The P972L is something of a pleasant surprise. The styling of the panel is quite tasty but things are even better when you reach the not-so-soft underbelly of the monitor. The cunningly designed horseshoe-shaped stand takes up minimal desk space but offers a wealth of ergonomic features, including full tilt, swivel and height adjustments and even a 90-degree pivot facility.

Turning to the display itself, a perfectly aligned picture was easily obtained by a single use of the auto-tune feature and the screen image was rock solid through even the highest frequency test charts. However, tonal separation was slightly less than perfect.

No matter how carefully we set up the brightness and contrast levels, dark greys tended to merge slightly into black and very light greys washed out into white. This represents no problem at all for general-purpose work, but it does make the screen slightly secondbest for picky image editors.

Colour accuracy was very good, both at the 6500K colour temperature setting for imaging and at 9300K, more commonly associated with CAD/CAM work. The P972L also offers a 'Motion Picture' colour mode, complete with all sorts of fine-tuning tweakery to play with, including adjustments for black level, saturation, tint and skin tones.

The 16ms response time is also quick enough to keep up with movies and fast-paced gameplay although, as is nearly always the case, the built-in speakers do nothing to enhance the feel-good factor of the high-quality image for DVDs and games. Matthew Richards