When the first LCD monitors appeared on the market a couple of years ago, industry pundits confidently predicted that we would soon have displays mounted on walls like pictures, saving space in the office and at home. Good old pundits. That hasn’t happened, partly because LCD displays aren’t generally as good visually as conventional CRT (cathode ray tube – the same technology as that used in television sets) screens, and partly because the manufacturing costs for LCD panels are still high.
That second problem looks as though it might be going away, at least if this display is anything to go by. Novatech’s 12.1-inch LCD monitor features a viewable screen size approximately the same as that of a 14-inch CRT monitor, and costs about the same as a 17-inch CRT display. So, there’s still a price difference, but this TFT screen represents a big step in the right direction.
Supporting a maximum resolution of 800 x 600 and 256K-colours, with a pixel-multiplication system for displaying lower resolutions, the Novatech screen actually emerged from the same factory as well-known display manufacturer Viewsonic’s LCD panels. It looks the part, with a well-designed stand incorporating a pair of speakers, and it feels solid too. LCD panels can be notoriously difficult to configure, but this one has an auto-setup option that works pretty well, and there’s a range of fine adjustments possible from the on-screen menu should you need them, including volume controls for the speakers and colour temperature adjustment options.
In use, the displayed image is bright and sharp, whether you’re entering data into a spreadsheet or hacking monsters to pieces in the latest game. It’s not quite as consistent or sharp as a good CRT monitor, but it’s not far off, and certainly looks stylish on the desktop, saving a great deal of space when compared to a conventional monitor.
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