Now, one of the key marketing points that LG focused upon during the launch of this monitor was the Flatron f-Engine chip embedded within the display. This chip, developed by the company, is designed to enhance the picture depending on the intended use of the monitor. All this sounds rather fancy but at the heart of it lies what the company terms as DAFI or Digital Adaptive Fine Image technology. Apparently, this does not affect colour, but enhances brightness and contrast.
The effects of the DAFI technology can be found under the “User” sub-menu of the OSD when the f-Engine button is pressed. It includes what is termed as a RCM (Real Colour Management) function to bring out vivid natural colours along with an ACE (Adaptive Clarity Enhancer) function to enhance brightness and contrast in moving images such as DVD viewing and gaming. In effect, this is somewhat similar to the enhanced brightness modes you sometimes find in other TFT monitors. There are also two more preset modes – one for “movie” and another for “text”.
To break down the settings further I evaluated how they affected both images and a DVD movie. First up was the ACE. There are three levels present: 0, 1 and 2. Level 0 is the default, whereas level 1 seemed to increase the brightness of our test image, while maintaining the contrast. Level 2 seemed to really boost the contrast so that detail like the freckles on the subjects face really stood out. For games, the level 2 setting also made the picture more vivid.
As for the RCM mode, there are four levels in total: 0, 1, 2, and 3. The effect of these is muted in comparison with the ACE. In fact, each seems to invoke very subtle changes to colours in the image, with level 2 having the most pronounced influence over colour saturation. For your information, LG has designated level 1 as influencing the green level, level 2 for flesh tones, and level 3 for colour enhancing. In practice, levels 1 and 3 had little affect when RCM was to set to its default.
One of the cool features of the f-Engine is the fact that you can view the changes you make over a split screen. The left half of the screen shows what the picture will look like when the adjustments have been applied, whereas the right side retains the original settings.
While I had no problems getting images to be displayed accurately, the overall quality of our test DVD movie was marred by a very grainy image. Despite changing all the settings as well as selecting the movie mode, I could not make any improvements. Now even though LG states that the L1730P is a 12ms monitor and motion smearing was on the whole difficult to detect, watching the movie was not a good experience. The grainy noise was simply too overpowering. To check, I played back the same sequence on another monitor and that was far better.
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This is a real shame, as the results gleaned from DisplayMate’s test screens were good when using either an analogue or digital signal. Colours were very vibrant and scales, both greyscale and colour, were smoothly stepped. I did need to tweak the colour balance in order to remove a green hue that was evident in some light greys but generally, there was little to complain about.
On the face of it, the L1730P looks smart and offers a good range of features such as dual connectivity, a USB hub, a height adjustable stand and a pivoting screen. It can also handle images commendably after some tweaking, but if you are looking for an all-round performer with wide vertical viewing angles that can also double up as a movie screen, you will be disappointed.