By Neil Bennett | on December 15, 2005
Price When Reviewed: 385
Pros: Lowest costing 20-inch LCD so far. Very fast response time.
Cons: Mediocre colour reproduction and small gamut. Ugly base.
The price of 20-inch LCD monitors has tumbled over the last few years, which is great for creatives who need the 1,600-x-1,200 resolution (or 1,680-x-1,050 for widescreen models) to make the most of their applications. BenQ’s PF202W is the lowest priced model we’ve seen so far, and while it’s a solid, basic performer, most creatives will need to spend a little extra to get the quality they need.
The FP202W is plain to the point of ugliness, especially the blocky base. The thin blue bezel is a definite bonus, especially as the price will make some think of buying two for the extra desktop space. However, the menu buttons that sit on the side of the bezel are hard to differentiate and press correctly.
This monitor’s main problem though is that it’s not very good at its core task – accurately presenting the colours of your designs, layouts, edits and effects.
We profiled the FP202W using Pantone’s Spyder2Pro Studio, and graphed the results in Chromix ColorThink 2 for analysis. This showed a slightly lower gamut that this monitor’s two main low-cost rivals: Apple’s £467 plus VAT 20-inch Cinema Display and Dell’s £429 plus VAT UltraSharp 2005FPW (both were reviewed in Digit 86, and both have come down in price
a bit since then).
After calibration, we viewed a series of colourful, high-resolution test images within Photoshop. These were noticeably less vivid than the FP202W’s low-cost rivals, and in a league below designer-focused models such as LaCie’s 321 LCD Monitor or NEC’s SpectraView 2180.
The FP202W has a few nifty tricks, but they are largely irrelevant to Digit readers. The sharpness control enables the viewer to blur the output image slightly, which is great for playing games and watching DVDs, but it’s of no use professionally. The provided calibration software is easy to use, but is sadly Windows-only.
Viewable area: 20-inch
Native resolution: 1,680-x1,050
Response rate: 8ms
Viewing angles: 170-degrees
Contrast Ratio: 600:1
USB Ports: No
Software: basic calibration plus profiles