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Summary

Our Score

9/10

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LG Flatron L206WU 20in Widescreen DisplayLink Monitor

LG's 20in Flatron L206WU is ironically named, since not only is the actual panel casing thicker than most monitors of this size, but it also has a large round base and stand that makes it one of the deeper monitors on the market. Apart from that we have a 16:10 aspect ratio, along with an ordinary 1,680 x 1,050 resolution, unremarkable brightness of 300 cd/m2, and usual suspects for connection; DVI and VGA. At first sight, the only noteworthy specification is a frankly implausible 5000:1 contrast ratio. So why the excellent score?
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Partially, it's down to the fact that I left out one display connection. No, not DisplayPort, this monitor has USB. So what? Another integrated USB hub, I hear you say. But all is not as it appears, because what LG offers with this screen is something quite special: DisplayLink technology. It offers all the goodness of a multi-monitor setup without any of the hassle. Also, if your notebook or PC doesn't have a DVI or HDMI port, DisplayLink allows you to still connect via a crisp and clear digital signal.

So, if your laptop only has VGA-out, but you want to display a digital image on your monitor, just plug the L206WU into a USB port. It won't even cost you a port, since this LG can also act as a hub. But rather than waste space trying to tell you how amazing it is, I'll just point you in the direction of the only previous example of this technology we've had in the office: the Samsung SyncMaster 940UX, which by nature of its 4:3 ratio was more business than entertainment oriented. The LG Flatron L206WU, on the other hand, is a proper widescreen affair, and its looks imply that it's geared towards consumers rather than business users.
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But before I get too caught up in the DisplayLink craze, let's take a breath and go back to beginnings - or, in this case, unwrappings. The Flatron L206WU comes with every cable you could possibly need to connect it, comprising DVI, VGA and USB, while attaching the heavy, large arm to the thin but robust base is a simple matter of clicking it in. The included CD contains a clear User's Guide in any language you can imagine, and drivers for any version of Windows from 95 to Vista.

In terms of looks, LG has gone with a rather unusual combination and we're not sure whether we like it. Opinions in the office range between hatred and cautious admiration, but obviously it's a personal thing. This is because the Flatron L206WU rests a sensual, smooth, slim, sleek, shiny, streamlined and - dare I say it - sexy black bezel, the likes of which wouldn't look out of place on a KURO TV, on what is possibly the whitest base I have come across, constructed using matte plastic.
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Consequently, the actual monitor itself sports two disparate finishes: mirror-glossy million-dollar black versus matte run-of-the-mill white. Although this applies only when viewed from the front; the back of the monitor is also white, but in the same shiny finish as the bezel. Whether you think this is the ultimate in style or just kind of ugly is up to you; personally I'm somewhere in between. If you are placing the monitor in a white environment it can look very classy, and, in a thoughtful touch, LG includes a large cleaning cloth to maintain your bezel's darkling gleam.

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