Despite issues with the hood and the screen rotation, the ColorEdge CG243W is still an impressive display.
If you don’t care about your screen then anything will do. But those working in any of the creative industries know the importance of a good, colour-accurate display… and a large one, too.
Eizo caters for this group, and its latest monitor, the ColorEdge CG243W, is a 24in monitor intended for demanding professionals. It is, like a number of its siblings, a beast of a display. It’s a widescreen LCD monitor, with the same display area and native resolution (1920 x 1200 pixels) as the 24in iMac. It’s intended for high-end colour work, and its specifications and features back this up.
Like the other ColorEdge displays we’ve looked at, the monitor comes bundled with Eizo’s ColorNavigator. This screen calibration and profiling software is intended to work with a hardware colorimeter, specifically X-Rite’s Eye-One and MonacoOptix devices and ColorVision’s Spyder line. Although the results of using ColorNavigator are good, they aren’t as detailed as those created by the software bundled with those products so we would recommend using those in preference. However, either way, this monitor is capable of impressively accurate colour rendition. Like its larger 30in brother, the CG301W, it would make an excellent addition to a well-managed colour workflow.
A snap-together monitor hood is bundled as an aid to keeping stray light from affecting perception of what’s on screen. Putting this together for the first time did seem a little bit like an intelligence test, and if you make use of the rotation feature, it looks somewhat odd hanging onto the right side of the now-vertical screen. Still, once assembled and in place, the hood is very useful for colour-critical work, and that’s a big part of the target market for this device.
The height adjustment is counter-balanced internally so that the display can be raised up on its stand with a single hand. It’s just as easy to turn the display from side to side, and it has almost 45° of rotation in this dimension. Added to this is a screen rotation feature that allows you to switch the display from its normal widescreen landscape orientation to a rather tall portrait one. This rotation feature sets this display – and, in fact, the whole ColorEdge line – apart from most other screens, and as long as you’re running Mac OS X 10.5 or later, you’ll find a Rotate option in the Monitor panel in System Preferences. It won’t recognise rotation dynamically, but it’s simple to rotate the image by hand when you want to turn the physical display. Of course, this is a feature that most users won’t need.
It also isn’t entirely precise about where rotation stops: when turned, it can go two or three degrees past the horizontal or vertical point, so you have to straighten it by eye. Not a big hardship, but it’s strange the engineering specifications weren’t stricter than this.
As well as a two-port USB hub in the side, it has two DVI inputs and one HDMI input, selectable manually or automatically by the display. This means you can also connect two different computers and a post-production or broadcast-level HDMI video device (or a PlayStation 3 if you prefer) and pick which to show at the touch of a button.
The on-screen display is simpler to use than we’ve experienced in many monitors, although it still requires the push-button dance between different hierarchical control levels. As well as switching between a number of preset colour spaces, we noted one small bit of information that wasn’t expected: Usage Time, showing the total number of hours the display has been used. This can be rather useful information, as monitor ageing is a key factor in determining colour accuracy. The CG243W was so new as we went to press that few places had it in stock, those that did priced it at around £1200 – substantial, but not unreasonable for a product of this caliber. If Eizo could only sort out the slightly sloppy rotation issues and come up with a better-designed monitor hood, our minor misgivings would be ironed out.