Articles: Monitors

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In this review I am going to talk about an LCD monitor from a company whose brand is not usually associated with such products. Zalman is mostly known for its top-class cooling systems, some of which have acquired a cult status even. However, the company has indeed been trying to produce monitors and very special ones as they support 3D imaging.

Moreover, Zalman's 3D monitors come with passive eyeglasses that consist of a simple plastic frame with a couple of polarizers, which is a completely different technology compared to the widespread systems with active-shutter glasses that have a receiver and electronics to alternately block the viewer's eyes. A Zalman monitor produces 3D images by emitting differently polarized light from different lines of pixels. This light can then be filtered out by the included glasses to build a stereoscopic picture.

Testing Methodology

Click the following link for a description of our testing methodology and equipment as well as for a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of LCD monitors mean: X-bit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology In Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this review abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the Methodology for explanation.

You can also check out the Monitors section of our site if this review doesn’t cover the model you are interested in.

Design and Ergonomics

Zalman’s new monitor can hardly impress you with its exterior design. It is much more ordinary than the extremely original Samsung SA950 or even the 3D Vision-compatible Acer GD245HQ, for example. There is neither innovation nor aggression in its appearance. The ZM-M240W looks just like a regular office monitor which has been slightly "domesticated" by means of the glossy plastic.

Frankly speaking, there is too much gloss here to my taste. Glossy surfaces look splendid in a shop window, but turn out to be most uncomfortable at home. Dust specks and fingerprints are all too visible on them, spoiling the looks of the product, whereas the polished-off screen will show your face right next to the protagonist’s in any dark scene of a game or movie. Funnily enough, this problem is addressed in the troubleshooting section of the user manual (which is a rather brief text no longer than a dozen pages, by the way). It is described as “Reflections are seen on the screen” but the comment says that it cannot be solved. So, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

I guess that Zalman should have taken one of two approaches. They should have made either a home-oriented gaming monitor with an eye-catching exterior or a more businesslike model with matte surfaces and a more functional stand. Unfortunately, the ZM-M240W is a clumsy attempt to combine both.

The default stand only allows adjusting the tilt of the screen.

It can be replaced with any VESA-compatible mount.

The monitor is equipped with analog and digital video inputs and has an audio input for its integrated speakers. I was rather surprised to see the speakers since the ZM-M240W is not an office product but an expensive gaming monitor whose owner is sure to have a standalone speaker system.

Despite the massive case (compared to other modern monitors), the Trimon has an external power adapter. Its max output power is 60 watts.

The control buttons are centered below the screen and labeled in light-gray. The labels are legible but not quite self-explanatory. For example, the main purpose of the SCALE button is to choose a menu item but you can hardly guess that from its name. It's unclear why there are three separate buttons for entering the menu (MENU), exiting it (EXIT) and choosing a menu item (SCALE) if those functions could have been easily implemented with only two buttons.

The control buttons are not easy to press, by the way. As you can see in the photo, they are slim and placed in a groove, so you have to press them with your nail rather than fingertip.

Quick access (without entering the onscreen menu) is provided to the sound volume setting, to switching between the video inputs and to choosing an image interpolation mode (16:9 or 4:3).

The unlabeled button in the middle turns the monitor off. Below it, there is a LED indicator which is not bright and has a light-diffusing cap. So, the indicator does its job without blinding you with a bright beam of light, which is good.

Two pairs of eyeglasses come with the monitor. One pair is full-featured eyeglasses and another is a clip with two lenses you can attach to corrective glasses if you wear ones. Thanks to the passive design (no receivers, no batteries), these eyeglasses are cheap to make, compact and light. Wearing them doesn't cause any discomfort.

Included with the glasses is a case for storing them and a strip of microfiber for cleaning the lenses.

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