LaCie electron22blueIV review
CRT displays are supposed to be on their last legs, yet LaCie is facing a high demand from users wanting this particular model.
A look around most graphics-oriented businesses may well show you why. LaCie’s electron monitors are used almost as ubiquitously as iMacs by the designer crowd. But is there merit behind the popularity? To find out, we put the electron22blueIV up against one of the longest-running A-List stalwarts, Iiyama’s Vision Master Pro 514. Both use Mitsubishi’s 22in U2 Diamondtron cathode-ray tube, but are tweaked differently by the electronics within.
At first glance, the Iiyama looks attractive due to features like stereo speakers, but these are no longer relevant to CRT buyers. Like the Iiyama, the electron22blueIV has dual D-SUB inputs and a four-port USB hub. Note that it is a USB 1.1 hub, which makes large data transfer laborious.
The LaCie’s other features target exactly the right market: there is a hood with an anti-reflective coating to reduce ambient reflections and an OSD that offers every conceivable image calibration. The Diamondtron’s SuperBright mode (which gives welcome extra brightness for image and video editing) is accessible via a separate button on the front. The only area where the Iiyama triumphs is the TCO 03 certification compared to the LaCie’s TCO 95.
The optimum resolution on the 20in viewable diagonal is 1,600 x 1,200 at 85Hz. However, at 85Hz, it can also go all the way to 2,048 x 1,536 and still display a crisp screen.
In our tests, only the two LaCies managed to display straight white lines around the edge of the screen with no real hint of barrel or pincushion distortion. However, some vertical lines did bow ever so slightly in other places on the screen. Fine 6.8pt text was perfectly readable no matter where it was placed, while the tricky fine-focus line pattern was impressively sharp throughout.
It was the best at displaying alternate single-pixel white-and-black lines across the screen, with little loss in focus and virtually no moiré. However, moiré was noticeable in the fine-line and mesh patterns that are designed to show it. That said, we didn’t see evidence of moiré when using real-world applications.
There was no problem when displaying individual colours, although the red, green and blue guns could have lined up better in the horizontal colour-registration test. Beyond that, there were no failings. This all left the LaCie with a top score, which is all that will matter to people demanding the best quality.
While it looks expensive in this month’s company, it is worth noting that our 20in A-Listed TFT costs £703. While this offers a similar screen size and resolution at substantially less than 30kg, even the Eizo’s excellent performance cannot match the blending and fading offered here.
If the best possible image quality is what you need, regardless of technology, this is the monitor to go for. It is as simple as that.