I get it. When you're the 100th 23-inch monitor with a black chassis released in the last three months, it's difficult to stand out from the crowd. Sure, you could throw some oddly placed pastels into your design or go all white as some vendors have, but there's an important detail to remember. A good design allows a monitor to showcase its unique look without drawing too much attention to those particulars, lest it feels gimmicky.
So, is the W2363D-PF's design a cheap contrivance or does its unique feature enhance an already great aesthetic?
Design and features
With so many black-chassis monitor released every year, I'd imagine it's quite difficult to make one black monitor look very different from the next. From just a cursory glace, the 23-inch LG Flatron W2363D-PF looks no different from any other 23-inch monitor with a 3D-compatible screen. That is, until it's powered on. In an effort to have the W2363D-PF stand out from the vast host of black monitors in the market, LG has added an intriguing cylinder to the bottom of the bezel.
The cylinder employs LG's Tru Light technology and emits a white LED light that reacts, in real time, to sounds from games, movies, or music generated by the computer it's connected to. The light pulsates like a digital sound gauge on a stereo system, depending on the timing and volume of the sound. Unfortunately, there's no utilitarian purpose to this and it comes off feeling quite gimmicky.
Beyond the light show, the monitor looks fairly typical, with a glossy, piano black chassis, and an 0.8-inch bezel on the left and right sides. The oval-shaped foot stand measures 9.5 inches wide by 8.2 inches deep. When knocked from the sides, the monitor wobbles quite a bit, but the foot stand is so wide and flat, that we never felt it was in any real danger of toppling.
At 11.5 pounds, the W2363D-PF feels like it's made of plastic, but it also seems durable and substantial. The monitor's profile measures a full 2.5 inches; that's about average for a 23-inch, non-LED backlit display. On the bottom left side of the bezel, at the end of the Tru Light cylinder, is a headphone jack. Ergonomic options are limited to a 15-degree back tilt, but VESA support is included if wall-mounting is your thing. Connection options include one DVI port on the back and two HDMI ports on the left side.
In the lower-right-hand corner lays the onscreen display (OSD) array, which includes six labeled touch areas: G-Mode, Source, Menu, Down, Up, and Set. G-Mode features Thru Mode, SRS Tru Surround HD, ARC, and Auto Bright menus. Thru Mode disables the frame buffer memory, which prevents the response speed of the display from slowing down, presumably resulting in less input lag, but we didn't notice a difference during testing. SRS turns on 3D sound, ARC control allows for adjustment of the aspect ratio, choosing from 1:1, original, or full. Auto Bright turns on the ambient light sensor, adjusting the monitor's brightness based on the luminance currently in the room.
Pressing Menu brings up the main menu, which includes controls for brightness, contrast, gamma, black level (HDMI only), color temperature presets, RGB controls, as well as Hue and Saturation (the last two, only available through HDMI). RGB controls and color temperature options are also included, as well as sharpness and volume control for the headphone jack.
Though it's great to see such robust options on a TN display, navigating through the nonintuitive options can be frustrating. The arrow buttons are used to adjust attributes, but they are not used to navigate through the interface as one might expect; instead, pressing the Set button cycles through different attributes. This design makes for a cumbersome and awkward experience when adjusting settings, and it still surprises me that vendors have not perfected this aspect of monitor design this late in the game.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Ergonomic options||10-degree back tilt|
|Audio||Audio in, Headphone jack|
|VESA wall mount support||Yes|
|Included video cables||DVI|
|Number of presets||6 (color temperature)|
|Picture options||Brightness, Contrast, Black Level, Sharpness|
|Color controls||RGB and color temperature control|
|Additional features||120hz refresh rate, Ambient light sensor|
We tested the LG Flatron W2363D-PF through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC, using the included DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 93 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.
In the Extreme Grayscale Bars test, which evaluates a monitor's ability to display dark detail, the LG W2363D-PF presented dark gray down to a level of 2; this is the lowest possible level, thus indicating that displaying dark detail while maintaining the deepness of black would likely not be a problem for the monitor.
We did notice some obvious backlight bleed through at the top and bottom edges of the screen on our Dark Screen test, however.
Text: In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8-point size. We did see a lot of blooming around text with both blue and pink fonts on a black background.
Movies: We tested the LG W2363D-PF using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." The monitor impressed us with its ability show dark detail while maintaining deep blacks. In one dark scene we could see the details of each of the Na'vi's dark braids. With a lesser monitor, we wouldn't be able to distinguish the braids from the blackness of the rest of the hair. Also, we saw no evidence of backlight bleeding while watching dark scenes.
At default settings, there was a definite green tint problem but we were able to marginalize it by adjusting the RGB settings to Red: 57, Green: 23, and Blue: 62.
Games: Because of our intimate familiarity with Starcraft II (SCII), it remains our favorite tool for judging color quality and vibrancy in games. SCII on the W2363D-PF had a vibrancy and color depth that matched our favorite TN monitor, the Samsung PX2370. The game looked as good as it did on the PX2370, but in order to get the color where we wanted it, diminishing the green significantly was necessary. We decided on Red: 60, Green: 23, and Blue: 58.