This roundup covers six 20-inch LCD monitors. These are mostly inexpensive models for the office environment where a super-fast matrix and a glossy case may be not only unnecessary but even distracting.
Click the following link for a description of our testing methodology, the equipment we use, and a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of LCD monitors mean: the article is called Xbit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology Indepth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this article abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the mentioned article for an explanation.
NEC AccuSync LCD203WM
This review begins with an entry-level model from NEC. At least, it is positioned as such. You will see shortly if the LCD203WM is indeed so entry-level. Not long ago we tested the LCD24WMCX model from the same AccuSync series that proved to be superior to some MultiSync series models in functionality!
The monitor has a high declared contrast ratio and large viewing angles. Well, the manufacturer doesn’t conceal the fact that he uses the relaxed method of measuring the viewing angles (by the reduction of the contrast ratio to 5:1). If the standard method were used – as for all matrix types other than TN – the specified viewing angles would be as small as 160 degrees.
The LCD203WM would be quite appealing – it is not bulky as most models from NEC and even has certain elegance – if it were not for the unsightly buttons and the conspicuous headphones socket. These two elements spoil the stern appearance of the front panel of the case.
The stand isn’t very pretty, either. It permits you to adjust the tilt of the screen, in a rather small range.
The stand can be replaced with a VESA-compatible mount using the fasteners at the back panel. On the other hand, such mounts are not widely available and cost quite a lot, especially in comparison with the price of an entry-level monitor.
The lack of a digital input is one more drawback of this model whereas the quality of the analog interface is far from ideal. When I connected it to a rather good graphics card (Sapphire Radeon X1650 Pro), I saw the text on the screen was fuzzy, not sharp. I could not correct this with the monitor’s settings. Although the effect is not strong, it may strain your eyes during long work sessions.
The monitor also has a line audio input for the integrated speakers and a headphones socket (on the front panel).
The monitor’s control buttons are centered below the screen. The Power indicator is built into the appropriate button.
Quick access is provided to the auto-adjustment feature, to the sound volume, and to the brightness setting. The latter two functions are implemented with the “+” and “-“ buttons. The manufacturer might have provided more comprehensible labels, I guess.
Well, the lack of labels just seems to be NEC’s exclusive style. The onscreen menu contains icons only. There are no labels or hints as to what they mean. The menu is overall very unfriendly.