For those who have been around in the industry for some years the name Iiyama is evocative of quality monitors. I once visited its facilities in Stevenage and was impressed by its comprehensive testing set-up. Back in the late nineties, many of the best CRTs were from Iiyama and if a review PC came with a 17in VisionMaster Pro you knew it was off to a good start.
When the industry started to shift away from CRT it was natural to expect that Iiyama’s reputation and expertise would make its way over to LCDs but somehow it didn’t happen for Iiyama. The focus was mostly on LCD TV rather than monitors, a venture that very nearly did for it in the UK. As you can see from its web site it’s now focussing on monitors again with only three models on show – two 19in models and the ProLite E2200WS – a new 22in widescreen model. However, it’s going down the flashy headline grabbing low response time route rather than talking about quality which worries me somewhat.
The last Iiyama we looked at was the 17in ProLite H431S which was truly excellent. This screen is a competitor for the Mirai DML-522W100. That was the first 22in in widescreen display on the market and is intended at attracting those who hanker after a 24in display but can’t quite stretch their budget to it. The Mirai is available for a bargain basement £225, while the cheapest I could find this Iiyama was £250 online. This compares to 24in screens which will cost you around well over the £500 mark. As of writing Dell’s 24in is currently going for £566.64 so you could buy the Iiyama twice and still have change.
The reason why the 22in size is so affordable compared to the 24in is because of resolution. These displays only have the same resolution as 20in widescreen monitors – 1,680 x 1,050, compared to 1,920 x 1,200 on the 24s. This is the same situation at 17in and 19in 4:3 screens; the latter is larger but both have the same resolution. This means that you should think of this 22in as a wide 19in, rather than a smaller 24in – if you get my drift.
Design wise Iiyama has kept things simple, with a plain black bezel with six equally sized buttons at the bottom. A speaker grille runs along the bottom edge. On the right hand corner is a headphone socket, which is a potentially very useful addition. However, I found that this had a background buzz whenever I plugged my headphones into it, which means I would be loathe to use it.
The base is a rather functional looking oblong plastic slab. It’s hardly high design and is a strong visual hint that this monitor is affordable. In other words, it looks cheap, but it’s not offensive.
At the rear on one side is a DVI and D-Sub connector, while on the other side is the power connector and the speaker input. There's also a cable ring, to keep those wires in check. Once you’ve attached the display to the base you can tilt it forward and back but there’s no side to side rotation and no height adjustment.
The OSD is equally straightforward but easy to navigate and you don’t have to do any elaborate finger contortions to alter brightness and contrast as you do with some screens. In fact, it’s easy – press the right arrow to bring up Brightness and press it again to increase it or the down arrow to lower it and exit to leave - and vice versa for contrast.