Roomy and limber
The $1,299 MultiSync LCD1880SX is pricey, but it offers a decent amount in return, including a vast, 18.1-inch diagonal viewing area within an impressively narrow, .5-inch bezel. Unlike less expensive models, which generally have limited height and angle adjustability, the MultiSync LCD1880SX gives you lots of latitude and longitude. The sturdy, L-shaped base swivels smoothly up to 85 degrees to the left or the right and lets you easily adjust the height of the display. The screen itself rotates easily between portrait and landscape mode and has Pivot software for rotating the image, but the vertical-tilt function is stiff and ultimately shifts a modest 25 degrees up or 3 degrees down. The display can be mounted to a range of different swing arms, which are available from third-party vendors. NEC-Mitsubishi also offers an optional sound bar with speakers ($99), which attaches in both portrait and landscape mode.
A terse Quick Start guide walks you through the straightforward process of setting up the display and navigating the onscreen menu (OSM); it also offers basic troubleshooting advice. Complete setup and usage information is available on the included CD-ROM's user manual. The display features Ambix+ triple-input technology, which, simply put, means you can choose from a range of connectivity options, such as DVI-D, DVI-A (digital to analog), or VGA, and even simultaneously make two analog or digital connections if you want to share the monitor between two systems. DVI-D and DVI-A cables are included.
Looks good, adjusts itself well
The MultiSync LCD1880SX is chock-full of features, most of them useful. It has an average 240cd/m² brightness rating, an adequate 300:1 contrast ratio, and a fast 33ms pixel-response time for extrasmooth video. Its automatic brightness and black-level adjustment means you should not have to work hard to get the best image. This is good, because the OSM, burdened with too many buttons (eight, along the bottom edge of the bezel) and an odd menu design, is cumbersome to navigate. We suggest that you download NEC-Mitsubishi's GUI-based NaviSet software, which lets you easily adjust the monitor with your keyboard or mouse and includes test patterns to walk you through the calibration process. IT professionals get a distinctive bonus: NaviSet Administrator, which provides remote access to the display as long as you're running Windows 2000/XP and a display data channel/command interface (DDC/CI)-compatible graphics card.
At its native 1,280x1,024 resolution, the LCD1880SX performed well on our DisplayMate-based tests. Colors were beautiful, with warm, vibrant yellows and reds, and smooth, rich skin tones in Photoshop and on the Web. It also reproduced a beautiful range of grays and a very true black. Microsoft Word and Web-page text looked crisp, bright, and easy to read, even at small point sizes, and the display's overall focus was very good. Unfortunately, our test display had one dead pixel, so we deducted a few points from the overall score.