LaCie 724 LCD review
LaCie's range of monitors has been highly regarded over the years, so when we were asked to take a close look at the company's new LaCie 724 LCD 24in display, we jumped at the chance.
This is a monitor aimed at the design and prepress professional, with a range of features all designed to improve its accuracy.
The main difference between this new range and previous LaCie LCD displays is the use of LED backlighting, rather than the older cold cathode fluorescent lamp backlighting technology. This delivers a display that's both brighter and manages to produce a broader RGB gamut than before.
LaCie claims that the 700-series displays (the 20in, 24in and 30in models) all have ultra-wide colour gamuts that can present 'up to 123% of Adobe RGB'. The built-in backlight stabiliser is designed to keep the lighting consistent and it uses 14-bit gamma table lookups to improve the smoothness of colour transitions. The real-world result of all this is excellent colour reproduction, ranging from rich, saturated hues to subtle tones and blends. After putting the 724 LCD display through our suite of tests, we have to agree that it performs admirably.
On top of this built-in hardware colour control, the model we tested was bundled with LaCie's blue eye calibration hardware and software, which is designed to measure and profile the display to ensure maximum colour accuracy. The LaCie calibration software works with the display hardware to ensure profile accuracy, and this particular hardware and software combination has been given a prestigious quality certification by UGRA, the Swiss Centre of Competence for Media and Printing Technology.
The device itself is a 16:10 ratio display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. It has two DVI ports, one DVI-D and one DVI-I (which allows analogue connections with a VGA to DVI-A cable, included in the clutch of different leads), and a built-in USB hub. It's held on a well-balanced central post that provides a decent height adjustment range, and the base contains a swivel plate that gives a good range of rotation. This makes it easy to keep the display face-on, although the display retains an acceptable colour and tonal reproduction through a decently wide viewing angle. The hardware controls are presented as a small set of buttons in the lower part of the bezel; they're simple and easy to manage.
The display has some preset RGB colour spaces that you can choose between by tapping one of the buttons on the frame. The most important of these for most people will be the Adobe RGB and sRGB colour space presets. Being able to flick between these quickly using display-specific hardware controls only should be a great help for those working across print and web media.
One problem we noticed soon after setting up the monitor and getting down to work was a strange 'tearing' effect when moving items around the screen. Where there were crisp dark and light borders - even just the mid-grey on light panels in Finder windows - then dragging the items about would produce a thin, light pink trailing halo.
This is a strange redraw lag effect, which could be related to the LED backlighting technology, although it isn't something we've seen on similar LED-lit displays. We expected this to show up in videos, but it proved to be unnoticeable in virtually every test we tried. However, this was quite obvious during normal work, including scrolling ordinary black on white text.
This was the only flaw we found in this otherwise excellent display. For colour precision work the LaCie 724 LCD is undoubtedly excellent, delivering accurate and smooth results that are good enough for the most demanding colour workflow. This precision is more than enough to justify the price tag - if colour accuracy is the most important factor for you.