capsule review

IBM ThinkVision L171p

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder ThinkVision L171p - Flat panel display - TFT - 17 inch - 1280 x 1024 - DVI, VGA

    PCWorld Rating

IBM ThinkVision L171p
Artwork: Rick Rizner, Chris Manners

IBM's ThinkVision L171p offers plenty of ergonomic options--it can be adjusted smoothly, and it has a solid footing. But its image quality pales in comparison to most of the other 17-inch displays we've tested, and it offers few extras.

The L171p lets you tilt, swivel, and pivot it, as well as adjust its height. The unit handles all adjustments with ease, and the screen doesn't wobble once you've made your adjustments. But beyond its ergonomic abilities, the L171p doesn't offer much else. The $329 unit (as of 2/16/06) has a fairly basic design, with no cable management system at the back, and no USB ports.

In addition, it fared poorly in our text and graphic tests, where its unimpressive scores placed it at the bottom of all the models we tested. In a screen with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, jurors found the lettering blurry. And in a group portrait, the L171p produced overly dark hues that looked unrealistic.

The L171p's on-screen controls were confusing. I found myself pressing buttons randomly in order to figure out how to make adjustments. The documentation wasn't much help--a quick guide offers visual cues on how to set up the monitor, but not much else. An included paper manual offers troubleshooting tips, but doesn't explain the controls.

Even though the L171p's image quality leaves much to be desired, the display offers a nice range of adjustments.

Kalpana Ettenson

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Though this display made a poor showing in our image quality tests, its easy adjustability impressed us.

    Pros

    • Easy to make adjustments with this model

    Cons

    • Confusing on-screen controls; no extras.
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