LG has tapped into a very unique niche, or at least attempted to smartly market its way into it. I’m talking about the thousands of customers looking for a solution wherein they can watch TV on their monitor. Tech sites carry a lot of articles on it, and suggestions keep popping up in forums. The model in the spotlight today, is an LCD TV cum monitor - LG Flatron M237WA.
LG always spends a little extra time on design, as their products always have something different about their looks. It never goes by unnoticed by us. In this case, the design of the bezel is smooth and sleek, with a piano gloss finish, and highly curvaceous edges. Fluid is the word for the geometry of the exterior. The bottom panel is streaked by a dark maroon strip, which extends all the way across the bottom panel’s thickness, which happens to be much thicker then the rest of the edges. This screen rests on an oval stand.
Fixing it on the stand is easy, though the overall connection is not firm. It is slightly wobbly, and can topple over easily if not handled carefully. The good part is that the joint is hinged in such a way that it can move up and down. A blue LED signifies power on operation, and is located at the right end of the bottom panel.
The back is also smooth on the surface, with a round cutout acting as a window to the connections. The connections are aplenty for a monitor, but just enough for an LCD TV. 2 HDMIs, cable Tuner in (that’s what makes this a TV) one DVI-D, audio in (3.5 mm miniplug) and a composite, S-video and component video connection are also present. Besides there is also D-sub in for VGA in, and RS-232C port. A remote control is included.
The model is a 23-inch screen, of perfect 16:9 aspect ratio. Native resolution is 1920 x 1080. The brightness is 300 cd/m2 and contrast is 20,000:1 dynamic. Response time is 5 ms (GTG). The panel looks like TN panel for sure, the viewing angles give that away in a jiffy. The monitor comes with a 6 watt RMS stereo speaker with LG's proprietary SRS WOW, which claim to give acoustic surround sound enhancement.
The monitor was a plug n play piece, thus setting it up was simple. We connected via the HDMI to our HTPC test rig and set the res to max, which was 1920 x 1080. The first steps were to play test patterns and calibrate the screen for optimal display. Here we found out some disappointing things about the monitor. Extreme whites and blacks do not pass the grayscale test, as they all merge into blocks, and there is not much separation and detail in near black and near white zones. Even full black bars rotating on dark background (that’s one of our tests), did not perform satisfactorily. An enthusiast will surely notice this and deter as the detail in the dark areas tend to get all smudged and lost.
Overall contrast was decent, but not spectacular, though still images do look good. There is not much backlight bleed, thus no ‘cloudiness’ along the corners of the screen. For checking and tweaking all these tests we spent a lot of time with the menu of the monitor, which was user friendly and easy to navigate, similar to the LG TVs. The remote given is handy for these operations.
There are presets like cinema, vivid, standard sport and game, though the user preset is the best, as the contrast needs to be toned down to avoid blooming of whites. I prefer regular 6500K setting for color temp, as it is neutral. Once set here we ran some color tests to see how much they actually conform to this color setting, finding out more saturation of colors at higher white levels, thus the temp was more than 6500K near white. Subjectively speaking the colors looked good actually, a little saturation does not harm the image I guess...
For Multimedia we played Dawn of War II and watched some HD trailers of the new Transformers and Terminator Salvation, and lastly saw The Incredible Hulk on the screen. Motion is really no problem on these TN panels. Detail and sharpness was visible right from the text in my word processor, to the action scenes in the film sequences. Jaggies and aliasing was quite less, in very tolerable levels. I like the detail and sharpness in the TV.
At Rs. 16000, this unit can be termed reasonable, as you are getting an LCD TV cum monitor under 20K. But the performance is not spectacular. It has those drudging drawbacks of typical LCD screens, like weak blacks. The colors and detail is good on the other hand. Someone who is not too much of a nitpicker in image quality can definitely go for the model. It’s got a good price for what it does.
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