|Name||Widescreen LCD monitor: LG Flatron E2350V-PN|
|Summary:||A monitor that offers cutting edge tech and real innovation but isn't the user-friendliest.|
Picking up the E2350V-PN’s box for the first time, I couldn’t believe how little it weighed for a 23-inch full HD widescreen display. Opening the box, however, I soon realised why. This monitor uses LED backlighting, which reduces its depth to just 17.5mm at its thinnest, and means it uses up to 45% less power than a traditional fluorescent backlit monitor. This, and some rather lightweight plastic construction, produces a total weight of just 3kgs for the E2350V-PN.
The Flatron is also, depending on your taste, quite a looker. Its glossy, semi-transparent bezel is infused with a lively purple colour and it dispenses with physical buttons altogether in favour of a system LG calls EZ Control OSD, which places touch sensitive controls in the bezel (represented by five small white lights) that bring up the menu selections in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Setting the Flatron up also provides you with a couple of innovative choices. Yes, you can simply attach it the usual desktop stand but LG has taken note of the move to mobility in computing and has given this monitor a little something else up its sleeve. Instead of attaching the desktop foot, you can instead depress an unlock button on the stand arm and pull it out and up so that it becomes a support much like a photo frame. The monitor will then sit on your desk, or coffee table, at a similar height as a notebook screen.
With its LED backlighting, LG claims a contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 for this monitor. This is, of course, nonsense in anyone’s book but the EV2350V-PN does offer good contrast that is great for video and still images. It also offers a package of other nifty features including Auto Bright that uses an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust screen brightness, Original Ratio to display images in their source ratio – great for 4:3 ratio images you don’t want stretched, Cinema Mode to darken your screen around the edges of a video clip window from the likes of YouTube, and Dual Screen that can auto-fit two documents or two browser windows side by side.
When it comes to video connections you are offered HDMI, DVI and VGA and LG puts a cable for each in the box – good on you, LG. The only other connection is a headphone output. What’s missing? Well, a few USB plugs would have been nice, and what about a pair of speakers for my $599?
I hooked the Flatron up via the HDMI connection to a hardware media player outputting 1080p and it looked excellent. Video clips in a variety of formats played smoothly and looked good. There’s plenty of adjustment available in terms of both brightness and contrast but I wouldn’t say that this monitor rivals the best TVs in terms of its ability to render shadow detail. A reasonably fast 5ms screen response time also helps action move smoothly across the screen.
Within the menu system you are offered a control called the f+ENGINE, which lets you select between Standard, Movie, Game and Sports image modes. However, I’d suggest that Standard is the only one worth using. All the others bang up the contrast and kill shadow detail.
Swapping to an HDMI input from a Toshiba Satellite notebook, I was baffled to find the Flatron’s colour palette to be completely out of whack with the Windows 7 colour scheme and nothing I did in terms of calibration or tweaking menus could pull it into line. However, I should note here that our test monitor was a pre-production unit and this problem could well be eliminated from the product that goes on sale. Given that, once I’d gotten over it being over-the-top blue it still offered good clarity and even brightness across the screen. Just to be sure I wasn’t missing something, I also tried a VGA connection but this made no difference to the look of things.
In summary the E2350V is an innovative product with some excellent features and good performance but I wasn’t keen on the fiddly control system. I also have to give it some benefit of the doubt in that we tested a pre-production unit.