Just by taking a quick glance at the LCDs we have on test, itâ€™s fair to say that these monitors are no longer luxury items. Ask any of us how much we spent on our last 19in CRT monitor and the reply will be, â€œmore than any of these flat-panelsâ€. That said, an LCD is not for everyone, and if youâ€™re thinking of upgrading from your bulky and power hungry CRT just bear in mind that you canâ€™t really beat a CRTâ€™s ability to smoothly render fine photographic detail or display moving images.
On the other hand, if youâ€™re fed up of constantly adjusting your CRTâ€™s geometry, and you find that youâ€™re suffering from headaches and eyestrain, maybe itâ€™s time for you to consider one of these sexy units.
Evaluating LCDs is never an easy task because of the digital nature of the technology involved. Pixels are either off or on, and the gap between the top performers and the worst in terms of image quality is far smaller and less defined than with CRTs. This is why, in conjunction with the image quality tests, we have placed greater a emphasis on features, design and functionality. Value for money, as always, is just as important.
So with these factors in mind, letâ€™s take a closer look at the winners. First up, and although it may not posses the sleekest of designs, the LG Flatron L1710B takes first place on our rostrum. This is because itâ€™s competitively priced while also managing to combine excellent overall image quality with a good set of features. For a shade over Â£338, the L1710B has a comparatively punchy display thatâ€™s evenly lit and can be viewed from a relatively wide horizontal angle. DVD playback was also smooth and the colour and grey scales were clearly defined. You also get the choice of using either a digital interface or an analogue one, with image quality over the latter only dropping a small amount. Add to this a two port USB hub, an easily navigated OSD, plus the fact that all the required cables are provided, and youâ€™re left with a 17in LCD that suitably qualifies for an Editorâ€™s Choice award.
LG Flatron L1710B
For our first Recommended spot, we decided to place more emphasis on image quality and a little less on value for money. This basically leaves us with one display that outshone the rest thanks to its bright and vivacious screen. The ViewSonic VP171s is a stunning screen that comes complete with a lovely stand that pivots, swivels, and is height adjustable. Itâ€™s well-engineered and looks good too, and even though you donâ€™t get a USB hub, the DVI-D and two D-SUB ports allow you to connect up to three PCs, providing one has a DVI enabled graphics card. At Â£440, the VP171s is the most expensive unit in the group test, but if itâ€™s performance your after and money is no object, then this panel is for you.
The second Recommended award goes to a screen at the opposite end of the spectrum. The Hercules Prophetview 920 Pro doesnâ€™t sport the best image quality or in fact the fullest feature set, but at Â£299 in represents amazing value for money. Itâ€™s also a first rate panel for game playing and video playback. We saw no motion artefacts when watching video and the skin tones were well resolved, unlike some of the more expensive models on test. So, if youâ€™re on a very tight budget but still want to take the plunge with a flat panel monitor, the Hercules could be your perfect partner.
Hercules Prophetview 920 Pro