Hyundai ImageQuest L90D+ Inverness
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Hyundai ImageQuest L90D+
It must be said that, as with the sequel to 'Miss Congeniality' or the farewell live album from Busted, one question haunts the 19in TFT: what, exactly, is the point? Okay, so you get a slightly bigger screen than with a 17in monitor, but you don't get any more space, as the maximum resolution is the same. The larger pixels means there's no more detail and slightly more discernible graininess. Unlike this Hyundai monitor, most 19in TFTs also suffer from comparatively slow response times, so any rapid action on-screen will display the odd weird artefact and a healthy dollop of blur.
Fortunately though, while the L90D+ might be limited to the same old 1,280 x 1,024 resolution, it makes the best of it, with a very quick 8ms response time. In theory, DVDs and games shouldn't exhibit the tell-tale signs of motion blur and look pretty good.
If only the same could be said of the L90D+'s own appearance. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a plain-Jane, with its slim silver bezel and square, plastic construction. It looks particularly dowdy when placed next to the gorgeous Sony SDM-HS75PB. Still, while adding a blue LED is the closest the L90D+ gets to design flair, at least you get a fully height-adjustable stand. Oddly enough, the screen also appears to be able to rotate into a taller portrait mode, although there's no mention of this in the electronic manual, driver or OSD controls.
On the subject of the OSD controls, these really could do with some attention. The menus aren't particularly intuitive; they lack easy features such as preset modes and quick colour settings, and overall usability is hampered by the gruesome, unresponsive membrane buttons loitering somewhere underneath the front bezel.
While we're on a downer, is there really any point to the built-in stereo speakers? These 2W under-achievers veer between two settings - weedy and irritating, or blustering and abrasive - with very little middle ground. Most of us would rather plump for separate speakers or headphones in any case.
Now for some good news. Provided you're aware that extra inches don't mean extra pixels, the L90D+ isn't a bad big screen at all.
Our major criticism is colour depth; in most common real-world uses, the monitor has problems reproducing the full, rich range of colours, instead banding them together for a slightly posterised effect. It's not terrible, but you don't get the range of tone you might see in a good screen such as the Sony.
Otherwise, the L90D+'s performance is solid. The heavily saturated colours and artfully overexposed monochrome of the climactic fight scenes in 'Kill Bill Volume 1' didn't pose any problems, and you get a more cinematic experience on a screen this size. If the autumnal colours in 'The Last Samurai' don't have quite the same impact as they do on the Sony, at least the battle scenes make for a thrilling spectacle, which might be important if you want your PC monitor to double up as a DVD screen in your bedroom. Its viewing angles are also reasonable.
The L90D+ loses out to the smaller Sony on visual detail and dynamic range in games, but the experience of playing Doom 3 on a screen this big is still quite something. As the resolution can't step up to match the screen size, you'll sometimes see pixelated edges, as the pixels are blown up to fill the screen. However, The L90D+ is good at scaling images to fit its expansive panel, and there's no visible blur, even in a quick racing sim such as Need For Speed Underground 2.
For creative work, the L90D+ is a tougher sell. The picture is bright and the bigger screen size makes a difference when working with text, but the visible picture structure and the relative lack of tonal range means this isn't a digital photographer's dream.
The L90D+ doesn't quite make a convincing case for 19in panels, but it does have several key strengths, such as its fast response time, decent screen quality and, best of all, a competitive price that's very close to those of high-end 17in TFTs such as the Sony. It's a solid performer rather than a stunning one. If you're a gamer who likes detail and high image fidelity, it's probably best avoided, but it makes a big impact, and it would be excellent for a cut-price, home-built media centre PC.
Author: Stuart Andrews