Princeton VL1916 (LCD19D) 19″ LCD Monitor Review
May 12, 2004
(see update at end—the LCD19D is now available for $299 from Amazon)
Since my trusty Viewsonic 19” monitor had finally given up the ghost (the screen had been getting dimmer and dimmer for months, until it was no longer viewable at maximum brightness in ordinary room lighting), I decided to take a chance on the VL1916. The price was excellent, and Costco has a very liberal return policy.
Nevertheless, given some of the “horror stories” around the past few years about lower-cost LCDs (this unit is about $200 less than many comparable units), I was a little hesitant.
Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised…
The specifications are here, but the important ones (to me) are:
Contrast Ratio: 700:1
Brightness: 250 cd/m2
Response Time: 25ms
Resolution: 1280 x 1024
Interfaces: VGA, DVI
Viewing Angle: 170 degrees left/right, up/down
Weight: 5.9 kg
Setup was dirt simple—I plugged the (included) DVI cable into the DVI port of an ATI Radeon 9000, and turned it on. XP Pro immediately detected it as a plug and play monitor. (A VGA cable is also included)
The picture is stunning—rock steady, sharp, and DAMN this thing is bright. I know I’ve been in “dim monitor hell” for awhile, but at 50% brightness, this thing is liable to give you a sunburn. I had to turn the brightness and contrast down a fair ways because it was literally hurting my eyes. I was also a bit startled at the size—19” CRT monitors tend to have a viewable area of “17 inches and some change”, so the full 19” viewable area seemed large—in fact, I do wish a bit that the native resolution was 1600 x 1280, but my eyes will probably be glad it isn’t. I don’t seem to have a single dead pixel.
I’m not a gamer, but I did throw a movie up on the display, and didn’t notice any ghosting. How well it works at 60 fps on your favorite first-person shooter, I have no idea.
The stand is solid, albeit somewhat simple. There is unfortunately no up-down adjustment (which means I’m going to eventually have to find something to set it on), but the display will tilt enough to be fairly comfortable. The back is configured for a VESA mount, so one could always put it on a swing-arm or other VESA stand.
On-screen controls for DVI include Contrast, Brightness, Color Temp (normal, warm, cool), Language and Volume (oh yes—it has speakers, although I won’t be using them). VGA mode adds some frequency adjustment controls. I’ve not tried VGA mode, although I played with it somewhat in the store, and quality appeared fine.
There is a lack of add-ons with this that you might find in higher priced monitors—no portrait/landscape swivel on the mount, and of course, no “pivot software” either. There also is no color calibration software as is included with some monitors, although color calibration without a “spider” or “puck” is of dubious value. No CD with anything was included with the package, in fact—a rarity in this day and age.
Power is supplied by a “power brick” with a cable to the monitor and a power cord. Power consumption is rated at less than 45 watts operating, less than 3 watts standby. My electrical bill will be happy.
Warranty—1 year limited. Costco has a “lifetime” return policy, however (I asked), so this may or may not mean much.
Conclusion—if you’re looking for an excellent basic LCD monitor at a good price, you could do far worse than to check this out. If you’re looking for a lot of extra bells and whistles, however, this may not be the monitor for you.
Amazon currently has the LCD19D version of this monitor (same monitor, just non-Costco part number) for $299 after rebate. Click here for more information.