Zalman ZM-M240W Stereoscopic monitor review

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Final Words & Conclusion


Final Words & Conclusion

Okay so we where not thwarted at all. In the industry the biggest discussion right now is whether to use Polarization or active shutter glasses. The TV industry and NVIDIA are strong believers of active shutter glasses. That means wearing a more heavy set of glasses that will need power in the form of (re)chargeable battery. Since you really want 60Hz per eye to prevent flickering, each eye receives one frame alternated and as such the monitor's and TVs typically start at 120Hz. Gaming wise that also means nearly doubling up the workload on the GPU, which NVIDIA likes as you need to purchase better graphics cards :) It definitely is the more expensive method to follow. Quality wise that solution does offer the full 1080 horizontal lines. When we stick to desktop usage we do feel that NVIDIA offers a great kit, but sure glasses and a 3D monitor can easily set you down 500 EUR plus you need to invest in a pretty heavy weight graphics card.

The Linear polarization alternative as reviewed today from Zalman has a lot of advantages, but also disadvantages. First and foremost it's much easier on the eyes as you do not deal with flickering and ghosting opposed to active shutter glasses. Now, it is much cheaper as the TFT panel really is 60 Hz (with a polarizing filter layer over it). The glasses can be purchased for a few bucks on-line whereas a 3D  Vision kit costs 150 USD / 130 EUR.

Polarization, though slightly different (circular polarization) is the method used in cinema's at the moment, so if you have seen Avatar in 3D, that effect and it's caveats are roughly what you will experience with this monitor.  Now I've shown this monitor to a couple of buds and each and every-one of them was impressed as it's just an easy on the eyes method of 3D Stereoscopy. And yeah, it is funny to see that one of the oldest technologies still seems to be a very good one, but you do forfeit on the horizontal lines which are cut in half.

Unfortunately for Zalman, the pricing level apparently got bumped up. The first indications for this screens where that it was supposable would cost roughly 375 EUR. While performing a quick check, the cheapest one I could find (here in the Netherlands) was 450 EUR for this 24" model and that makes this budget 3D monitor as expensive as 120 Hz 3D monitors. Also do not forget, if you want to game in 3D, you'll need a stereoscopic driver, NVIDIA should be a great free option to use, but if that is not an option for you (ATI Radeon) then Triple-D and iZ3D are an alternative. Both are 3rd party drivers and need to be purchased separately and will cost you another 40 to 50 USD.

The monitor itself then, the polarizing filter over the panel makes the monitor extremely reflective, we've shown you that in the photo-shoot. You'll need to use the monitor in a somewhat dimmed room while watching 3D movies. The viewing angle is also somewhat limited yet not bad. In my opinion the loss of resolution is well compensated for by the impact of stereoscopy with no flickering. The glossy reflective look might be bothersome in a well lit room. Keep that in mind.

The monitor itself (2D) offers exceptionally good image quality, in fact it surprised us how well color reproduction and the black levels are, and I am a guy that works on IPS panels for proper color reproduction as quality matters to me. Contrast is also more than plentiful and refresh times are really a non-issue as well. It really is an excellent 2D monitor, and it will give you the reaped benefits of 3D as well. And that's a good combo as 98% of the time you'll use this monitor in 2D mode.

guru3d-recommended_150px.jpgWe'll try and test a Full HD 3D screen with NVIDIA's solution soon as well. As at this point I have a hard time recommending the one or the other. Each setup comes with it's own pro's and cons. But when we started reviewing this product, I was a little weary on how it would perform as the industry really is pushing for active shutter glasses based solutions, in the end I'm closing the review being very impressed by the 3D quality thrown at you. And as 2D monitor, it just really is a surprisingly good TN TFT.

** Update - there are two SKUs available, one with and the other without IZ3D software.

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