Pantel Outdoor Display

GCN LAB REVIEWS

Not rain nor snow nor dead of night will stop this LCD

Pantel Weatherproof display is made for the great outdoors

There are just certain places that aren’t great for an LCD monitor’s health. The deck outside your house is one of them. A bulletin board on a ship’s deck that might sometimes be exposed to the elements is another. The Pantel Weatherproof display was created for places like that.

The display is a 37-inch LCD, though it looks much bigger because the monitor is encased in a large metal covering with a Plexiglas front. The result is that it looks like a monitor within a monitor. The idea is that the outer shell will protect the LCD from the elements.

Setup of the rugged LCD is about the same as a typical large display, except that you need to run power and signal cables through little slits in the back panel. These slits, along with the monitor’s vents, are tiny and pointed downward, so rain won’t be able to get inside the rugged case. Even though the LCD is encased in a shell, it does seem to still have adequate venting. We ran the display for several days and never recorded any heat problems. LCDs don’t generate a lot of heat, and what this one does generate is vented through the small slits or simply dissipated through the metal case.


Pantel Outdoor Weatherproof Display

Pros: Works in rain, heat and dusty conditions.
Cons: Difficult to clean monitor should something get inside shell.
Performance: A
Ease of use: B-
Features: B+
Value: B+
Price: $3,950


The display can connect to a complementary metal stand so that it sits on a surface, and it also can be mounted on a wall. Although we tested the 37-inch model, there are also other sizes, bigger and smaller, available on the company's Web site.

The controls for power and input, in addition to volume and channel changing, are along the side of the case, but behind a large lip. This would be perfect if you mount the LCD into a wall or housing, because the controls wouldn’t be accessible to people on the display side of the wall. We could easily see it sitting at a ranger station somewhere, perhaps mounted in a wall or through a windowed area, displaying information without any danger that someone could mess with it.

And if you happen to have the monitor sitting in a spot where the controls would be exposed to the environment, they are completely enclosed buttons, so there is no danger of water getting inside your case from there.

To test the display’s weatherproofing, we set up a fan and blew water through it onto the display for one hour. At the end of that little squall, the LCD continued to function. We also put the display into the GCN Lab's Rain Forest environment to expose it to extreme 120 degrees Fahrenheit heat. It came out of that without a problem after several hours. We didn’t get to test the monitor for exposure to cold because our cold testing chamber is not large enough, but the LCD is rated for exposure to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although cleanup was extremely easy for any mess that occurred on the monitor’s casing, that wasn’t the case if something actually got onto the monitor itself. At the end of our testing, we noticed a black flake had fallen onto the LCD. We aren’t sure where it came from, but LCDs do tend to attract stray particles because of the electric fields they generate. If that should happen, there does not seem to be a way to get at the actual monitor to clean it. There might be a way to disassemble the case, but it’s not obvious and probably not easy. What you end up with is akin to an itch under a cast that you know is there but can’t scratch.

Although there aren’t a million places that this weatherproof monitor would be needed, there are at least a few areas where it can solve the problem of displaying information and combating the weather at the same time. In those places, the list price of $3,950 for the 37-inch display would be happily paid.

The Giant Game Company, www.thegiantgameco.com/panteltv

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