capsule review

BenQ FP231W

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder FP231W

    PCWorld Rating

BenQ FP231W

Though the $1799 BenQ FP231W 's sedate charcoal-and-matte-silver cabinet looks very businesslike, it's clearly meant for more than just spreadsheets. Besides having analog and digital inputs, it includes S-Video and composite inputs. The unit's large screen, with a native resolution of 1920 by 1200-pixels, can display TV or video playback through a picture-in-picture window, allowing you to keep tabs on news or sports scores while working on a task.

We've examined this monitor twice in the past: in a stand-alone review when it hit the shelves, and later in a comparative review. It fared poorly against the competition in the November 2004 review, and it does no better now. On each of our 11 image-quality tests, the FP231W received the lowest score among recently tested 23- and 24- inch wide-screen monitors. Jury testers remarked on the monitor's spidery text and dim, grayish tint. I perceived a faint, but distracting, shimmer as well. Rated merely Fair for both text and graphics, the FP231W simply doesn't deliver the image quality we'd expect from an LCD of this size at this price. When we watched a scene from our test movie in full-screen mode, we liked the color balance, but the display's graininess and ghosting prevented us from reaching for the popcorn.

Meanwhile, the market has caught up to this once-innovative monitor on the features front. For example, many new models now include the FP231W 's once-innovative side-to-side swivel adjustment. Bad news for BenQ: Dell's UltraSharp 2405FPW offers better image quality and the same physical adjustments and inputs--plus component input--for $600 less.

Good looks and nice features don't adequately compensate for the FP231W 's less-than-stellar display.

BenQ FP231W


23-inch screen; 1920-by-1200 native resolution; 19.4 pounds; one analog, one digital, one composite, and one S-Video input; height, swivel, and tilt adjustments; TCO'03-compliant. Three-year warranty (including backlight); 8-hour daily weekday tech support.
$1799
866/600-2367
www.benq.us

Laura Blackwell

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Good looks and nice features don't adequately compensate for the FP231W 's less-than-stellar display.

    Pros

    • Several video inputs

    Cons

    • Spidery text, lackluster graphics
    • Pricey
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