really strange. Why don’t you do clean design EIZO?
– agressive anti-grain coating
+ Adobe RGB on the 1200ā‚¬ models and Rec.709 on the 2000+ā‚¬ models…
– but they’re too expensive for me.
+ I really want to like EIZO. Maybe if they’d change their logo from that RGB thing to something else first…


So that’s it. I’m not buying any of those… And it’s a bit boring for me. I hope we’ll get a monitor with all of these 4 issues done right in the future.

I basically want a monitor with

1. the design of the Apple Thunderbolt display
2. 30 to 32 inch (but 27 is ok too.)
3. 2550×1440 or bigger. 4k or UHD would be nice, but probably too expensive for me…
4. no PWM, like Samsung S27B971 or Apple displays.
5. Adobe RGB, so make it wide gamut with those GB-LEDs, or whatever they are. And while you’re at it, add Rec.709 preset and calibrate individually in factory, like Samsung S27B971 or Dell U2713.
6. semi glossy like LG EA83 or semi matte like Samsung S27B971. NO glass.
7. external power supply is ok, but make it look nice like Apple does, and if you can’t do that, don’t do like LG EA83 has done with their power supply holder.

My writing really sucks, this is just a burst of text with no editing. I hope it helps someone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s