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LG Flatron L206WU 20in Widescreen DisplayLink Monitor - LG Flatron L206WU
As with most of LG's LCD offerings, the L206WU comes with its f-ENGINE image processing technology. This is meant to improve contrast, colour vibrancy and black levels, using a combination of signal processing and a dynamic backlight. With the f-ENGINE turned off, greyscales are competent, and I found the Flatron L206WU can produce subtle colour-gradations. Not a monitor you'd want to use for professional photo-editing (you still need a good MVA or preferably IPS panel for this) but perfectly adequate for the average user. As you might expect from a 2ms monitor, games suffer very little smearing or ghosting.
However, without f-ENGINE processing, even normal office use seems to offer a slightly drab experience, lacking some of the punch that has been a staple of TFT monitors. It's not bad per see, merely unremarkable. Meanwhile, watching a movie on the Flatron L206WU in normal mode is a kick in the grey stomach of its claimed 5000:1 contrast ratio.
So why the 8 out of 10 rating for image quality? Simply press the little f-ENGINE button under the bezel, and prepare to be amazed! Andy reviewed a monitor with this technology before, the LG Flatron L227WT-PF, and wasn't too impressed due to the combination of high colour gamut and colour boosting processing creating an overly vibrant, unbalanced image. However, with this iteration, LG seems to have got it pretty much right.
No matter what you're doing, whether work or play, it adds vim, verve, vitality and vigour. While it's not even close to 5000:1, the dynamic backlighting and image processing the f-ENGINE kicks off do lend movies and games a surprising amount of depth. Handily, the Flatron L206WU shows you a split-screen view (one side with f-ENGINE enabled, the other without) while adjusting, so you can see exactly how much damage you're doing.
Except in this case you're more likely to do good. Though it slightly emphasises any noise already present, makes gradations just a tad less smooth and still adds a subtle red tinge to skin tones and artificiality to bright colours, we think the sacrifices are more than worth it. You can switch between ‘normal', ‘user', ‘text', and ‘movie' modes, and while the movie setting tends to be a bit overenthusiastic in its processing, ‘text' offers a good balance (even for movies). Or you could just adjust it to your personal liking by employing the ‘user' mode.
Right now, though admittedly by mere dint of being the only sports car on the block, the Flatron L206WU is the Ferrari of DisplayLink-enabled monitors. Even as a ‘normal' monitor this LG would be acceptable value, but until more competition comes along using DisplayLink, it is an absolute steal!
Offering above-average image quality, impressive adjustability and an enjoyable movie and gaming experience, this screen has a lot going for it. And when you throw in the DisplayLink functionality, it's clear why this LG walks away with a Recommended award.
Scores In Detail
- Image Quality