Up until now, conventional monitors have had the edge over flat panel displays in two crucial areas; size and resolution. For a long time, if your world was flat you fell off its edge at 1024 x 768 resolution, and that was that. Smug CRT owners with the budget and the need could trounce this with 21-inch monster tubes capable of resolution modes all the way up to 1600 x 1200.
Recently, the picture has changed (pardon the pun). Flat panel manufacturers overcame some fairly complex technical problems and managed to get commercial products out of the door running at 1400 x 1050, some of which even turned up in top-end notebooks, and now they’ve jacked the resolution all the way up to 1600 x 1200. So, for the first time, a flat panel display can offer the sort of vital statistics previously only on offer from a CRT, and this is where the Eizo FlexScan L771 comes in.
The Eizo delivers the sought-after 1600 x 1200 resolution from a 19.6-inch diagonal screen with a 19.5-inch viewable diagonal. This is housed in a compact cabinet which occupies a mere 8.6 inches of your desk (including the footprint of the stand), and which weighs 9.6kg. Anyone familiar with the prizewinning hog dimensions of a 21-inch CRT monitor will be pleasantly surprised by the FlexScan.
Usefully, there are two signal inputs and a pushbutton on the bezel for selecting between them, which can be a vital asset in some kinds of setup where the ability to switch between two hosts is a firm requirement. There’s also a powered USB hub with the usual 1 upstream and 4 downstream ports built into the stand.
The controls are operated by a straightforward on-screen menu which is largely made redundant by an auto setup button which we found to work perfectly, clearing up noise and sizing the image properly first time around. If you do need to intervene manually, all the necessary adjustments are present, including detailed colour correction with a wide choice of colour temperatures, plus hue and saturation controls and RGB intensity tuners.
When the Eizo is fired up the results are impressive, with the characteristic crispness and clarity of TFT helping to make even fine detail and small text sharp and readable at 1600 x 1200, which isn’t always the case on some 21-inch CRTs. Colour blocks were even, the background white was untinted, and there was no vertical or horizontal interference from clock and phase mismatch with the graphics card. In fact the picture quality was pretty well above reproach, right down to the generous 150 degree viewing angle in both planes, which provided plenty of range for slouching and shifting about.
Of course, this new FlexScan costs rather a lot of money, as high-resolution TFT panels always do, and that’s really the only reason why this monitor won’t sell in the millions, since everything else about it is very nearly perfect.
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