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Interactive Buyer's Guide


WinLab Reviews
Head To Head: 17-Inch Monitors
Look for the Big Picture

-- by David Hafke

If you want to squeeze more onto your screen, it might be time to think about a new 17-inch monitor. More and more, 17-inch screens, like the Nokia Multigraph 447Xav and MAG InnoVision DX700T reviewed here, are replacing the workhorse 14- and 15-inchers.

The sleekly designed Multigraph 447Xav is an excellent performer. The DX700T, part of MAG's Technitron family, offers a crisp color image surrounded by an unassuming, off-white case. These two Trinitron monitors yield excellent pictures with their 0.25mm aperture grilles.

The larger Multigraph 447Xav measures 17.24 by 16.93 by 17.24 inches and weighs 48.5 pounds. By comparison, the DX700T is 16.7 by 16.1 by 18.2 inches and weighs 46.7 pounds. Although the DX700T is smaller, its 16-inch viewable area exceeds the 447Xav's 15.71 inches.

The 447Xav is multimedia-ready, with a pair of built-in 2-watt speakers, an 8-watt subwoofer and a directional microphone located above the CRT. While the speakers may not be in the same league as some desktop speakers, they do produce very good sound. Their built-in convenience reduces desktop clutter. If you like your music loud, you might have to tone it down, however. At higher volumes, the speakers emit electromagnetic interference that makes the picture's bottom corners ripple and flicker.

Both these monitors are environmentally friendly and comply with MPRII standards for low emissions. In addition, the 447Xav also complies with the more stringent Swedish TCO95 standards that ensure ergonomic improvements and safeguards in the manufacturing process.

When in use, the 447Xav consumes less than 150W, 70W in standby mode, 30W in suspend mode and 5W when powered down. The DX700T uses no more than 130W during normal operation, 20W in either standby or suspend modes, and 8W in sleep mode.

Each of these Plug-and-Play monitors is compatible with VESA's Display Data Channel. The DX700T supports DDC2B, allowing compatible graphics cards to communicate bidirectionally with the monitor as it relays information about its refresh rate, scan rate and power management settings. The 447Xav is DDC2AB-compatible, which encompasses the features of DDC2B and includes an ACCESS.bus that can be used to connect DDC2AB-compatible peripherals (such as mice, keyboards and printers). The ACCESS.bus lets you connect more than one of a similar type of device, like a mouse for a right-handed person and one for a left-handed user.

On-screen displays allow flexible monitor settings. The 447Xav provides the standard controls for resizing and repositioning the screen. In addition, you can adjust the color temperature, convergence, and the display's red, green and blue components. Audio settings, such as volume, balance, treble and bass, can also be manipulated this way.

The DX700T's on-screen display is slightly easier to navigate. It includes controls for adjusting the color components, temperature and geometry of the screen. However, it lacks a convergence control.

I tested the two monitors using a Number 9 Motion 771 video card with its HawkEye control tools running. Both monitors showed minor image problems under Sonera Technologies' DisplayMate testing. Each responded well to screen regulation criteria.The 447Xav's impressive specifications support a maximum resolution of 1600x1200 and a 150Hz maximum refresh rate. It will remain flicker-free with an 85Hz refresh rate for resolutions up to 1280x1024. Horizontal frequencies are from 31kHz to 92kHz, and vertical frequencies are from 50Hz to 150Hz. The DX700T is just a step behind the 447Xav. It is capable of an 85Hz refresh rate at a resolution of 1024x768. It also has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz and a maximum resolution of 1280x1024. Its scanning frequencies range from 30kHz to 70kHz horizontally and 50Hz to 120Hz vertically.

With superior controls and a wider performance scope, the Nokia Multigraph 447Xav comes out slightly ahead of the MAG InnoVision model, although the $999 price tag is higher. The DX700T, at $799, is likewise a solid monitor, and it costs $200 less than Nokia's model. The choice will be determined by your budget and the performance criteria for the monitor's use. Neither model, however, matches up to our current Recommended List picks, Compaq's V70 and the Princeton EO70.MAG InnoVision's DX700T may look plain, but it's a solid performer with a reasonable price.

W Info File

Nokia Multigraph 447Xav
Price: $999
Pros: TCO95 compliant; ACCESS.bus; speakers
Cons: Speakers can interfere with picture
Nokia Display Products
415-331-4244, fax 415-331-0424
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

W Info File

MAG InnoVision DX700T
Price: $799
Pros: Inexpensive high-performance monitor
Cons: No convergence control
MAG InnoVision
714-751-2008, fax 714-751-5522
WinMag Box Score: 3.5

Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.

(From Windows Magazine, January 1997, page 138.)