Down here in the sub-£200 monitor market, it's easy to get the impression that there's little or no choice other than TN panels. If you fancy a screen with superior technology, such as an IPS or PVA panel, you're looking at the thick end of £300. Thanks to LG, however, there is still hope in the form of the W2286L 22-inch monitor.
This 22-inch monitor may be saddled with the same old TN (Twisted Nematic) technology as other affordable monitors. But it has a secret weapon: It's got an LED backlight.
In theory, LEDs produce cleaner, purer light than the CCFL backlights used by most monitors. LEDs are also quicker to respond to the input signal, use less power (LG claims as much as 40 per cent less than CCFL) and last longer before significant fade sets in. What's not to like?
At first glance, very little indeed. Not only does the W2286L steal a march on the competition with its advanced backlight technology, it's also a substantial and expensive looking specimen with its slick HDTV styling .
That said, the screen's stand isn't any more versatile than the rest. It's tilt-only in terms of adjustability.
Fortunately then, LG has lavished this screen with more input options than you can shake a dirty stick at. Along with DVI and VGA interfaces, there's a brace of HDMI ports.
You could, therefore, wire up not just a PC and games console, but also a further digital box, such as a Blu-ray player – all at the same time.
It certainly makes the monitor a serious companion for anyone wishing to have a flexible multimedia machine.
But what about that LED backlight? Does it really deliver a superior viewing experience. Subjectively, this screen has the most pleasing, natural and convincing colours of our sextet of screens. It's almost IPS-like in its subtlety.
Following calibration, our objective testing confirms that the screen also offers the largest colour space. Even better, it tops the table in terms of measured static contrast with a figure just over the 1,000-to-one mark.
Subjectively, its black levels are pretty satisfying, too. All of which makes the W2286L the best looking, most advanced and objectively highest performing screen here. What it ain't, however, is perfect.
For starters, it's not that bright, tipping the scales at just 208 nits. Moreover, when you get right down to the all-important subjective viewing experience, the colour and contrast is only marginally better than the rest of the monitors and it still lags well behind a good IPS or PVA screen.
Then there are the touch-sensitive controls. They're so infuriatingly fiddly, it's almost impossible to navigate the OSD menu.
There's also a downside to the sleek lines of the chassis: a messy external power brick.
But the real killer is the old school 22-inch 16:10 form factor. It means that this monitor has significantly fewer pixels than the other 22-inch and 24-inch screens on test.
In 16:9 full, high definition format, LG might just have a winning monitor on its hands. As it is, the W2286L is a slightly odd combination of old and new.
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