Best LED-based monitors(Updated August 28, 2012 3:32 AM PDT)
For the last couple of years now, LED-backlit monitors have been the new hotness in the industry, and subsequently, more monitor vendors have continued to jump on the bandwagon.
For those unfamiliar with LED backlights, a quote from the review of the should be apt enough as a description: "Most monitors use cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL)-based backlights--several fluorescent tubes stretched horizontally across the screen. LED-based monitors rely on individual LEDs all over the back of the screen that turn off or on independently, giving the display more precise control over the amount of light that comes through. The purported advantages of an LED backlight are better energy efficiency, more accurate color reproduction, a conceivably thinner panel design, and a higher potential brightness level."
Only a handful of monitors can begin to live up to this potential, and so far, none of them has done so fully. Unfortunately, most of the LED-based monitors we've reviewed are still limited by other factors, namely panel type. Most LED monitors, for better or for worse, are still built using TN panels, which, in general, don't provide color reproduction as well as .
Lately, however, IPS/LED monitors have begun to trickle in. The HP DreamColor LP2480zx and the Apple LED Cinema Display 27-inch both have LED backlights and IPS panels, giving them thicker panels than their TN counterparts, but wider viewing angles and incredible overall performance.
That said, we're still waiting on our thin LED backlit monitor with wide natural viewing angles and accurate color reproduction. Hopefully manufacturers will continue to push the limits of LED-based monitors until they fully live up to their potential. Thankfully, they've been able to curb costs for the most part. Aside from the two IPS dealies in the list (each costing more than $1,000), the other models featured here come in at around $300.
If you're interested in buying an LED monitor, know what you're getting into. You'll most likely get a decently priced, thin monitor, with good performance and low power consumption. Just don't expect color accuracy or a peak brightness on par with an IPS or PVA monitor, unless you're willing to pay for it.
With that said, here are the best LED monitors we've tested, in descending order, starting with the HP DreamColor LP2480zx. Enjoy.
As a desktop display and USB extender, the 27-inch Apple LED Cinema Display works wonderfully; however, for $1,000, there are better monitors that offer more options, including PC and Mac compatibility.