As 23-inch monitors go, the Eizo FlexScan T2351W-L is fairly unusual. It eschews the traditional foot stand in favor of an adjustable lever, it steers clear of even the smallest inkling of antiglare coating, and its reinforced glass screen makes it a perfect candidate for the included multitouch touch-screen feature. Still, at the end of the day, it's a 23-inch monitor priced at more than $1,000. Is it worth that price? If you answered, "Who cares? I want one now!" then this review probably won't be very helpful to you. If you answered in any other way (or didn't answer at all), you'll want to keep reading.
Design and features
When we sat down to run our performance test suite on the Eizo FlexScan T2351W-L, the first thing that struck us was, well, us. The 23-inch monitor has one of the glossiest and most reflective screens we've ever seen and at first all we saw (quite clearly), were our own kissers. Those of you annoyed by the trend of antiglare coating on displays can look to the T2351W-L and see just what the other extreme is like.
The medium-gray chassis has a full width of 21.9 inches. The bezel measures 0.8 inch on the right and left sides and the full depth of the panel is 2.1 inches. Not a surprising measurement given that the T2351W-L houses a Vertical Alignment (VA) panel as well as a CCFL backlight--a combination that typically warrants a thicker enclosure.
Instead of the traditional foot stand, the T2351W-L has an adjustable lever on the lower back, allowing back tilt to range from 15 degrees all the way back to 65 degrees. At the top of the chassis sits a red lever that, when pulled, releases the foot stand for adjustment. Thanks to this design, the panel can never safely stand completely perpendicular to the desk and must always be titled back to some extent, but given the panel's wide viewing angle, this isn't really a problem.
Connection options are located in the back, on the left side, aligned vertically, and are easy to access: DVI, HDMI, VGA, and a USB upstream port. A headphone jack with built-in volume control can be found at the bottom of the monitor's left spine. On the bottom center of the bezel resides a lone mono speaker.
As monitors go, you don't get tougher than the T2351W-L. The hearty build quality of the monitor's chassis, along with its hefty 16.7-pound weight, is matched only by its reinforced glass screen. While most other monitors offer screens that yield to the touch, the T2351W-L's screen is like the defensive line of the '85 Chicago Bears--completely inflexible--a lot like your smartphone screen, really, just on a larger scale.
Also similarly to your smartphone, the monitor has touch-screen capability and allows you to navigate using your own fingertips instead of a mouse. Setup was easy and quick. Simply plug in a USB cable, install the drivers, and start smearing your new monitor's screen with grease and dead skin cells. It took us a while to become accustomed to letting our fingers do the walking, but after about 30 minutes, we were fairly comfortable. Still, prolonged use can result in a serious case of lactic acid buildup in the shoulders. Just comes with the territory of outstretching your arms for minutes at a time, we guess.
Consisting of seven buttons, the On Screen Display (OSD) array sits in the lower left corner of the display's bezel and each button press delivers both a tactile and audible response. Pressing the Mode button shortcuts through the T2351W-L's six presets, which are User 1, User 2, sRGB, Cinema, Game, and Paper. While most of those are self-explanatory, Paper mode may require a bit more exposition.
In Paper mode the monitor attempts to simulate the look of paper. The mode lowers the monitor's color temperature to around 4000K; uses the built-in ambient light sensor to diminish the monitor's brightness; and dramatically gives it an effective contrast ratio of about 30:1. What results is a dim, yellowish screen that ostensibly will leave the eyes less fatigued when reading articles or e-books.
While the monitor features some of the more common OSD options, including controls for Brightness, Contrast, individual RGB controls, Hue, and Saturation, the actual navigation design is one of the most archaic still used in the industry. Navigating with the arrow keys is slow and tedious, requiring you to cycle completely through menu options without the ability to "double back" instantly from the end of the menu to the beginning.
Eizo has used this design in various monitors for at least the last five years and, thankfully, there's an option to double the size of the symbols in the OSD. Unfortunately, the antiquated design is still inescapable. No one needs or wants to waste time attempting to navigate through a badly designed OSD. Monitor companies could learn more than a thing or two about designing easy-to-navigate OSDs from Dell and its robust and user-friendly OSD design, as seen on the Dell UltraSharp U2711.
Separate from the OSD, the T2351W-L includes a feature called EcoView. EcoView is a meter that appears on the screen whenever the display's brightness changes and essentially gives you an estimate of your planet-saving prowess--the lower your brightness, the higher the gauge. While this may not seem that useful (especially once you understand the relation between luminance and power consumption), when you're cycling through presets, having an "environment gauge" pop up each time you change preset modes can sometimes be persuasive. That is, if your conscience has a say.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity:||DVI, VGA, HDMI|
|Ergonomic options:||15- to 65-degree back tilt|
|VESA wall-mount support:||No|
|Included video cables:||DVI, VGA|
|Number of presets:||6|
|Picture options:||Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Hue, Black Level|
|Color controls:||RGB controls|
|Additional features:||Multitouch Touch Screen support, reinforced glass screen|
We tested the Eizo FlexScan T2351W-L through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC, using the included DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 94 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.
DisplayMate: In our Extreme Grayscale bars test, the T2351W-L impressively distinguished a level 2 dark gray (two levels above true black) from true black, while retaining a low black level. Since VA panels typically reach the lowest of low in black levels, this didn't come as a surprise. By the same token, light gray began to blend into pure white (255) at level 253, which indicates that light colors will likely not wash out and will retain their color integrity.
In Color Tracking, the grayscale remained mostly neutral, with only a slight inclination to green. In the Dark Screen test, we saw backlight bleeding in two spots along the left side of the screen.
Text: Black text on white looked clear, without any obvious color tint problems. Also, fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size.
Movies: The Cinema preset pushes way too much green and red and causes everything to look like a sunny tropical island, regardless of whether the scene takes place on a sunny tropical island. Luckily, both the sRGB preset and our own calibrated settings are much more appropriate for movies given each setting's very balanced level of color saturation.
Compared with the HP LP2480zx, movies on the T2351W-L looked slightly less vital, as the HP monitor tended to saturate the colors to a greater (but not too great) extent.
Games: Games looked good, but failed to reach the high vibrancy levels seen on the HP LP2480zx, which really allow the visuals to pop. The colors on the T2351W-L look accurate, but with games, that shouldn't always be the goal. More accurate colors don't necessarily translate into more impressive visuals with most games. A monitor that can find the balance between accuracy and oversaturation usually has the best game-displaying capability.
In our view, the Game preset included in the OSD is ill-conceived in its color oversaturation, with settings that look as if they were calibrated by someone whose only exposure to video games came from '90s-era Sega Genesis commercials.
In our DisplayMate-based response time and motion blur tests, the T2351W-L delivered levels of streaking higher than the LP2480zx, indicating that fast-moving images may tend to leave noticeable streaks on the screen. However, we didn't notice this when playing Black Ops on the T2351W-L.
Photos: In the sRGB preset and at our calibrated settings, pictures weren't imbued with as much red as they are on the HP LP2480zx, and as a result, faces on the T2351W-L don't look as flushed. You can turn down the green on the T2351W-L, which helps things a bit, but we couldn't get it to perfectly match the HP.
Touch screen: The T2351W-L's touch-screen feature lets you completely navigate through your OS environment, mouse-free. Essentially your fingertip acts as the cursor, allowing you to highlight text, tap links, and launch applications. Holding your finger down on the screen for a second gives you right-click options. There's a soft keyboard for those who want to go strictly peripheral-free and the monitor's multitouch capability lets you easily resize Web pages with a swipe of two fingers.
The biggest problem is the fact that Windows was designed to be used with a mouse, so attempting to accomplish tasks as simple as moving the scroll bar or tapping a small icon can be a frustrating endeavor.
Recommended settings: We used SpectraCal's CalPC to calibrate the Eizo FlexScan T2351W-L for bright-room viewing. The following settings are what the monitor had been adjusted to after calibration.