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ThinkVision L191P review: ThinkVision L191P

At over $500, the IBM ThinkVision L191P is pricier than displays with similar performance and more features. We like its good image quality, but its classic design may need an upgrade.

Kristina Blachere
4 min read
ThinkVision L191P
We've always praised IBM LCDs for their elegant design: the sober matte-black casing, the narrow bezel, and the unique wavelike adjustment buttons. And with Lenovo's takeover of the ThinkVision line, we're disappointed that the design hasn't been upgraded. The ThinkVision L191P is looking a bit long in the tooth compared with stunners such as the Apple Cinema Display and innovators such as the AG Neovo M-17 and the Sony SDM-HS75PS. With a price exceeding $500, it also costs more than displays such as the HP L1940, which offers similar performance and better adjustability. We like the L191P's good image quality for business purposes, but sometimes even a classic needs a makeover.

The ThinkVision L191P is part of Lenovo's Performance display line, which means that it accepts digital and analog inputs and that the stand swivels, tilts, and telescopes. Lest there be any confusion about the display's intended use, its color designation is Business Black. The only flair comes from the five menu buttons, which are arranged in a wavelike ripple, and from the colorful blue, green, and yellow icons above the buttons. The bezel on the bottom is an inch thick but a slim 0.5 inch wide along the top and the sides, which makes the bright 19-inch viewing panel stand out nicely.


ThinkVision L191P

The Good

Good grayscale performance and screen uniformity; stand allows for flexible swivel and height adjustments; accepts analog and digital signals.

The Bad

Somewhat expensive; traditional design beginning to look dated; no extras, such as USB ports; mediocre DVD playback.

The Bottom Line

The staid ThinkVision L191P 19-inch flat panel will serve any office well, but other LCDs offer more for less money.

The cantilevered stand of the ThinkVision L191P gives the whole display an angled, graceful look. You can raise the bottom of the display as high as 5 inches above the desk or as low as a mere inch. The display panel tilts back 30 degrees; however, there is no landscape/portrait pivot feature.

Unlike most LCDs, which use a column within a column to achieve adjustable height, the ThinkVision L191P's display panel sits on a track, so when you raise it to its full height, the metal plaque and the screws that fasten the track to the stand are exposed to view, marring the monitor's otherwise sleek appearance. The base is a big, stable square with an embedded rotating circle that allows the monitor to swivel 135 degrees to the right or left. This strikes us as useful for open-plan office situations because you can easily spin your display around to show coworkers the fruits of your productivity. IBM also helpfully puts a little braillelike dot on both the square and the circle, which, when lined up, indicate that the display is facing front.

Along the bottom of the back panel, you'll find the digital, analog, and power inputs. They're fairly easy to reach, though it's a bit of a squeeze to turn the screws on the signal connectors. There is a plastic loop at the top of the neck to wrangle the cords.

The wavy buttons switch between digital and analog inputs, launch and navigate the onscreen menu (OSM), and power the display on and off. They also double as quick keys to adjust the brightness settings. Using the buttons and navigating the OSM is quite easy, though at first we did accidentally switch inputs a few times when trying to exit an OSM submenu. The adjustment options include all the standards, such as brightness, contrast, color temperature, image position, sharpness, and menu position.

The ThinkVision L191P performed quite well in CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests. Text was acceptably sharp for an LCD, though it could have showed more contrast. The display rendered a tolerably dark black and a pure white, and its grayscale performance in between the two extremes was above average. As grays got close to white, they picked up a slightly pinkish tint, but color-tracking errors were minimal overall, and the shift from high to low intensity was smooth and evenly stepped.

In the color-test screens, the display produced an expanded midrange; the colors stopped decreasing in intensity somewhere in the middle, then made an abrupt transition at the end of the scale. This error won't affect basic color viewing, such as Web content, digital snapshots, or business graphics, but could be an issue for precise graphic or photo work. The display was surprisingly uniform in darkness, though we saw a narrow band of light around the edge. DVD performance was passable, but the ThinkVision L191P showed some distortion in backgrounds and blocks of color, and we saw some streaking and ghosting during playback. The monitor's 20ms pixel-response rate, which is fairly slow for a "performance" display, probably contributed to these image flaws.

IBM backs the ThinkVision L191P with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Toll-free phone support is available 24/7, and drivers, documentation, troubleshooting tips, and recycling information can be found on IBM's support Web site.

CNET Labs DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Brightness in cd/m2
Measured with Minolta CA-210  


ThinkVision L191P

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 5Performance 6Support 6Setup 5