We saw some pretty cool monitor innovations in 2011. Adebuted, the was revealed, as was that functioned fully, without requiring a physical connection to a PC.
Going into 2011, we'll likely continue to see thinner monitors with more power baked into them, cheaper IPS monitors, more monitors that are completely self-sufficient (no PC required, necessarily), and be on the lookout for DisplayPort to finally take off in a big way.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Right now now it's time to take a look back at 2011 and the most impressive monitors that came through CNET Labs.
Samsung's first Plane to Line Switching (PLS) monitor is easily my favorite monitor released in 2011. It's thin, packs tons of pixels onto its 27-inch screen, and houses three superfast USB ports. All that would be great, but throw in a little alcove that lets you attach the power adapter to the back of the panel and you now have my attention, sir.
One of the best values of the year, thanks to its low price and high performance. Also, the grid overlay feature alloys me to reduce everything on my screen into small, centimeters-wide squares. And I guess it can be pretty helpful to graphics artists and photographers as well.
Apple took its previous Cinema Display, retained everything that made that monitor great (WQHD resolution, beautiful design, and IPS screen) and added Thunderbolt, Ethernet, and Firewire support. The incredible glossy screen makes *everything* displayed on it just look better.
No monitor released this year or in any previous year has displayed movies with such vibrancy, clarity, with such a deep black level. If you bought this thing for movies only, you'd be making a sound investment. If the appeal of 3D movies is slowly chipping away at your common sense, this monitor has that covered as well. If only 3D games ran at full resolution, this would have been a lot higher on the list.
The best "budget" monitor released in 2011 doesn't skimp on options. DVI, VGA, and HDMI are beautifully represented and are so easily accessible. The fact that you can get this monitor for about $200 is criminal.