LG Flatron L1970H review

£203
Price when reviewed

LG’s latest 19in offering is the L1970H, and without even plugging it in its impressive design is evident. The word slim is prominent both on the frame and the stand, and with good reason: even at its thickest point, the main body is less than 3cm thick.

While the stand extends back further, it’s adjustable and you’ll have no problems squeezing it into limited desk space. It tilts back further than most, and the hinged arm allows you to swing the L1970H right down to hug the surface. Even the base is stylish, with the power, DVI and D-SUB connectors on its rear rather than on the body of the monitor. You’ll still end up with a tangle of wires, and the external power supply isn’t ideal, but the design allows you to hide the mess under the table.

Initial setup is a breeze – the default settings were spot on – but if you prefer to fiddle you can do so with the supplied Forte Manager software. A wizard takes you step-by-step through setting the brightness and contrast using example patterns as a guide, and allows you to use the mouse rather than the OSD. That’s for the best, as the OSD controls are positioned on the underside of the TFT, with confusing labels making them tricky to use.

Being a Flatron model, the L1970H makes use of LG’s f-Engine technology. This not only enhances brightness and colour, but also includes an innovative extra: select any open window or drag a square over a zone of the Desktop, then enhance it any way you like. This way, you can temporarily apply more suitable settings to individual elements, such as increased contrast for a photo or the preset Text mode for an office document, without affecting your finely tuned setup.

The screen itself is uniformly bright, yet offers an impressive black level. We were impressed by the contrast in everyday use and our tests proved this conclusively: even the slightest variances in the lowest blacks and brightest whites were distinguishable. The colour-scale tests showed an even and gradual ramp from dark to light, leaving the L1970H to handle video with no problems.

We played a variety of clips to test this, and the results varied between impressive and a little disappointing. The contrast level brought out impressive detail, even in areas of shadow that the BenQ struggled with. But the general tone of the LG is still a little cold and washed out in comparison to the ViewSonic VX924. It also lacks the sharpness seen in the best models, although this is a minor complaint. A tiny amount of smearing was evident in fast-moving videos, but overall the quality was high.

The price is similar to the VX924, and there really is little to choose between the two. The L1970H is certainly the more stylish and adjustable of the two and includes some genuinely useful features, but the ViewSonic edges it on quality thanks to its superb response time and pleasing sharpness. If you don’t mind the less vibrant tones of the LG L1970H though, it’s a fine alternative choice.

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