19" LCD Monitors Roundup. Part VIII.

Another article in our 19-inch roundup series will be devoted to 12 monitor models from such well-known brands as ASUS, BenQ, HP, LG, NEC, Samsung and Viewsonic. Besides discussing their features we will also dwell on the details of brand name image-enhancing settings offered by the monitor makers these days.

by Aleksey Meyev
10/11/2007 | 09:24 AM

Monitors with big screen diagonals are getting an increasingly larger share of the market, but the 19” sector hasn’t stopped to develop yet. New, sometimes very interesting, models are regularly emerging on it because a 19” monitor has a high enough resolution not only for office work but also for home unless the user has particular requirements to the screen size (for example, to watch movies more comfortably) or is limited in his budget. Today, 19” models have a very reasonable price, which is often the decisive shopping factor, because choosing a 17” model instead provides but a small gain in money while the difference in the screen area is significant. Monitors with a diagonal of 20” and longer are more expensive today (but they have been constantly declining in price and are very close to become competitors to 19” models).

 

Before getting to the tests proper, I want to dwell upon the various image enhancing technologies which are so popular among the manufacturers. I mean NEC’s DV Mode, LG’s f-Engine, Samsung’s MagicBright and MagicColor, ASUS’ Splendid, Acer’s Empowering Technology, Philips’ SmartImage, etc. There is usually a dedicated button on the monitor’s front panel to quickly enable this technology and switch through the modes it offers.

The idea of switching between preset modes depending on the current application is very good. Instead of setting the monitor up for the new conditions (for example, you need a much higher brightness for movies and games than for processing text) you can just switch to a preset mode with a few touches of a button. Such modes are also going to be helpful for users who are not much versed in monitor settings and avoid tinkering with them as long as possible.

However, not all of these technologies are really helpful. Why? Because they often affect not only brightness and contrast but also deeper settings of color reproductions like color saturation, gamma curves, etc. The resulting image may look vivid and saturated but its colors are not accurate. What is especially disappointing, some manufacturers propose such modes not only for games and movies but also for viewing photographs. I guess the quality of color reproduction must be the main priority for the latter application.

Such image-enhancing technologies and factory presets can be viewed as falling into two groups. One group comprises those that are not limited to adjusting brightness and contrast but also change saturation of some colors or the gamma value. You can forget about accurate colors when you enable such a mode.

It is just funny at times. Above are the gamma curves recorded in the Photo mode of the BenQ FP222Wa monitor. While every photographer tries to get as accurate colors as possible from his/her monitor (which means that the gamma curves should be as close as possible to the theoretical curve) in order to see photos on the monitor in the same way as they will look when printed out, BenQ thinks photographs should look different, with an unnaturally intensive blue. Light tones of blue just merge into the same color.

When such a preset mode is turned on, you can sometimes see almost all manner of changes in the shape of the gamma curves that are considered defects.

Here are the curves recorded in the Scenery mode of the Splendid technology on an ASUS VW191s monitor I will discuss at length later in this review. The curves go far from each other to start with. Light-green tones merge into white (the right section of the green curve is flat) and darks merge into black (the flat section in the left part of the diagram). There’s an S-shaped defect in the middle of the diagram, too.

So if your monitor has such an image-enhancing feature as Splendid, f-Engine, DV-Mode, etc, you should be aware of its effect on the reproduction of colors.

The second group of technologies such as Samsung’s MagicBright, Acer’s Empowering Technology, Sony’s ECO and others only change the brightness and contrast settings without affecting those that concern color reproduction. The color temperature may be adjusted as well, but not always. This approach seems the most reasonable to me. It’s only a minimum of monitor settings that is varied between the modes and this should be more helpful for the user.

I don’t want to be interpreted as advising you against using those image-enhancing features. I just want you to use them knowingly.

And now we can proceed to the monitors.

Testing Methodology

Visit the following link for a description of our testing methodology and equipment and an explanation of the specified and measured parameters of LCD monitors. The article is called Xbit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology Indepth. That article is going to help you if you feel overwhelmed by the numbers and terms used in this roundup.

Starting with this article we added brightness uniformity measurements to our standard testing procedure. The details of this test are described in the above linked testing methodology coverage, but in brief the main idea of brightness uniformity measurement is as follows. We use a sensitive photo-sensor to take the readings for screen brightness with 3cm increments for 19-inch monitors and proportionally larger increments for larger models. The measurements are taken in two modes: when only white color is displayed and only black, because of specific LCD matrix features (since in one case it is the electric field that holds the crystals in a certain position, while in another case the crystals are held by special grooves on the panel glass plates, the brightness uniformity for white and black colors is determined by two different factors). After that the deviation in % for each spot is calculated for both data arrays in relation to the arithmetic mean value. The obtained deviation results are used to build two brightness diagrams showing the brightness distribution over the entire screen surface which are then applied to the schematic monitor image (for more illustrative picture). This will help you get a better idea what this unevenness we talked about looks in reality on your display.

Here it is important to understand that we do not try to emulate the exact look of the monitor on these diagrams – these are just diagrams with some reference colors, and not monitor photos. Some reviewers may use different colors – green, yellow, orange, red, etc. - for different deviation levels (with 5% or 10% increments), however, we believe it makes things very hard to perceive, because you will have to remember all the way through the article that the yellow color stands for darker areas on the screen, while red – for lighter areas. That is why in our reviews we will use the closest to natural representation: lighter areas will be colored lighter, while darker areas – darker. However, we changed the brightness scale to make the images more illustrative, i.e. if the brightness of two dots on the diagram differs by the factor of 3, it doesn’t mean that in reality their brightness is also 3 times different – please check the scale showing the actual brightness deviation percentage and the colors we use.

So, the diagrams above serve to estimate the brightness uniformity: the distribution over the monitor screen, what areas are darker – corners or center, etc. For the sake of quantitative comparison between different monitor models we always provide percentage values in the text of the review: average deviation and maximum deviation. Speaking of particular numbers, if the deviation is within 5% it is considered a good result, within 7-8% - acceptable, and over 8% poor.

ASUS VW191s

Some time ago there were just a few widescreen 19” models available. There is a much wider choice now, but all of such models are based on TN matrixes that have rather narrow viewing angles. And I don’t think this situation will change any time soon.

The ASUS VW191s is a widescreen 19” monitor with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels, which has become the standard resolution for this matrix type. The specified response time is 5 milliseconds. It is a sure indication of the lack of Response Time Compensation as opposed to monitors with a specified speed of 2 or 4 milliseconds. Alas, there are very few widescreen models with RTC available and the ASUS VW191s is not counted among them.

As usual, you shouldn’t be misled by the specified viewing angles of 160 or 170 degrees. It is because the angles are measured for TN matrixes by the reduction of the contrast ratio to 5:1 rather than to 10:1 as with other matrix types.

The monitor looks modest but quite elegant. Its dark-gray case with a light stripe going across it is harmoniously complemented with a neat stand.

The stand allows to change the tilt of the screen.

You can remove the native stand and replace it with a VESA-compatible mount using the screw holes you will find under the sticker at the monitor’s back.

Rather unusually, the monitor has not one, but two analog D-Sub inputs and lacks a digital interface. That’s a strange solution in my opinion.

The control buttons are located at the right bottom of the front panel. They are made from plastic painted the color of the case and are accompanied with easily readable icons.

The monitor provides quick access to the sound volume and brightness settings, and to the Splendid feature whose modes differ in brightness, contrast and color reproduction settings. You can try it as the sticker suggests you do, but you should be aware that there are too many settings that are changed in the Splendid modes while the user-defined brightness and contrast are reset, so you cannot return to them quickly.

The monitor has a standard, not very user-friendly, menu from Samsung. Not remembering the last changed item, it always opens up on the Splendid window, which is somewhat odd as this feature can be accessed quickly by means of the appropriate button. The lack of a button to choose a video input is somewhat inconvenient – you have to go through a few menu items to access that option.

By default, the monitor has 90% brightness and 80% contrast. To achieve a 100nit white I reduced them both to 56%. Backlight modulation could not be observed, so this monitor seems to regulate its brightness by means of the matrix.

The average irregularity of backlight amounts to 21% on black and 11% on white, the respective maximums being 36% and 25%. This is an acceptable result for this test.

At the default settings color gradients are reproduced quite well. When the contrast setting is lower than 15%, darks merge into black. When it is increased to 85% and higher, lights are indistinguishable from white.

The gamma curves are not ideal, but do not deflect much from the theoretical curve and betray no serious problems.

At the reduced contrast the gamma curves become very close to the ideal one.

I wrote about image-enhancing technologies in the Introduction and I’ll show you now what happens to the gamma curves on this monitor when you switch between its Splendid modes leaving the other settings at their defaults.

The gamma curves look good at the default settings and do not provoke any color-related problems, but you have quite a different picture as soon as you enable the Theater mode: the red curve sags noticeably and the blue curves acquires an S-like section in the middle. The green curve betrays a too high contrast, and about 10% of light greens are displayed indistinguishably from each other. Of course, there is no talking about having accurate colors in such a mode.

The curves are shaped differently in the Game mode, yet without making color reproduction any better. The S-shaped section of the blue curve is smaller, and the green curve is not so high up (but some of light greens still merge into the same color as is indicated by the flat section in the right part of the curve), but the red curve sags even more, getting further away from the ideal position.

The Night View mode makes the S-shaped section of the blue curve even more conspicuous and adds a similar defect to the green curve. The red curve is still sagging as before. Note that the left part of the blue curve is flat, meaning that dark-blue halftones are indistinguishable from each other.

The Scenery mode is a weird mix of all the defects we have seen above: a too high green curve, dark-blues merging into black, an S-shaped section in the middle of the blue curve, and a sagging red curve.

Easy to see, the modes do differ from each other and the onscreen image is indeed different in each of them, but the colors are far from being accurate in every Splendid mode.

The color temperature setup isn’t very accurate, either. There is a temperature dispersion of over 1500K in every mode, and up to 5000K in the Cool and User modes. Darks are noticeably colder than lights.

Note also that the sRGB mode differs by almost 1000K from the required 6500K even on white.

The color gamut of the ASUS VW191s is typical for a majority of modern LCD monitors. It is somewhat larger than sRGB in greens but smaller in reds.

This monitor doesn’t differ much from other RTC-less monitors in terms of speed. Its response average is 15.6 milliseconds with a maximum of 32 milliseconds. This is quite a poor result when you compare it with the speed of TN matrixes with Response Time Compensation.

The brightness and contrast ratio aren’t record-breaking, but sufficient for everyday use.

Returning once again to the Splendid feature, here’s what happens to the brightness and contrast ratio when you enable it:

You can see that both the level of black and the brightness of white vary between the modes and the contrast ratio changes accordingly. The Theater and Game modes make the monitor less bright, although the brightness remains sufficiently high unless you are working in a very brightly lit room. The Night View mode increases the brightness of darks, which lowers the contrast ratio twofold in comparison with what we have at the default settings, but that’s just what this mode is meant for – playing games with a very dark picture.

So, this monitor has nothing to astonish you with. It has good gamma curves and a neat exterior design, but the sloppy color temperature setup and slow matrix do not make the VW191s competitive against best representatives of the 19” class. It can be a good choice for an undemanding user who wants an inexpensive monitor for processing text.

ASUS VW192s

This is a twin brother of the model discussed in the previous section. With the same parameters and exterior design, its model number is bigger by 1. Perhaps the new version is free from the defects of the previous one? Let’s check it out.

The specs have remained unchanged except that the contrast ratio has grown to 800:1.

The monitor hasn’t changed externally but it now has a removable decorative cap above the connectors and cables at the back. The stand still allows to adjust the tilt of the screen only.

There are changes on the connectors panel. The monitor has become ordinary with only one analog input. Alas, the manufacturer did not implement a digital input. The power adapter is internal again.

The monitor is controlled just like the previous version: it has the same buttons in the same location and with the same functions. Quick access is provided to the sound volume setting, to brightness and to the Splendid feature.

The brightness and contrast are set at 90% and 80%, respectively, by default. Reducing them both to 56% leads to a 100nit white. As opposed to the previous model, the VW192s controls its brightness by means of pulse-width modulation of the backlight lamps at a frequency of 238Hz.

The average backlight irregularity is 19% on black and 14% on white. The maximum deflections are 35% and 24%, respectively. I wouldn’t call it a big change over the previous version.

Color gradients are reproduced normally at any brightness/contrast settings except that a small portion of lights merge into white at a contrast value higher than 90%.

The gamma curves are not ideal, but close to the theoretical one, just as it was the case with the previous version of the monitor. I don’t have serious complaints about the resulting image. Alas, the reduction of contrast doesn’t improve the curves: their shape and relative positions do not change.

The temperature modes haven’t become any more accurate. There is a 2000K difference between the levels of gray in each of the five available modes; darks tend to be bluish. Yes, the temperature of the sRGB mode is now closer to the required one, but only on white. It is still too high on darks.

As you might have expected, the color gamut hasn’t changed.

The response time hasn’t changed, either. It is 15.5 milliseconds on average with a maximum of 32 milliseconds. This is very, very slow compared with modern RTC-enabled TN matrixes.

The contrast and brightness parameters have improved, but not as much as to be noticed by an average user.

Does the ASUS VW192s differ from the VW191s? Not by much. It has got a decorative cap on the back panel. It doesn’t have a second analog input now, but did not acquire a digital one. It controls its brightness by means of backlight modulation rather than with the matrix. The setup quality and the response time of the ASUS VW192s have remained on the same, rather poor, level, making this model suitable only for processing text and simple graphics, which wouldn’t require an accurate reproduction of colors.

BenQ FP91G +U

Notwithstanding the growing popularity of widescreen models, 19” monitors with an aspect ratio of 5:4 are not losing their ground too fast. Some users are conservative when it comes to choosing the monitor’s aspect ratio (or you can say they just don’t like widescreen monitors) – and they do not need a long screen diagonal. Some people choose 5:4 models due to the large pixel pitch.

The declared specs make the BenQ FP91G +U similar to numerous low-end models without Response Time Compensation. You shouldn’t be misled by the declared viewing angles of 170 degrees. The screen gets dark when viewed from below, just as with any other TN matrix.

The exterior design can hardly provoke a strong emotion on the user part. The traditional plain plastic of the case and the unassuming square stand you may be familiar with by other models from the company are but a little enlivened by the block of control buttons centered under the screen.

Your adjustment options are limited to changing the tilt of the screen.

You can remove the native stand with a screwdriver and replace it with a VESA-compatible mount.

The monitor offers analog and digital inputs, and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter.

The plastic buttons painted the color of the case look nice, but are not easy to use. The Power button is singled out with a LED while the others are only marked with barely readable icons pressed out in the plastic of the case.

Quick access is provided to choosing the image source, to the auto-adjustment feature, and to the brightness and contrast settings.

This is a standard, quite user-friendly, menu from BenQ. The only trouble is that you have to make a lot of presses to reach some menu items that open up in new screens such as choosing a color temperature mode, for example.

The monitor has 90% brightness and 50% contrast by default. I lowered them both to 49% to achieve a 100nit white. The brightness is controlled by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 215Hz.

The average irregularity of backlight amounts to 16% on black and 14% on white, the respective maximums being 35% and 26%. That’s an acceptable result.

Color gradients are reproduced with banding. Darks merge into black at a contrast of 10% and lower. You should not increase the contrast setting, either. Lights become indistinguishable from white at 55% contrast and higher.

The gamma curves don’t look good at the defaults settings: they differ greatly from the theoretical curve and the blue curve goes apart from the other two. Lowering the contrast setting doesn’t help: the curves retain their shape and position.

The color temperature modes are set up surprisingly well for an inexpensive monitor. The difference between the temperatures of grays is within 300K in the Normal and Reddish modes, which is very good. It is higher at 1000K in the User mode and 3000K in the Bluish mode, making dark halftones bluish. If you prefer warmer colors, the FP91G +U is going to suit you fine. You may want to consider other models if you prefer colder colors.

The color gamut is standard so no commentary is necessary.

The response time average is 11.9 milliseconds with a maximum of 34 milliseconds. This can be counted among best results RTC-less monitors can show, but the FP91G +U can’t stand a comparison with RTC-enabled models.

The contrast ratio and brightness are normal. The low level of black at the 100nit settings can be noted here.

Thus, the BenQ FP91G +U is a low-end 19” monitor with an RTC-less TN matrix. It may be interesting to you if you want an inexpensive monitor with a classic aspect ratio and prefer warm colors. Its color reproduction isn’t exactly accurate and its viewing angles are small as is typical of TN technology. If you don’t want to put up with such drawbacks, you should better consider other models.

BenQ FP93G S

This is another model from BenQ with the classic resolution of 1280x1024 pixels.

The two monitors from BenQ included into this review are in fact twin brothers. The FP93G S model is yet another RTC-less TN-based representative of the low-end category.

The appearance of the previous model couldn’t provoke a strong positive emotion, but the FP93G S is simply boring. This is the dull gray plastic case on a plain square stand that is familiar to me by other FP9x series products from BenQ. Uniformity and standardization help reduce the manufacturing costs, yet I think BenQ’s range of monitor cases needs to be refreshed.

As one might have supposed, the stand has the same functionality as before. It only allows to change the tilt of the screen.

The stand can be detached and replaced with a VESA-compatible one.

It is nice BenQ implemented a digital input, besides an analog one, in this model. The power adapter is integrated into the case.

The way this monitor series is controlled in hasn’t changed for years. The controls are in the bottom right corner of the front panel. They are simple, rectangular buttons painted the color of the case. The Power indicator is placed separately. Quick access is provided to the automatic adjustment feature, to selecting the source of video signal, and to the brightness/contrast settings.

The menu is the same as in the BenQ monitor described in the previous section.

The monitor has 90% brightness and 50% contrast by default. Reducing them both to 47% results in a 100nit brightness of white. The monitor controls its brightness by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 210Hz.

Color gradients are reproduced correctly. Dark halftones are distinguishable from each other at any value of contrast, but I don’t recommend you to increase the contrast setting at all because, like on the previous model, lights merge into white at a contrast of 55% and higher.

The red and green gamma curves look good but the blue one is shaped differently – its gamma value is obviously too high. This color reproduction is not accurate.

The gamma curves improve somewhat when the contrast is reduced.

The color temperature setup is exactly alike to that of the previous model: very accurate Normal and Reddish modes and a big difference between the halftones in the Bluish and User modes.

The color gamut is the same as in other modern LCD monitors that don’t use backlight lamps with improved phosphors. It is somewhat larger than sRGB in greens, but smaller in reds.

The response time average is 13.9 milliseconds; the maximum is 34 milliseconds. It is a normal result for a matrix without Response Time Compensation. Once again I want you to note that monitors with a specified response time of 5 milliseconds ISO are many times, but not by a little, slower than monitors with a specified response time of 2 or 4 milliseconds GtG.

The contrast ratio is normal. It doesn’t reach 300:1 as on the previous model.

The BenQ FP93G S almost coincides with the FP91G +U in all of its characteristics. It has a somewhat higher response, somewhat worse gamma curves and contrast ratio, but these are all negligible differences you can hardly catch with a naked eye. The difference in the case design, the availability of a digital input, and the lack/presence of banding in color gradients are going to matter more for the end-user. It’s up to you to decide what you want to have in your monitor if you choose between the two models from BenQ, but their other characteristics are rather mediocre.

HP LP1965

Hewlett-Packard positions this product as an office monitor but its price is rather too high for this market sector. What do you get for the money?

The HP LP1965 is one of the few modern 19” monitors with a *VA matrix. Even if you don’t look up the matrix type in the specs, you can easily see the viewing angles with your own eyes. No TN matrix can match the wide viewing angles of this monitor. The response time of 6 milliseconds indicates a *VA matrix with Response Time Compensation because RTC-less matrixes of this type have a much lower speed.

The monitor is indeed designed in a simple, office-like manner but it differs for the better from others of its kind with the unusual stand that offers compartments for post-it notes, clips, thumbtacks, etc. The stand takes up quite a lot of space on your desk, so why not put it to some use?

The stand also offers wide adjustment options. Besides changing the tilt of the screen, it allows to rotate it around the vertical axis (as opposed to most other monitors of this class, only the top of the stand rotates at that), to adjust its height within 60-170mm, and to turn it into portrait mode. The stand can be replaced with a VESA-compatible mount.

When you lower the case to the bottommost position, you hear a click and the retractable part of the stand gets locked. To unlock it, you should press the inconspicuous button at the bottom of the stand and pull the case up.

Besides the standard selection of analog and digital interfaces and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter, the monitor offers a dual-port USB hub whose outputs are located on the right side of the case. Just a nice trifle to make the user’s life easier.

The control buttons are made from plastic and painted the color of the case. They have easily readable icons. The Power button is placed separately in the bottom left corner. The buttons have a short and soft movement. Quick access is provided to the auto-adjustment feature, to switching between the inputs, and to resetting the settings to the factory defaults. The latter is quite a queer thing. I don’t think it’s such a frequently demanded function as to require a dedicated button.

The menu lacks any decorations, but is quite easy to use. The developer preferred logical text captions to pretty icons. The only gripe I have about this menu is that it doesn’t remember the last changed item.

The monitor has 90% brightness and 80% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit white I reduced them both to 57%. The brightness is regulated by backlight modulation at a frequency of 300Hz.

Color gradients are reproduced correctly, without banding. Both darks and lights are reproduced normally at any brightness/contrast combination.

The gamma curves aren’t quite good at the default settings: the blue curve differs from the other two, which are not ideal by themselves.

The lowering of the contrast setting solves the problem somewhat, making the gamma curves look all alike. Unfortunately, their gamma value is lower than necessary, producing a faded image.

The color temperature setup isn’t quite accurate, but acceptable. The temperature dispersion amounts to 1000K in the 6500K and sRGB modes and to 1500K in the User and 9300 modes. Easy to see, the temperature of darker grays is higher, making them characteristically bluish.

The color gamut is standard and does not differ from that of most other monitors we have tested in our labs.

With an average response of 6.9 milliseconds and a maximum of 14.5 milliseconds, the HP LP1965 is one of the fastest monitors with a *VA matrix to ever visit our labs. That’s a superb result proving that *VA matrixes can have a high speed, too.

The Response Time Compensation mechanism not only makes the monitor fast but also has a low error. The error average is a very satisfactory 4.3%. The maximum error amounting to 25% is only observed on transitions from black to dark grays, and you will only notice such errors if you are specifically looking for them. Overall, the RTC mechanism works very well in the HP LP1965.

The monitor’s contrast ratio is acceptable, but rather low in comparison with other *VA matrixes.

So, the HP LP1965 is indeed a superb monitor for office work. Moreover, its fast matrix, good ergonomics with full adjustment options and wide viewing angles you can rarely find among 19” monitors are going to attract those people who need a good home monitor for watching movies and playing games. The single serious drawback of this model – its rather sloppy color reproduction setup – can be corrected by means of a calibrator if you have one.

LG Flatron L192WS

This is a widescreen monitor from LG.

The LG Flatron L192WS is a low-end widescreen monitor with a TN matrix. Its specified viewing angles are measured by the 5:1 method. The specified response time of 5 milliseconds ISO implies a slow matrix.

The exterior design matches the market segment the product belongs with: a square case made from gray plastic that stands on a simple black plastic stand. There are no extraordinary solutions in this minimalistic design.

The stand only allows to adjust the tilt of the screen.

The stand can be replaced with a VESA compatible mount. Note the position of the control buttons in the photo. I’ll discuss them shortly.

There is a minimum of connectors here: an analog input and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter.

The developers from LG seem to have problems finding a proper place for the monitor’s controls. They are trying to hide the buttons but can’t make that convenient for the user. The models we described in our previous review had buttons at the back, a few centimeters away from the edge of the screen and were hard to access. The control buttons of this model are at the back, too, but in the bottom right corner now. This solution is better, yet still not quite convenient, as it’s hard to hit the necessary button being directed only by the small icons on the front panel. It’s good that the Power button is placed apart from the others, though.

The monitor provides quick access to the auto-adjustment feature and to choosing f-Engine modes whose influence on the image quality was discussed at the beginning of the review.

It’s a standard menu of LG monitors: easy to use, logically organized, and lacking any special features.

The brightness and contrast settings are set at 100% and 70% by default. To achieve a 100nit white I reduced them both to 53%. The brightness is regulated by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 239Hz.

The average irregularity of backlight is 3.8% on black and 2.9% on white, the respective maximums being 13.9% and 9.3%. That’s a very good result for this test.

The monitor has no problems reproducing color gradients. Darks are distinguishable from each other at any value of contrast. When the contrast setting is increased above the default value, light halftones merge into white.

The gamma curves don’t look good at the default settings. Every curve has a too high gamma (they all go above the theoretical curve). The curves are also different from each other. The characteristic bend in the top part of the curves is indicative of a too high contrast.

When the contrast is reduced, the bend in the top right of the diagram disappears and the curves get closer to each other, but the value of gamma is still too high, resulting in a high-contrast image.

The color temperature setup is depressing: darks are some 3000K colder than lights. The temperature dispersion amounts to 10.000 in the 9300 mode. Gray tones look bluish on the L192WS, which can be easily seen with a naked eye.

The color gamut is normal, but the point of red is shifted further away from the one of the sRGB color space than on most other LCD monitors.

That’s just what you can expect from a matrix that lacks Response Time Compensation: the declared speed of 5 milliseconds is indeed achieved on black-to-white transitions, but it is much worse on gray-to-gray transitions. As a result, the average speed is 12.5 milliseconds GtG and the maximum is 23 milliseconds. Of course, this matrix is not fast. Even the RTC-enabled VA matrix of the above-described HP LP1965 outperforms it easily.

The contrast ratio is suitable for work, but its maximum doesn’t reach 300:1. That’s mostly due to the high level of black.

The LG Flatron L192WS is a typical representative of the class of inexpensive, office-oriented widescreen monitors. A very uniform backlight is in fact the only good point of this model. Its other characteristics are far from impressing. It’s got a slow TN matrix with poor color reproduction setup. This monitor should only be used for working with text.

LG Flatron L196WTQ

This is yet another widescreen monitor from LG, but it obviously belongs to a higher product class.

The LG Flatron L196WTQ features a response time of 2 milliseconds, being one of the few widescreen 19” monitors with Response Time Compensation.

Don’t be surprised at the specified contrast ratio of 3000:1. It is the dynamic contrast ratio, not the static one. The point of dynamic contrast technology is that the backlight brightness is being adjusted automatically depending on the predominance of lights or darks in the currently displayed picture. It is good for watching movies, but can hardly be of any use for other applications. The resulting dynamic contrast ratio is calculated by multiplying the ordinary static contrast by the brightness adjustment range. Unfortunately, LG does not declare the value of the static contrast ratio for its monitors with dynamic contrast technology.

The viewing angles are measured by the reduction of the contrast ratio to 5:1. In practice, the image on the screen of the LG L196WTQ gets faded when viewed from below or from a side just as it does on any other TN matrix.

The exterior design of this monitor is very questionable, but I guess it will leave no one indifferent. The case with a black glossy plastic front panel is supported by a black glossy plastic stand. The only thing in this sleek design your eye may be hooked on is the LED of the Power button (the button itself is small and placed under the LED – it is barely visible when viewed from the front). To me, this design looks as if combining parts from two different devices, but tastes differ. There exists an all-black version of the monitor, by the way, which looks stern and classic.

Besides the traditional adjustment of the tilt of the screen, the L196WTQ permits to be rotated around the vertical axis by means of a rotating circle built into the bottom of the stand.

The stand can be easily replaced with a VESA mount.

The monitor’s got an ordinary selection of connectors: analog and digital inputs and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter.

Here, LG’s designers managed to hide the control buttons quite successfully on the bottom edge of the case, to the left of the center. This solution doesn’t seem to differ much from the previous one, yet you hit a wrong button less often, also due to the neat labels on the front panel. The buttons are responsive and move softly and my only gripe about them is that they are placed in the left part of the case. Most people are right-handed, and for them, controlling the monitor with the right hand is more natural. Here, you have to stretch your right hand to the left or press the buttons with your left hand instead.

Quick access is provided to selecting the input, to the f-Engine feature, to the auto-adjustment, and to the Ez Zooming feature which switches between resolutions of 1440x900 and 1280x1024 pixels. Ez Zooming works only when the forteManager software is installed, although the purpose of the software, funnily enough, is to control the monitor from Windows without touching any buttons. Frankly speaking, I don’t find it a useful innovation because each LCD monitor has only one native resolution while all the rest are achieved by means of interpolation with the ensuing loss in image quality.

I won’t describe the menu in detail because it’s identical to the previous model’s.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 70% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit brightness of white I reduced them both to 39%. The monitor controls its brightness by means of pulse-width modulation of the backlight lamps at a frequency of 261Hz.

The average backlight irregularly is 37% on black and 10% on white. The maximum irregularities are 61% and 27%, respectively. The diagrams show that the irregularity of backlight is not symmetrical relative to the center of the screen. These are rather poor numbers. Most of other monitors have a more uniform backlight.

Color gradients are reproduced with barely visible banding. All halftones are distinguishable from each other at reduced values of contrast but if the contrast setting is higher than the default value, lightest halftones merge into white.

The gamma curves are almost ideal except for the red curve that lies somewhat lower than necessary. They retain their shape, which is very close to the theoretical curve, at the reduced contrast.

To continue the topic I brought up at the beginning of the review, let’s see what happens to this monitor’s color reproduction as you switch through the f-Engine modes.

There are obvious problems with the gamma curves and, consequently, with the reproduction of colors. The curves are almost ideal at the default settings, but run away from each other in the User mode, differing in their gamma value. By the way, this f-Engine mode can be set up basing on your own preferences and you can learn what is affected by this feature in the process. Three parameters are offered for setting up: brightness, ACE and RCM. It is all clear about the first one, but the other two need comments: ACE or Adaptive Clarity Enhancer increases the contrast of the image. RCM or Real Color Management intensifies green, body color, or all colors at once.

A saturated green, a sagging red, and a bend in the middle of the blue curve – I saw this all when I enabled the Splendid feature on the ASUS monitors. Of course, working with text doesn’t call for a very accurate reproduction of colors, yet the usefulness of this mode is rather dubious.

Judging by these curves, the developers from LG think that movies look best when 20% of greens and 10% of reds are displayed as the same green and red color, respectively. That’s a very questionable point of view.

The color temperature modes are not very accurate: the temperature dispersion amounts to 1500K.

The monitor’s got a standard color gamut: more greens and fewer reds than in the sRGB color space.

The response time is much better than that of the above-described RTC-less models. The average speed is as low as 3.2 milliseconds GtG with a maximum of 11 milliseconds. That’s just a good fast TN matrix.

The RTC mechanism is set up well with an average and maximum error of 3.3% and 17%, respectively. That’s a very good result, and you can only see the RTC-provoked artifacts if you are looking for them on purpose and with special tools.

The max brightness and static contrast ratio are not record-breaking, but acceptable for a majority of applications.

Let’s see what happens to the brightness and contrast as you are switching through the f-Engine modes:

The f-Engine feature is careful about the contrast ratio: it is always higher than at the default settings due to the lower level of black. The brightness doesn’t change much and its value is too high for comfortable work unless there is direct sunlight hitting at the screen of the monitor (which should not occur if your workplace is organized properly). For example, a brightness of 100 nits is considered the normal value for working with text in a well-lit office room. This is two times higher than the brightness value in the Text mode of this monitor.

The LG Flatron L196WTQ is not a definitely good product. It should be a good choice for people who want to play games as it offers a high speed with negligible RTC artifacts. On the other hand, its color temperature modes are set up sloppily and its backlight is very irregular, which means that the L196WTQ does not suit well for image-processing applications.

NEC MultiSync LCD195WXM

Yet another widescreen model, the LCD195WXM is made by NEC. Widescreen monitors have proved to enjoy high demand and every manufacturer hurries to satisfy it.

The MultiSync LCD195WXM is a widescreen version of the LCD195VXM+ we described in an earlier review. The specified response time indicates a slow matrix.

The monitor’s exterior hasn’t changed for better or worse from the widening of the screen. It is a rather boring square case made from gray plastic with a round black stand.

The dual-hinge design of the stand puts the LCD195WXM apart from the other inexpensive widescreen 19-inchers included into this review. Besides changing the tilt of the screen, this stand allows to adjust the height to some extent (from 50 to 100mm above the desk).

The back panel offers fasteners for a VESA mount.

The standard pair of analog and digital interfaces is complemented with an audio input for the integrated speakers located in the protrusions at the bottom of the back panel. There is a headphones socket here as well although it’s not convenient to have it at the back of the monitor.

The control buttons are centered below the front panel and designed in NEC’s traditional style although there is no joystick you may be familiar with by NEC’s more expensive monitors. The Power button is highlighted with a LED. Quick access is provided to the sound volume setting, to the brightness setting and to choosing the signal source.

The menu is logical and user-friendly. Its readability would be higher, though, if the menu items were text rather than icons. The lack of an Exit button is a minor inconvenience, too. It’s somewhat boring to have to move to the Exit icon with the arrows.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 50% contrast by default. I reduced them both to 35% to achieve a 100nit brightness of white. The brightness is controlled by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 210Hz.

Color gradients look striped on this monitor. Darks are distinguishable at any level of contrast while increasing it above the default value leads to light halftones merging into white.

The gamma curves are very disappointing at the default settings: the gamma value is obviously too low, resulting in a faded, low-contrast image. The curves differ from each other in the top part of the diagram, making the colors even less accurate. Reducing the contrast setting has no effect – the curves remain just as they are.

Except for the 9300 mode, in which the temperature dispersion amounts to 3000K, the difference between the levels of gray is within 1000-1500K. That’s a rather poor result.

The monitor has a standard color gamut except that its point of red almost coincides with the one of the sRGB color space.

As always, an RTC-less matrix proves to be very slow. This one has an average response time of 12.5 milliseconds (GtG) with a maximum of 26 milliseconds. This is normal for an RTC-less monitor, but very slow in comparison with monitors that feature Response Time Compensation.

This contrast ratio should be high enough for most users. The high level of black at the default settings is the only disappointing thing here.

Thus, the NEC MultiSync LCD195WXM is just another widescreen monitor with a slow matrix. It offers no advantages: it has a homely exterior design, poor color reproduction, and a high price (at the time of my writing this its retail price was higher than that of other manufacturers’ monitors with fast matrixes). So, I can’t recommend it for purchase unless you are an admirer of the brand.

NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX

As opposed to the previous model, the MultiSync LCD1970VX has an aspect ratio of 5:4, the classic aspect ratio for 19” monitors.

The specifications aren’t encouraging: this is yet another monitor with a slow TN matrix and the viewing angles are typically narrow.

The monitor looks like its mates from the LCD1970 series: it has a square case with rounded-off corners that is supported by a black massive stand. The monitor is not attractive. It is somewhat bulky but is going to look properly on a work desk.

Besides supporting the monitor, the stand offers a variety of adjustments. You can change the tilt of the screen and as well as its height (from 65 to 170mm). The rotating disc in the base of the stand allows turning the monitor around its vertical axis. The portrait mode is not available, but it is not really quite appropriate for TN matrixes with their narrow viewing angles.

The massive stand can be replaced with a VESA mount if necessary.

The monitor offers a standard pair of analog and digital inputs. The power adapter is integrated into the case.

The monitor is controlled by means of a joystick and four buttons under the front panel – this is a characteristic solution of NEC monitors. A four-position joystick might have been even more convenient than ordinary buttons if it didn’t respond wrongly from time to time and were more informative.

The joystick and buttons provide quick access to the brightness and contrast settings, to the auto-adjustment feature and to choosing a DV Mode (this technology changes the gamma compensation value, making the image brighter or darker; it affects color reproduction, so you should be careful when using it).

The menu is user-friendly. It looks nice and offers all the options you expect to find in it.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 50% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit white I reduced them both to 41%. The brightness is regulated by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 210Hz.

The average irregularity of backlight is 6.5% on black and 6.8% on white. The maximums are 17.4% and 16.4%, respectively. In both cases the middle of the screen is brighter than its sides. It’s a rather average result in comparison with other monitors.

Color gradients are displayed with banding at any settings. Reducing the contrast setting to 15% and lower makes dark halftones indistinguishable from black. Increasing it above the default value makes lights indistinguishable from white. Thus, you should keep the contrast setting of this monitor within 15-50%.

The gamma curves lie far from the theoretical one at the default settings. The blue curve differs greatly from the other two, which have a too high contrast and a lower gamma value than necessary.

Alas, the usual cure – a reduction of the contrast setting – doesn’t help here. It only makes the characteristic bend in the top part of the diagram disappear.

The color temperature setup is ambiguous. On one hand, the most popular modes (Native, 5000, and 6500) have a temperature dispersion within 600K, which is a good result. But on the other hand, the other three modes, intended for colder ambient lighting, have a temperature dispersion of up to 2000K, and that’s no good at all.

Monitors with an extended color gamut are yet very rare, so you shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of difference between the color gamuts of different models. The LCD1970VX is no exception and its color gamut resembles the models described above.

The response time average is 12.5 milliseconds GtG with a maximum of 22 milliseconds. RTC-less matrixes are generally slow irrespective of the specific monitor, and the LCD1970VX is slow just as well.

The contrast ratio is very good, being never lower than 300:1.

The MultiSync LCD1970VX is only different from other monitors of its class with its rather accurate color temperature setup, particularly in the most demanded modes. Alas, this doesn’t make it suitable for image-editing applications because the temperature might be even more accurate and because the TN matrix itself imposes limitations with its narrow viewing angles. So, the LCD1970VX is just another monitor for working with text, perhaps with somewhat better colors than you get from other models. The low response time and rather high price of this monitor make it a poor choice as a home monitor for games and movies.

Samsung SyncMaster 920NW

This is yet another low-end (as is explicitly indicated by the letter N in the monitor’s name) widescreen monitor with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels.

The specifications are in fact identical to what we’ve seen above: the response time of 5 milliseconds is indicative of the lack of Response Time Compensation, and the viewing angles are measured by the reduction of the contrast ratio to 5:1.

Externally, the monitor resembles its mates from Samsung’s senior 940 series: a neat gray plastic case with a black stand. With all the simplicity of its appearance, the SyncMaster 920NW doesn’t look plain although people who like beautiful and stylish monitors should better consider models from other series because this one is a typical workhorse.

Unfortunately, low-end monitors from Samsung do not use the excellent stand with multiple adjustments we are familiar with by the 940BW model, for example. Instead, they have a simple stand that only allows to change the tilt of the screen. It does its main job – to keep the monitor steady on your desk – well enough, though.

The stand can be replaced with a VESA mount if necessary.

There is a minimum of connectors here: an analog input and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter.

Neat round control buttons are located in the bottom right corner of the front panel. They have comprehensible icons instead of text labels. The buttons respond easily and have a short movement. The Power button, the outermost one, is highlighted with a dull blue LED at work (unfortunately, it begins to blink when the monitor falls into sleep mode). Quick access is provided to the brightness setting, to the MagicBright feature and to the automatic image adjustment.

This is the standard user-friendly menu of Samsung’s monitors.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 75% contrast by default. I reduced them both to 55% to achieve a 100nit white. The brightness is regulated by means of pulse-width modulation of the power of the backlight lamps at a frequency of 240Hz.

The average irregularity of backlight is 4.4% for black and 3.8% for white, the respective maximums being 13.0% and 12.9%. This is a very small irregularity, which can hardly be complained at.

Color gradients look striped on this monitor. When the contrast setting is set at 15% or lower, dark halftones merge into black. When increased above the default value, it leads to a loss of details in lights.

Some defects can be observed in the gamma curves at the default settings: the curves are shaped differently and there is a characteristic bend in the right part of the diagram betraying a too high contrast.

The bend in the right part disappears when the contrast setting is reduced, and the curves get closer to the theoretical one, although do not quite reach it.

The color temperature modes are set up awfully. The temperature dispersion amounts to 3000K even in the most accurate mode, Warm. In the other modes there is a 6000K difference between the temperatures of different grays. The calibrator even couldn’t perform the measurement in the Cool mode.

The color gamut is quite ordinary except that the point of red deflects more from the one of the sRGB space than on other monitors.

Once again we see the depressing sight of a slow TN matrix. Its average speed is 13.4 milliseconds GtG with a maximum of 25 milliseconds. The response time is higher than the declared 5 milliseconds even on the black-to-white transition, so it would be ridiculous to compare this monitor with RTC-enabled models.

The contrast ratio is normal for ordinary work but doesn’t reach 300:1. The level of black is rather too high at the default settings.

The Samsung SyncMaster 920NW is a product the manufacturer sacrificed everything in to make it cheaper. The quality of its color temperature setup is especially awful. It’s up to you to decide if you can put up with such defects, but I’d recommend you to consider more expensive models from Samsung, for example the SyncMaster 940BW, which has much fewer drawbacks.

Samsung SyncMaster 932GW

The recently released SyncMaster 932GW is a widescreen continuation of the popular 932 monitor series.

Judging by the response time, the monitor has a widescreen matrix with Response Time Compensation. Although this technology has been around for a while and its implementation can hardly be a problem for any manufacturer now, most monitors with a native resolution of 1440x900 pixels are still shipped with slow matrixes. Thus, the new monitor looks even more appealing.

The declared contrast ratio of 3000:1 is the so-called dynamic contrast, which is becoming an ever more popular feature of modern monitors. No one has yet achieved a static contrast ratio like that on a TN matrix.

Samsung’s 932 series can hardly be mistaken for anything else – their exterior design is very distinguishing. The Samsung 932GW carries this tradition on as its rounded-off shapes make one think of an LCD TV-test rather than of a PC monitor. The black plastic of the case and stand is luckily complemented with the glossy matrix. The monitor can even be used as a mirror and you won’t get caught sitting at the monitor unawares as you’ll see everyone approaching you from your back. Unfortunately, this plastic also reflects every light source behind you, which can be a nuisance. It is also easily soiled – a fingerprint remains on it even after a gentle touch. You should be very careful when cleaning this surface because small hard particles of dust leave a visible trace. Your monitor can get all covered with a web of small scratches eventually.

This model’s stand has no lock. The top part of the stand is just inserted into the groove in the bottom of the case. This is an unusual, yet effective, solution. The stand keeps the monitor steady but your adjustment options are limited to changing the tilt of the screen.

The smooth lines of the case make the monitor incompatible with VESA mounts: there are no mounting holes for them here.

The monitor’s connectors are located in the oval recess at the back of the case: analog and digital inputs, and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter.

The control buttons are centered under the bottom edge of the case. Their icons are not large, yet helpful, making it easy to control the monitor. Quick access is provided to the MagicBright feature (a set of modes with varying contrast and brightness), to the brightness setting, to the auto-adjustment feature, and to selecting the source of video signal.

The menu is Samsung’s standard one and identical to the previous model’s menu.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 75% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit white I reduced them both to 40%. The brightness is controlled by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 240Hz.

The backlight is 10% and 11% irregular on black and white, respectively. The respective maximums are 19% and 21%. That’s a good result that will satisfy most users.

No problems were observed with the display of a color gradient. All halftones are rendered correctly at a contrast of zero to 80%. At a higher value of contrast the monitor loses light halftones.

The gamma curves sag a little at the default settings, and the resulting image has too much contrast.

When the contrast setting is reduced, the curves get closer to the theoretical one and do not provoke any visible color reproduction related problems.

Since I’ve been writing a lot about various image-enhancing technologies in this review, I want to dwell upon the MagicColor feature as well. It works with color reproduction settings as opposed to MagicBright that regulates brightness and contrast.

Looking at such curves one may wonder if the contrast setting isn’t set at 100%. That’s the useful effect from choosing such a high contrast. The red and green curves are much higher than necessary, reaching saturation in the left part of the diagram. The blue curve is more or less normal in its left part, but then jumps up to join the other two. Note that the first 10% of each curve is flat, meaning that the darkest halftones are reproduced as black.

This mode differs from the previous one with the shape of the red curve which has become closer to the blue one. As opposed to the green curve, these two do not have a flat stretch in the top right of the diagram. So, this mode can be viewed as a more acceptable version of the previous one, yet the colors are still inaccurate.

And what does the MagicBright technology do to the image?

It does not affect color reproduction. We made sure of that: the gamma curves were exactly like at the default settings in each MagicBright mode. The Text and Internet modes are the most appealing as they offer a brightness level comfortable for work. It’s somewhat odd that the other three modes differ mainly in the color temperature setup: it is 7220K (on white) in the Game mode, like in the two previous modes, 8470K (on white) in the Sport mode and 6190K in the Movie mode.

The color temperature modes are not set up very accurately, but the temperature dispersion is within a reasonable 1000K.

The monitor’s got a standard color gamut. Its point of red is close to the one of the sRGB color space.

As you could expect, this model has a very low response time thanks to Response Time Compensation technology. Its response average is 3.2 milliseconds GtG with a maximum of 16.3 milliseconds. As opposed to RTC-less monitors, most transitions between gray halftones are performed faster than from black to white.

The RTC error average is 11.3% with a maximum of 65%. That’s within acceptable limits. About half of all transitions are done without any error but the transitions into lighter halftones are accompanied with a big miss, and you can see a characteristic light trail behind a light object moving on a gray background.

The monitor boasts an astonishing contrast ratio of over 500:1. This is the best result among all 19” TN-based monitors we have ever tested.

So, the Samsung SyncMaster 932GW is a monitor with a remarkable exterior design, quick matrix, and rather good color reproduction, and its weakest spot is the rather high level of RTC errors. If you are looking for a fast widescreen monitor for games and movies and you don’t care about narrow viewing angles of TN matrixes and about some RTC errors, this shiny beauty is likely to become your favorite.

ViewSonic VA903b

The last model to be discussed in this review is a monitor from ViewSonic with a screen aspect ratio of 5:4.

A slow matrix with a specified response time of 8 milliseconds and viewing angles measured by the contrast ratio reduction to 5:1. Yes, this is yet another monitor from the low-end office-oriented sector.

The ViewSonic VA903b has a stern black plastic case standing on a round black base. The simple round buttons centered below the screen don’t fit well into the design concept and spoil the overall impression somewhat.

The stand is very simple, permitting to adjust the tilt of the screen only.

The decorative caps on the back panel hide mounting holes for a VESA stand.

The monitor offers a minimum of connectors: an analog input and a mains connector for the integrated power adapter.

As I said above, the controls are centered below the front panel. The Power button is in the middle of the group and is highlighted with a mild green light at work. The main problem about these controls is the way they are labeled. Instead of meaningful icons we have just Button 1 and Button 2, and the numbers are pressed out in the black plastic being barely visible as the result.

Quick access is provided to the auto-adjustment feature and to the brightness and contrast settings.

This is a typical menu of ViewSonic monitors. It isn’t exceptional in terms of design or usability, but offers all the options necessary to control the monitor. A characteristic feature, the monitor locks the brightness and contrast options when you select the sRGB mode, but does not set them at some specific values – it just keeps the values the user has selected before activating that mode.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 75% contrast by default. To achieve a 100nit white I reduced both brightness and contrast to 56%. The brightness is regulated by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 394Hz.

The average irregularity of backlight is 9.4% on black and 7.2% on white, the respective maximums being 24.1% and 18.6%. This is quite a lot: the irregularity of black can be easily observed in a dark room. On a dark background you can see brighter areas along the top and bottom of the screen. On a light background the right and left sides of the screen look darker than the rest of it.

Color gradients are reproduced without banding. When the contrast setting is set lower than 40%, dark halftones merge into the same color. When the contrast is higher than 85%, lights are indistinguishable from white.

At the default settings the gamma curves are very close to the theoretical one and provoke no problems with color reproduction. The same is true when the contrast is reduced, but when you set it lower than 40%, the left part of the curves becomes flat and lies on the X-axis of the diagram.

The color temperature setup is good: the temperature dispersion is within 300K in the most popular sRGB and 6500 modes. That’s an excellent result you can rarely see in an entry-level monitor. The temperatures of grays differ more in the 9300 and 5400 modes, but the difference is still within 800K.

The color gamut of the VA903b almost fully covers the sRGB space and exceeds it in the area of greens.

This model is slow even in comparison with RTC-less models. Its response average is 14.9 milliseconds GtG while the longest transition takes 29 milliseconds. The switching from black to white, which is the fastest transition for TN matrixes without Response Time Compensation, is 9.7 milliseconds. This speed is insufficient in the year of 2007 to compete with other monitors.

The brightness and contrast ratio aren’t exceptional but sufficient for the possible applications of this monitor.

The ViewSonic VA903b is a product with average characteristics, which differs from the others with its good color reproduction but has a very slow matrix. It can be recommended for people for whom a natural color reproduction is more valuable than a fast response, although the colors suffer on this monitor due to the typically narrow viewing angles of the TN matrix.

Conclusion

Here is a summary of this test session.

Among the models with a standard screen resolution I’d like to single out the HP LP1965. It has a *VA matrix, which is currently rare in 19” monitors. Of course, its price is higher than that of TN-based models, but the user gains excellent viewing angles he can’t get from a TN matrix, a good and fast matrix with a low level of RTC errors, and wide setup opportunities. The LP1965 leaves an impression of a well-made product for both home and office that is going to satisfy most users.

It’s hard to name a leader among the other monitors with a resolution of 1280x1024 because each of them has certain drawbacks. BenQ’s FP91G +U and FP93G S have poor color reproduction. The NEC LCD1970VX has rather inaccurate gamma curves while the ViewSonic VA903b has a slow matrix even in comparison with the other monitors none of which has Response Time Compensation. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive monitor, you should be ready to choose the best from the worst.

Both widescreen monitors with RTC that you have seen in this review, the LG Flatron L196WTQ and Samsung SyncMaster 932GW, stand out among the others not only with their fast matrixes but also with nice exterior design and acceptable setup quality. But the L196WTQ has a worse setup of color temperature modes and a very irregular backlight whereas the 932GW has an excellent contrast ratio but a rather high level of RTC errors. It’s hard to tell which is the better of the two. But anyway, these models have extended your choice of widescreen 19” monitors.

The other monitors reviewed in this article are based on widescreen matrixes without RTC and are close to each other in their quality, which is far from high. Choosing among these monitors is an agonizing process since you are not looking for the best characteristics, but for a monitor that is not as bad as the others. The ASUS VW191s and VW192s are such not-too-bad models and differ in minor details between each other. The NEC LCD195WXM features somewhat broader functionality, offering a digital input and screen height adjustment, but it costs more than the other products in this category while its setup quality and matrix speed are as poor as those of the others.