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Envision EN7100E LCD Monitor
Christmas came early at my house. I now have an LCD monitor by Envision. If you haven't seen a 17" LCD monitor, just stop by Best Buy or any retailer and have a look. It's hard to go back to a regular screen afterwards!
The best thing about the Envision is that it was rated as one of the top monitors by CNet (and others). Sharp, crystal clear, and with a 3 year warrantee. No frills like a USB hub or the cheap little speakers, but just a solid, high-quality, LCD monitor. The best part? The price! These are among the most inexpensive monitors out there (I paid $550, but with rebate they are usually under $500 -- remember, this is for a 17" screen, not a 15").
I was worried about four things:
1) A cheap monitor would look cheap. Nope. This monitor is right up there with the best of them. Some of the more expensive monitors have slightly wider viewing angles, but the Envision's angle isn't bad. If you are sitting in front of your desk anyway, this isn't a big deal.
2) How would games, DVD video, and such look? My laptop is kind of streaky with video. Not the Envision. It looks great. Unreal Tournament, Quake III, and Urban Terror all look fine. So does my TV card video and DVD playback.
3) The Envision has analog inputs. Recent advances has made it very difficult to tell the difference between an analog and a digital monitor. The Envision's image is great.
4) I would lose screen space from my 19" monitor. This isn't a problem. A 19" monitor only has 17.5 to 18" of usable space anyway. With the LCD, the entire screen is used all the time.
CNet's big complaint with the monitor is that the controls are top-mounted. You can't really see them. Not a big deal after you figure out where they are. However, since the monitor automatically adjusts anytime the screen changes resolution, it hardly matters since you will probably never use the controls after the first 10 minutes.
Probably my biggest single complaint was that it took me 10 minutes to figure out the right way to make the base snap onto the monitor. Once that was taken care of, setup took about 5 seconds. You can load drivers off a disk, although as far as I can tell, there is no need for the drivers.
The screen is 1280x1024 but will display many other common resolutions like 800x600, 1024x768, etc. When you see these in the store, make sure they are set for 1280x1024. Often they have all the screens set to a smaller size. The LCD looks so much better at the native resolution. At 800x600 or 1024x768 the monitor scales the output and it isn't as crisp (although it is still pretty good).
Now that I have the monitor back farther (since it is so thin), my eyes feel better and I'm more productive. The brightness of the screen is unbelievable. I'll never go back to a glass CRT.