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So, onto the body of the beast, and while it's never going to win any design awards, Chimei has given the screen a solid, industrially chunky look, using plastics that feel rugged and durable - important if you put it to some of the aforementioned uses. There's a cable-clip at the back for tidying the power, VGA and 3.5mm-audio cables. Yes, this screen has speakers and yes, they are rubbish. But even though explosions sound like someone punching through paper, Batman grumbles like The Thing and bass is noticeable only in its absence, they're adequate for light entertainment duties and they let you hear Window's peeps and plings, which is all many business users require.
Another concession to practicality over style is that the CMV633A has its buttons located under the bezel, with labels clearly printed on the front fascia. These labels help when navigating through the slightly awkward OSD, without resorting to the antics some monitors inspire. Chimei's cutie (yes, it is) also makes up for its menu's awkwardness by offering direct control over brightness, contrast and a frankly baffling selection of preset viewing modes. What appears to be, for all intents and purposes, a business-oriented LCD monitor offers game, movie, photo, text, standard, user and ‘colourful' modes - its drab mode is available only for corporate users.
The CMV633A even offers an ‘ideal aspect ratio' mode, in which it maintains the source's original format. Pixel for pixel mapping might be argued to be redundant in a monitor this size, but we think it's a great feature to have regardless.
In fact, Chimei's offering makes a reasonable case for itself as an entertainment device. Noticeable backlight bleed from the bottom bezel and rather poor viewing angles are the only major blemishes on an otherwise surprisingly accomplished performance, including exceptional motion-handling (easy on a screen this size, but still not a given), and natural colours. In common with most TN panels, you lose some detail in shadowed areas, but again on a screen this size it's hardly conspicuous.
Chimei's CMV633A probably marks an emerging market for cheap, reliable but unremarkable monitors below 17 inches. It is portable, rugged and fairly appealing. While it might not suit the average home-PC user, for businesses looking for a diminutive monitor for space or aesthetic reasons this might be just the thing. EeePC users might also enjoy hooking up to something that's a little easier on the eyes for office work, games and movies, though its size means it's not much larger than a normal notebook display and this does restrict its appeal.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality