Another store…

This is a lesson in why you shouldn’t just buy things on price. This morning, I was at the world-famous Wal-Mart, and they have a smallish selection of LCD Monitors. One of these monitors is a 19″ model priced at $192. You’d think that would be a great deal, but of course the devil is in the details.

I know that it is difficult to see the actual text in the photo, but it should suffice my little explanation. 🙂

It starts out fine – Balance Monitor 19″ LCD

The next line is a little confusing, but makes sense if you take the stuff in caps out 😉 – “SXGA 1280×1024 DPI Resolution” (it would be interesting, however to see what a screen that was a 1280×1024 DPI looked like, despite the obvious problem of not being able to discern anything as small as it all would be)

Line 3. A Contrast Ratio – 700:1, pretty good, remembering that most of the basic monitors are 500:1 ratios.

It’s all going quite well, we have your basic 19″ LCD monitor, a good resolution and a more-than-adequate contrast ratio. So, why is this monitor priced at $192–other than it being an off-brand of course??? Your answer comes in line 4, which is printed like this – 25 ms Response Time. For the benefit of those who might have a hard time seeing things that small, including about 95% of shoppers at said store, let me repeat that. “25 ms Response Time”.

Considering that (based on comments on my earlier query) the baseline for human eyes is 8 ms, this lovely monitor is three times slower than that. And I guess that would be why they don’t show any sample images on these monitors, so that unsuspecting (and probably uninformed) customers would go off and buy this monitor thinking that they got a good price, but they get home and realize that the monitor really is pretty lousy performing. I would also bet that it won’t last very long, especially if it is used with any frequency.

There is a lesson in this – if you want to make a purchase, make sure you have some clue about what you are going to buy; just because it’s the cheapest item out there, that doesn’t mean that it should be bought. As always, caveat emptor – buyer beware.

I should also add that something good did come out of this – I wound up teaching my mother about some basics about shopping for LCD monitors, that you should get nothing higher than 8 ms for a response time 😉