The tall LG Electronics L196WTY-BF is a 19in LCD monitor that delivers solid, consistent performance on many text and graphics tasks.

The LG Electronics L196WTY-BF offers consistent graphics in a stand that swivels but doesn't lower. But it's not cheap for a 19in monitor.

Graphics delivered by this 19in widescreen LCD were finely rendered, and text exhibited no edge blurring. The LG Electronics L196WTY-BF faltered in an important contrast and brightness test of black-and-white squares, but its other scores showed a comforting consistency on a variety of tasks.

The monitor's all-black plastic casing is a mix of surfaces, as seen in the matted bezel and glossy stand. LG integrates a swiveling mechanism, although it's not apparent as it's located beneath the LG Electronics L196WTY-BF's base. But pushing the panel left or right reveals a very wide, almost 360-degree swivel, a welcome adjustment to those who use the monitor as a presentation tool to clients or colleagues. It tilts 15 degrees to the back and 5 degrees to the front.

Buttons for the LG Electronics L196WTY-BF's onscreen display (OSD), located on the underside of the lower-left corner, are out of the user's sight but clear labels on the front help you figure out where they are and what they're for. The OSD options are well thought-out, and are therefore easy to navigate through.

One of the OSD buttons gains you access to f-Engine, LG's name for its brightness and contrast presets such as movie and text, and for settings defined by the user. A dedicated "EZZooming" button activates a feature that changes the resolution of the monitor to 1280 by 1024 (from its native resolution of 1440 by 900), resulting in a "zoom" of the images on the display. The less-than-ideal resolution produces a blocky image, making the close-up not so useful.

The bundled Forte Manager software - which looks very much like Gateway's EZTune utility - replaces OSD functions, such as contrast and brightness. It also adds basic colour calibration via user-defined adjustments, a wizard, and several screen patterns. It works well, and we would recommend it as an even easier way of tweaking display options over the OSD, especially if you adjust your monitor settings a lot.

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