Editor's note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our ratings scale. Find out more here.
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.