capsule review

Planar PX1710M

At a Glance
  • Planar PX1710M

Planar PX1710M
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

If you just read the specs, Planar's PX1710M looks like a great deal for $369. It's one of a handful of monitors under $400 that include pivot adjustment, and it throws the $40 Pivot Pro software into the bargain. Many aspects of its design work nicely. But its image quality doesn't match that of similarly priced--and even less expensive--17-inch models.

Rounded edges and an oval stand soften the PX1710M's look, keeping it businesslike but not boxy. A thin bezel is a plus for tiling two screens side by side in a dual-monitor setup. The full gamut of adjustments--height, pivot, swivel, and the ubiquitous tilt--make this a more ergonomic and versatile unit that we often see in this price range. Pivoting the monitor isn't as smooth an experience as I'd like, however; it feels stiff and makes disconcerting clicking sounds.

Set neatly into the stand, the pair of one-watt speakers won't tip over or get lost. Their bright sound will satisfy many listeners, even some who don't usually care for built-in speakers, but I would have appreciated getting a headphone jack, too.

The specified 8-millisecond rise-and-fall response time suggests that images should not jitter when you scroll through black-and-white documents. Like every other recently tested 17-inch LCD, the PX1710M earned a rating of Average in PC World's motion tests.

Image quality is the PX1710M's biggest problem. Most LCD monitors do an excellent job of displaying text, but the PX1710M disappointed our test jurors and earned the lowest score we've seen on a recently tested 17-incher. Jurors characterized its display as "dark" or "dim" on our test screens. Many also reported a green or blue tint that made our graphics screens looked cold and uninviting. On our white test screen, jurors noted distinct banding.

Though the Planar PX1710M hits the main checkbox items and crams in lots of extra features, its iffy image quality makes it a poor bet.

Planar PX1710M

17-inch screen, 1280-by-1024 native resolution, 14.5 pounds, one analog input and one digital input; height, swivel, and pivot tilt adjustments; TCO'99-compliant. Three-year warranty (including backlight); 13-hour weekday tech support.

Laura Blackwell

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At a Glance
  • A full range of physical adjustments and bright-sounding speakers can't excuse mediocre screen quality.


    • Full range of physical adjustments


    • Lackluster image quality
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