LG Flatron M237WD review: LG Flatron M237WD

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MSRP: $249.00

The Good The LG Flatron M237WD has a ton of connection options, built-in speakers, and great overall performance.

The Bad The LG Flatron M237WD has somewhat muted whites in movies, and its image reproduction is a little darker than we would have liked.

The Bottom Line The LG Flatron M237WD is a great choice for those looking for a 23-inch monitor-HDTV combo.

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7.2 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7

The 23-inch LG Flatron M237WD is essentially a small HDTV that can double as a monitor. It has all the TV connections you'd expect, including two HDMI ports and comes with a fully functioning remote control. It can be bought at major online stores for about $290, which is about $25 less than the comparable Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD that has many of the same connections. While both monitors are great buys, we believe your choice will depend on what's most important to you. If features are paramount, get the LG for its extra HDMI port and S-Video connection; however, the Samsung has better overall performance in movies and HDTV.

Design and features
The LG Flatron M237WD sports a slightly convex and highly reflective, black, glossy bezel that measures just less than an inch on the left and right sides. The panel measures about 3 inches in depth and comes in at just larger than 22 inches in full length, compared with the Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD's slightly thinner depth of 2.75 inches and width of 22.5 inches. Along the bottom of the LG's bezel are many small holes for the built-in speakers. Underneath the speakers is a maroon edge highlight that runs along the bottom of the panel. The oval-shaped footstand is 11 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep, but even with such a wide footstand, the display wobbles considerably when shoved from the sides. However, thanks to its balanced weight, the M237WD never felt in danger of toppling.

In the lower right-hand corner of the bezel is a soft blue LED signifying that the monitor is powered on.

The bottom of the bezel sits nearly 3 inches from the desktop, but unfortunately, the screen height isn't adjustable, and there are neither screen rotation nor pivot options for portrait mode. The capability to tilt the screen back 20 degrees is the only included ergonomic feature. The P2370HD goes back slightly farther at 25 degrees.

Connection options for the LG include two HDMI ports (one more than the P2370HD), VGA, DVI, Component, Composite, S-Video, and a coaxial connection for an antenna or cable. Also, there's a port for normal audio and a digital audio out option. On the lower right hand edge of the display is a headphone jack. All connections sit on the back in the lower right-hand side of the panel and face backward, as most TVs do. This style of placement makes each connection easy to access. Above the connection options are four screw holes for mounting the display to the wall, VESA-style, though you'll have to supply your own mount.

The onscreen display button array is located on the lower right hand side of the panel on the edge, above the headphone jack. It consists of seven buttons including a power button, Input, Menu, Enter, Volume Up and Down, and channel Up and Down. Pressing the menu button brings up six category options. Two rows with three options in each row. The options include Channel, Picture, Audio, Time, Option, and Lock. You can use the Volume and Channel buttons to scroll to the desired selection or use the included remote control that makes navigating a lot easier.

The options function very much like a typical HDTV and some, like Channel, only apply to actual TV watching. The Picture option, however, includes controls for brightness, contrast, backlight, and the capability to change from 16:9 to 4:3 aspect ratios. There's also an option to change the color temperature.

Audio options for the built-in speakers include TruSurround--which simulates having a 5.1 or more sound system--and a number of presets for movies, music, and so on.

We found navigating the LG's menu--with and without the remote--a simpler and more succinct experience than on the Samsung. While changing the audio to SRS, TruSurround took four steps on the Samsung; doing the same on the LG only took three steps.

The LG Flatron M237WD's 16:9 aspect ratio supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 from 16:10 because high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen in full-screen mode without stretching the image.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 5ms
Contrast ratio: 20,000:1 (Dynamic)
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI-D, VGA, Component, Composite, S-Video
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? DVI, DVI to VGA
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Backlight: CCFL
Panel Type: TN

We tested the LG Flatron M237WD with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 90 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, coming in just less than the Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD's score of 93. The LG faltered in our color ramping tests, which examines an LCD's capability to display gradations of the same color smoothly. The LG, unfortunately, couldn't match the Samsung's capability to show gradations smoothly, suggesting that the LG could have color banding problems. We saw no evidence of color banding on our real world test, however. However, the LG demonstrated its capability to distinguish black from dark gray, something the Samsung had trouble with. In our Dark Screen test, clouding, or backlight bleed through, was noticeable on the top and especially the bottom middle edge of the screen. Meanwhile, the Samsung had noticeably more clouding, specifically in the lower middle edge.

The M237WD achieved a brightness score of 232 candelas per square meter (cd/m2)--lower than the P2370HD's 264 cd/m2. Like the XL2370, the P2370HD's whites had brightness to them that the LG couldn't quite match. The LG had whites that looked somewhat muted in movies when directly compared with the same image on the Samsung.

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