LCD Display Issues, Comparisons and Conclusions
Unlike previous Hitachi displays we
have reviewed, this test unit exhibited a minor defect. Under low light
conditions the screen had a bright area off to one side - apparently a common
occurrence do to slightly misaligned components in the LCD panel. The bright area
was localized and only distracting on solid black pages in a dimly lit room.
Under regular office lighting the defect was not noticeable and did not
affect our use of the display in any way.
LCD flat panel displays are
complicated pieces of equipment to manufacture, and this minor point just
underscores the importance of visually testing a panel in the store before you
pay for it. This goes for any manufacturer, and for any model. Dead pixels, or
dull pixels are the things we notice most on LCD's, and depending on the
manufacturer, there may have to be 5 or more grouped together before the unit is
In our labs we have seen LCD displays
pass through with absolutely perfect displays. We have also seen the occasional
busted pixel, and bright spots like on this particular CML181SXW from Hitachi.
In this case the effect will probably go unnoticed in a normally lit office and
pose no problems. Bottom line, check first and ensure your money is spent well,
and without hassle.
Comparing the CML181SXW directly
against the Samsung 181B
At the time of this review we had
another 18.1" LCD on the test bench and so we did a little head on comparison.
The two displays produced almost identical picture qualities, but the CML181SXW
was rated with wider viewing angles than the Samsung 181B - the difference was
about 10 degrees from side to side.
Normally it is really difficult to
illustrate how viewing angles on LCD monitors can be a limiting factor to how
well you enjoy the display. CRT displays do not have this trait, and without
something to compare against it is hard to visually capture the effect. We
connected both displays to a twin head Radeon 8500 video card and displayed the
same Windows 2000 desktop with MSN loaded in a browser.
foreground you can see the Samsung 181B and the background the CML181SXW. Note
how the Hitachi display appears bluer and the white regions on the page are
brighter. On the Samsung LCD monitor at this very extreme angle, the blue
background of the desktop is a lighter blue, and the white region is more of a
dull grey than a bright white. This is what can occur with an LCD display when
you view it from the side at very close angles.
Evaluation Notes & Conclusions
for just a bit over $900USD, the Hitachi CML181SXW is one
of the more competitively priced LCD's on the market today. It offers a
pretty common enclosure with everything needed for the corporate world -
DVI, Analog, sound and Kensington security lock.
beige colour and swivel base put it squarely in with the rest of
the corporate world, and its pretty economical price will make the
folks in the accounting department happy enough.
While it does boast integrated speakers, their real value is probably not as
big to end users who tend to shop for LCD displays
on visuals primarily, and multimedia components secondarily.
The real draw we saw with bringing audio into the
display is that the user can plug in a pair of headphones and adjust the volume
directly. Samsung have done this with a few of their LCD monitors, and I really
thing more manufacturers should follow suit. The additional components required
to make this happen are small enough that the impact on the monitor is
When everything is said and
done, the CML181SXW is an LCD display with very good attributes, and a very
affordable price tag. Some people may be put off by it rather plane appearance,
but for large institutions this can be a draw. Good display, good