The final adjustment button is labelled MWE and it switches between preset picture modes. That’s nothing unusual these days, but what is nice is the fact that as you cycle through the different modes, you get a preview of what each one will look like on the left half of the screen, while on the right your current settings remain for comparison. The idea of the split screen comparison isn’t new, but Zalman’s implementation is very slick and seamless. Of course there’s also a power button for anyone who wants to be green and not leave their screen on standby when their PC shuts down.
The stand is well designed with a three prong base keeping the ZM-M2020W in place no matter how much you adjust the screen. Talking of adjustments, the central column offers dampened height adjustment that’s as smooth as I’ve encountered on any screen. Likewise the screen panning is smooth and progressive, allowing for single finger adjustments if you so desire. Finally, you also have the option of pivoting into a portrait mode, just in case you want to work on a particularly long document.
At the rear of the screen you’ll find the power socket, a DVI port and a D-SUB port, along with two 3.5mm jacks. The 3.5mm connectors are for a line-in from your PC’s sound card, and for your headphones, so that you can pass said sound through. Unfortunately, there is no labelling indicating which jack is which, so it’s trial and error when it comes to plugging your cables in – of course I got it wrong the first time. But the main problem with the audio pass through is that you get quite loud and annoying feedback through the headphones – this was definitely due to the monitor, because the feedback disappeared when I plugged directly into the soundcard.
Like many monitors that are aimed at gamers, the ZM-M2020W has a high contrast glossy coating. These coatings bring with them two major advantages – the first being improved black level response to avoid the greying over that afflicts many LCD screens when displaying dark scenes. The second advantage is a direct knock on of the improved black levels, and that’s a vivid and vibrant colour pallete.
In general I’m all for high contrast coatings on screens that are going to be used primarily for gaming or watching video, so I can understand Zalman’s decision to use one. However, I do feel that Zalman has gone over the top with the gloss effect on this screen, turning it essentially into a mirror. I’m not joking here, when the screen is dark, the reflected image is so clear that you may as well be looking into a desk mounted shaving mirror. On the plus side, for the seriously paranoid PC user, there’s no way that anyone is going to sneak up behind you if you’re using this screen, you’ll see them coming a mile off, I promise you.