Design flaws mar otherwise outstanding LCD

Design flaws mar otherwise outstanding LCD

FlexScan monitor delivers a great picture, but Eizo needs to rethink where it's placed the buttons

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff

The Eizo FlexScan L661 LCD monitor comes close to being an A-grade monitor, but its design needs improvement.

Expect some headaches attaching the optional $100 i-Sound speakers to the 18-inch display. As usual with Eizo monitors, image quality was excellent, however. I saw no ghosting, and in that respect the L661 behaves as well as a CRT monitor'and it should, for $3,000.

The Eizo FlexScan L661 delivers excellent picture quality for $3,000, but its many flaws kept it from earning a top grade from the GCN Lab.

It's an attractive 16.9- by 17.9- by 8.6-inch, 19.4-pound unit available in black or white. But Eizo ought to reconsider placement of the power buttons.

The front button that should turn the monitor on and off is in fact a standby button. The main power button is well-hidden on the side.

Push my buttons

Users like having a way to turn on a monitor fast, and a standby button reduces the warm-up time. I understand why Eizo placed it right up front, but the standby and the on-off buttons should be less confusingly located and better explained in the manual.

Likewise, the configuration buttons at right front are minuscule and adjacent to the standby button.

It's impossible to distinguish their marks, making configuration largely a matter of guesswork.

Luckily the L661, like the L680 [GCN, July 3, Page 32], has an autoconfigure button'but it's difficult to tell which one it is.

Box Score

Eizo L661
18.1 - inch LCD monitor

Eizo Nanao Technologies Inc.;

Cypress, Calif.;

tel. 562-431-5011

Price: $3,000

+ High-quality images without ghosting

- Poorly designed buttons and speakers

- Expensive

Real-life requirements:

WIn9x or Mac OS, floppy drive, 32M of RAM, 2M of free storage

A resolution problem appeared when I first hooked up the monitor. Resolution fell to 640 pixels by 480 pixels, and the image was a small square in the middle of the screen. I fixed it by raising resolution back to the L661's native 1,280-by-1,024 resolution, but that didn't explain why the image didn't cover the whole screen in the first place.

It's possible there was corruption either in the operating system or in the video card, but I haven't had the same effect with any other monitor hooked up to that PC.

I suspect the operating system had some kind of conflict with the L661's drivers and kept the image from expanding to the full screen size under anything except native resolution.

Faint praise

As for the i-Sound attachable speakers, they consisted of two miniwoofers and two tweeters, all on a horizontal stick that attached to the bottom of the monitor.

They delivered the best monitor speaker sound I've heard yet, but that's not saying a whole lot. Monitor speakers tend to deliver poor sound quality. For $100, you could get far better-sounding external speakers and woofers.

The Eizo speakers also need a redesign. They were difficult and frustrating to attach to the bottom of the monitor.

Despite these problems, the L661 still showed some of the best-looking images I've ever seen from any monitor, LCD or otherwise. Some design changes in future models and a price reduction could win the L661 a top grade.


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