Relisys – TL540 LCD monitor review

entry-level LCD with a swivel screen
Photo of Relisys – TL540 LCD monitor
£269 + VAT

Relisys used to be a cheap and cheerful CRT monitor supplier, but over the last couple of years has changed its outlook. It now concentrates on LCD monitors, and has a full range from the value to the executive ends of the market. The TL540 is near the entry-level end, but has a couple of surprises behind its blue, metallic highlights.

The display is a 15-inch LCD panel, which means that, unlike a conventional monitor, the screen diagonal is a full 15 inches. It gives a clear, bright picture at resolutions of up to 1,024 by 768 pixels with a good horizontal viewing angle. The vertical viewing angle isn’t so good, though, so reading material over the shoulder of somebody using a TL540 can be difficult.

Controls run down the side of the monitor’s surround and are easy to use, in conjunction with a very readable on-screen display. The monitor includes a small, rather tinny sounding pair of speakers in its base, which may be OK for Windows sounds but not for music or soundtracks. Video and power cables plug into the back of the monitor, rather than into its base, so they’re not easy to disguise on your desktop.

Unusually in a monitor at this price point, the TL540 can swivel through 90 degrees from landscape to portrait views. Just grab the panel surround and twist – there’s a satisfying click as you reach either viewing position. What this physical swivel doesn’t do, though, is to turn the Windows desktop round. For that you need the copy of Portrait Display’s Pivot application, which is supplied.

The version we received didn’t work under Windows XP and we had to download a later version from the Portrait Display site (www.portrait.com). Our troubles weren’t over then, though, as the software is only a 30-day trial. After that you have to pay an extra $49.95 (around £35) for a full copy. Since many people will be attracted to the TL540 for its low-cost swivelling display, it seems short-sighted not to add the cost of the software into the price of the monitor – as an OEM price it would presumably add less than £35 to the unit’s price.

Company: Relisys

Contact: 0161 232 6000


Verdict
This is a neat, well engineered LCD monitor. It's one of the few monitors with a 90-degree screen-swivel available at this kind of price. However, you should bear in mind it doesn't include the Pivot software needed to swivel your Windows XP display - that's an extra £35.