CTX – EX710F review

well-made 17-inch CRT
Photo of CTX – EX710F
£177 + VAT

First impressions of this new 17-inch CRT display from CTX are good. The actual case design isn’t particularly trendy or thrilling, but that doesn’t matter. What’s more important is the tube itself and the unit’s build quality. The former we’ll get to later, but the latter is certainly impressive; the entire unit feels very solid, with no squeaks or rattles when you move it on its tilt and swivel stand.

For the technically inclined, the EX710F has a maximum vertical scan frequency of 160Hz in lower modes, with a horizontal maximum of 97kHz. Top resolution is quoted as being 1600 x 1200, although this is apparently outside the VESA-recommended refresh rate limit of 85Hz (the speed at which most people’s eyes see a still image, rather than an annoyingly flickering one). The viewable diagonal screen size is 16 inches, which is usual for a ’17-inch’ monitor, taking into account the tube boundaries.

The important factor, though, is image quality, and the CTX display does well here. Its image is rock steady in all the supported resolutions, with little or no mis-convergence (where the three primary colours can sometimes wander out of alignment). The initial image geometry isn’t always perfect, but it can be adjusted easily using the on-screen menu system, and for most users this will be a ‘once only’ operation when they first set up their display. Colour balance is good, with solid purity throughout the screen and no obvious blooming. The display is effectively flat in both directions, which helps the perception of displayed images, and the focus is pretty good, too.

Image adjustments are made using a row of four buttons on the front panel of the monitor. These are used to navigate the on-screen menu, from which a variety of settings can be adjusted. There’s the usual image size and position adjustment, in both horizontal and vertical directions, plus pincushion, pin balance, trapezoid, parallelogram, rotation and more. There’s a selection of colour management tools available, including a user-defined setting, plus – something of a rarity – horizontal and vertical Moiré compensation and degauss. In short, you’ll have plenty of things to tweak if you’re not entirely happy with the default display settings. When the on-screen menu is switched off, the main buttons provide quick access to the brightness and contrast controls, which are most likely to be used once the initial configuration is complete.

Given the size and scan frequency of this display, we would recommend avoiding the display’s theoretical maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200. This is too high for a monitor of this size, and will almost certainly cause eye strain. 1200 x 1024 is a more reasonable resolution, although for prolonged work 1024 x 768 is more sensible. The display copes perfectly well with either of these resolutions, at 85Hz in both cases.

Like several other monitors of this size, the EX710F has TCO’99 certification, meaning that its various emissions and ergonomic statistics comply with a set of guidelines established by several of Sweden’s largest organisations.

Company: CTX

Contact: 01923 810 800

This is a well-constructed display with a solid, clear image and a good selection of on-screen controls. Its high contrast and consistent colour distribution make it worth the extra money over some cheaper models - and 'extra' is relative, anyway, since there are more expensive 17-inch displays out there. We feel that a good display like this is worth paying for, for the sake of user comfort and health.