Planar says its top-of-the-line PX212M is perfect for "high-end video production, digital media and gaming." While we still prefer a high-end CRT for precise graphical and video work, the 21.3-inch PX212M, with a maximum resolution of 1,600x1,200, is a great choice for spreadsheet jockeys, stock traders, or anyone else who wants plenty of high-quality LCD and is willing to pay top dollar for it.
We have to give Planar props for the PX212M's understated design--its slim, one-inch bezel simply melts into the background. Beyond its handsome looks, however, the PX212M has most of the features and adjustability options you'd expect in such a high-end display. Its oval-shaped base provides stability and holds two small, embedded speakers that offer disappointingly faint, tinny sound. A telescoping neck lets you adjust the display's bottom edge from two inches to more than six inches off the desktop, and the panel swivels about 35 degrees to the left or the right, and it tilts almost 40 degrees backward. The PX212M pivots smoothly between Portrait and Landscape modes, and Planar includes PivotPro software for orienting the picture when you change modes. The panel detaches from the stand, and can be connected to a "--="" rel="nofollow">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwebopedia%2Ecom%2FTERM%2FV%2FVESA%2Ehtml" target="_blank">VESA wall- or arm-mount. The only thing missing here is a cable-feed system; the PX212M has several video inputs, and you could wind up with a knot of cords dangling from the back.
TV and video connections are now commonplace among high-end, big-screen LCDs, and like other newer jumbo displays, including Dell's 2001FP and HP's L2035, the PX212M has S-Video and composite video, and it accepts both analog and digital input signals (Planar includes all of the cables). The display also has picture-in-picture, another hot feature that lets you watch video or TV while you work; however, unlike Samsung's SyncMaster 172MP, the PX212M does not come with a TV tuner--you'll need to pick that up separately.
The PX212M scored well in CNET's tests--images looked very bright and crisp, and colors really popped. With 170 degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, text looked sharp and was easy to read. The display was able to show subtle shades near deep black, although our grayscale tests showed evidence in whites of hue shifting, which is when a color's tint changes when its intensity increases or decreases. We also saw a bit of ghosting, where moving images blur, in our DVD-video test, a common flaw among LCDs. The PX212M's onscreen menu (a lovely, transparent violet) is easy to navigate and offers all of the usual adjustment options, plus picture-in-picture and volume controls.
Planar backs the PX212M with a standard three-year warranty that covers parts, labor, and backlight. The Web site offers adequate documentation, 24/7 e-mail to tech support, and FAQs. Phone tech support is available from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
|CNET Labs DisplayMate tests (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
|Brightness in nits (Longer bars indicate better performance)|