The Westinghouse LCM-17w7 is a wide-screen, 17-inch LCD display with several admirable qualities. It has dual inputs so that you can connect it to your Mac either digitally or with an analog cable. It also has an attractive silver and white design and built-in speakers. But despite such impressive-sounding features, I found this inexpensive display to be less than a gem.
One of the first things I noticed when unpacking the monitor is that I could not connect it to my Mac. Some dual-input displays ship only with an analog cable, but this is the first monitor I’ve seen that ships with no cable at all. There is a cable, but it’s for the speakers, and they sound so tinny, you’d be better off using your Mac’s built-in speakers. While some buyers will save money by not paying for cables they don’t need, there likely will be plenty of disgruntled folks heading back to their local retailers looking for monitor cables, which average between $15 and $30.
After finding and connecting my own cable to the monitor and the Mac’s DVI port, the Mac recognized the display and automatically displayed its native wide-screen XGA resolution (1,280×768 pixels). With its default settings, the display was too blue and seemed a little washed out. Using the on-screen adjustment menus, you can switch between three color-temperature settings. Switching to 7200K or 6500K didn’t help, but using the customizable User color setting, and a display calibrator (that costs as much as the display) I was able to get the monitor to display more accurate colors. If you don’t have a display calibrator, switching the 17w7’s color profile in OS X’s Display preferences to the Generic RGB profile helped a lot. I was never able to get the blacks to look very dark under any circumstances. Light leakage from the monitor’s corners was apparent when I tried to display a totally black screen, and that extra light added to the slightly washed out overall appearance of the monitor.
There were also noticeable color shifts and loss of contrast when viewing the display at relatively narrow angles, so if you’re buying this to watch or play wide-screen formatted movies or games, you’ll want to be sitting front row, center.
Macworld’s buying advice
The Westinghouse LCM-17w7 17-inch display has an appealing design and some good points, including its wide screen and low price. While it took some manipulation to tweak the colors into shape, changing the monitor’s color preferences can improve this display’s soft, blue, slightly washed-out appearance. If price is an issue and you want a wide-screen monitor, it’s worth a look.
|Viewing Angle ||Good |
|Color Fidelity ||Good |
|Text Legibility ||Very Good |
Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable
|Size ||17 inches |
|Native Resolution ||1,280-by-768 |
|Connections ||1 DVI, 1 Analog |
|Viewing Angle ||170 degrees |
|Brightness ||400 CD/m2 |
|Contrast Ratio ||600:1 |
|Dimensions (height x depth x width in inches) ||15 x 7.6 x 17.2 |
|Special Features ||Widescreen aspect ratio, speakers |
|Warranty ||1 year |
[ James Galbraith is Macworld ’s lab director. ]