The Best 23″ LED Monitor Of 2013

The Best 23" Monitor Of 2013: Dell S2340M

If you are looking for a good 23″ monitor, my recommendation would be the Dell S2340M 293M3-IPS-LED Monitor, priced at around $150. I own this monitor, and the images are very crisp on it. It uses IPS (In-Plane-Switching) in the LED, which means the monitor has bolder contrasts and is viewable at wider angles.

This monitor does has limited inputs (DVI-D & VGA) compared to the Dell UltraSharp U2312HM which adds a DisplayPort. Also, it doesn’t come with a DVI-D cable — only a VGA cable. So those without a DVD-D cable you’ll have to get it separately for about $3.

The Dell S2340M 293M3-IPS-LED Monitor, is available from Amazon.

Cheatsheet: The Top Rated Home Theater Equipment Of 2011

Sometimes you just need the facts — here is our cheatsheet listing all the top rated home theater equipment of 2011. This list is based on reviews we found on CNET, Amazon and Home Theater Review:

A/V Receivers

Home Theatre Systems and Speakers

Blu-Ray & DVD Players

Televisions / Monitors

The Best Stereo Receiver Under $250: Harmon Kardon 3390

Harmon Kardon, founded in 1953, helped create the high-fidelity audio industry, and today the company continues to produce great audio gear. Featured here is Harmon Kardon’s 3390 receiver, which has a clean, minimalist design. Selling for about $210, this receiver is really a high-end device at a budget price. Like all Harman Kardon stereo and A/V receivers, it incorporates the company’s long-standing high-current, ultrawide-bandwidth amplifier designs with discrete output transistors. As a result, the HK 3390’s sound is clear and detailed, and the receiver can easily drive most loudspeakers to generous volume levels without strain.

The HK 3390 received 4.5 out of 5 stars from CNET, and it’s the highest rated stereo receiver on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from 72 reviewers.

Note that the HK 3390 is designed for stereo sound reproduction. It can, however, accommodate home theatre devices such as a cable box or gaming system, albeit only via composite video connections. If you are looking for a budget home theatre receiver, the top rated recevier is Onkyo’s  TX-NR509 receiver.

You can get Harmon Kardon’s 3390 receiver on Amazon for about $210.

The Top Rated Home Theater Systems Of 2011

Home theater systems simplify the setup of your entertainment center. Rather than purchasing speakers, a receiver, a Blu-ray player, and other components separately, you can pick one pre-matched package and have everything you need. You’ll often save money, and you’ll know that you aren’t going to run into any compatibility issues.

When shopping for an HTIB (home theater in a box), look for the same merits as you would if you were shopping for components individually: sufficient power for you room size, clean sound with tight bass, a good feature set, and a convenient user interface.

We’ve consulted reviews on websites such as Audioholics, Home Theater Magazine, Newegg.com, Amazon, CNET, Consumer Reports, and BigPictureBigSound to find the top rated home theater systems on the market today:

Onkyo HT-S9400THX

Onkyo HT-S9400THX

Onkyo HT-S9400THX ($796)

Pros:

  • Superior HTIB sound
  • Generous selection of connections

Cons:

  • No Blu-ray player

Top Review Sources:

  • Audioholics: “We always like to have a few recommendations for HTiBs in our back pocket…This one has definitely made the cut.”
  • Home Theater Magazine: “This system isn’t just a repository for logos but a solid performer at a reasonable price” (HT-S9300THX)
  • Newegg.com: 4.0/5.0 (5+ reviews)

The Onkyo HT-S9400THX is the latest system in Onkyo’s THX-certified HT-S series. Similar systems, such as the HT-S9100THX and HT-S9300THX, have collected glowing reviews across the internet, and the HT-S9400THX is continuing that trend. Onkyo’s top-of-the-line prepackaged system, the HT-S9400THX is a 7.1 home theater designed for small rooms. It includes a receiver with plenty of connection options: 4 HDMI inputs/1 output, 5 composite inputs/1 output, 2 component inputs/1 output, and a front-panel USB input. By connecting the HT-S9400THX to the internet via Ethernet cable or optional UWF-1 USB wireless adapter ($30), you’ll be able to stream audio from your PC as well as internet sources such as Rhapsody, Napster, SiriusXM, Pandora, Slacker, Mediafly, vTuner, and Last fm. The receiver also supports media from Windows 7, DLNA, iPod/iPhone, and USB memory stick devices. There is also a remote control app for iPad/iPhone/iPod. Included as well is the Audyssey 2EQ room correction wizard, which assists users in the initial placement and tuning of the speakers.

Aside from its flexibility and multitude of features, the HT-S9400THX simply sounds great. Reviewers of the HT-S9400THX and its predecessors rank them among the best HTIB solutions. The HT-S9400THX is intended for small rooms, but many reviewers find it is powerful enough to fill medium and large rooms with clear, authoritative sound.

You can buy the Onkyo HT-S9400THX on Amazon.

Sony BDV-E780W

Sony BDV-E780W

Sony BDV-E780W ($486)

Pros:

  • Excellent audio and video quality
  • Plenty of streaming media options

Cons:

  • Average user interface design

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4.0/5.0 “One of the best Blu-ray home theater systems we’ve tested” (BDV-E770W)
  • Amazon: 4.0/5.0 (65+ reviews) (BDV-E770W)

The Sony BDV-E780W builds upon the success of its predecessor, the BDV-E770W. The BDV-E780W is a 5.1 system that includes a 3D Blu-ray player. Audio reproduction is first-rate; treble is natural and sharp, and bass is deep and clear. Image quality from the Blu-ray player is very good and the player itself has faster than average response times when loading content. The rear speakers are wireless, which decreases setup time and adds flexibility. The largest criticism of this system’s predecessor was the lack of HDMI inputs; on the BDV-E780W, this problem has been addressed. There are now inputs for 2 HDMI, 1 IR, 1 optical, 1 analog PIN, 2 USB, and 1 coaxial. Outputs are 1 HDMI, 1 component, and 1 composite. The BDV-E780W has integrated Wi-Fi as well. You can stream content from services such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, and Pandora, plus you can wirelessly stream music from a PC. With a free app, you can turn your iPhone, iPad, or compatible Android device into a remote control.

Additionally, the Sony BDV-E780W includes an iPod/iPhone dock for direct access to the music, photos, and videos stored on your device. The BDV-E780W is Sony’s flagship HTIB; it will have no problem complementing a high-end television and providing sound powerful enough to fill a medium or large room.

The Sony BDV-E780W is currently available on Amazon.

Samsung HT-D6500W

Samsung HT-D6500W

Samsung HT-D6500W ($479)

Pros:

  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Great video quality

Cons:

  • Not for large rooms

Top Review Sources:

  • Amazon: 4.5/5.0 (5+ reviews)
  • Consumer Reports: “Best Buy” (HT-C6500W)
  • BigPictureBigSound: 3.5/4.0 “An impressive package and an incredible value” (HT-C6500W)

Another HTIB carrying the positive momentum generated by its predecessor, the Samsung HT-D6500W delivers leading performance at a great price. The HT-D6500W succeeds the HT-C6500W, which was universally praised for its outstanding sound quality—much more like a separates system than a typical HTIB. The blend between the five satellites and subwoofer is seamless in the HT-D6500W. Video quality from the included 3D Blu-ray player/receiver is similarly excellent, whether the source is 1080p or standard definition. You’ll be able connect your iPod through the included dock cradle. Other inputs include 2 HDMI, 1 audio, and 1 USB; there is an HDMI output as well. Wi-Fi is built-in, and you’ll be able to take advantage of services from Netflix, Blockbuster, Pandora, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally, you can stream DLNA content from a computer. The HT-D6500W has wireless rear speakers and is appropriate for a medium-size room.

The Samsung HT-D6500W is for sale on Amazon.

The Top Rated Home Theater Projectors Of 2011

After consulting reviews on sites such as PC Magazine, Projector Central, Projector Reviews, Trusted Reviews, Audioholics, and Amazon, we created this list of the four top rated home theater projectors of 2011.

We’ve selected only full HD (1080p) home theater projectors for our recommendations — lower resolutions are available, but you give up a lot in picture quality without saving significant money. Our choices represent both dominant technologies: DLP and LCD.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 ($1,139)

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB

Top Review Sources:

  • PC Magazine: 4.0/5.0 “It’s an easy pick for Editors’ Choice”
  • Projector Central: 5.0/5.0 “There’s no sense beating around the bush: the Home Cinema 8350 is a fantastic value”
  • Projector Reviews: “It’s the easy choice for the family room or bonus room, but can easily be considered one of the best low cost choices for more of a dedicated theater”

The LCD-based Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 produces realistic color, deep blacks, and a high level of detail.  At 2000 lumens, the 8350 is able to perform well in rooms with moderate amounts of ambient light. You can turn the brightness down for darker rooms. A great aspect of this projector is its flexibility; the 8350 comes with horizontal and vertical lens shift plus manual zoom, allowing you a good deal of freedom in placing the projector off center and at different heights. There is a good selection of video inputs: 2 HDMI, 1 set of component video, 1 VGA, 1 S-video, and 1 composite. There is no onboard sound, nor are there audio inputs. The 8350 can be controlled by computer through its RS-232 serial port, and it has a 12-volt screen trigger. Dimensions are 15.5” D x 17.7” W x 5.7” H and weight is 16.1 pounds.

You’ll find the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 available now on Amazon.

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB ($2,325)

Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB

Top Review Sources:

  • PC Magazine: 4.0/5.0 “Our Editors’ Choice for a moderately priced home theater projector”
  • Projector Reviews: “[Its] strengths will satisfy a large percentage of those shopping for a projector in the price range, or even for twice the price”
  • Projector Central: 5.0/5.0 “A powerful, capable 1080p projector”

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB is a notch above the Home Cinema 8350 in terms of performance and price. The main advantage the 8700UB has over the 8350 is picture quality; the 8700UB is capable of deeper black levels, better shading detail, and more accurate color. The 8700UB also has a resolution enhancement feature that effectively sharpens non-HD sources. Its 1600-lumen strength allows it to work in both dark and well-lit rooms. Like the 8350, the 8700UB has a good selection of video inputs: 2 HDMI, 1 set of component video, 1 VGA, 1 S-video, and 1 composite. There is no built-in audio, nor is there 3D capability. You can control the 8700UB by computer via its RS-232 serial port, and there is a 12-volt trigger for automatically raising and lowering a screen. The zoom and lens shift controls give you a lot of leeway for positioning. The 8700UB measures 15.5” D x 17.7” W x 5.7” H and weighs 16.1 pounds.

The Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8700UB is for sale on Amazon.

BenQ W1200 ($1,299)

 

BenQ W1200

Top Review Sources:

  • Trusted Reviews: 9/10 “It’s the vibrancy of the colours in particular that really makes the W1200 stand out from the similarly priced crowd”
  • Projector Reviews: “Its combination of color, brightness, and sharpness give it a boost over entry level DLPs”
  • Projector Central: 5.0/5.0 “High dynamic range and dead-on color accuracy”

The BenQ W1200 is a low-cost DLP projector with impressive performance. It doesn’t fall down in any specific way; rather, the W1200 delivers consistent quality in just about every area. Its colors are vibrant and it has exceptional sharpness. Black levels and shadow detail are both good. It has an above-average 1800 lumens potential, 10-bit color processing, and plenty of picture adjustments. The projector is limited by its lack of lens shift, though it does have zoom. For inputs, you’ll find 2 HDMI, 1 VGA, 1 set of component video, 1 RS-232 serial port, 1 USB, a 12-volt screen trigger, 2 audio inputs, and 1 audio output. The W1200 also has two 10W speakers. The speakers are decent, but they will not replace a proper set of external home theater speakers. One potential annoyance is the variable speed fan, which some reviewers found distracting. Dimensions are 13.3” W x 5.5” H x 10.2” D and weight is 7.9 pounds. The BenQ W1200 is 3D ready.

The BenQ W1200 is available for purchase on Amazon.

 

Optoma HD20 ($900)

 

 

Optoma HD20

Pros:

  • High value
  • Impressive picture

Cons:

  • Rare rainbow effect incidence

Top Review Sources:

  • Amazon: 4.5/5.0 (125+ reviews)
  • Audioholics: “We can’t stress enough that the price of this 1080p projector is just amazing”
  • Projector Central: 4.5/5.0 “We are thrilled with the HD20’s picture quality for the price”

The remarkable Optoma HD20 provides 1080p resolution and class-leading picture quality for less than $1,000. This DLP projector produces a high level of visual detail and color accuracy. If you are particularly sensitive to the single chip DLP rainbow effect, you may not like the HD20—however, most reviewers don’t notice it. The HD20 can produce 1700 lumens, more than enough to operate in well-lit rooms. On the back of the HD20 you’ll find inputs for 2 HDMI, 1 composite, 1 component, 1 VGA, and a 12-volt screen trigger. It is a fairly portable home theater projector, weighing only 6.4 pounds and measuring just 12.76 W x 3.82” H x 9.21” D. There is no internal audio and no 3D capability.

The Optoma HD20 is for sale on Amazon.