LG Flatron IPS235V review: Impressive for the money

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The Good The LG Flatron IPS235V is a low-priced IPS monitor that achieves impressive performance in games, movies, and photos. Its accurate color, wide viewing angles, and deep OSD round out an affordable and powerful package.

The Bad The chassis feels cheap, the connections are difficult to access, and the OSD menu is clunky to navigate.

The Bottom Line The LG Flatron IPS235V succeeds by offering performance at a more than reasonable price. It has the connections you'd want, but the design you wouldn't.

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7.8 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 7

Specialized needs not withstanding, most monitor shoppers can boil their needs simply down to this: they want performance at a reasonable price with the ability to calibrate the display as they see fit.

If a vendor can offer that, then most of its job is done. With the LG Flatron IPS235V, LG offers just that. The IPS235V is one of the best budget monitors I've ever seen, and while there are some design quibbles, it definitely addresses those near-universal monitor needs.

When a company attempts to do something different with a monitor from a design perspective, it's not difficult for someone like myself who's been on an almost steady diet of black monitors for the last four years to notice said differences, however subtle they may be. While the LG Flatron IPS235V is yet another black monitor, LG added a bit of design panache to the bezel. Typically, bezels on monitors are either of the glossy or matte variety. LG goes for black wood grain here instead. It's subtle and most wouldn't even notice it, but as a connoisseur of both fine and not-so-fine monitors, it stands out to me.

The bezel itself is quite narrow, measuring only 0.6 inch in width on the sides. The monitor's full width is 21.5 inches and the distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is 3.3 inches. The foot stand is wide, measuring 10.3 inches wide and 7.6 inches deep; if the thumbscrew on the bottom isn't tightened, the monitor will wobble when knocked from the side.

The wood-grain-style bezel makes it stand out from most displays. Josh Miller/CNET

The IPS235V isn't the thinnest monitor, but it is probably thinner than most IPS displays. It measures 0.75 inch deep initially, followed by another 1.5 inch to include the ventilation system and connections, for a total of 2.25 inches in depth. The monitor has a 10-degree back tilt and a 5-degree front tilt, but there are no other ergonomic options.

Connections include VGA, DVI, and HDMI. Unfortunately, these are recessed into the back of the chassis and face downward. While downward-facing connections on monitors are typical, some vendors are, thankfully, moving toward more TV-like configurations where connections face back instead. Back-facing connections are much easier to access, making connecting and disconnecting less frustrating. The included headphone jack is a welcome addition.

Connections: Headphone jack, VGA, DVI, and HDMI. Josh Miller/CNET

The onscreen display (OSD) array is located in the bottom right corner of the bezel and includes six buttons: Menu, Mode, Dual, Auto, Input, and Exit. These sit on the underside of the bezel to the left of the power button, which is highlighted by a bright blue LED.

Pressing any of the OSD buttons brings up a menu that labels each with a different function. Under Menu are the usual suspects: Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, and RGB controls. Also included are three color temperature presets, Warm, Medium, and Cool. When connected via HDMI, we get very limited black-level control with a low and high setting. This setting darkens or lightens the screen, independent of current backlight luminance. Mode gives access to five different presets: User, Movie, Text, Photo, sRGB.

The OSD includes plenty of useful options, but the interface still feels clunky to navigate. Josh Miller/CNET

Deep in the OSD's recesses is a Super Energy Savings feature that lowers the screen's brightness when switched on. It also tracks your current power savings in watts per hour and, over time, will track your Total Power Reduction and Total CO2 reduction as long as the feature is turned on.

While I appreciated the options included with the OSD, its navigation interface takes some getting used to. There's no Enter button, and in order to alter attributes you simply arrow down (you can't arrow up) to the desired attribute and arrow right or left to make changes. Even after several hours of practice, though, this still felt clunky at times.

From a build-quality perspective, the monitor's chassis feels plasticky, hollow, and as if it could easily shatter if I squeezed it too tightly. While I'm not in the habit of hugging my monitors, I do like for them to feel well-built. This one doesn't.

LG IPS235V Design and feature highlights
Connectivity: DVI, HDMI, VGA
Ergonomic options: 10-degree back tilt, 5-degree front tilt
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Audio: Headphone jack
VESA wall-mount support: Yes
Included video cables: HDMI
Backlight: LED
Panel type: e-IPS
Screen film: Matte
Number of presets: 5
Overdrive: No
Picture options: Brightness, contrast, sharpness
Color controls: RGB and three color temperature options
Gamma control: Yes
Additional features: None

I tested the LG Flatron IPS235V through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC with my own DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 93 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.

The merits of antiglare (AG) screen coating are much debated these days. Some viewers prefer the coating not be applied at all, while others favor only a limited amount. And others are completely indifferent. AG coating doesn't adversely affect a monitor's quality, and its benefits or lack thereof are strictly a question of preference.

That said, there is a light AG coating on the IPS235's screen, reducing potential reflections while keeping some of the pop that glossy screens enjoy. A full glossy display can increase the perceived contrast of a monitor screen -- which some people prefer -- but can also make it difficult to see in direct sunlight.

A wide foot stand won't help with the wobbling if the thumbscrew (not pictured) on the bottom of the stand isn't tightened. Josh Miller/CNET

DisplayMate: The IPS235V had no problem displaying light gray up to level 254. Level 255 is considered white and every level between it and 1 is a variation of gray, so 254 is the highest score it could have achieved. The IPS235's performance here indicates the display will likely not be prone to washing out light colors. As for dark gray, the IPS235V displayed down to level 4 while still maintaining a deep black, pointing to the display being capable of a low (but not really low) black level.

The IPS235V handled color tests with aplomb, displaying mostly accurate colors in tests. Color scales displayed linearly and uniformly pointing to the display's ability to easily distinguish similar colors.

In our Dark Screen test, the monitor showed only minimal clouding along the top middle of the screen.

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