The best Monitor you can buy!
I've been debating whether to get a TFT flat screen monitor for some time now, and while I don't doubt I will probably get one in the next year or two, until the technology, specifically respose time and colour accuracy, improves, I simply won't be tempted. The main reason for this only effects a small percentage of PC users, namely graphics professionals and hard core gamers.
Resonse times are critical for fast moving images, such as DVD playback and for fast games such as Unreal Tournament and most first person shooters. Even a response time of 8ms, the best available at the time of writing this review, still shows up ghosting on fast moving games. This isn't noticeable to most users, but is instantly recognisable to someone who has been using a decent CRT monitor such as the lacie. In comparison CRT monitors have response times of less than 1ms so the time it takes the screen to move to the next image frame is much quicker.
Colour accuracy is also something which even the best TFT's fail at. They are fine for internet browsing, but throw some dark images their way and they struggle, especially in rendering dark scenes in games where black is often smudgy or brown. General accuracy of colour is also an issue, another reason why graphics professionals still mostly opt for decent CRT's. So until response times have halved, and the reports of ghosting have ceased, and colour accuracy is much improved, I am sticking to the CRT, and I know many other people that will.
This is where the lacie Electron comes in. Finally in the last few years, manufacturers have introduced monitors that have eradicated the horrible flicker monitors and refresh rates of over 100hz are now common at decent resolutions. The main reason many people migrate to TFT's is that they are much easier on the eye than a sub £100 CRT. The Lacie is capable of over 100hz at all resolutions up to 1200x900 and 85hz up to 1600x1200. This means that large desktops and hi-res gaming is now available without getting a headache from having to drop the screen refresh rate. In this respect the Lacie is at the top of its game with only a handful of competitors now that TFT's are the 'in' thing.
Colour reproduction is fantastic, even compared to a £200 17inch CTX monitor I have been using for 3 years which won the best buy award in Computer shopper. Colours are vibrant and games and DVD's simply look fantastic. The image is amazingly sharp with text and pictures very well defined indeed.
The Lacie also has the best array of menu adjustments I have ever seen on a monitor with every angle/stretch/scew/colour/degaus setting you could think of. The menu is a little fiddley but you soon get used to it. Another plus point is the fact it has a monitor cable port, rather than a built-in cable. This has the advantage of being able to replace the data cable should one end of it become defective.
I was also suprised at the silence of the device. My other monitors all whine or have a slight hummm, but the Lacie is dead quiet and also runs quite cool.
Now the cons- very niggly points and only one to do with image. Firstly the monitor comes with 5 usb ports (three standard, two printer/modem/digicam type) The front port is very difficult to access due to the monitor lying very low to the desk (a good point ergonomically though!). It is underneath the main unit and is nearly impossible to use first off but you do get used to where it is.
Secondly there are two faint black lines running horizontally, one at the top the other at the bottom each about 7cm from the edge. This is normal for 19inch + CRTs and is just the way the technology works. However it took me 3 days to notice these lines as you have to look directly at them to notice them and they only appear on very white backgrounds. Even in text they are not noticable and are definitely not something you would get irritaed by as they are extremely faint indeed.
All in all pretty much the best 19inch CRT monitor you can buy. I actually picked mine up off ebay for just over £100, but would definitely get one from new had the chance not arisen. The price is fairly hefty but my goodness you get what you pay for. If the weight of the thing is anything to go by it much be made very well indeed as it must come in close to 30KG!
Highly recommended and beats any TFT hands down on every respect except size.