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As televisions become more sophisticated, monitors are inheriting their technological wonders. Before you read this review, I want you to bear in mind that this is a brand new wide screen LG monitor which is only $399. This you will soon realise is a bargain price for a very impressive screen.

Right now, the notebook and netbook market is taking off and many buyers are turning to an attached monitor as a means to play games and watch movies. With this in mind, LG has released a neat 21.5″ wide screen monitor that has HDMI 1080p capability and a genuine 20,000:1 contrast ratio (gray to gray).

Out of the box, the new LG W2261V is easy on the eyes with a dark blackish frame that has a hint of red, similar to the LG Scarlet series LCD TV. Set this monitor to the native resolution of 1920 X 1080 and you will soon realise that this display screen is a tad impressive – and that’s before we ran a full HD Movie.

This is a monitor that delivers versatility at an attractive price. The 21.5-inch display delivers full HD functionality via a digital fine contrast ratio LG engine which was developed by LG display. With a fast 2ms response time and a native 300cd/m2 brightness, the W2261V is powered by LG’s F-Engine chipset and there’s a separate F-Engine control to suit your viewing application.

 

When you attach the screen to the base there is a well thought out screw-in wing-nut, which makes the job easy. Weighing just 4.2 kilo the actual size is 51.90 cm x 39.28cm x 19.32cm. The viewing angle ranged between 165 and 170 degrees.

When we ran extensive testing using DisplayMate Video Edition and found that not only were the colours consistent but the contrast ratios delivered as per the specifications. Geometry and Resolution tests were also good with no distortion. 
The main controls are on the right-hand edge and begin with a FUN button which covers EZ zooming which alters the display resolution by single-step increments when attached to a PC or notebook -which a lot of people are doing today. The controls are clearly labelled with, touch-sensitive power button that glows red when on.

A 4:3 mode and photo effect mode allow you to view in monochrome, and sepia and Gaussian blur which is a handy little effect for people playing around with images. The same effects can be achieved, with almost any photo editing software.
Another key factor is that cables can be easily installed. There is nothing worse than having to bend an HDMI cable to fit, multiple cables rubbing up against each other when attached or struggling to get your hands behind the unit to plug things in. This model has RGB, D-sub, DVI-D and HDMI inputs at the back which are laid out well. It is clear that this monitor is set up for serious gaming and Blu-ray movies.

 

When we ran a Full HD movie the colour and the screen resolution was impressive and one could easily watch a full length Blu ray or HD movies at the 16:9 native resolution of 1920 x 1080.

If you’re watching pictures that originate in 4:3 aspect ratios then there’s a separate menu function for this format that cuts out the usual distortion when viewing on a widescreen display. The main menu button looks after the picture (including the black level for HDMI input), colour, tracking and additional Setup. Holding the menu button in will also lock the OSD settings once you’re happy with them.

The monitor delivers a choice of game, movie, and Internet options. What I would have liked was a USB port for quick access to content as well as a means of attaching the excellent LG Super Multi Blu ray drive for quick fast delivery of movies.
Manual adjustment can also be done – brightness on RGB/DVI and hue or saturation on HDMI. Alternatively you can just use the AUTO setting when you switch on and everything will be optimised for your input.

What is packed into this monitor cost over $8,000 five years ago and the quality was nowhere as good. For $399 this is one of the best monitors we have seen for a long time.

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