By offering a 3D monitor that eschews the $100 Nvidia 3D Vision Kit in favor of a more affordable option, LG is attempting to widen the 3D market with its Flatron D2342P monitor. The display comes with a pair of passive 3D glasses, which are a lot cheaper to produce than the active-shutter lenses of the Nvidia solution. This raises the question: is 3D worth experiencing if the quality is lacking? We answer that and many other questions in the following review.
Design and features
The 23-inch LG Flatron D2342P sports a glossy piano-black bezel and foot stand, juxtaposed with a plain light-gray back. The initial depth of the chassis is 0.7 inch, with another 1.5 inch of girth extending to the rear that includes the connection options. This makes for a deeper chassis than we're used to seeing in LED-based monitors, which are generally on the thin side. Conversely, the bezel is one of the thinnest we've seen, measuring 0.6 inch on the left and right sides. The overall width of the D2342P is a narrowish 21.5 inches, compared with the 22.4 inches of another 3D/LED monitor we recently reviewed, the BenQ XL2410T.
The monitor's wide and fairly flat 9.8x7-inch foot stand affords some stability. When knocked from the sides, the display wobbled white a lot, but the foot stand remained mostly stationary and the monitor never toppled during our exhaustive punching tests. The monitor weighs 7.72 pounds and feels pretty flimsy and plastic to the touch.
Connection options include DVI, VGA, and HDMI, and a headphone jack. The D2342P skimps on ergonomic options and includes only a 15-degree back-tilt feature; however, VESA wall-mounting is supported.
The onscreen display (OSD) array is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the bezel and includes five buttons: Auto, Menu, 3D, Input, and Exit. These sit to the left of the power button, which is highlighted by a bright blue LED.
Pressing any of the OSD buttons brings up a menu that aligns with the buttons, labeling each with a different function. Under Menu are the usual suspects: Brightness, Contrast, and RGB controls. Also, LG includes three color temperature presets: Warm, Medium, and Cool. When connected via HDMI, we get very limited black-level control with a low and high setting. This setting darkens or lightens the screen, ignoring backlight luminance.
Deep in the OSD's recesses is a Super Energy Savings feature that lowers the brightness when switched on. It also tracks your current power savings in watts per hour and, over time, will track your Total Power Reduction and Total CO2 reduction as long as the feature is turned on.
The 3D menu allows you to change 3D modes, choosing from Side by Side, Top and Bottom, and Line Interlaced. There's also an option that allows you to control which frame is shown to each eye. Finally, the 3D-to-2D feature converts native 3D content to 2D.
The function of each OSD button changes dynamically, making navigating through the OSD simple. Unfortunately, when changing certain options like the 3D mode, you're kicked out of the OSD each time you make a different selection. It's very frustrating if you're attempting to cycle quickly through options to see which works best for you.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity:||DVI, VGA, HDMI|
|Ergonomic options:||10-degree back tilt|
|VESA wall-mount support:||Yes|
|Included video cables:||DVI, HDMI, VGA|
|Screen film:||Matte w/AG coating|
|Number of presets:||3|
|Picture options:||Brightness, Contrast|
|Color controls:||RGB and Warm, Cool, Medium|
|Additional features:||3D performance|
We tested the LG Flatron D2342P through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC, using the included DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 92 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.
In the Extreme Grayscale Bars test, which evaluates the monitor's ability to display both very dark and very light grays, the monitor displayed gray down to a level 2. This indicates that during dark scenes in movies, dark details would be easily seen; however, what passes for black on the D2342P could be considered lower-medium gray on another display. Even with the black level set to low, the D2342P just doesn't produce deep blacks. So, while dark details would be visible, said details wouldn't be as dark as they should be.
We also saw that light gray wasn't visible beyond level 252 and barely visible at 251. This indicates that light colors may look washed out in general use. Color Tracking looked mostly accurate with very little in the way of tint problems.
Backlight bleeding, especially along the bottom edge of the screen, was pervasive enough to see on a completely black screen, but fortunately didn't rear its head in games or movies.
Text: In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8 size. We did see a lot of blooming around text with both blue and pink fonts on a black background.
Movies: We tested the LG Flatron D2342P using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." When using the Medium color temperature preset, we clearly saw dark detail in dark scenes, but deep blacks eluded the display's ability.
Also, colors didn't have the same pop as they do on the Samsung PX2370, and small details weren't as clear. Unlike many other monitors, though, the D2342P didn't have a huge green-tint problem and displayed colors that were mostly accurate.
We found that that the medium color temperature preset with the Black Level set to low was the best setting for movies.
Games: When it comes to the look of games on a monitor, the two most important features are vibrancy and color. If the monitor can display games with a bright and vibrant cleanness, this goes a long way toward improving its looks. If colors can also pop with fullness and depth, games will usually look great. Unfortunately, the D2342P is lacking in both of these traits. The screen lacks the bright, full colors seen on the PX2370 and instead produces drab images where colors look washed out.