capsule review

LG Electronics L196WTY-BF 19-Inch Wide-Screen LCD Monitor

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder LG Electronics L196WTY

    PCWorld Rating

    Tall LCD monitor delivers solid, consistent performance on many text and graphics tasks.

Tested for our February 2008 feature "The Wide World of Monitors," the LG Electronics L196WTY-BF offers consistent graphics in a stand that swivels but doesn't lower. 

Graphics delivered by this 19-inch wide-screen LCD were finely rendered, and text exhibited no edge blurring. It faltered in an important contrast and brightness test of black-and-white squares, but its other scores showed a comforting consistency on a variety of tasks. For more information on how our judges tested this display, read "How We Test Monitors."

The monitor's all-black plastic casing is a mix of surfaces, as seen in the matted bezel and glossy stand. LG integrates a swiveling mechanism, although it's not apparent as it's located beneath the base. But pushing the panel left or right reveals a very wide, almost 360-degree swivel, a welcome adjustment to those who use the monitor as a presentation tool to clients or colleagues. It tilts 15 degrees to the back and 5 degrees to the front.

Buttons for the on-screen display (OSD), located on the underside of the lower-left corner, are out of the user's sight but clear labels on the front help you figure out where they are and what they're for. The OSD options are well thought-out, and are therefore easy to navigate through. One of the OSD buttons gains you access to f-Engine, LG's name for its brightness and contrast presets such as movie and text, and for settings defined by the user. A dedicated "EZZooming" button activates a feature that changes the resolution of the monitor to 1280 by 1024 (from its native resolution of 1440 by 900), resulting in a "zoom" of the images on the display. The less-than-ideal resolution produces a blocky image, making the close-up not so useful.

The bundled Forte Manager software--which looks very much like Gateway's EZTune utility--replaces OSD functions, such as contrast and brightness. It also adds basic color calibration via user-defined adjustments, a wizard, and several screen patterns. It works well, and I would recommend it as an even easier way of tweaking display options over the OSD, especially if you adjust your monitor settings a lot.

On my viewing of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, I used the Forte Manager software to increase the monitor's color temperature to correct what I detected was a slightly greenish tinge in the movie. After the adjustment, the skin tones on the characters seemed natural and velvet costumes displayed a satisfying saturation. Oranges and yellows in an autumn sunset scene were evocatively brilliant while a scene of a galloping horse displayed very little blur.

Cable management comes in the form of a small plastic loop attached to the back of the stand. While this helps streamline video and power cables, the high profile of the monitor and low location of ports mean cables still peek through when the monitor is viewed from the front. A minor but related point: the L196WTY didn't come with a DVI cable, which was surprising as this is standard on a majority of current LCD monitors.

A few minor gripes aside, the LG L196WTY is an excellent monitor for business or home use--if you don't mind the tall profile and non-height-adjustable stand.

--Roy Santos

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Tall LCD monitor delivers solid, consistent performance on many text and graphics tasks.

    Pros

    • Bundled display settings software
    • Wide swivel

    Cons

    • No DVI cable included
    • Tall profile with no height-adjustment
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