CRT - CTX VL951T

CTX has been in the monitor business since 1981 and its range of CRTs has been a popular choice for companies selling budget PCs. Part of the reason for this is that CTX CRTs are competitively priced which is certainly the case with this £130 offering.

As the product name hints at, the VL951T is a member of CTX’s value series, which all sport shadow mask FSTs. As a consequence you’re not going to get a flat-faced screen, but rather one that’s more curved in both the horizontal and vertical planes. This tends to lend itself to greater surface reflections and although CTX utilises the ARAG screen treatment we found the VL951T to be over-reflective, so much so that we could clearly see our faces and surroundings in the dark screen test.

Once warmed up and running, things remain unremarkable. Our DisplayMate tests revealed a screen that had some problems with focus and geometry. Text looked rather fuzzy around the edges and this was also borne out in the horizontal line resolution test where vertical lines separated by a single pixel were not clearly resolved. There was also a noticeable upward slant that ran horizontally along the bottom of the picture that ultimately affected the tilt and distortion scores. In addition, power regulation was loosely controlled by the monitor’s electronics, resulting in the entire screen expanding in areas of high intensity and contracting in low ones. The untamed beam was further confirmed with some strong evidence of streaking in high-contrast transitions.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom and in its favour the VL951T’s colour convergence was pretty accurate even toward the edges. Colour scales were also smoothly graduated and the hues stayed pretty much constant with changes in intensity. On top of this, colour purity for all three primary colours showed little variation, but don’t expect the vividness to be on a par with the other aperture grille units on test.

Moving onto features, CTX has kept things minimal. No USB hub, speakers, or BNC connectors, but for the money that’s not surprising. The D-SUB cable is of the captive variety too, so if something goes wrong with that and you’re outside the three-year on-site warranty then it could be a costly affair to get it fixed.
The chassis is a little more curvaceous than we’ve come to expect from CTX and the bezel is relatively narrow, making the VL951T appear quite small head on. As for the OSD controls, these are simplistic and consist of five buttons for power, menu access, contrast/increase adjust, brightness/decrease adjust, and an exit button. The OSD is also laid out well with no need to hunt around in submenus for any further options. The only gripes we have are the lack of any colour convergence controls and you can only adjust the red and blue electron guns in the user colour option.

Verdict

Given that its price is at the lower end of the scale, the VL951T’s colour performance was quite competent. That said, it’s only £60 cheaper than the best on test and unless you’re restricted by a tight budget, we can’t really recommend it.

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