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LCD - Iiyama ProLite E430S

Iyama has a strong reputation in the monitor market and anyone with a bit of history in PC technology will remember the legendary status that the Iiyama Vision Master Pro 17 achieved back in 1996. But as with any market, when time moves on even the best manufacturers can be left behind if they don't keep their eye on the ball.

It's probably a bit unfair to say that Iiyama isn't the force it used to be, especially since its 19in CRT unit has walked away with a Recommended Award in the CRT section of this group test. However, as far as LCD flat panels go, the ProLite E430S has a tough time keeping up with the competition.

The E430S falls into the budget end of Iiyama's range and that becomes very apparent when you examine it. For a start there's no DVI connection and the video signal is received via a single D-SUB input, although Iiyama hasn't employed a captive cable design like Hercules. It was easy to forgive the Hercules for having an analogue only input considering its amazingly low price, but the Iiyama isn't priced so aggressively. In fact the E430S is more expensive than the LG which wins the Editor's choice in this section.
The only other connection at the rear is a power socket which feeds off an external power brick.

The design of the unit is quite pleasing to the eye, although it's telling that the standard PC beige colour looks very passé compared to the silver and black units supplied by the competition. That said, if you prefer black the E430S is also available in that colour to suit everyone's taste.
The bezel surrounding the screen is very slim and makes the whole monitor look small and sleek. Even the integrated speakers under the screen add very little size to the unit, although they also add very little in the way of sound quality.

Nestling between the two stereo speakers are six control buttons comprising power, menu, exit, auto, plus and minus. The auto button did a good job of setting the screen up and didn't take too long going about it either. The OSD is pretty in depth but the setup is somewhat difficult to navigate with the settings split into three menus. You have to switch between menues until you find the one that houses the setting you need, select that menu, then find the setting you want and select that. A larger OSD that you can scroll all the way through in one go would be a preferable setup.

Screen movement is limited to tilting forward and backward although the unit is light enough to twist from side to side easily if needed. There's no height adjustment, but then even our Editor's Choice winner didn't exhibit that feature.

Although there's a lot more to a TFT flat panel than image quality, it is still of paramount importance to the majority of users. After all, no matter how many bells and whistles a monitor has, if the image quality is poor it won't be much fun to work in front of for hours on end. It comes as a bit of a shame then that the image quality on the Iiyama is not what we'd consider to be great. Obviously it's not going to be as sharp as the screens that can connect via DVI, but the overall image is disappointing even by analogue standards. The lighting is somewhat uneven and the top half of the screen is considerably darker than the lower half. Add to this the fact that the overal image is rather dark no matter how you configure the contrast and brightness settings. Talking of contrast, the E430S only has a contrast ration of 350:1 compared to the 500:1 rating of the Hercules, and the response time is also 25ms compared to 20ms on the Hercules which explains why the Hercules blows the Iiyama away when it comes to video playback or game playing.


Verdict
If you didn’t have another screen to compare the Iiyama to you might be impressed with its image. But when put next to some of the other screens in this test it simply can’t compete on image quality or value

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