Alternative Vendors: Displays Under 30 Inches

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Brian Lisse, owner and manager of Madison Computer Works, says that after 25 years in business, the nightmares from vendors that didn't offer any support stay with him. But with Acer Inc., there's never been a support snafu that had him losing any sleep. "They just have a really low failure rate, which is why we like them," he said.

The Madison, Wis., solution provider also sells Samsung and, as with Acer, price matters less to the customers than trusting the quality of the hardware and reliable service, he said. "Samsung is a familiar name, so we're not fighting the battle of non-recognition," he said. "We're adding a value, a service, so we're looking for a company that's going to stand behind it and offer a good product."

Solution providers identified ViewSonic Corp. as the leading vendor in the category of displays under 30 inches. But Pat Walsh, owner of The Computer Station, Orlando, Fla., takes issue with the entire concept of alternatives in the display space. Calling companies like LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics or Philips Electronics "alternatives" is misleading, he said, because he considers them all top-tier vendors. When discussing these products, Walsh says reliability on the hardware end and the support end is critical. "When you're talking about a product like this, you're not making much on that product to begin with," he said. "If you've got to spend two hours of your time trying to fix one with bad pixels you want to make sure it's easy to take care of."

Todd Swank, director of marketing for Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder and solution provider Nor-Tech, agrees with Walsh on the pre-conceived notion of "alternative" vendors but says different vendors offer different advantages. "For NEC, specifically, they're not going to be the best price, but there's a customer base that demands it because they're known as the crème de la crème of high-quality monitors," he said. For customers looking for the lowest price, Swank says he would recommend CTX or Acer, and points to LG, ViewSonic and Sony Corp. of America as offering middle-range quality and competitive prices.

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