The Planar PL1700M's TrueMedia 2W integrated stereo speakers produced the richest sound of any monitor tested for the July 2004 issue. The volume control dial is more pleasant to use than a button. Despite having the speakers at the bottom of the bezel, the PL1700M has a slender profile. Unfortunately, the PL1700M disappoints in a monitor's key mission: It ranked second to last for image quality among the monitors we looked at for our July 2004 issue.
The Planar PL1700M's disappointing image quality outweighs its above-average sound features.
17-inch screen, 1280 by 1024 native resolution, 11 pounds; vendor does not disclose panel type; analog input. Three-year warranty (including backlight); 13-hour weekday tech support. $489 866/752-6271 www.planar.com
Japan's National Institute for Technology and Evaluation (NITE) tested a Lithium Ion battery about the size of one used in a cellphone. It was struck with a hammer then left on a work bench, unconnected from any apparatus. The result was explosive.