It’s still commonplace for larger flat panel displays to cost the best part of £2,000, so LG’s 18.1-inch Flatron LCD FL885LE has an attention-grabbingly low price. Inevitably, the first reaction something like this provokes is curiosity as to what was missed out to get the cost down, but from the outset, no corner-cutting is evident.
The build is of an acceptable quality, with a hefty metal base ensuring stability for the cabinet, and a generally co-ordinated and pleasing look to the overall styling. This extends to practical touches like a channel in the stand for concealing the signal and power cables, which both encourages a safe workplace and improves the look of any installation where people get to see the back of the monitor.
Although you might have expected it to be skipped to save money, the Flatron comes as standard with a powered USB hub integrated directly into the cabinet, and again neatly concealed by a cover plate. This provides four downstream connectors and one upstream link back to the host, and could prove essential if you are setting up workstations where the host is some distance away from the monitor and you need a cable-efficient way of connecting peripherals.
Signal input is via a conventional D-Sub socket, but there’s also a digital-only DVI-D connector which might prove its worth somewhere along the line as future-proofing. Certainly DVI is something that corporate buyers of flat panel displays are already starting to specify with an eye to the possible move over to digital as the standard for video signals.
You can set up the image manually from scratch, but the automated setup routine worked fine when we ran it and no fine-tuning was necessary. The result is an even, bright picture with a clean background white, and the large 18.1-inch diagonal provides the necessary viewing area to make the panel’s 1280 x 1024 resolution easily and comfortably readable.
This put paid to our greatest fear, namely that the screen itself would be a pup, hence the relatively low pricing. So we were impressed. In fact the only thing the Flatron doesn’t have, that a number of flat panel displays now offer, is a pivoting stand that lets you flip the screen round into portrait mode. That’s mildly unfortunate, but unless portrait viewing is a must-have on your checklist, the Flatron is a very good deal for the money.
Company: LG Electronics
Contact: 0870 607 5544