LG Electronics Flatron L1981Q
At a Glance
Stylish, smooth-bezeled unit employs heat-sensitive buttons and innovative automatic pivoting software.
LG's $499 Flatron L1981Q refines the design of the Flatron L1980U while retaining the auto-pivot and auto-mirror functions that made its predecessor unique. The screens received very similar scores on our tests, with the L1981Q earning a rating of Very Good for text and Good for graphics.
The L1981Q's bezel is smooth and flat on all sides, enabling it to line up with an adjacent monitor whether they're in portrait mode or in landscape mode--something the L1980U's downward-hanging power button wouldn't allow. My woes with accidentally turning off the L1980U continued with the L1981Q. With the L1980U, I blamed the problem on the protruding power button--but since the same thing happened with the L1981Q, it seems more likely that I gripped the bezel too close to the heat-sensitive control buttons. It seems odd that I didn't need to press the buttons very hard to make them work.
More-successful examples of the L1981Q's hands-off philosophy lie in the automatic pivot and automatic mirror functions of the included ForteManager software. With these functions enabled, the screen image automatically pivots or flips to match the orientation of the screen when you switch it to and from portrait or landscape mode, or even when you bend it backward on its stand. Like the MagicTune software that ships with some Samsung monitors, ForteManager also lets you adjust screen settings with a mouse instead of with buttons. Though the L1981Q is one of the lightest 19-inch monitors we've seen lately, it feels sturdy and well-rooted, even when you tilt or pivot the screen.
LG's Flatron L1981Q is one of a few monitors with button-free image tuning, and it's the only current 19-incher with automatic pivot and automatic mirroring.