LG Flatron M227WD-PZ review
LG's new 22in M227WD-PZ can't decide whether it's an HD TV or a PC monitor. LG calls it a 'multifunction monitor', and the design mimics that of LG's HD TVs, with the same curved bezel and red highlight.
The side-mounted buttons are a pain, as there are no labels on the front, but the remote control renders this a moot point. Other PC monitor manufacturers should take a leaf out of LG's book when it comes to menu design, as the Flatron M227WD-PZ is one of the easiest to configure. When you first turn it on, it takes you through the process of setting your locality and searching for analogue and digital TV channels.
Adjusting the image quality is easy, and bringing up the menu dims the onscreen image to help emphasise the settings. Picture modes include Vivid, Standard, sRGB, Cinema, Sport and Game. In certain modes, you can also adjust the backlight, contrast, brightness, sharpness, colour and tint manually. An advanced menu gives access to colour temperature, gamma and individual red, green and blue contrast adjustments.
When you're watching TV, you get additional options for contrast, colour, noise reduction and black level. We like the clear EPG, which shows six channels vertically and two hours of programme information horizontally. Pressing OK brings up the current programme title and shows how far you are through the show.
Another thoughtful piece of design involves the inputs, which are on the back of the monitor rather than along the bottom edge, making it far easier to connect cables. There's even a built-in plastic loop to keep cables tidy. It has VGA, DVI and twin HDMI inputs, plus twin SCART, component, S-video and composite inputs. A CI slot on the side lets you use an adaptor for a Top-Up TV card.
Image quality is impressive, especially with full HD video. Blu-ray movies looked supremely crisp thanks to the 1,920x1,080 pixels packed into such a small space. Contrast and colour accuracy were both more than acceptable, although we've seen smoother motion on pricier HD TVs. Unlike some HD TVs, the Flatron had no trouble displaying a Windows desktop using VGA, DVI or HDMI connections, although for HDMI connections you'll need to change the aspect ratio to Just Scan.
Sadly, a frustrating flaw prevents the M227WD-PZ winning an award. Sound quality from the weedy 3W speakers is unacceptably poor. LG seems to have used similar speakers to other PC monitors, rather than installing beefier units that befit its multifunction status. The volume isn't especially loud, the mid-range is weak and there's no bass. There's an optical S/PDIF output, but no mini-jack or stereo phono connectors for hooking up external speakers.
The M227WD-PZ could have been the perfect combined monitor and TV, but the awful speakers are a real disappointment.
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