Price: £629 plus VAT
Those who are serious about colour reproduction for print nearly always look to LaCie for their display needs. Granted, there are better solutions out there, but few, if any, are available at such a low price. The Electron22blueIV, the fourth iteration of LaCie’s popular line of CRT displays, sports a 22-inch naturally flat screen (20-inch viewable area) using NEC-Mitsubishi’s Superbright Diamondtron tube. As usual with LaCie’s displays, this model has plethora of configuration options – and the ubiquitous dark-blue anti-glare hood. It’s surprisingly small, too – it doesn’t loom menacingly over your desk – but its small footprint belies the fact that it’s back-crunchingly heavy. Get help when you lift it. Like its predecessor, this monitor has a USB hub – and adds one more downstream port to the array, bringing the total to five (four downstream, one up). These aren’t easy to get to, however – they’re tucked away on the back-left corner. We noticed a few little temperamental glitches, too – the hub only works properly if the monitor is switched on before the computer. Once switched on and connected, however, all gripes are swept aside. The dead-flat screen and pin-sharp reproduction make life a breeze for working in QuarkXPress and Photoshop – and the top resolution of 2,048-x-1,536 pixels means that it’s possible to view three A4 pages side-by-side at 100 per cent magnification. It’s when the calibration tools are used that this monitor really comes into its own, though. LaCie’s new £239 plus VAT Blue Eye Vision hardware calibrator does a fine job. Hardware calibration is essential if you’re working in a colour-critical environment – and the LaCie system is tied into the electron22blueIV’s internal workings, so nothing can go awry. The process is as simple as can be – the software prompts you to stick the spectrophotometer onto the displayed target point. Pressing ‘Calibrate’ is really the only other step you need to take. Conveniently, the monitor’s on-screen display is locked out after the calibration run, so your studio’s nosey parkers with button-happy fingers won’t be able to undo any of the adjustments. LaCie’s monitors have always impressed us – and this is no exception. If it’s calibrated properly, the sharp, clear (and huge) screen will help you get the best from your colour-critical work.