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.