CRT monitors have long ruled the worlds of graphic design, printing, and photography displays, largely because most LCDs cannot match CRTs' color accuracy. But Eizo has come to the rescue of that niche market, developing its own color-calibration software and the ColorEdge line of LCDs, hardwired to deliver CRT-caliber color accuracy. Take heed: This display is at least two times as expensive as other comparably sized displays, and it is not for the average home user or for amateur photographers; it's for pro photographers, prepress professionals, and anyone else who needs best-of-breed quality for matching colors.
The 18.1-inch ColorEdge CG18 has the sober appearance of a typical business LCD. The reasonably thin bezel, running three-quarters of an inch along the screen, comes in either a black-matte or gray plastic finish. The display is quite adjustable, too: The sturdy hinge that connects the panel to the neck pivots between Landscape and Portrait modes and tilts 40 degrees backward. The ColorEdge CG18 also swivels 35 degrees to the right and the left and can slide upward to add four inches of height. All this movement is supported by a small but stable, two-toed base, and a simple, wire metal clasp collects and tidies the power and signal cords at the base of the neck.
Designed for graphics professionals who require precise color, the ColorEdge CG18 offers a handful of unique features. For starters, Eizo says that it hand-adjusts every ColorEdge monitor at the factory to deliver consistently accurate, nonshifting colors. Additionally, each ColorEdge monitor ships with Eizo's color-calibration software designed for use with GretagMacbeth's "--="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ei1color%2Ecom%2Fadvantage%2F">Eye-One line of color-management tools. These tools, colorimeters and spectrophotometers, can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but they are necessary to take full advantage of the ColorEdge CG18's potential--something to keep in mind when you're considering this display.
The ColorEdge CG18 has two DVI inputs on its back panel, and Eizo includes a cable that will take an analog signal and convert it to DVI; however, the display doesn't come with a DVI-to-DVI cable. The back panel also hosts one upstream and four downstream USB 1.1 ports for plugging in a scanner, a printer, a camera-card reader, a digital camera, or another device. Finally, Eizo sells the optional $109 "--="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eeizo%2Ecom%2Fproducts%2Faccessories%2Flcd%2Fisound%5Fl2%2Findex%2Easp">iSound L2 speaker unit, which snaps onto the lower edge of the bezel.
The image-adjustment buttons' labels on the ColorEdge CG18's front panel are somewhat difficult to read, but the onscreen menus are fairly easy to navigate. The ColorEdge CG18's controls go far beyond the mundane: you can adjust everything from individual color temperature to gamma value. Frankly, the adjustment menu offers so many bells and whistles, we can't give them their due here. For less-demanding types (who probably shouldn't buy this display) there is an autocalibration button and six contrast-level presets: Text, Picture, Movie, Custom, sRGB, and Calibration.
Even without the use of any extra color-calibration tools, the ColorEdge CG18 turned in one of the highest scores ever in CNET Labs' performance tests. With a native resolution of 1,280x1,024, the monitor displayed text so sharp that the serifs on 6.8-point-size fonts were clearly visible. Colors looked full and bright, and grayscale gradients, while not perfectly smooth, were far superior to those of the other LCDs we've seen. This display is not for watching or editing video, and indeed, we saw quite a bit of ghosting in our motion test.
Eizo backs the ColorEdge CG18 with outstanding support, including a very generous "--="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex_1&destUrl=%20http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eeizo%2Ecom%2Fsupport%2Fwarranty%2F5year%2Easp">five-year warranty that covers the power supply, the inverter, and the chips (the internal panel layer); the ColorEdge CG18's glass and backlight are covered for three years. Toll-free technical support for the ColorEdge CG18 is currently available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday, but the company plans to introduce 24/7 technical support later in March 2004.