Thankfully, Eizo includes its ScreenManager Pro software on the install disc, which lets you use your mouse to perform all the adjustments listed above. We found it easier to make adjustments this way because the monitor's menu structure and buttons are poorly organized. Of all the eight buttons along the bottom bezel, not one serves as an exit button, so you must scroll around to the exit icon in each submenu to get out of it. Also, the left and right arrow keys flank the up and down keys rather than being grouped together, which makes for awkward scrolling and adjusting.
The ScreenManager Pro software also includes the ability to emulate color characteristics of other LCD or CRT monitors (useful for work that involves precise color matching) and to assign specific monitor settings to different applications; so every time you launch your app for CAD work, for example, the display will adjust brightness, gamma, and color temperature to your specifications. These presets (called Fine Contrast Modes) can also be called up through the front-panel buttons.
The Eizo FlexScan L997's performance befits both its price tag and target applications. Its proprietary chip provides 14-bit color processing and smooth grayscale rendering. On the grayscale portions of CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests, the transitions from black to white were incredibly smooth and evenly stepped, with virtually no extraneous color visible. Color scales were similarly smooth, with rich, nuanced colors that showed much less hue shifting than we usually see with consumer-level LCDs. The viewing angles were as good, with little change in picture quality or brightness when we tilted the panel or looked at it from different positions. The screen was also more uniformly dark than on other LCDs we've seen. Text was sharp and eminently legible, even at the smallest font sizes. The FlexScan L997 is not meant to display video, and its 30ms pixel-response rate reflects this fact, yet DVD playback performance was tolerable.
Eizo backs the FlexScan L997 for five years, which is better than the three-year industry standard, but be aware that the panel and the backlight are guaranteed for only three years. Toll-free tech support is available Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Eizo also offers driver downloads, FAQs, white papers, and an e-mail address for tech support via its Web site.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)