Compaq no longer offers a 19-inch CRT, so we tested the 17-inch fs7550. It's much less expensive than the 19-inchers we've looked at recently--especially with the $50 mail-in rebate good through January 3, 2004 (Compaq says that it's likely to extend the promotion further). Without the rebate, however, it's somewhat pricey for a 17-inch CRT, especially considering its measly one year of warranty coverage. Still, we think the fs7550 is a solid choice for the home or small-office user who's not inclined to spend very much on a monitor.
In today's LCD-centric world, CRTs seem even more boxy and elephantine than they did a few years ago, though they're not. It's not easy to spiff up a CRT with so much flat-panel competition, so we tip our hat to HP (which owns Compaq) for trying. The fs7550 features stylish carbon-and-silver-colored plastics and a cool, curved bezel that runs 2 inches on top, 1.5 on the sides, and 3 inches on the bottom. An etched arrow on the display's base helps you align the display to take advantage of the fs7550's ability to swivel about 45 degrees to the right and left.
The monitor comes with a pair of slim, black JBL Platinum Series speakers that clip onto the sides of the display. Although they don't complement the fs7550's design, they deliver good sound quality: it's loud and clear and has decent bass--a rarity for clip-on or embedded speakers. There's also a headphone jack.
The fs7550 comes with adequate documentation. There's a quick-setup flyer, a booklet that explains the onscreen menu (OSM) controls and provides basic troubleshooting tips, and a CD that contains drivers and a more comprehensive reference guide.
Three buttons operate the fs7550's OSM: one opens the menu and the other two navigate through submenus and make selections. The layout is simple and intuitive, but there's no dedicated exit button, making it difficult to get out of a submenu and close the OSM. There are also fewer adjustment options than you'll find on other displays, such as the Samsung 957MB. You can tweak the image position and the geometry, but there's no way to fine-tune the focus, for example.
The fs7550 delivered decent image quality in CNET's tests, with good color and very good screen geometry. We found that the focus wasn't supersharp in the corners of the screen, but this minor flaw didn't interfere with our reading text documents or viewing Web pages. There was a fair amount of "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ewebopedia%2Ecom%2FTERM%2FM%2Fmoir%2Ehtml" target="_blank">moiré visible on our DisplayMate test screens; unfortunately, we couldn't fix it because there's no moiré-adjustment option in the OSM. Still, none of these problems was significant enough to affect an average home user.
Compaq offers only one year of warranty coverage for the fs7550 (three years is the industry standard). Toll-free tech support is available 24/7 for the length of the warranty. HP Compaq offers drivers, warranty information, and a searchable database on its "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwelcome%2Ehp%2Ecom%2Fcountry%2Fus%2Fen%2Fsupport%2Ehtml" target="_blank">Web site.
|CNET Labs DisplayMate tests (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
Find out more about how we test CRTs.