Is a 21" monitor really necessary?

Hey guys…

I have a 19" Sony trintron G420 monitor. I’ve had the monitor for allmost a year. I’ve been checking out the 21" Sony monitors and they look really sweet.

So my question is:

  1. Will I notice a big difference going from a 19" monitor to a 21" monitor?


Compare the actual viewable image size (diagonal). It should be in the specs somewhere. The generic 19" and 21" measurements aren’t reliable.

We’ll Of course i know that. When a monitor claims to be 21", it’s actually 19.8" viewable. And a 19" monitor is actually 18.0" viewable.

But what i would like to know is, would there a noticable difference if I went to a 21" monitor.

When i went from a 17" monitor to my current 19" monitor, there was a huge difference.

thxs all…


And, that said, I have a 19" at home and a 21" (no, those aren’t viewable regions), and I can sure tell the difference. ('Course, I think I sit closer to the one at work, too, so that makes some difference, undoubtedly.)

Just the same, I think you’ll notice the difference, assuming viewable size has a substantial improvement.

I think 21" prices are still falling due to the rise in LCD sales, so you might want to wait a little bit more if price is a concern. That’s usually a given in computer realms but there was a long period where monitor prices stayed extremely high compared to other hardware drops over the same period.

I’ve seen gaming sites starting to promote LCDs now that response time and contrast have been improved, but that seems premature to me. Plus I’ve always found that I need to have different resolutions on different games and the non-native resolution blurring annoys me, an issue that doesn’t seem like it has a good solution in the short term.

Just keep in mind that those things are absolute monsters. They’re almost always bigger than you think, so make sure you have plenty of deskspace and some distance between the desk and your wall. Other than that, they’re great. I have a 19" because the 21" seems to take over the room (only a little exaggeration here), but it allows you to bump up the resolution a bit and still be readable, so you get plenty of new desktop space. If the cost and space aren’t issues for you, go for it.

I use a 21" at work and a 19" at home and I don’t notice the difference. Previous monitor differences were quite noticeable but 19 to 21 doesn’t seem to be nearly as dramatic. It is probably because the percent increase is a lot less as you get into bigger and bigger monitors. I did some back of the envelope calculations and came up with the jump from 17 to 19 is about 25% while the jump from 19 to 21 is about 21%.

– Xaroc


Changed the numbers above to reflect errors.

I was looking over my figures again and thought I would throw out these numbers for people to chew on:

17" 142 square inches of viewing area (assuming 17" diagonal)
19" 178 square inches of viewing area (assuming 19" diagonal)
21" 217 square inches of viewing area (assuming 21" diagonal)

AIM, I think you may have answered you own question. You said you checked out the 21" monitors, and they look sweet. Well, to me, that says you’d notice the difference. Unless by “checking out” you mean you were looking at some web pages and drooling over it. :)

Anyway, with a 21" monitor you’ll be able to sit further back and still feel immersed in your game, which is always a good thing. Depending on where your desk is, you may not be able to fit it, and your nose might even be CLOSER to the glass because of the size of the thing. That’s not as good.

To tell the difference, you really need to look at them in person. Get thee to a CompUSA or something.

One thing to note: The bigger the monitor, the blockier a given resolution will be. 1024x768 might not look very pixelated to you on your 19", but the pixels will be physically larger on a 21". You need a graphics card that can run higher resolutions and/or decent anti-aliasing to get the most out of a very large monitor.

To me personally there have been big differences… I’ve sequentially moved up in the years from 14 to 15, 17, 19 (at work), and finally a 22. The big conscious decision to upgrade when I had a 17 was using a 19 at work, which seemed a world of a lot bigger (NEC A700 to a Optiquest Q95 at work) – and when I finally decided to upgrade, I bought a refurbished NEC 22" from Ubid for a mere 300 clams. It’s not totally flat, but DOES have a 21" viewing range, which is big – a noticeable difference from my brother’s totally flat NEC 22" (which is a better model all around anyway).

To me, it’s a noticeable difference, though others may not feel the same way. I’m not a big monitor nut, but I love the hell out of my 22" and can’t imagine ever going back (nor do I ever want to go back to single-monitor setups) – it’s bad enough I’m stuck with a 19" at work :)

— Alan

One thing I can say is I won’t upgrade unless I can afford a a TRUE flatscreen model. I didn’t notice a big diffrence when I went to the flat but a few months later I worked on a regular one again and man its noticable, I frankly can’t look at a curved monitor for long anymore.

Jason Cross…

Yea, I have been looking at web pages and have been drooling over the Sony 21" monitors :oops:

Maybe I’ll stick with my monitor for the present time, because it’s still awefully big to me anyway. And maybe I’ll go to Best buy and look at the difference between the 19" and 21" models that they have displayed.

And if I get the 21" monitor, I will not be able to get the klipsch 5.1’s that I want, and I will not be able to finish building my gaming system that is in limbo.

Maybe i’m being picky. :D

Hey Jason…

Any chance you’ll be doing reviews on 19" and 21" monitors at Computer Games? Please… Video Card reviews are a dime a dozen.


The problem is, monitors themselves are a dime a dozen. I mean, there are dozens of brands with dozens of models. And you know, they’re just MONITORS. Important computer equipment, yes. Like your hard drive. Affects gaming, yes. Like the rest of your computer equipment. But you gotta draw the line somewhere, and I think reviewing a bunch of tube monitors falls on the “not game-y enough” side.

Now if someone comes out with a CRT that is in some way some kind of technilogical leap over what’s out there, we might look at it. I’m not sure what that would be, though.

LCDs are a different story. They’re relatively new, particularly in the “you can now afford them” sense, as well as the “they’re good enough to be an alternative to CRT” sense. Look for an LCD feature not too far in the future.

LCD review would be excellent. I am not going to purchase another CRT if I can help it. The big ones are so damn bulky! I look forward to the day when I can have a viewable 19" screen and it will not fill up half the room–for the combination LCD seems the only alternative.

If LCD’s worked well with flight sims and didn’t freak out with different resolutions, I would have one now.

On LCDs, I have this:

Looks fine in fast motion to me, as it’s one of the new fast rise/fall models. Wierdly, it’s been discontinued? Whatever.