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Today we are offering you our next review of 17” LCD monitors. Even though the manufacturers have recently shifted their focus to more expensive 19” and 20” models, there are still enough interesting products in this market sector.

For example, it is for the first time we’ve got a monitor from ASUS in our test lab. LG’s series of monitors with a built-in TV-tuner and Samsung’s new 720-th series look promising, too.

Our ways of testing LCD monitors have not changed since the last time we did it. The only difference is that we now measure the color temperature of four shades of gray (from a dark 25% gray to pure white) rather than two as before.


ASUS PM17TS

ASUSTeK Computer once used to be known mostly for its mainboards, but the company has been actively diversifying its business in the last years, so now you can find modems, notebooks, system cases, power supplies, PDAs, cellular phones and what not, under the ASUS brand. And here’s an LCD monitor from ASUS to you, too.

The PM17TS looks cute in its elegant silvery case with a smooth and rounded outline without a single sharp angle – even the buttons are round! Luckily, they didn’t dare return to those bulging screens of ten years ago and older and had to put up with the four right angles of the LCD matrix! The quality of manufacture is high – I have no complains whatsoever.

The aluminum-alloy base matches the elegance of the rest of the monitor, but only allows adjusting the tilt of the screen.

The monitor’s connectors are all located in a single block at its rear panel. I think this is virtually the only slip the ASUS engineers made because it is impossible to hide the cables that go from the monitor and it is all going to look ugly on a secretary’s desk, for example, where the monitor’s rear panel would face the visitor. Well, even at home you may find this placement of the connectors inconvenient. Conversely, many manufacturers position the connectors of their monitors vertically, facing downwards. After you connect the cables, the connectors can be then concealed under a decorative cover, and the cables can be hidden inside the monitor’s base or at least fastened to it with a brace.

The PM17TS is equipped with analog and digital outputs and an audio input for the integrated speakers. The monitor comes with both video cables and an adapter cable from the sound card’s 3.5mm audio output to the monitor’s RCA connectors. The power adapter is external.

The Power On button is positioned at the center of the monitor’s front panel and is highlighted with a mild blue LED at work. The control buttons are located on the right side of the case. Not quite conveniently, you have to apply some force to press a button down.

The monitor’s menu isn’t very user-friendly. Only three of the monitor’s six buttons are used in the menu, so you have to make a lot of extra presses. I think it would be logical to choose a menu item with the “Up” and “Down“ buttons, for example, and choose the value of the setting by pressing “+” and “-“. But here you choose the necessary menu item, enter it with the “Menu” button, and then use the “Up” and “Down” buttons to change the setting. The “+” and “-“ buttons are not used at all when in the menu.

The monitor doesn’t have any brightness/contrast presets and doesn’t even offer quick control over these two settings. Quick access is only provided to the volume setting (with those “+” and “-“ buttons) and to the auto-adjustment feature. Again, the “Up” and “Down” buttons might have been used for quick adjustment of the brightness setting when not in the menu, but the PM17TS only reacts to these buttons when you’re in it.

The monitor’s default brightness and contrast are set to 80% both. I dropped them to 25% for both analog and digital connections to achieve 100nit brightness of white (1 nit = 1 candela per square meter).

 
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