|Price:||£150 inc VAT|
|Review Date:||Dec 2006|
Verdict: The 'flat' in Flatron may refer to its colour performance
The best thing about the Flatron M1717S is what marketing types call the 'out-of-the-box' experience. Everything is neatly packaged, you're provided with a nice sheet to take you through setting up and plugging in your new monitor, and the unit looks as though it was designed by someone with a little flair. We like the blue smile on/off indicator, the understated black buttons, and the way the speaker grille curves in beneath the screen. It might be so large that it's obtrusive, but at least the M1717S looks good, and the screen sits at a comfortable height as well.
The worst thing about the M1717S is what happens next. First, you notice that there's no DVI port, just an old-fashioned analogue D-SUB input. Then you switch on the monitor. It's a close-run thing with the Iiyama ProLite E1700S, but this is the dimmest screen for displaying text, and images look shockingly drab next to the Acer and Asus screens. Even with a clutch of movie and photo modes, in day and night variants, it's hard to achieve what you might call a knockout picture.
Technical tests revealed that the LG struggles from a lack of low-end tonal range, and can't summon up a deep, rich black, though it's quite good at capturing subtle tonal shifts in the mid-range. Furthermore, with a luminance rating of 250cd/m2, it doesn't have the brightness needed to produce really bright whites and intense lighter colours. This is okay for general desktop use, where the lack of brightness makes the screen fairly easy on the eye, but it means that the LG lacks zing when viewing photos, and can't match the other screens for impact when playing Need for Speed: Most Wanted or Prey. Metallic textures don't shine as they should, and the stronger lighting effects are slightly muted. HD movie and DVD playback are an improvement, with nice, natural colours, but the LG can't match the clarity of the better panels, and overall, the image looks soft and washed out.
What's more, while the speakers are the largest of the 17in panels on test, they sound boxy and break up when pushed. Given that the Asus PM17TE is available for less money, we can't recommend buying the LG.