As 24″ monitors invade our homes, it’s important to make the right purchasing decision. What matters most? Lots of features, better image quality or the best gaming experience? We are taking a look at Planar’s latest 24″ model to see where it excels… and where it doesn’t.
At the default settings, the monitor looks less than spectacular. Whites look more grayish than they should and colors had a semi-warm tint to them. I found that setting the contrast at 60 and brightness at 98 yielded better results. One thing to note is that the display can maintain its black levels with the brightness set from 60 to 100 – it won’t change when the brightness is altered to compensate. Whites, on the other hand, are improved as the brightness is increased. There was a small amount of backlight bleed in each of the corners of the LCD, but I’d consider it to be in line with every other decent fluorescent back-lit display.
While everything looked fine on the desktop, there were issues displaying gradients. Instead of showing one solid color gradient, they were broken up into blocks, similar to what you would experience with a lot of S-IPS panels. While this is an issue that won’t bother most people, it may prove to be a pain for those who do a lot of image editing. Viewing angle were true to the specifications; looking at the display at roughly 178° vertically and horizontally, I saw no noticeable loss in contrast ratio and no negative blacks, so I can’t imagine anyone having a frustrating time with it.
It performed well in movies. Stretching DVDs to four times their vertical resolution won’t have positive impacts on the picture quality, so don’t expect them to look spectacular in full screen (which is true for nearly all displays (unless you’re looking at something like Gateway’s XHD3000), but with that in mind there was little grain that wasn’t apart of the movies themselves and the picture quality was on par with the desktop experience. What little 720p content I had looked amazing, and I’m sure anything at 1080p would be incredible as well.
Gaming was also a treat for the most part. Despite the monitor’s low (yet somewhat average) response time, there was little ghosting in games from my tests. However, I did see a lot of trailing when I performed a ghosting test (a black box moving across a gradient), which leads me to believe others may have different results. So personally, I found it adequate, but ghosting can be apparent under some circumstances.
After using the monitor for the past month, I’ve honestly come off under whelmed. The panel looks decent, that is, the text is crisp and colors pop out fairly well once it’s been calibrated, but it’s nowhere near the possibilities of some full color gamut monitors that are already available. Missing features like the lack of extra video inputs, the lack of a USB hub and the poor stand deter from the overall value. Essentially, you’re paying the $600 MSRP for a decent screen, DVI and VGA inputs. Because of this, it’s a hard monitor for me to recommend.
The picture quality was decent and holds up to a lot of 24″ LCDs, but not some of best 24″ LCDs. I did have some complaints with how gradients were displayed and the presence of ghosting, but it’s important to keep in mind there is no “best” panel. Everything is strong in some areas and weak in others. Perhaps the biggest complaint is that you can find other LCDs better suited for gaming or image editing. Still, if you’re looking for a middle ground, looking here might be a good choice.
If the price was lowered to better compete with other options out there, say $$450-500, then it would be to make a decision. But the barebones offering here just doesn’t satisfy. There’s not enough in the package to warrant excitement. I said earlier in the review that a lot of LCDs were cheap because they didn’t offer decent image quality, but I found the opposite to be true here. Yes, the picture looks OK, but it’s not a view I would pay that much money for.
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