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One day weíll all have one, that much is certain, but will ADIís latest LCD flat panel monitor persuade to ditch that fat old boob tube for desktop video? Rick Maybury has been doing a spot of crystal gazingÖ



Are we there yet, are we there yet? Frustrating isnít it? We sit in front of state of the art PCs with the latest super fast processors, bucket loads of memory and monster hard drives, watching the results of millions of complex computations per second on a big glass bottle with all of the air sucked out of itÖ


The bad news is that the arrival of the ADI MicroScan 610 flat panel LCD monitor is not about to usurp deeply entrenched CRT picture tube technology thatís over 100 years old. One glance at the price tells you that, but the 610 is another useful step closer to the glorious day when we can finally junk those overweight dinosaurs. The trouble is there is no quantum leap in LCD monitor design or manufacture to look forward to but as this model clearly illustrates performance is improving all the time, and prices are falling, albeit rather slowly.


ADI have launched the 610 as a successor to the MicroScan 6L, which we looked at late last year (now selling for £800 or less). Like the 6L the 610 has a 15-inch screen so the display area is as big, if not a little bigger, than some 17-inch CRT monitors due to the ludicrous way these things are measured. (On LCDs the measurement relates to the diagonal of the actual display area, on CRTs itís the diagonal of the outside of the picture tube).


The new panel is a Super TFT type and there has been a very welcome increase in display colours from 256 to 16 million, viewing angles have also jumped from 110 degrees to 160 degrees and contrast ratio is up from 150:1 to 200:1. Maximum resolution is still 1024 x 760 and the synchronisation range remains the same, not that it was a problem before and itís compatible with just about anything the average PC or Mac graphics card can throw at it. Most of the other differences are relatively small though. Itís powered directly from the mains (the 6L had an external mains adaptor) and it looks a lot smarter than its predecessor. The screen surround is noticeably narrower and squarer, so itís a few millimetres smaller all around, and a wee bit lighter too, though at only 5kg itís hardly a burden since it weighs a quarter as much and occupies a quarter of the desk space as most equivalent sized CRT jobbies.


A simple on-screen display system and three buttons on the front panel takes care of the main setup parameters for brightness, contrast, colour, width and height or if you donít fancy messing around thereís a one-shot auto adjust button that sets horizontal and vertical positions and synchronisation. The colour control allows for individual settings of red blue and green levels, or you can leave it to the electronic minions. Since this is LCD there are no irksome geometry adjustments, it is also goodbye to things like moirť and degauss, very civilised.


Around the back there are just two sockets, one for the mains lead, the other for a standard 15-pin D-Sub connector for the analogue RGB video connection to the PC. It comes with a matching tilt stand but unlike the 6L it doesnít come with a wall-mounting bracket.



The new panel produces a noticeably crisper image and the improved colour range really shows up on moving video, producing more lifelike shades and subtle variations, especially on skin tones. Contrast is better too, revealing more detail in shadows or gloomy scenes. Rapid movement is still a touch blurry but thatís an inherent characteristic of all LCD displays that we suspect will take some time to resolve.


However, good as it is it still lacks that almost indefinable quality of depth that is apparent on the best CRTs. Technically the image is very good indeed, and on plain graphics applications and desktops (word processors etc.) it is excellent and a lot more restful than a CRT due to the almost complete absence of flicker, but on video itís still a bit sterile and unmoving. The differences are small, and getting smaller all the time but they are still there, and you do notice it on a side by side comparison.  



Nearly there! We would happily use the 610 for routine desktop video applications and the convenience of a flat panel goes without saying, but thereís still the nagging thought in the back of our minds that you can buy one helluva great CRT monitor Ė and still have change -- for eight hundred smackeroonsÖ




How Much?                  

£ 833


Screen size                  

15-inch LCD


Visible display area     

304 x 228 mm


Pixel Pitch                   



Max Resolution 

1024 x 768 (XGA)


Viewing Angle

160 degrees (H & V)


Synch range     

Horizontal: 31.25 to 60.25KHz

Vertical: 56 to 75Hz



397 x 386 x 179 mm





ADI UK Systems Ltd, telephone  020 8327 1900




Features                       ****

Performance                  ****

Ease of use                   ****

Value for money            ***

Overall Rating  90%




R. Maybury 2000 2403




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