Over a testing period of over a month with an everyday average use of around 4-8 hours, I have put this monitor through the ringers to see just how well it works during work, or play. Will this monitor live up to its hype? Will this be the gaming monitor we have been all waiting for?
Standard Computer / High Definition DVD/Blu Ray Use
For an initial test, I just inserted this monitor into my main workstation as my primary daily workhorse. Once the swap occurred, I did notice a couple things. For one, this is a very bright monitor and toning down the brightness and contrast setting will be needed for comfort. The MagicBright functionality did allow for some other choices, but I chose to go it on my own and tweak it myself. This will then be saved under the "Custom" selection in the MagicBright control panel.
The second thing to note is that overall color tone of this monitor tends to lean to the cool side which seemed to be a stark difference to the warmer tone I was used with my previous monitor (which was the 2233SW reviewed HERE). Through some manual adjustments I was able to warm things up a bit but the tone did stay on the cool side. Was my previous monitor set for a warmer setting than the 2233RZ? The easy answer was no. I used the exact same settings for each. But after a while your eyes will become accustomed to the change and it won't be very noticeable. Just make sure you go into the control panel and set the color scheme to as warm as it will allow in the quick settings and you should be fine.
With that being stated, overall, the rest of the visual computing was spot on. Once the 120hz was enabled in the display settings, the mouse movement on the screen instantly became more precise, controlled and smooth like the good ole' CRT monitor days. Movie viewing also noted a change with an overall smoother action scene rendering and much less motion artifacts.
In essence, you now have the color reproduction and vivid picture of an LCD with all the benefits from the old CRT monitor technology.
Three Dimensional Gaming
So the moment of truth, is it a gamer or is it all marketing and no substance.
So setting up the gaming on this monitor is not as easy as just firing up the game and having it work. First you will have to go into your videocard control panel and enable the 120hz setting for 3D rendering. If not, you will be stuck with the 60hz default. So I waded into the videocard driver settings, enabled 120hz gaming, closed down the control panel and fired up my favorite game at the time of this review, Left 4 Dead.
What I witnessed is something that I have not seen in over 8 years. With the 3ms gray to gray response time and the 120hz refresh rate, the gaming experience was as smooth as butter. A smile smeared across my face that I have not been able to muster since I have my old 17 inch CRT monitor. Suddenly, gaming was a whole difference experience. Suddenly, I wanted to game again. You see, for the past two to three years, I have been a very casual gamer. I would play a little here, play a little there, but never every day and sometimes I would go weeks without firing up Counter Strike, L4D or any of the other games I had installed.
Since installing this monitor, I have been gaming daily for at least two hours a day. You see, when your refresh rate goes up, your accuracy goes up as well. Sure the monitor resolution tops out at 1650x1080, BUT I DON'T CARE! I want to game more regardless of resolution. I want to see how buttery smoother my system is supposed to play my games. Why have a game tweaked out to 100fps when in the past you could only see 60fps? Now the ceiling has been set higher and I hope it never comes down.
What I am reviewing today may be the initial offering which will have all other manufacturers climbing over each other to release more monitors with the 120hz specification and to that I raise my stein of beer and cheer. This is what the consumer deserves and what the gamer needs to enjoy their games again. Who cares about the price difference, I want more of this!