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The concept of viewing content in a 3D environment has been around for a very long time, and anyone who's old enough to have sat in a cinema wearing red and green carboard glasses will know that the benefits of 3D movies were questionable to say the least. That said, while I was visiting Dolby's HQ last year, I was shown what the latest generation of 3D movies look like, employing Dolby 3D processing and hardware, and I have to say that the results were impressive. But the real Holy Grail of 3D viewing is in the home, using content that hasn't had to be custom made from the ground up.
It's that 3D experience at home that Zalman is trying to address with its 22in ZM-M220W Trimon monitor, and I'll admit that I was pretty sceptical about the claims of a true 3D environment. Although having a sceptical streak running through one's core like seaside rock is an intrinsic part of being a journalist, just as important is the ability to admit that your preconceptions were completely wrong, as mine were in this case. Before I go into any detail I have to say that the 3D effect created by the Zalman ZM-M220W is very, very good.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of the 3D aspect, let's look at what the ZM-M2020W has to offer as a traditional 2D monitor. Despite not traditionally being a manufacturer of display technology, Zalman has done a very good job with the design of this screen, which looks every bit as sleek and stylish as anything you're likely to see from Samsung, ViewSonic or HP. The bezel surrounding the screen is slim, with rounded corners that somehow make it look even more svelte than it is. Branding is understated enough as to not distract from the minimalist lines and the matte black finish on the bezel, case and stand also helps give this screen some "less is more" appeal.
Along the right edge of the screen you'll find a plethora of control buttons, but unlike so many other monitors that sport buttons on the side edges, the ZM-M2020W has clear labelling on the front of the bezel as to what each button does, thus saving you the neck ache of looking around the side every time you want to adjust something. All the controls are pretty standard - you get a Menu button that takes you into the OSD, below that is a Select button, that doubles up as a one touch Auto Adjust control in case you're using an analogue input. Next are volume up and down buttons, while the volume up will mute the sound if the volume adjust bar isn't already present on screen. The curiously named Mode button will switch between the DVI and D-SUB inputs.