TFT Monitor Pros and Cons

TFT Monitors are often thought of as an ideal replacement for "traditional" (i.e. CRT) Monitors, after all they almost always have advantages such as:

  • Size: They are smaller in every way than their CRT counterparts - with the greatest saving in their depth, allowing a lot more desk space than a CRT monitor of similar size.
  • Weight: Anyone who has had to carry a 17" or larger CRT monitor will tell you that they are HEAVY.  Even the oldest and cumbersome TFT monitors have a huge weight advantage.  When coupled with the much smaller size, this makes them much easier to handle.
  • Power: In this every more power saving green society, it is often overlooked how much power TFT monitors can save, compared to CRT monitors.  a TFT Monitor will typically use only 25 - 50% of the power used by a similar sized CRT monitor.
  • Display Sharpness: When correctly configured, a TFT monitor should have a perfectly sharp display. Unlike CRT monitors, where the picture is 'projected' as an electron pattenr from the rear of the monitor and focused electronically only the inside of the screen, a TFT monitor has no focusing - each tiny rectangular dot on the screen is effectively a tiny coloured light source, so there is no reason for displays to be blurred or fuzzy.

But TFT Monitors do have weaknesses that are often overlooked, such as:

  • Fixed native resolution: This determines the displayed text size and unlike CRT monitors, the text size on an LCD monitor cannot be made larger without compromising the page layout in both application programs and web pages.
  • Colour Rendition: Colour rendition or Colour accuracy, if you prefer - is much harder to achieve in LCD monitors due to the inherently non-linear light output from the flat panel, compared to a CRT monitor.  Also, Black and White levels are more difficult to maintain accurately.  These are serious issues when editing photographs or documents where the colour seen on-screen may not be reproduced accurately when printed or displayed elsewhere.
  • Viewing angle: CRT monitors - especially those with flat screens - have excellent wide viewing angles - with little or no distortion of contrast or colours.  TFT monitors, especially older models suffer very badly in this respect.

So, old heavy CRT monitors do have some advantages - however the latest and best of the TFT monitors can now compete in these areas as well - but beware cheaper models which may fail to live up to expectations and easily disappoint more discerning users.