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ADI MICROSCAN 5GT

 

STANDFIRST

ADI monitors have a good reputation for performance and reliability so the 17-inch Microscan 5GT should be off to a good start…

 

COPY

Once you understand the codes you can tell quite a lot from the model numbers manufacturer's slap on their products. Take the ADI 5GT, 17-inch monitor for example. The 'G' stands for graphics applications, and the 'T' indicates that it has a Trintron tube. We're still working on the significance of the 5; we think it might have something to do with the number of fingernails you will loose trying to open and close the control panel, but more about that in a moment…

 

The basic spec and price look very good indeed. It's a reasonably compact shape for a 17-incher and like all Trintron-glazed goggle boxes the flat almost black faceplate looks smart, even when it is switched off. At the top of the features list is a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 with a refresh rate of 75Hz, though we suspect most users will opt for 1280 x 1024 at 85Hz which offers the best compromise for image quality and text readability. It's reasonably well connected with separate 15-pin D-Sub and BNC inputs, they're switched so it is possible to connect the monitor to two PCs, should you feel the urge.  

 

Set up and picture adjustments are controlled from an on-screen display that ADI call 'EasyScreen'; that's certainly debatable… The OSD controls are located on a hinged panel that drops down from below the screen. Getting it open takes some doing but closing it again afterwards was nigh on impossible. Our sample needed an excessive amount of force to get it back, so much so that we feared for our fingers and the monitor's internals. When open you're confronted by row of 3 rocker switches and 8 buttons. The labelling is such that you can't make out what they do without a torch and magnifying glass; either that our eyes are failing after staring at monitor screens all day... The bottom line is that it's not very intuitive, it takes a while to figure out what it does, and how it does it. The only compensation is that you shouldn't need to mess around with the controls again once they're set.

 

PERFORMANCE

With our trusty monitor test programs (CheckScreen and Ntest) running on a 233PII the 5GT was put through its paces. Good news on the basics, colour accuracy and focus were both spot on across all standard resolution modes. There's sufficient control over picture geometry to sort out any conceivable linearity errors. The power supply is rock-solid with no picture instability when fed with a pulsating black-white test signal. All of our monitor tests are carried out after the test sample has been on for at least 30-minutes. However, we also check geometry and colour fidelity after they have been on for a few hours; in the case of the 5GT we're please to report that image stability was excellent with no changes whatsoever.

 

The Trinitron screen has a superb contrast range, from black as your hat to Persil white. Unfortunately there's also the shadow of the twin damping wires at about a third of the way up and down the screen. We know a lot of people don't mind trading faint lines across the picture against the undoubted virtues of Trinitron tubes and on moving video they're almost impossible to see, but we still find them a mite intrusive on a static white desktop display.

 

The function of the Trinitron damping wires is to stop the aperture grille inside the tube from vibrating. They clearly weren't working on our sample as the tube was highly unstable and even a light tap on the cabinet produced a vertical wave or ripple effect on the screen lasting several seconds and an audible 'ringing' from inside the CRT.    

 

SUMMARY

All said and done the 5GT is very good value. We'll be charitable and count the troubles with the control panel and unstable tube as unfortunate on-offs, ADI normally have a good reputation for quality control. The idiosyncratic OSD and controls we can live with, so in the end it comes down personal preferences and those damping wire shadows. If you don't consider that a problem then it should certainly be high on your 17-inch monitor shortlist.

 

How Much?                   £327 (inc. VAT) *

Tube size/type            17-inch Trinitron

Visible display area      300 x 225mm

Aperture grille pitch     0.25 mm

Max Resolution            1600 x 1200 pixels at 75Hz

Dimensions                   416 x 402 x 470mm

Weight              20kg

 

CV RATINGS

Features                       8

Performance                  8

Ease of use                   7

Value for money            8

 

Overall Rating  83 %

 

ADI telephone 0181-236 0801, www.adi.com.tw

 

HEAD

HITACHI CM752ET

 

STANDFIRST

In desktop video size does matter and nothing less than 19-inches will do; the Hitachi CM752 could be just what you are looking for to improve your image…

 

COPY

It goes without saying -- but we'll say it anyway -- that large-screen monitors take up a lot of room, but this 19-inch whopper from Hitachi needs some serious space. Despite valiant efforts on the part of the designers to shrink the sides of the cabinet to fit the screen it has a backside half the size of Alaska. The rear of the CM752 is the scene of another, more serious, disappointment. The huge expanse of plastic has just two sad and lonely looking sockets; one is for the mains cable, the other -- a 15-pin D-Sub, is for the video lead. For such a large and obviously well appointed monitor the lack of Mac-friendly BNC connectors is a real mystery, let alone more up-to-date facilities like USB connectivity.

 

The CM752 is capable of operating at most commonly used resolution standards, up to an including 1600 x 1200 at 75Hz. It can store up to 26 sets of geometry adjustments, there are three preset and one user-definable colour temperature settings and the 19-inch tube as a dot pitch of just 0.22mm. All good stuff but looking after the adjustments and settings is a clanky on-screen display and a control panel that wouldn't look out of place on the Space Shuttle. The row of buttons below the screen are permanently on show; the designers really should have covered them up or hidden them away, it looks unfinished.  You can gauge how complicated it is to drive the CM752 by the fact that the explanation of how to use the control buttons occupies over 3 pages of the instruction manual (and that's with a very small typeface and tiny diagrams...).   

 

One piece of good news on the operational front is the Colorific colour-matching program included with the outfit (on CD-ROM, for PC and Mac). This goes through a simple test and adjustment routine that means you will end up with an accurately aligned display that should match the output from your colour printer.

 

PERFORMANCE  

Following the customary half-hour warm up period the CM752 was treated to our usual range of colour and alignment checks, using a mixture of monitor test programs, various desktop applications and moving video. It passed all of them with out any difficulty whatsoever. Focus can be a problem on large screens, especially around the edges, but not in this case, it remained pin-sharp across the whole screen area at all resolution settings. The same goes for convergence and if there was any moire patterning, we didn't see it. Resolution is particularly good, undoubtedly a consequence of the fine dot pitch; the image has an almost translucent 3D quality, similar to what you get on the best Trinitron monitors, in short image performance is very good indeed. The monitor's power supply checked out and there were no problems with image stability after prolonged use.

 

SUMMARY

The CM752 is a bit of a mixed bag but on the whole we quite like it. On the plus side -- and obviously the most important considerations -- are the quality of the display and the size of the screen. The price is uncontroversial for a 19-inch monitor, there are cheaper models around but those we've seen cannot match the CM752's on-screen performance. On the other hand we have come across a lot of large screen monitors that put the CM752 to shame, when it comes to back panel connections. Surely it can't add much to the manufacturing costs to bung on a few extra sockets, if only to keep Mac owners happy? The controls and on-screen displays could be better as well; again they're relatively minor considerations, but together they are enough to turn what should have been a really great 19-inch monitor into something a bit more ordinary.

 

How Much?                   £586 (inc. VAT) **

Tube size/type            19-inch Black Matrix FST

Visible display area      367 x 276 mm

Dot pitch                       0.22 mm

Max Resolution            1600 x 1200 pixels at 75Hz

Dimensions                   448 x 454 x 460 mm

Weight              25kg

 

CV RATINGS

Features                       8

Performance                  9

Ease of use                   7

Value for money            8

 

Overall Rating  85%

 

Hitachi Business Systems, telephone 0181-849 2092, www.hitachi-eu.com

 

STREET PRICES

* Choice Computers 0800 0730730

** Dabs Direct 0800 558866

 

 

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ã R. Maybury 1998 2008

 

 

 


 

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