I told several friends that I was reviewing a Hyundai LCD monitor. Response? Said friends all replied with, “Don’t they make cars?” That certainly got tiresome after a while, but I have to admit that the Korean company is better known for its vehicles. However, a quick glance at its display website reveals a relatively new division called ImageQuest, and judging by its growing range, Hyundai wants to make a big impression.
One of the latest models to hit the stores is the 19in Q90U, and I’m looking at one right now. Hmmm, a 1,280 x 1,024 native resolution over a 19in diagonal? Is it really worth it I ask myself, when a typically cheaper 17in LCD shares the same number of pixels, albeit slightly smaller ones? Not really in my opinion, but there are two (dare I say weak) arguments in a 19in LCD’s favour. First, default font and icon sizes are a little bigger for those who like it that way, and secondly, as pointed out by one of our readers, because the default font size is bigger you can always drop to a smaller font size in your browser in order to see a few more lines of text without scrolling (depends on the coding and layout of the website for that to work though).
So decide if you want a 19in or a 17in LCD first. If it’s a 19 incher, then the Q90U is certainly an option. In terms of design it’s somewhat bland with its two-tone dark grey and silver finish, but at least the narrow bezel is delightfully unobtrusive. There’s no pivot mechanism but the Q90U has a dual-hinge arrangement that lets you raise the panel through 7.5cm and tilt it back parallel with your desktop. This means the Q90U can be mounted to a wall via the holes in the square base, while the stand acts as a mini-arm that extends from the wall.
While the wall mountable stand is a nice idea, I have several gripes. I’m impressed that Hyundai has included a two-port, bus-powered USB2.0 hub in the right side of the stand’s base, along with DVI-D and D-SUB ports. However, a DVI cable is an optional extra which is a little mean considering the higher than average £328 price. Furthermore, trying to plug a DVI cable into its respective port is severely hampered by the upper hinge arrangement.
It took a bit of persuasion and some serious cable abuse to get it in. Why Hyundai has overlooked this fact is beyond me. Surely mounting the port a little more to the left so that it sits in the centre of the hinge makes more sense? Because the D-SUB interface is smaller no problems were encountered with its fitting. Once all the cables are in place, they can be gathered in with a couple of hooks if you choose to fit them.
As for the rest of the feature set, the Q90U comes with 2W stereo speakers housed in the rear of the chassis, even though the speaker-like perforations in the base would have you believe otherwise. Performance from these is nothing to write home about. Tinny, lifeless, and weak, but that comes as no surprise with many LCDs also carrying similarly feeble speakers. Don’t get me wrong. They produce audio, but are only really suitable for OS sounds and perhaps the odd compressed movie trailer. Not for serious music appreciation, but you can always plug in a decent set of cans in the headphone jack. You’ll also notice that the power lead is one of those not-so-common three pin types. Lose or damage that, and it could be a hassle to find a new one. That said, Hyundai cover you with a three year on-site warranty, but I doubt that covers individual cables.