There are two major reasons to buy a bigger monitor: the first is to be able to fit more pixels in front of you, and the other is to have bigger images. The everyday user will always want more room for pixels—to fit more “stuff” on their screen. This means you can have more windows open, ideally helping you work more efficiently and organize your applications more easily. Most 17” and 19” (4:3) monitors have a maximum resolution of 1280x1024 and this monitor has a maximum resolution of 1400x1050, only slightly higher. This is about an extra start menu in height, and an extra Firefox bookmark in width—not very much. Most 20.1” monitors, in fact, run 1600x1200px, and the low resolution on the Soyo 2058 was actually very disappointing because it isn't very much of an upgrade from my former, much smaller, 17” monitor.
This monitor, however, is much brighter and clearer than any monitor I have used in the past. As you can see in the picture above, it greatly outshines its neighbor, a Sony 17”. On some screens, this brightness would cause backlight bleeding. Backlight bleeding on this monitor was very severe when the monitor was cold, blacks around all edges were light gray, however after a few minutes of use, the monitor warms up and backlight bleeding is almost entirely unnoticeable even on a solid black screen.
You get what you pay for with the speakers, which get the job done but not much else. For listening to music they had the slightly tinny sound of low quality headphones, but fared well for listening to voicemail online and talking over Ventrilo. All in all, despite the low resolution, everyday use of the Soyo 2058 was enjoyable.
When watching movies, a high monitor resolution doesn't quite matter as much. The difference between a 1400x1050 monitor and a 1600x1200 monitor is very low compared to the difference between, say, a 420i television and a 1080p television, and both Enter the Dragon and The Last Samurai looked great on this monitor. Bruce Lee's movie is a little bit on the old side, and I chose to watch it because, well, who doesn't love this classic? Moving on to a more recent movie with higher quality images, everything in The Last Samurai was crystal clear and I couldn't notice a single blemish. Again in movie watching, the speakers were a little overwhelmed by the bursts of sound, but got the job done for quieter moments like conversations.
Gaming on the Soyo 2058 was a breeze, and looked great. I started out on CS: Source, which I play very often. When I first started up, it was hard to get used to such large images. It is, however, a great advantage to have other people's heads be bigger than usual when you're trying to shoot them off. I never noticed any ghosting, and everything went very smoothly.
Doom3 is very well known for its darkness. I moved on to this game to see if the monitor was bright enough to handle this game, or if everything would get lost in the depths of shadows. To my surprise, I could see! Starting the game from the beginning, I noticed immediately details that were too dark to see in previous plays through the game. Again, this was very advantageous as I didn't have to spend so much time switching between the darned flashlight and my guns, and made the game much more fun.
Although the Soyo 2058 has a low maximum resolution, it performs very well in all situations. From gaming to movie watching, it was a pleasure to work with. The bright screen really brought colors out, and it's nice to have bigger images. Still, without a higher resolution, your desktop can only fit the same amount of icons and you can only have the same number of windows open at once before things get too cluttered.
Coming in at just under $180 USD at Geeks.com, this monitor is a pretty good deal that offers a nice bang for the buck. New monitors are always coming out, and old ones are always getting cheaper, though, so this may not be as much of a steal for very long.
Thanks to Geeks.com for providing the Soyo 2058 Monitor for review today.
+ Image quality
- Low maximum resolution
- No included DVI cable