Small footprint and low energy consumption aside, LCDs have a distinct advantage over frumpy, bulky CRT monitors: they look good from behind. In high-traffic areas such as your office's reception desk, a sleek LCD can make a positive first impression. Often, an otherwise attractive LCD ruins its appearance with a disheveled mess of exposed connectors and dangling cables. Though the LG Flatron 1730S's price is fairly low, its image quality and adjustability options are as unremarkable as its overall design. For back-office workers, we recommend the Envision EN7220, but for basic use at a front desk, the cord-clutter-curbing LG Flatron 1730S makes a suitable centerpiece.
Available in either black or dark silver-gray, the LG Flatron 1730S presents a basic yet pleasantly uncluttered look. The bezel is one inch wide on all four sides, and the control buttons are nestled under the bottom edge for a nice, clean front panel. The back panel houses the VGA connector (cable included) and power jack, and there's plenty of room for your fingers when you attach the cables. With many LCDs, you're lucky if you get a plastic loop through which to feed the cords away from the display. The Flatron 1730S has one plate that slides down over the connectors on the back panel and another plate that covers the back of the neck. The plates are made of tacky, corrugated plastic, but when fully deployed, they completely hide the unsightly cables.
The LG Flatron 1730S takes its job of hiding cables seriously, making it seem almost armor-plated, and in fact, it has a very limited range of motion. The short neck, which lifts the panel a mere three inches above the desktop, cannot be raised or lowered. The display panel can be tilted 5 degrees forward and 30 degrees back, but the joint is somewhat stiff, so you need two hands to move it: one to hold the base, one to tilt the panel. The Flatron 1730S's stable, round base doesn't swivel, nor does the panel pivot between Portrait and Landscape mode. It can however be attached to a VESA wall mount.
The five buttons tucked under the bottom bezel serve to launch and navigate the onscreen menu. The button functions are printed on the bezel, and the layout is completely straightforward: one button to launch the menu, two to navigate the submenus and increase and decrease values within a function, and one to select. The increase/decrease buttons double as quick launch keys for the Flatron F-Engine feature, which offers four preset brightness and color-temperature settings for movie, text, user-configurable, and normal viewing modes.
The Flatron 1730S's performance is ideally suited for basic front-desk applications. We tested the Flatron 1730S at its native resolution of 1,280x1,024 and found that text looked crisp, with sharp contrast; colors on Web pages and movies looked bright and reasonably accurate, and DVD playback--with the help of a low 12ms pixel-response rate--was quite smooth. The install CD comes with Colorific, a basic color-calibration program that lets you fine-tune color for a variety of applications, from video to desktop publishing to Web usage. However, don't assume that this calibration makes the LG Flatron 1730S good for high-end graphics work. In CNET's DisplayMate-based tests, the display showed a considerable amount of color in the grayscale, particularly on the bright end of the scale, near white. We also saw compression on the ends of the grayscale; it couldn't reproduce dark or light grays very well (they were either black or white, respectively), and the bottom half of the screen was noticeably brighter than the top half.
LG backs the Flatron 1730S with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Toll-free phone tech support is available 24/7, and you can e-mail tech support via a Web form or a direct e-mail address. Beyond these options, the tech-support site offers FAQs, driver downloads, and user manuals.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)