The monitor situation these days is abysmal
99 out of 100 montors that you will see in any computer store are craptastic 6 bit TN pantels. Barely adequet for TV viewing and if you want to do ANYTHING like photography with your machine, those monitors are compeltely useless ;( Adjusting proper color saturation and temperature on photographs on a TN panel is virtually impossible!
I looked in store after store and short of the Apple Cinima Display ($2500!!!) there was not a single decent LCD for sale any more.
They also look really REALLY bad in a lot of games that have subtle fog and lighting effects. Though if you look at them in the store they look all colorful and bright. You need to look closer at the dithering (Some use hardware dithering to increase the apparent bit depth) or posterization of colors on the background images. Try changing the backgrounds if you can on the computers to various things and look at it critically.
They also have the annoyingly narrow vertical resolution which works fine (again) for TV but sucks for computer work. Shaving of dozens to hundreds of pixels vertically where you need it most.
I ended up ordering a modern generation 10 bit IPS-TFT display from Dell for about $500, 1920x1200 as ghod intended. I too didn't want to order something sight unseen either being so picky myself but the monitor has been amazing. I did a ton of research on it beforehand and that helped. The monitor was twice as expensive as one of the in store 1920x1080 TN panels but worth every penny if you care about image quality in any way.
NEC also sells a line of very good "pro" monitors but those were twice as expensive still. The Dell monitor was in a good sweet spot for price and performance.
 This looks like the current offering of the one I got a couple years ago: http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...4&sku=320-8277