Envision G918W1 review: Envision G918W1

2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good HDCP-compliant; sometimes found on sale for a significant price reduction.

The Bad Worst image quality we've seen in a while; obstructed DVI port access.

The Bottom Line Envision's G918W1 display loses points for its subpar performance and irritating design, which makes it hard to recommend--unless you can find a good deal or are in the market for an affordable HDCP-compliant display. Otherwise, you should pass this LCD monitor by.

5.1 Overall
  • Design 5.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 4.0
  • Service and support 7.0
  • Setup and ease of use 5.0

You'll find Envision's 19-inch wide-screen G918W1 LCD for sale only at Best Buy, generally around $219. At this price, we don't think it's worth it. In our tests, we found its image quality unimpressive and its display plagued by an irritating design quirk. It is HDCP compliant, however, and does a decent enough job with high-definition movies and games. But you can find better quality displays, such as the HP w2007 or NEC's Accusync LCD193WXM, for roughly the same price.

Design
As many budget-oriented displays, the G918W1 has a decidedly nondescript look, which makes it suitable for any environment. The only shopper who might have a problem with the G918W1 is one who wants their hardware to make more of a statement. The snap-on base is easy enough to put in place--although it offers a limited range of motion, letting you tilt the display only up and down. Our biggest issue is with its DVI port. The port is situated so close to a plastic cover--where the stand meets the display--that it's difficult to connect a DVI input. Removing the cover helps; and while we're glad to have discovered the workaround, it seems foolish that it's even an issue. Envision could solve this problem simply by placing the DVI jack in an unobstructed spot.

The plastic (and fortunately removable) casing around the display stand blocks access to the DVI port.
The plastic (and fortunately removable) casing around the display stand blocks access to the DVI port.

Manufacturer's specs
Resolution: 1,440x900
Dot pitch: 0.285mm
Pixel-response rate: 5msn
Contrast ratio: 800:1
Connectivity: DVI, VGA
Viewing angle: 160 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical
HDCP compliant
Included DVI and VGA cables

Features
Unlike many similar displays, the Envision G918W1 has no built-in speakers. We can't say we really miss LCD-based audio output, but if you're looking for a display with speakers to minimize your hardware clutter, you should keep looking. As far as what the display does have, we're happy to report that Envision made this model HDCP compliant. We did have some trouble getting it to play on our Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray test system, but we had success with a desktop paired with an Xbox 360 external HD DVD drive, as well as a standalone Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player. We'll hold off on a rigorous narrowing-down process to determine which component was at fault for our initial difficulties, mostly because we don't think many people are in the market for a 19-inch LCD as their primary HD video playback device. Instead, we'll simply say that if you are interested in the G918W1 for that purpose, it should get the job done.

Performance
Unfortunately, the G918W1 doesn't hold up that well to its competition as far as overall image quality. We've recently reinvigorated our LCD testing here at CNET, and of the 12 displays of varying size and price we've tested so far this summer (reviews for which we're working furiously to write and produce), the G918W1 had the worst overall image quality. The biggest problem is its color quality, in particular its scaling between shades. We're also underwhelmed by its extreme grayscale performance--meaning it lagged on very white whites and very black blacks.

Unless you're in the market for a 19-inch display on which to view HD video, you'd be much better off with the NEC Accusync LCD193WXM, a 19-inch wide-screen LCD that trounces the Envision G918W1 on performance (and also has built-in speakers). We also found the NEC model for about $20 to $30 less at various outlets online. The only caveat we'll add is that the G918W1 display was recently on sale at Best Buy for $119. It's currently sold out, although Envision ensures us that it will be restocking and that it plans to keep Best Buy well stocked for at least another year. If you're not overly concerned with image quality, you should keep an eye on Best Buy's Web site during its usual yearly sale times.

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