While the majority of specifications of the typical flat-panel may have settled down in recent months, the contrast ratio has remained an ever-moving target. Not so very long ago, LCD screens were happy to wallow in the region of 500:1-700:1. But the likes of LG Electronics and Samsung decided to push the envelope a little, nudging the contrast ratio to 1,000:1 and, from there to 2,000:1 and then 5,000:1. Now the latest 22in LG claims a gigantic 8,000:1 contrast ratio.

Of course, as with all of these LCDs, that figure isn't quite genuine. To switch it on, you have to enable the DFC (Digital Fine Contrast) feature by selecting the Movie Mode from the F-Engine button. In practice, this'll give you an extra blast of colour for those special occasions - firing up a DVD or Blu-ray disc for instance, or displaying your favourite photographs in their most glorious hues.

The effect is quite impressive, although it obviously doesn't compare to those of the latest plasma screens, where contrast ratios of more than 20,000:1 are available.

However, we do have some issues with this feature. Or rather, not the feature itself, but the flat-panel it's built into. Such a high contrast ratio, surely, would be perfect for high-definition images. Right? Well, LG doesn't totally agree, since it kits out this screen with a meagre analogue D-Sub connector. There's no digital socket - not even a DVI, let alone the increasingly popular HDMI - so those looking to plug the screen straight into home entertainment kit will be disappointed.

NEXT PAGE: Quality results without DVI?


LG's £165 W2242S monitor has good picture quality but lacks any digital video input

There’s a more advanced version of this screen, the W2252S, which pushes the contrast ratio to an even more resounding 10,000:1 but, unfathomably, still refuses to budge on the issue of a digital connector. Obviously you can still use the 1,680x1,050 resolution to watch sparkling HD content, but should you want to integrate this within a home entertainment system in the next year or two, your options may be severely limited.

So is this a fatal flaw? Well, probably not, since the LG has enough quality to satisfy a significant number of customers. Its £165 price tag isn’t ridiculously cheap for a screen without a digital connector, but it is very reasonable given the quality of the image – whether it’s being used for text or for graphics, the picture combines vivid colour with considerable clarity.

On paper, the 5ms refresh rate doesn’t seem stunning in this age of 2ms figures, but there are various ways of classing the response rate, and it’s possible LG is using one of the less flattering approaches. At any rate, we couldn’t see any flickering during the game tests. The refresh rates are good and, even while working on the other side of the room, we can clearly see everything on the screen.

And, as ever with LG, the menu system (that includes dedicated buttons for such features as 4:3 mode and the colour settings) is both powerful and a pleasure to use.

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W2242S: Specs

  • 22in flat-panel
  • native resolution 1,680x1,050
  • 0.282mm pixel pitch
  • 5ms response rate
  • 8,000:1 contrast ratio (with DFC)
  • 170/170 degree viewing angle
  • brightness 300cd/m2
  • no DVI or HDMI connector
  • 517x209x418mm
  • 4.65kg
  • 3-year warranty
  • 22in flat-panel
  • native resolution 1,680x1,050
  • 0.282mm pixel pitch
  • 5ms response rate
  • 8,000:1 contrast ratio (with DFC)
  • 170/170 degree viewing angle
  • brightness 300cd/m2
  • no DVI or HDMI connector
  • 517x209x418mm
  • 4.65kg
  • 3-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

If you want a high-quality image at an affordable price, and won’t be needing a digital connection in the near-future, then this is a very good screen for the money. But given the high contrast ratio and generally excellent performance, we can’t help but feel that this screen could have been so much more versatile and future-proof with just one addition to the feature set.

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