Articles: Monitors

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The top of the base has an impressive appearance, too. It’s here that the monitor’s controls are located. To my mind, the monitor offers even too many of controls.

A sound volume control is placed in the middle. It is not a variable resistor, but a so-called encoder. An encoder works like the ball of a computer mouse: it sends the controller the number of impulses proportional to the angle of turning. Unlike a variable resistor, an encoder has no limits – you can turn it around as long as you want to.

Encoders have come to be used extensively in home appliances due to the need of synchronization between the various controls. For example, a music box allows changing the sound volume with a knob on the box itself or with a remote control button. Suppose you’ve selected a certain sound level with the knob and are now adjusting it with the remote control – the hairline on the knob now points to a wrong volume value! The problem can be solved by implementing an electromechanical drive in the knob so that when you are pressing down on a remote control button, an electromotor is activated in the device to turn the knob around by the necessary angle. This solution looks cool, but is rather costly and difficult to implement (this is mechanics, after all). The encoder is a simpler solution to the same problem. Since it doesn’t have a limiting position, you just don’t gauge it and that’s all. When you change the sound volume from the remote control, the electronics remembers it. And then if you begin to turn the encoder’s knob around, the electronics detracts from (or adds to) the sound volume value according to the impulses produced by the encoder.

Well, you may say there is a hairline on the encoder in the snapshot above. Yes, it’s there, but only for the sake of beauty. The direction this hairline points to means absolutely nothing (by the way, this is the single drawback of an encoder – the position of its knob doesn’t tell you the current sound volume level. That’s why it is usually not gauged at all). You can check this out yourself: set a certain volume on the monitor, turn it off, turn the encoder’s knob around how you like (you can even make several rounds, if you wish), turn the monitor back on, and see that the volume setting is intact.

Under the volume control there are Mute and auto-adjustment buttons. The Power button is above it (by the way, the integrated speakers produce a rather loud click when you turn the monitor off). On the left there are five menu navigation buttons (when not in the menu, one of them switches between the inputs and two others work as sound volume controls, although the encoder makes their purpose unclear). Another exclusive feature of this monitor is the four buttons on the right to choose the equalizer mode. Each button is accompanied with a blue LED, indicating which mode is currently selected. Frankly speaking, it looks to me as if the manufacturer just desired to put as many blue LEDs as possible into the monitor. I don’t think switching between the equalizer’s modes is such a demanded and frequently used function as to require a whole new group of buttons.

The menu is user-friendly, offering standard enough settings, the sound equalizer being the single extra option here. The Picture-in-Picture mode is supported for the video inputs: you can specify the second window’s size (several options, from tiny to half-screen size) and position (in any of the four corners of the screen).

A TN+Film matrix with a glossy coating is installed in the monitor. The viewing angles aren’t impressive. Besides the characteristic darkening, the image also becomes pinkish when viewed from below or bluish when viewed from above. It’s only when looking from a side that you see the color distortion typical of TN+Film technology, i.e. a muddy yellowish hue. Many last-generation TN+Film monitors have better viewing angles, I should say.

The monitor has 50% of both brightness and contrast by default. To achieve 100-nit brightness of white I selected 20% brightness and 22% contrast. The Brilliance 190G6 reproduces color gradients flawlessly irrespective of the current settings.

The gamma is set noticeably low, so the image looks paler than it should be. This doesn’t change at the reduced brightness/contrast.

The monitor gives you a rather high color temperature in every mode. You simply cannot get a temperature of below 7000K from this monitor without manual setup. In terms of difference between levels of gray, the sRGB mode is the only acceptable, but the screen brightness is greatly reduced in it. In the other modes gray is noticeably colder than white.

The matrix installed in the 190G6 lacks response time compensation, yet has a rather good speed. Its full response time is a mere 20 milliseconds at the maximum. Thus, the monitor occupies an in-between position as it is obviously slower than RTC-enabled monitors, but faster than a majority of RTC-less models.

The monitor’s maximum brightness is very high but the contrast ratio is average as TN+Film matrixes go: it didn’t reach 300:1 and even degenerated almost to 100:1 at the low screen brightness.

So I’m not sure this monitors is going to be popular. Yes, it is very attractive when standing on a shop shelf, but only due to its originality rather than elegance of design. A closer inspection reveals that the 190G6 is bulky and awkward and looks rather tastelessly with its shiny chrome-plated surfaces. To my mind, even LG’s Artistic Series monitors with a chrome-plated stand and a black-white color scheme look prettier and nicer to the eye.

As a monitor proper, the 190G6 is nothing extraordinary, except for the full set of video inputs, even including a composite one – but are there a lot of users who need this? It has an ordinary TN+Film matrix and a rather average setup quality. The integrated speakers and audio card are a special feature of this product, but the sound quality they provide still cannot match even inexpensive desktop speakers while an entry-level audio controller is installed on every mainboard manufactured today.

The retail price of the 190G6 is over $600 whereas you can have a good home monitor for only $400-500 (in the top end of this range you’ll even meet RTC-enabled PVA or MVA matrixes rather than TN), and this home monitor will have better characteristics and setup than the 190G6. The difference in price will get you a good speaker system (a basic 5.1 model or a very good multimedia stereo system) that’ll have better sound quality than the 190G6’s integrated speakers can deliver.

Thus, I can’t imagine why you would want to buy a Brilliance 190G6. It is a fanciful, expensive, not-very-handy device with no record-breaking parameters. It’s rather meant for an instant visual effect rather than for long and fruitful work.

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