capsule review

IBM ThinkVision L190

At a Glance
  • IBM ThinkVision L190

IBM ThinkVision L190
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The IBM ThinkVision L190 is as simple as an LCD monitor gets. This analog-only model takes a just-the-facts-ma'am approach, eschewing advanced extras in favor of simplicity and a low price. As its boxy, businesslike shape suggests, the L190 performs better at office tasks like displaying text than at presenting complex graphics. On our multisize fonts test, the L190 made regular and reverse text of several sizes look sharp and readable. Our testers voiced no major complaints about graphics, although some noted that the default settings were a little too cold to make our fruit tart test photo look appetizing. All in all, the L190 received a rating of Very Good for text and Good for graphics.

Usability is the L190's strong suit. The manual includes black-and-white diagrams suitable for printing, and it defines the three color presets in real words (6500 degrees Kelvin as "pink white," for instance). Even without a manual, navigating the basic, well-organized screen adjustment menus with IBM's usual wavy buttons takes little effort. Though I'd have liked the stand better if it had offered height or swivel adjustments in addition to tilt, it certainly does feel sturdy.

If you're replacing a CRT or a smaller LCD, the L190 will suffice for general office use. If price is paramount, you may want to compare the L190 to Samsung's SyncMaster 915n, a similar monitor that cost $40 less at time of testing.

The IBM ThinkVision L190 delivers crisp text in an easy-to-use, no-frills package.

IBM ThinkVision L190

19-inch screen, 1280-by-1024 native resolution, 13.4 pounds, one analog input; tilt adjustment; TCO'03-compliant. Three-year warranty (including backlight); 24-hour daily tech support.
888/746-7426, ext. 7000

Laura Blackwell

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At a Glance
  • No-frills, no-fuss model is inexpensive and easy to use. It's a sure hand at text, but less spectacular at graphics.

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