19-Inch Flat-Screen Displays

Tempted by the high resolution of Apple's 21-inch Studio Display but lack the cash or desk space? Consider a more affordable and compact 19-inch monitor. The de facto standard for Windows PCs, the 19-inch display is equally at home on a Mac system. But the ten models we evaluated are no garden-variety displays; with their flat CRTs, they offer accurate color and reduced glare. The best news: you can have one for less than the price of Apple's 16-inch Studio Display.

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One advantage of these displays is full compatibility with Windows computers. If you use a Mac and a PC and need a single monitor for both, consider the Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900u, which offers dual upstream USB ports--a unique feature that earned this display a Macworld Editors' Choice Award in 1998.

With the color scan, the jury scrutinized each monitor's sharpness, brightness, contrast, detail, overall color cast, color saturation, and color accuracy. Our testers found that all the displays produced excellent results, with the exception of the Hitachi CM771, NEC FE950, and Sony Multiscan G400. The NEC and Sony models exhibited a noticeable color cast, while the Hitachi had pronounced moiré distortion in the corners. Princeton's AGF900 was the leader, with the sharpest and most natural-looking image overall.

The Hewlett-Packard P910 did an excellent job of displaying our gray-scale images. The other monitors also performed well, although slight color casts on the NEC and the Sony Multiscan E400 earned them only fair scores, and the Hitachi scored poorly due to its moiré distortion.

In all cases, you can make adjustments to fix the color cast--and even the Hitachi's moiré problems--if you're willing to invest the time it takes to coax every ounce of performance from your display. However, adjustments can't help a monitor that inherently lacks sharpness. In our final and most telling test, we looked at a typical spreadsheet document and assessed each monitor's overall sharpness and text readability. The Diamond Pro 900u performed a tad better than the other displays that had excellent sharpness: the Hewlett-Packard P910, the Viewsonic PF795, and the Diamond Plus 91. The others received fair ratings, except for the Hitachi CM771, whose grainy phosphor pattern was readily apparent.

The Sony and Mitsubishi models have manuals with extensive Mac setup information. Mitsubishi includes a universal Mac adapter with the Diamond Pro 900u (it's optional with the Diamond Plus 91). Sony includes a Mac adapter with both models we tested, and NEC will provide a Mac cable when you call a special toll-free number. The other manufacturers leave it up to you and your dealer to source the correct adapter for your model.

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August, 2000 page: 38

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