Updated to add my experiance with VideoSeven's Customer Service (see end of review): First off, I must apologise for the length of this review, but seeing as the monitor is the most important part of the computer system, as you are looking at it all the time, I feel it is justified. I had been on the lookout for a new 17” monitor to replace my old 15” when I came across this little beauty (although at nearly 18Kgs it is not that little) at a very good price. One of the first things that attracted me to this model (apart from the price) was the fact that it uses the Samsung DynaFlat tube and was only £21 dearer than the FST version (S98S). The screen is certainly flat and does not give off much of a reflection (if any) and I have been very impressed by the image quality and how sharp the picture is, it is very bright and crisp, even in the corners (where I believe some have problems) and the range of resolutions and refresh rates is particularly impressive. I have tried it with office applications, the Internet and with games and the level of detail I can see is amazing and I don’t have one of the latest graphic card’s – just a Creative Labs 16Mb TNT AGP which is about 2 year old technology. I was on a very tight budget, but also required a monitor with a high refresh rate at the resolutions I want to use (due to being partially sighted, I can detect any flicker in the screen, and so usually have it set at 100hz – anything over 75hz is normally OK for most people, but do not accept anything under this). I originally planned on using the monitor at the 1024x768 resolution, but I have actually found 1152x864 to be perfectly acceptable (and still get a refresh rate of 100MHz using 16bit colour) anything higher and I find the print too small to read comfortably. The full list of resolutions and corresponding maximum refresh rates are (sourced from the official website):- 640x480
160hz 800x600 150hz 1024x768 118hz 1280x1024 90hz 1600x1200 76hz As you can see this monitor will go to higher resolutions than the one I chose to use and still have acceptable refresh rates, and they are certainly higher than a lot of other monitor’s that cost a lot more. The other technical details are (from the supplied manual):- Horizontal frequency 98KHz Power Consumption 135Watts Max. 17 inch screen (16 inch viewable) - diagonal measurement 0.25mm dot pitch Dark Tint Anti-reflection Anti-Static coating Invar Shadow Mask The hardest part about setting up this monitor is wrestling it out of the box and fitting the base, but once this hurdle is got over, the rest is plain sailing. Plug it into the computer, turn on and away you go. The supplied manual has all the information that is needed to set up this monitor and although a driver is not supplied nor needed, one can be downloaded from VideoSeven’s website so that Windows has details of the correct monitor (it is very small and downloads in seconds). Adjusting the picture geometry (and it will likely need it) is a breeze with the OSD (On-Screen Display) and it contains nearly all the adjustments you will need (more on this later). The following OSD adjustments are provided:- Brightness Contrast Recall – Resets the monitor to its factory values Horizontal Sizing Horizontal Positioning Vertical Sizing Vertical Positioning Pincushion – Adjusts both sides of the screen (both in or both out) Pin Balance – Adjusts the curvature of both sides of the screen (in one side, out the other) Parallel – corrects image to rectangle shape Trapezoid – As above Rotation – Rotates screen Colour – enables adjustment of colour temperature (9300k, 6500K and 5500K) and white balance of the image Degauss – Demagnetises the CRT
8217;s metal frame (CRT = Cathode-Ray Tube) The only adjustment I found lacking, was the ability to adjust the screen curvature at the top and bottom, although having looked at similar 17” monitors this seems to be a common occurrence (particularly among the very flat screens) and once you get used to it, it is not that noticeable and it is only very sleight. The quoted viewable screen area for this monitor is 16” and having measured it, it is spot on (some 17” monitors have a lower viewable area than this and can be no better than a large 15 inch monitor). One of the other features of this monitor is that it also meets the latest TCO99 emission standards as well as the more common MPRII (TCO is an international standard originating from Sweden and stands for Tjänstemännens Central Organisation, more information can be found at www.tco-info.com). The warranty supplied is three year on-site exchange. It is also EnergyStar compliant. In fact, the only thing I could find wrong with this monitor, turned out not to be a fault at all, and that was looking at the screen, it appears to be back from the glass and gives the impression of looking at it through double glazing, but having made some enquiries it appears that this is a common occurrence with the newest flat screen monitors as they apparently use thicker glass. Whether this is true or not I can’t confirm, but to meet the latest radiation emission standards it seems logical to me, as measurements of radiation are taken at a set distance from the screen and have to be at or lower than a certain level and the tighter the standard the closer to the screen that acceptable level has to be, so maybe thicker glass helps with this? Before buying this monitor I used the companies website (www.videoseven.com, which is very comprehensive and contains a wealth of information about their products, company, quality control etc, and can be viewed in English
or German), and e-mailed them with some questions which they replied to very promptly, as well as supplying a phone number to ring (albeit in Germany – where it’s made). I tried this number and they found someone to speak to me in English (I can speak some German, but not enough for a technical conversation) and I found them very courteous and helpful, and this also helped me decide to buy this model. If you are on a tight budget, or want a good quality high-spec monitor at a reasonable price then I would recommend this monitor without hesitation (I did some research of various makes and this was the only one I found that had this specification without paying £50-£100 more) as it really is a pleasure to use, and at around £200 it is excellent value for money (for a little more, VideoSeven also do the S96DN, which has a similar specification, but uses the Mitsubishi NaturalFlat Diamondtron screen rather than the Samsung DynaFlat). I bought this model (S98SD) from buy.com for a very reasonable £173 (I used a £30 off voucher to save on the listed £203) and got free next day delivery via courier. Updated Bit: Well my monitor went wrong (screen steretched off each side and couldn't be got back), and I must say that the Customer Service from VideoSeven was impeccable. I e-mailed them about the fault, and they replied the same day asking for the serial number, which I sent by reply. The following day they phoned me from Germany to arrange a replacement, which duly arrived the next day, when they also had the old monitor picked up. All this at no expense whatsover to me, and the people I spoke to were extremally friendly and helpful, very impressive. The replacement monitor had a sleight curve at the top, so I e-mailed them just to see how I could adjust the screen and again I had a phone call from Germany, but this time technical support, to try and help me over the phone, as it happens the curve
is not too bad and I can live with it, but they still offered to send me a replacemnt monitor, if I wasn't happy. I cannot praise this company highly enough, and will be looking at their range of TFT screens when I can afford to buy one.