I have to admit, going into CES 2011, I found it difficult to garner excitement about the category for which I hold responsibility.
Before CES, I was reviewing what seemed like the same 23-inch LED-based monitor over and over again, with the odd large-screen IPS monitor thrown in every now and then to spice things up. Only, it was like adding half a teaspoon of salad dressing to a huge plate of cold, raw broccoli.
I definitely didn't expect to leave CES more excited about this category than I've ever been. Thankfully, for the sake of my mental health, that's exactly what happened.
I credit three companies for my renewed enthusiasm for what can be a very boring and repetitive category, with sometimes little difference between the many, many models of monitors released every year.
Those companies are Samsung, LG, and DisplayLink.
Starting with Samsung, its most ambitious device is something actually only referred to as an IT hub by the company, Central Station. The "IT hub" wirelessly connects and syncs your devices (keyboard, mouse) to your laptop whenever it comes within a few feet your Central Station monitor, with no button presses necessary. Samsung also unveiled two new LED monitors as follow-ups to its very popular PX2370.
One of its next items was the monitor highlight of the show for me. Samsung rolled in with its own proprietary 3D glasses (no wires!) and technology, eschewing Nvidia's. Both the new 3D monitors, the SA750 and SA950, are 3D monitors with gorgeous aesthetics, many useful features, and what seemed to be fantastic performance. Also, the SA950 itself is the single most gorgeous piece of device I've ever wanted to connect to my PC.
LG came into CES with a huge monitor presence, debuting several exciting ones. The most hyped was its E2290V, the world's (current) thinnest monitor with panel depth of 0.28-inches. Not to be outdone by Samsung, the company also kicked Nvidia to the curb, showing off a passive 3D monitor solution.
DisplayLink isn't a company I'm genuinely excited about when it comes to seeing its wares, but it really surprised me with its portable 15.1 inch monitor called Monitor2Go.
Rounding things out, Acer and Nvidia showed the first 27-inch 3D monitor, and another with an embedded 3D emitter. The glasses still require a cable however. Finally, AOC had what could possibly be the second thinnest monitor in the world, right behind LG's.
I guess if I had to boil down why I'm now so excited about monitors in 2011, it's this feeling that the category is actually moving forward: Samsung and LG using their own 3D solutions, LG delivering IPS LED monitors, DisplayLink allowing us to take our monitor on the go, and Central Station connecting everything.
I can't wait to start getting some of these in for testing. The next few months should be entertaining indeed.