Among 19-inch monitors, three perform as champs

A quick peek at Acer America Corp.’s AcerView Vivid 99c, NEC Technologies
Inc.’s MultiSync E900+ and Panasonic Communications & Systems Co.’s PanaSync
SL90 confirms it: Price and performance are at their peak with a 19-inch monitor.


Each of the three monitors is a flat-screen, shadow mask CRT with a full 18-inch
diagonal viewing area. All have a maximum resolution of at least 1,600 by 1,200 pixels,
although their optimal resolution is 1,280 by 1,024 pixels.


The Acer 99c boasts 0.26-mm dot pitch and a refresh rate of 50 to 160 hertz. NEC’s
$819 E900+ comes with 0.25-mm dot pitch and a refresh rate of 55 to 160
hertz. Panasonic’s SL90 has 0.25-mm dot pitch and a refresh rate of 50 to 150
hertz.


All are easily accessed via digital control buttons on their front bezels. The
on-screen menus are easily interpreted and manipulated; I had no trouble adjusting
settings on any of them, even without reading the manuals.


All are fully Microsoft Plug and Play compatible, and all come with some type of
antimagnetic or anti-glare coating for easy viewing from most angles.


Although none are disproportionately large or heavy, the Panasonic SL90 wins extra
points for its small overall size. Weighing in at only 46.9 pounds and with an outside
diameter of 18.3 by 17.7 by 16.2 inches, it’s shorter and lighter than the 17-inch
Sampo Technology Inc. monitor that came with my office PC.


Each monitor has distinct advantages and few disadvantages. The Acer 99c was the
largest and heaviest of the bunch, but it came with both a standard DB-15 and bayonet
connectors, which are a real asset as they do a better job than DB-15 at reducing
electromagnetic interference near the monitor.


I noticed a troubling fuzziness in the lower left portion of the screen at the 1,200-
by 1,024-pixel resolution setting in my evaluation unit. I easily corrected the problem by
dropping the setting to 1,024 by 768 pixels, which resulted in a sharp, clear image.


The NEC E900+ is the most expensive of the group and comes with only the standard DB-15
connectors, but it wins points for brightness and more on-screen menu options. It has
multiple scan settings but automatically locks into its optimal 1,280- by 1,024-pixel
resolution setting. Images on all margins of the screen were bright and clear.


Like the E900+, the PanaSync SL90 lacks BNC connectors, but it wins points for being
smaller and lighter than many 17-inch monitors and the other two evaluation units. By
giving up some size and heft, however, you give up nothing in quality.


It automatically defaulted to a 1,280- by 1,024-pixel resolution and provided
flicker-free performance at that setting. It also was the only one of the three to provide
driver software out of the box against the possibility that an older version of Windows
lacked one.


The SL90’s on-screen controls were exceptionally intuitive, and its
tilt-and-swivel mechanism made its placement on my desktop easier to fine-tune than the
others.


If you’re buying a monitor today, I’d recommend the PanaSync SL90. Its small
footprint, easy setup and exceptional screen clarity—no moire, no blurring, crisp
image borders—makes it a winner. But selecting the Acer or NEC won’t make you a
loser, either.


The Acer 99c costs $623; NEC’s E900+ is $819; Panasonic’s SL90 is $759.


Visit Acer’s Web site at http://www.acer.com, NEC’s site at http://www.nec.com and Panasonic’s at http://www.panasonic.com.


Contact Acer at 408-432-6200, NEC at 630-775-7900 and Panasonic at 201-348-7000.
 

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