The Envision EN7600's design touches help it stand out from the crowd, as do its low $279 price and solid image quality. Despite its limited adjustability and skimpy warranty, it holds its own with other A-list displays. Still, for about $30 more, theoffers a better warranty, more adjustability, and slightly better performance.
A few odd design flourishes give the Envision EN7600 an interesting look. The display panel is surrounded by a narrow, silver-plastic stripe within a wider black bezel. An unexplained strip of tiny bumps that run along the bottom bezel makes the display look like it has the chills. Add to that a row of simple silver menu buttons, and you have another unusual-looking LCD from the company that brought you the, with its pen cups and photo holders.
The monitor accepts an analog connection only (cable included), and the connection is easy to access because, unlike most LCDs, the EN7600's neck hinge attaches to the very bottom of the display. Envision thoughtfully affixed a clear plastic loop to the back of the neck for feeding the cables, though there are only two cords to corral. Because the neck is fixed, the only way to raise the display higher than its 2.5 inches off the desktop is to break out the phone books or get a riser. The EN7600 lacks a portrait/landscape pivot function and cannot swivel. You can tilt it backward 20 degrees and forward 10, thanks to a smoothly articulated neck joint. The anvil-shaped base is not terribly stable, and you can set it rocking by tilting the display panel. The EN7600's onscreen menu is plain-looking but simply organized and, with four buttons for entering, exiting, and scrolling through the submenus, it's a cinch to operate.
The Envision EN7600 delivered good overall image quality in CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests. Text looked sharp and legible--fairly standard for an LCD--and the display did a good job reproducing multiple levels of grayscale. (Some LCDs show a compressed grayscale, meaning they jump straight to black or white without showing the very dark and very light grays in the spectrum.) We noticed a yellowish tint in the midlevel grays, as well as some unevenly bright bars, but it wasn't a major problem for us. The EN7600's DVD performance looked good for such an inexpensive display, especially one that supposedly has a response time of 12 milliseconds. We saw a little visible ghosting, but colors looked accurate, and the image looked sharp.
A three-year warranty covers the Envision EN7600, but it's a bit deceptive: it covers everything except the panel and the backlight, which are covered for only one year. Most manufacturers cover everything for three years at no added cost. It also guarantees replacement parts and repairs but not a whole new unit. If you want full coverage for three years, plus a priority tech support number and a replacement unit, you'll have to pay $39.99. For $59.99, you get the advanced warranty for five years. Beyond this, Envision offers toll-free phone support Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT. The company Web site also has a handy glossary of display terminology, in case you're wondering what dot pitch and pixel response time mean, plus there's an e-mail address for tech support, along with driver downloads, manuals, FAQs, and troubleshooting help.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)