First rate, cut rate
After seeing the Rad-5's astoundingly low $399 price tag, you'll probably wonder just how many corners KDS had to cut. Rest assured: This basic flat-panel display is a solid value. The stand has a nice, solid feel when you tilt the monitor up and down. The monitor's clean design and silver and blue finish is quite attractive, and the included silver-toned mouse adds even more value to the package. The screen and base combined add up to a depth of just 6.22 inches, making this one of the thinnest flat panels available.
The Rad-5's test performance will catch you by surprise. In CNET Labs' DisplayMate benchmark tests, its sharpness and color rendition were fully competitive with those of current models that cost up to $400 more. It scored especially high in our pixel resolution/tracking test, beating out the other three monitors by a wide margin. It also ranked impressively on distortion and grayscale tests. Text (both black-on-white and white-on-black) was readable down to 6.8-point type, and the Rad-5 offers the fastest pixel-response rate (25ms) we've seen in flat panel in its class, resulting in clearer rendering of moving graphics.
You'll also be pleased with the Rad-5's full-featured, onscreen display menu, although it may take a while to get used to the control buttons, which are awkwardly placed (just behind the bottom of the screen) and hard to press. Most users don't change their displays settings very often, however. And with this LCD, they may not have to; the auto-adjust button did an excellent job of optimizing the various settings on its own. But if you like to fiddle with your display, the buttons could annoy you.
The Rad-5 included several other noteworthy features that belied its low price, including a VESA-compatible mounting socket (for wall or supporting-arm installations) and an adjustable power-save delay (for keeping the monitor powered on, even after your computer enters sleep mode). The three-year warranty even covers the backlight.
If you need an example of how much LCD technology has improved over the years, look no further than KDS's Rad-5--you just can't beat it for the price.
| 15-inch LCD image quality test |
Longer bars indicate better performance
|The Rad-5's test performance will catch you by surprise. Its sharpness and color rendition are fully competitive with current models that cost up to $400 more.|