Eizo FlexScan L685

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  • Editors' rating
    8.6 Outstanding

Pros

  • Elegant case design makes the most of the large screen
  • excellent picture quality with wide viewing angles
  • easy picture adjustment
  • manageable over the network.

Cons

  • Not suitable for fast 3D gaming
  • sound module costs extra.

With the new FlexScan L685, Eizo offers an 18.1in. TFT monitor that not only features an attractive design and performs superbly, but also shows technical leadership. This flat-screen monitor is particularly suitable for current users of bulky 21in. CRT monitors who want to combine high image quality and extensive screen area with more efficient use of space.

The FlexScan L685's bezel is less than two centimeters wide, which on an 18.1in. TFT panel has almost no visual impact. Despite the fact that it has an integrated power supply, the depth of the monitor's casing is barely 7cm. The unit's stand can be varied in height by up to 8cm and can also be completely removed for wall- or arm-mounting.

The monitor can function in either portrait or landscape format, and has the same 170-degree viewing angle in both horizontal and vertical planes. If you need to work standing up, you can tilt the monitor back to 40 degrees or pan it horizontally up to 170 degrees.

The FlexScan L685 is equipped with two DVI-I ports, which can handle both analogue and digital signals. The ports recognise the signal type automatically, and if two video sources are connected, their priority can be selected via the on-screen display.

The casing of this ISO 13406-2 certified (the standard for visual ergonomics) monitor is available in either grey or black. For an extra £89 (ex. VAT), Eizo also offers the option of an i.Sound module comprising a pair of speakers and a microphone. The sound module fits precisely under the casing and is available in the same colours.

The quality of the FlexScan L685's picture is excellent, due in large part to the use of Dual Domain IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology. This delivers a wide viewing angle -- up to 170 degrees horizontally and vertically -- without the associated loss of contrast and colour shifts seen in standard IPS screens. Brightness is unusually even, and colour fidelity excellent.

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Picture size and position can be adjusted at the push of a button, as can contrast -- the signal processor determines the values of the signal and corrects the picture automatically. Brightness and contrast can also be adjusted via buttons rather than the on-screen menu. The power-off timer will save energy and lower heat emissions by turning off the display automatically after a specified time period.

The colour management function allows the monitor to adapt the picture to room lighting. Colour temperature, hue, gain and intensity can all be adjusted and fine-tuned. Colour profiles for Windows 98, ME and 2000, and any software that supports ICC 2.0, are provided.

The screen has a native resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, and all lower resolutions can be displayed at 1:1 or scaled up to fit the screen. For scaled-up images, a smoothing function is used to give five levels of sharper or softer edges to graphics.

Although the large screen may make it very tempting, the FlexScan L685 is neither conceived nor suitable for fast-moving 3D games. Despite the wide angle of view and the 20ms switching time, the L6985 -- like most TFTs -- does not perform as well as an ordinary CRT monitor for gaming.

For corporate buyers, the FlexScan L685's support for Eizo's Screen Adminstrator software could be important. This allows network managers to configure all L685 displays on the network, make power management adjustments, do asset management and implement security settings.

The strength of the Eizo FlexScan L685 is clearly in professional office use. If you're prepared to spend around £1,000 (ex. VAT), you'll get a large-screen display using the latest flat-screen technology to deliver excellent image quality. The bottom line: this is one of the best monitors available today.

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