Feds seek image quality on big displays
Feds seek image quality on big displays
By Richard W. Walker
For feds who use large monitors, image is everything.
The brand name? Ho-hum. Multimedia sound quality? Yawn. Easy-to-access-and-operate controls? No big deal, they said.
Overwhelmingly, what feds want most in a large monitor is image quality, GCN's survey of federal users found.
Many users of big monitors'15 inches and larger'create presentations, charts, engineering designs and other kinds of intricate graphics that demand crisp, accurate images and accurate colors. And that's what is most important to them.
Cindy Moran, a program manager for the Defense Information Systems Agency's Secret IP Router Network in Arlington, Va., builds lots of briefing charts in Microsoft PowerPoint and counts on having sharp, clear lines on her display. Moran's 17-inch monitor from Dell Computer Corp., the top-rated brand in the GCN survey, has been just the thing.
I've been very surprised and pleased with the image quality,' said Moran, whose monitor was packaged with a 233-MHz Pentium II PC from Dell that she got last September. 'The colors are good also.'
She's been having trouble with her video card lately'not the monitor itself'so the colors on her screen now 'are a little strange, but as a general rule the colors are great.'A bigger move
James Jennings, a Navy mechanical engineer in Philadelphia, has been using a 15-inch Dell monitor, part of a 200-MHz Pentium MMX package, for about two years. He described the monitor's image quality as 'not great but decent' and reported a little flicker in the screen.
It's given decent service over the years, but it's time for a new one and something larger,' he said.
In the survey's overall quality rankings, Dell's large monitors topped Gateway Inc. brands by a whisker in a tightly packed product field. Dell also had the highest installed base, at 21 percent of feds surveyed, a hefty advantage over Gateway's 12 percent.
Monitors from NEC Technologies Inc., ranked fourth in the survey, were used by 6 percent of feds canvassed. No. 3 Compaq Computer Corp. monitors and No. 5 Sony Electronics Inc. brands each had a 5 percent share.
Together, the survey's five top-rated monitors represented 49 percent of a federal market teeming with brands. More than 22 other monitor brands'including units from ViewSonic Corp. and CTX International Inc., both of Walnut, Calif., and each with 4 percent'accounted for the remaining 51 percent of the market GCN surveyed.
Most feds responding to the survey, 61 percent, used 17-inch monitors. About 19 percent used 15-inch monitors, 10 percent 19-inch, 8 percent 21-inch and 4 percent 20-inch.
The survey also found that 67 percent of feds bought their monitors as part of a PC package, while 33 percent acquired them as a separate buy.
Overall, users of other top-rated brands in the survey had few if any complaints when GCN talked to them about their monitors' performance.
At the National Park Service's Midwest Archaeological Center in Lincoln, Neb., computer specialist Dave Burchell gave his 17-inch Gateway monitor a vigorous thumbs up.
I rate it pretty highly,' he said. 'The image quality is excellent.'
Burchell wants crisp images because he tends to crowd his screen with windows.
I like to open a lot of small terminal emulator windows and put them all over the screen,' Burchell said. 'Frequently, when people stop by to visit, they squint and say, 'How can you read all those?' But I like to have a lot of things going at once.USER VIEWS
' It worked great out of the box.''
'Cindy Moran, program manager for the Defense Information Systems Agency's Secret Internet Protocol Router Network in Arlington, Va., on her 17-inch monitor from Dell Computer Corp.
'It's been decent. But it's time for me to get something a little better. I'm looking at LCD monitors, waiting for them to come down in price so I can get something that's flicker-free.''
'James Jennings, Navy mechanical engineer, Philadelphia, on his 2-year-old 15-inch monitor from Dell