Lenovo sells the 21.5-inch L215p for a list price of $250. With great overall performance, a clean and stylish design, screen rotation, a built-in Webcam, and four USB ports, you can't go wrong with this one. It lacks a DVI port--forcing most to purchase a HDMI to DVI cable to connect it to their PCs--as well as screen height adjustment. Also, while its performance overall is great, the color while watching movies is slightly more washed out compared with the similar $279 Dell SX2210. The SX2210 includes a DVI port and a more robust onscreen display, but we found the white-colored panel unappealing and we missed the screen rotation included on the L215. The $249 Dell G2210 has better movie performance and lower power consumption than both but does not include as many features. If you can live without DVI or don't mind purchasing an extra cable, the L215p is a low-priced option that's worth it, but if you can afford to spend a little more, we recommend the Dell SX2210 with its inclusion of DVI.
Design and features
The 21.5-inch Lenovo L215p's glossy black chassis contrasts nicely with its light gray neck, making it stand out visually from other monitors. The glossy black bezel measures a short 0.6 inch on the left and right sides and 0.9 inch on the top and bottom. The middle of the bottom bezel has a raised silver Lenovo logo on it, while the middle of the top bezel houses an integrated Webcam. The panel is nearly 1 inch deep (by comparison, most 22-inch models we've tested have a panel depth of more than an inch); however, the back of the display--which houses the connection options and ventilation system--extends another inch, bringing the full monitor depth to about 2 inches. The panel width measures 20.1 inches long, which is average for a monitor of this screen size.
The oval-shaped footstand measures nearly 10 inches in width, with a depth of 7.1 inches. The footstand is a short 0.4 inch tall. When knocked from the sides, the display wobbles and slides considerably, but not to the point where we feel it's in danger of toppling. It weighs more than 11 pounds and its weight is distributed so that it's mostly over the footstand. The bottom of the bezel sits about 2.8 inches from the desktop, but unfortunately, this screen height is neither adjustable nor is there a pivot option--which is useful if you prefer portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 25 degrees and rotate the screen right and left 90 degrees are the only included ergonomic features.
Lenovo includes HDMI and VGA connection options, so you'll have to invest in a HDMI-to-DVI cable if you only have a DVI connection on your PC. Blu-ray player and console owners, however, will appreciate the capability to hook the monitor directly to their player. The display includes three USB downstream connections and one USB upstream. There is also an audio out and audio in port for directly connecting the display to an external audio device, but no speakers are included.
Like the Samsung SyncMaster P2370, pressing your finger against the bottom right-hand corner of the bezel brings up the hidden onscreen display array. The blue, glowing buttons disappear after a couple moments of inactivity and unlike the Samsung, there is no option in the OSD to show them at all times.
The array consists of a Menu button (which doubles as the Enter button), a Right and Left button, a Back button, and a Video Source button. The right button also doubles as a preset shortcut. Picture options consist of brightness and contrast and there are three presets, including Text, Internet and Video. Each preset changes the color temperature and/or brightness of the display to be appropriate to the task at hand. There are also four color temperature presets as well as the capability to change the red, green, and blue directly. The color presets include Neutral, Reddish, Bluish, and SRGB. We found Neutral was the best all-around color preset. The usability of the OSD doesn't stack up to the one used in the Dell SX2210, but the learning curve is relatively short and each button is responsive.
The Lenovo L215p's 16:9 aspect ratio supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendorstoward 16:9 from 16:10 because high-definition content--in particular, 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen without distorting the image.
|Pixel-response rate: 5ms|
|Contrast ratio: 1,000:1|
|Connectivity: VGA, HDMI 1.3|
|HDCP compliant? Yes|
|Included video cables? VGA, HDMI|
|Panel Type: TN|
We tested the Lenovo L215 with its HDMI connection using an HDMI-to-DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 93 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, beating out the Gateway HD2201's 85 by a significant margin, but coming in just under the Dell SX2210's 94. In DisplayMate, the L215p and SX2210 tested virtually identically. Both achieved near-perfect scores in our color tests, but each had trouble with the Color Tracking test. The Color Tracking test shows how accurately a monitor can replicate the gray scale. Both the L215p and SX2210's representation of the gray scale had a slight greenish hue that kept them from being perfect. In our Dark Screen test, backlight bleed through was noticeable on the top and bottom edges of both screens, suggesting that the displays would not be able to display deep blacks when playing a movie.
The L215p achieved a brightness score of 249 candelas per square meter (cd/m2)--much lower than Lenovo's claimed 300 cd/m2 max. Its tested contrast ratio was below the 1,000:1 claimed by Lenovo but came in at a fairly close 968:1.