May 2003 Best Buys: 17in LCD monitors

LG Flatron L1710B

DESCRIPTION: Similar in style and colour scheme to the L1510S, only bigger, the L1710B adds a digital connection and a convenient USB hub to up the ante in the connectivity stakes. The base also adds swivel capabilities and can be removed to expose standard VESA wall-mount holes, should a wall be your preferred resting place for this monitor. The bezel edging is very thin at only 16mm for the top and sides and 30mm for the bottom, which is home to the control buttons, but this bezel did feel very flimsy and was easily bendable.

CONNECTIVITY: The digital and analog ports for this unit are placed vertically on the rear of this unit and point downward. The cables are removable and both analog and digital cables are provided in the box. The power supply is built-into the unit, which means that there is no external transformer and that a power cable can be simply plugged into the rear of the unit.

PICTURE QUALITY CONTROLS: Buttons for auto-adjustment, input source selection and on-screen menu navigation are provided on the bezel and these are clearly labelled for their function. The on-screen menu allows for adjustments to be made to luminance, screen position, and to the pixel phase and clock. Colour can be manually adjusted by manipulating the individual red, green and blue values, or standard colour temperatures of 9300 and 6500 Kelvin can be selected. Gamma can also be changed. A nifty little feature of the OSD is its ability to return you to the last section you were in the previous time you used it.

PERFORMANCE: Like all monitors in the review, this one was pale when watching DVD movies, especially dark ones, but overall it provided an adequate watching experience. For productivity and gaming, the screen is very vibrant and it can be viewed comfortably from narrow side angles, although the swivelling base aids situations where viewing is from tight angles. The monitor struggled to display some darker grey colours in our tests, but light grey reproduction was perfect and colour gradations were consistent.

BEST USE: With good connectivity features and a vibrant picture, this monitor is well suited to experienced users who are looking for good image quality at a nice price.

View the 17in LCD monitor spec sheet here.

Mitsubishi Diamond View DV172

DESCRIPTION: Priced at $1099, this 17in screen has a lot going for it for both the home user and the business user. It has built-in speakers, a thin bezel, great picture quality and good usability in terms of its menu system. Unlike the DV159 that we reviewed in the 15in category, this monitor does not have swivel capabilities, nor does it stray from the standard beige styling, which should nevertheless complement most computer systems. The base does allow tilt adjustments to be made and this base can also be removed if wall-mounting is required.

CONNECTIVITY: Professional graphics users will be pleased to note that this model ships with a digital input connection in addition to the standard analog port; if this connection is used, it means that the user will have no need to adjust pixel phase, clock or screen position, as the digital signal will be perfect. Speakers are built into the bottom bezel of the monitor and one audio input is provided. For use in an office or publicly accessible place, the monitor can be easily secured via its Kensington cable lock facility.

PICTURE QUALITY CONTROLS: This monitor’s ease of use is highlighted by the simple control button placement on the bottom bezel, which is clearly marked with the various functions. An auto-adjust button is available for instant setup when connected to the analog input port, and brightness and contrast can be changed without even having to navigate the on-screen display, simply by pressing their respective buttons. Once inside the on-screen menu system, however, will find that colour adjustments can be made either manually for the individual red, green and blue channels, or you will be able to select from standard colour temperatures of 9300K, 6500K and 5800K. Input selection has to be made through the menu system, as there is no dedicated button for changing between digital and analog inputs on the bezel. Fine tuning of the pixel phase and clock settings is also provided, and image position can also be manipulated.

PERFORMANCE: With a stated contrast ratio of 500:1, the DV172 displayed great definition during dark scenes in The Matrix DVD movie tests -- despite not showing as many dark grey levels in the DisplayMate test as some of the other monitors in the review. It excelled on the bright end of the scale, though, with light greyscale colours being clearly defined as well as colour gradients in general. Game playing is possible on this monitor and we found no detrimental effects while playing Quake 3 or NBA Live 2002. The monitor’s viewing angles were excellent, text being clearly readable from the sides, and unlike some other monitors in the review, comfortably watching a movie while sitting either to the left or right of the screen was also possible.

BEST USE: This unit provides great features for the office environment, but the home user will also be pleased with its great DVD movie playback, game playing ability and overall display capabilities.

View the 17in LCD monitor spec sheet here.

Not sure on the technical terms used in the LCD monitor Best Buys reviews? Check out PC World's LCD Monitor glossary.

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