EIZO Nanao Color Edge CG18
The ColorEdge CG18 posted some of the highest graphics scores we've seen for large LCDs. It displayed our two test photograph screens with a full spectrum of true-to-life colors: In our photograph of a fruit tart, strawberries had deeper reds, and blueberries had more subtle shadings of blue, than they did on competing LCDs. In our photograph of children, skin tones looked remarkably lifelike.
The CG18 is one of the few LCDs that use a 10-bit (1024-step) internal lookup table to smooth out the shadings and color gradients specified by the 8-bit (256-step) signals coming from the operating system of the PC or Macintosh machine. (The Sharp LL-T1820B, reviewed alongside the CG18, also features a 10-bit table.) Each CG18 comes with a certificate from the factory stating that Eizo custom-adjusted the 256 tones for each primary color by selecting from the 1024 possibilities allowed by the 10-bit lookup table. The goal, according to Eizo, is to produce the smoothest transitions from the very lightest shades to the very darkest--a progression known as the gamma curve. When looking at this monitor from a variety of angles, we saw very little color shift.
Professional displays are rarely cheap, and the CG18 is no exception, with a price of $1640 at the time of our review. Truly this is a display for use where color accuracy is all-important.
If graphic design isn't your livelihood, you can find some nearly comparable 19-inch displays for a good deal less, such as the Sharp T19D1 and the NEC MultiSync LCD1960NX. (Eizo also sells the 21-inch ColorEdge CG21 for $2500.) Text looked quite nice on the CG18, earning a word score of Very Good against competitors in our monitor review for the December issue. The slim-bezeled monitor offers full adjustment options, as well, though we found up-and-down movement rather stiff. It also comes with a four-port hub supporting the USB 1.1 standard.
The adjustment buttons on the bottom of the bezel are intuitively labeled, but they provide access to rather tiny on-screen menus. The ColorEdge comes with Eizo's ColorNavigator software, which supports third-party color calibration hardware. Eizo recommends GretagMacbeth's optical sensors, such as the $240 Eye-One Display.
The bundled CD caries a serviceable HTML-based manual to supplement the very brief paper setup instructions. Brief also describes Eizo's telephone tech support, which is available for 8 hours on weekdays. (Most vendors provide longer support hours.)
With top-quality color and fine color-calibration tools, the CG18 should suit the needs of graphics professionals. But it's priced out of the range of the average PC user.
EIZO Nanao Color Edge CG18