I’ve spent a few weeks months playing with the 23″ LG W53 “SMART monitor”, and in a nutshell, it’s a darn fine unit (full unit acquisition disclosure at the bottom of the review). When I first got it I had already been using a cheapo generic 23″ as an extension for my MacBook, so I really had a good way to do a side-by-side comparison. I found the colors more vivid on the LG, the UI for controlling the monitor was more pleasant to use, and it simply looked a lot nicer on my desk.
As a disclaimer, I am by no means an expert at picture quality – with regards to how it appeared, this is purely a layman’s perspective. My generic display had a bit of a dull-looking finish to colors, whereas bright colors on the LG seemed much more vivid. I did try to set the default settings to appear similar (contrast, tint, etc), and watched a variety of content from movie trailers to simple desktop apps. There was also a “Cinema Mode” which looked good as well. The LG won hands-down, but in order to not sound all gushy about it, it wasn’t exactly a VCR-to-HDTV kind of difference in picture. But if I had to choose, I’d choose the LG.
In contrast to picture quality, I actually do know a thing or two about user interface design (maybe even three), and considering how terrible most TV/monitor menuing systems are, the LG sports a nice touch. Buttons & on-screen controls line up well and make sense. Also, they have a little motion sensor so as your hand approaches the buttons, they light up – this might sound frivolous, but for those of us who like to keep as few extra lights on/visible as possible, it’s definitely a plus.
Lastly, the unit’s finish was much better than most of the other monitors I’ve seen at similar price points. While I’m not personally a huge fit-and-finish person, I do appreciate it looking a tad more professional on my desk. This probably wouldn’t sell me on the unit either way, but if you are narrowing down amongst multiple options, having something look nice sure doesn’t hurt. I actually ended up purchasing a 37″ LCD from LG for my home in large part due to the “high end feel” of their displays. In summary, if you need a new/additional monitor, don’t want to break the bank, and want something that looks and feels good, I’d take a peek at the LG (on Amazon for ~$230).
I did not purchase the 23″ monitor, it was sent to me by LG, and I am permitted to keep it. There were no stipulations, payments, or other parameters on the unit.
Now for the giveaway!
In addition to the unit for my desk, the gang at LG gave me one to give to the readers. I’ve decided to use this as an opportunity to learn a bit more about who reads the blog. If you are interested in winning the free monitor, just fill out my little survey between now and 12/31/09. I’ll pick a winner randomly (note: you must live in the USA to win).
Note: the contest is over, the winner has been picked. Thanks for your participation!