It's big and it's clever
Not the most exciting topic in the world. But we all need them. And nowadays they are more flash than ever. We've moved on from your average 14" monitor with an 800x600 display that was conisdered the height of sophistication. Resolutions are going crazy. 1024x768 is pretty much a minimum these days, and with most devices now in a widescreen aspect ratio you're looking at resolutions like 1280x800 and 1440x900.
If you're looking out for a big monitor, perhaps this new LG range could be for you. I'm taking a look at the LG W2353V-PF 23" LCD monitor to see how it shapes up.
In the olden days of CRT, a 23" monitor would have just about broken your back or made a hole in your desk due to how heavy they were. LCD technology has removed a lot of the weight. Consequently, this is only a beast in terms of screen size. It's pretty easy to handle otherwise.
You can just plug it in and get on with things, but there's also some software you can install, that comes on a separate CD. This gives you access to more of the features that you might be interested in. You can get full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution out of the box if your graphics hardware will support it. Installing the optional software gives you access to profiles, preferences and various other things that you can fine tune to your liking.
I've had a 19" monitor for years now (a 4:3 CRT and a widescreen LCD more recently). But it's positively dwarfed by this 23" beast! Using them side by side gives you a massive desktop, and also shows what a good monitor this is. I'm only comparing it to a basic budget Belinea, but it absolutely wipes the floor with it in all departments.
The best feature about this monitor is the automatic brightness function. It detects the ambient light in your environment, and adjusts itself to compensate. This is very nifty and a very good idea. On a bright day you may never see it change. But when the light changes (e.g. it gets cloudy outside) the monitor gently adjusts to give you the best viewing experience. I love this feature. It's supposed to help stop eye strain. There's also a timer that will remind you to take a break. You can get various bits of software to do this, but it's nice to have it built in to the monitor.
You can still fiddle with it manually if you want, but I was quite happy to let it do its thing.
To access the normal monitor controls and the main power button, there's a funky little touch panel at the bottom right hand side of the screen. When your finger moves near it, little red LEDs light up. Just tap the relevant light to make a change. It's brilliant as well as cool! Move the finger away, and the lights go out. Love it!
And if that's not good enough for you, we come to Cinema Mode. Using this you can black out (or just grey out) everything other than the area of screen you want to concentrate on. It's a great feature, and you'll find yourself using it more than you might have thought.
iPlayer videos look good. iPlayer HD videos look even better. Plug in a USB TV stick and this becomes a cracking little TV too. And when Freeview HD comes along, this will really come into its own. Watch other HD content like BluRay or HD games through this and you'll also be impressed.
Awesome. Simply awesome. It's the best monitor I've ever seen. It handles everything you throw at it, from mundane Windows stuff to more interesting DVD and HD content. If you are on the look out for a big monitor, look no further than this. It will blow you away. Just make sure your graphics hardware can drive it at 1920 x 1080 for the full experience.
We've definitely come a long way!
You can pick one up for around £160 online - and you certainly should! Given that an Apple Cinema Display of equivalent size is between 2.5 and 5 times more expensive (depending where you buy it), this LG should certainly be on your list as an alternative!