- Review Price: £208.00
Without doubt, fast response time monitors are becoming ever more common. In fact, the 8ms H431S is the third 17in LCD monitor I’ve reviewed in as many weeks and as far as first impressions go, I’m suitably pleased. Why am I pleased? Well, with me it’s not all about response time, but rather the combination of picture quality, features and value for money that are more important. In these respects, Iiyama has got it spot on.
Let’s talk about price and features. For just £208, the H431S offers everything the adjustment fanatic could wish for. For instance, the stand’s neck effortlessly raises the screen through 11cm thanks to its integrated spring-assisted mechanism and the panel swivels from side-to-side in a 70 degree arc. You can even pivot the display through 90 degrees for a portrait orientation that makes writing and editing text very comfortable, Of course, you’ll have to rotate your Windows desktop too, but this is easily done by either selecting the appropriate option in your graphics card driver, or by running the Pivot Pro software that’s supplied with each monitor. To possess all of these adjustments at this price point is pretty rare, a fact that is reflected in our scoring system.
As for the overall design, the H431S received a mixed reception from the others in the office. There were a few comments about its styling being a little dated, which to some extent I would agree with. The chassis does look very similar to older Iiyama LCDs, but to me design is a subjective thing, and I quite like the H431S’s boxier looks. Having said that, the versatile stand is a newly revamped addition to the H-Series range, and if you’re a fan of Star Wars I’m sure the stand’s base will remind you of a certain emblem of alliance.
Despite the keen price, Iiyama has ensured that the feature-set remains high. A narrow bezel frames the picture unobtrusively, with the lower part housing the OSD controls, a set of built-in speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. In order to feed the speakers with sound, an audio input jack is vertically mounted around the back, next to the socket for the integrated power supply. Now, as is common with many LCD speakers, the audio generated by these little units is very weak and tinny, with a distinct lack of bass. Don’t expect to truly appreciate your tunes with these, but for highly compressed audio and video streams, along with those simple OS dings and beeps, they should be ok.
Also around the back, is a decent set of connectors. You have both a D-SUB port and a DVI-D one, the latter of which can only accept a digital signal (unlike a DVI-I port which can accept a digital and an analogue signal). Either way, you have dual connectivity and not a single captive cable in sight. Furthermore, Iiyama throws in all the necessary cables for each port, and the stand even has a small and simple cowling for routing the wires.
I mentioned earlier that the styling looked similar to older Iiyama LCD designs. Well, that also seems to apply to the OSD buttons and menus, which are quite traditional in their design and operation. A total of six buttons exist (including the blue LED-lit power one), with five of them providing access to and control of the various settings.
The actual OSD menus themselves look very “Iiyama” if I can say that, as they’ve hardly changed over the years with their blue backgrounds and white icons. Sadly it would seem that in this case the company’s reputation for awkward OSDs hasn’t left either. I regularly found myself pressing the Input/Auto button rather than the Menu button in order to get into the second menu layer for adjusting a particular setting. When this happens, you have to wait a few seconds for the H431S to check which signal port is active, before it locks onto it and regains the picture – gets quite irritating after a while.
After a while you do of course get used to these annoyances, especially when the picture you’re treated to is simply one of the best I’ve seen in a 6-bit panel at this sort of price. To be honest I couldn’t find too much at fault. In sRGB mode the colours are smoothly graduated and free from colour shifts, while any colour tracking errors were kept at bay. The only slight disappointment was a relatively narrow vertical viewing angle where the illumination dropped as you lowered your eye level by about 10cm or more. Not a critical concern, unless you have a tendency to look at your display with your chin on the desk.
As many of you will know by now, I always like an LCD to accurately portray (as best it can) the colours in my test images. In this respect the H431S passed with flying colours. Skin tones looked natural, large areas of closely matched colour tones were evenly mixed, and lowlight and highlights were not excessively compressed, thus helping to maintain detail in these difficult spots.
In addition, if you want a little more punch and vibrancy for games and video content then select one of the colour temperature presets (9300K, 7500K, 6500K) or the user mode. In these modes the gamma control becomes available, serving up two settings: “high contrast” and “dark”. The high contrast option will be the most useful for those shadowy and sinister games or those notoriously dark and moody films. Oh and what about that 8ms response time, huh? Well, motion smearing was difficult to perceive during gameplay and DVD playback – nuff said!
All of these excellent results were replicated over both ports, although the analogue signal looked a little less crisp. As for testing with DisplayMate, I found that both greyscales and colour scales echoed the real world results with their silky smooth transitions, and minimal banding. There’s even enough sensitivity to determine grey level 254 from a pure white background.
It’s not often you get a 17in LCD monitor for this kind of price that has balanced its features with its performance so remarkably well. Usually one of these criterions suffers when the other is enhanced, or simply the price grows if you want the best of both worlds. It may look dated, but Iiyama has pulled out all the stops with the ProLite H431S and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Top-notch performance, excellent range of features, and a price that would suggest otherwise. Put simply, an Editor’s Choice.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10
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