Moving away from the ever-present beige, LG has gone for something a little more fancy. Clad in a matt grey chassis with a silver bezel the F900P certainly looks the part. Even the seven control buttons are arranged in a swooping smoked plastic curve that runs along the bottom of the facia.
Like the majority of LGâ€™s CRT monitors the F900P employs a Flatron tube, which is quoted as being perfectly flat. What LG means by this, is that both the inner and outer screens are flat which separates it from many other flat screen CRTs that employ are curved inner surface to counteract beam distortion at the corners. To address that last issue LG uses a dynamic quadruple lens that refocuses the electron beams in order to alter their angles and ultimately spot shapes in the four corners of the screen. All in all, this leads to a screen that minimises reflections and has a tight reign on image distortion. Not surprisingly it scored rather well in our geometric linearity and dark screen reflection tests.
You also wonâ€™t find a traditional shadow mask or aperture grille in the F900P. Instead, it uses a slot-mask that negates the need for those visible damping wires found in traditional aperture grille CRTs. As a result, youâ€™ll find LG stating a dot-pitch of 0.24mm, which is about the same as a dot-pitch of 0.25mm in a traditional shadow-mask CRT.
The rear of the F900P sports both D-SUB and BNC connecters, and rather than hunting around the OSD LG offers direct signal selection via the select button on the front. Thereâ€™s a self-powered USB hub too, with one upstream and four downstream ports. Being at the back, regularly hot-plugging your USB peripherals will be a tad awkward. Also bear in mind that the connections are not recessed as much as other monitors on test, so if you want to push the unit back against a wall the cables may get in the way.
Setting up the F900P is a bit of a hassle as the driver CD fires up a screen that has a messy layout. Furthermore, you have to exit this screen then manually locate the driver on the disc.
The OSD system is also not the easiest to use, with two of the buttons having triple functions for menu scrolling, setting adjustment, and shortcut access to the brightness and contrast controls. Once youâ€™re used to it however, youâ€™ll find all the usual shape adjustments, as well as options to adjust the RGB signals individually, the colour temperature in 100K increments, and the colour purity. What you wonâ€™t find, though, is a vertical convergence adjustment, which under testing was needed to eliminate a red beam misalignment that lowered the scores in the text focusing assessment.
With a maximum resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 at 85Hz, the internal electronics are not as extreme as the Iiyamaâ€™s, but in use youâ€™re more likely to use the optimum resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 at 85Hz. This setting is the one we test at, and first impressions are of a screen that was not as vibrant as we might have expected. Thatâ€™s not to say that DisplayMateâ€™s colour scales and purity tests were bad. In fact, the scales were smoothly graduated and purity showed no signs of patchiness, but taken as a whole they lacked a certain vivid impact in their overall production.
Screen regulation was also not of the highest standard, as we could make out a wobbling effect in corner areas together with some expansion when switching between a black then white picture. A white level shift was noticeable too, and a sign of streaking where the electronics of the gun are straining to maintain a constant white intensity.
At Â£225, the F900P is an innovative and geometrically capable 19in monitor for the price, and the inclusion of a USB hub is commendable. But to win favour with us we need to see better power regulation, a vertical convergence setting and a more intuitive OSD.