By Neil Bennett | on April 03, 2006
Pros: Low-cost. Good attempt to be different.
Cons: Performance only average. Not quite configured right.
There was a time when almost every designer had a LaCie monitor. The move from CRT to LCD hasn’t been kind to the company though, with many creatives ditching LaCie’s sober blue displays for shiny widescreen Apple monitors.
The 120 LCD Monitor, which replaces the photon20vision II, is a direct rival to the 20-inch Cinema Display, costing about £30 less than Apple’s monitor. It ditches many of LaCie’s trademarks: the neutral blue exterior that was designed not to distract from your work has been replaced with a more conventional black, and there’s no hood – even as an option – to block your screen from sunny days and other glaring lights.
These changes makes the 120 nearer to the original low-cost widescreen 20-inch display, Dell’s UltraSharp 2005FPW. However, the 120 has a traditional 4:3 aspect ratio, which doesn’t fit around creative tools as well as widescreen units.
It’s not just the external elements that disappoint, though. Everything about this monitor is distinctly average, from the output picture quality down to the single digital-only DVI and VGA inputs. LaCie claims a higher contrast ratio (700:1)
than Apple’s (400:1) or Dell’s (600:1), but we could detect no discernible difference between the three in subtle shading. Our measurements of the 120’s colour gamut were near identical to that of the Cinema Display and 2005FPW. The included profile wasn’t as accurate as it should be.
Designers coming from a CRT will expect more from a monitor than the 120 delivers. For smoother gradation and more accurate colour, check out Eizo’s FlexScan 2110W (though it costs over £600). Video editors looking for a low-cost display (or two) will be better off with either Dell or Apple’s widescreen units.