LG L1960TQ
Simon Baker, 28 Jan 2007

 

 

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The LG L1960TQ is a member of LG's new "Premium" line of displays, accompanying the Fantasy Series which features an impressive range of designs and specifications. Like the Fantasy Series screens, the L1960TQ uses a 4ms G2G rated TN Film panel, along with Digital Fine Contrast (DFC) technology to offer a dynamic contrast ratio of 2000:1. While the Fantasy Series models offer a more unusual design, there is no denying that the L1960TQ remains impressive in its appearance, as well as on paper:

Size

19"

Colour Depth

16.2 million colours

Resolution

1280 x 1024

Viewing Angles

160 / 160

Response Time

4ms G2G

Panel Technology

TN Film

Contrast Ratio

2000:1 (DFC)

Interfaces

VGA, DVI

Brightness

300 cd/m2

Colour

Black with silver trim

Special Features

Tilt functionality, dynamic 'Digital Fine Contrast' (DFC)

 


Above: Rear and side views of the screen. Click for large images

The screen is in an attractive black finish with a reflective shiny base and silver trim along the bottom of the bezel and around the edge of the stand. While the screen is well designed, it is sadly a little lacking in functionality, only offering a minimal, and quite stiff, tilt range. This is a little limited compared with some models available on the market, including for example the LG L1932P, but features such as rotation and pivot are not important to all users.


Above left: Detachable base
Above right: removable backing exposing interface options

The stand comes packaged seperately but is easily slid into position before being locked in place by a simple turn screw. There is no need for screwdrivers and so dismantling and transporting the screen is easy enough. The lower casing at the back is easily detached to reveal the DVI, VGA and power connections, with a cable tie being present to help keep cables tidy. Due to the nature of the stand though, it is still possible to see the cables trail from the back of the screen as there is not enough stand to hide them completely. Materials are study and the screen feels well constructed.


Above left: DVI, power and VGA connections shown, usually hidden by removal plastic backing to the display
Above right: Illuminated blue power LED

The screen comes (unusually) with an external power brick and so the power interface on the back of the screen itself is small and unobtrusive. The power button is a touch sensitive button which works pretty well, which once pressed, illuminates a nice looking blue LED power light as shown above. In standby mode, this glows orange. The OSD operating buttons are located on the right hand side of the screen and are stream-lined into the design of the bezel. While these are well hidden and do not affect the monitors appearance, they are sometimes a little tricky to use. There is a single button to activate LG's F-Engine feature at least, making selection of preset profiles easy enough to use.


Above left: Side view showing OSD operation buttons

 


Colour Quality and Accuracy

The L1960TQ utilises a 6-bit TN Film panel, with FRC technology being used to produce a 16.2 million colour palette. An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user. I restored my graphics card to default settings and set it to its standard profile. The LG L1960TQ was tested at default factory settings out of the box using the LaCie Blue Eye Pro and their accompanying software suite.

Default settings of the screen were 100 brightness, 70 contrast ratio, and 50 for each of the RGB values. The default colour temperature of the screen was set at 6500k, which is the desirable colour temperature we are hoping to reach with the screen. I left the screen at these settings to test colour accuracy out of the box. I also left the screen in the "user" mode of the F-Engine feature:


LG L1960TQ - Default Settings



Out of the box the screen looked too bright and colours felt a little washed out as a result. This was expected, since the screen brightness setting was at 100% already and too high for comfortable use. The LaCie Blue Eye Pro showed the same result, with a luminance recorded as 208 cd/m2, a 73% difference between that and the desired lumincance value of 120 cd/m2 for regular lighting conditions and comfortable viewing. The preset colour temperature of 6500k was also a little off, being recorded by the colorimeter as 7129k.

The graph on the right shows the DeltaE values for colours tested by the LaCie Blue Eye Pro. As a reminder, the lower these bars down the Y-axis, the better, in terms of colour accuracy. For reference, LaCie describe the DeltaE readings as:

  • If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer.

  • If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable.

  • If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.

The results show that colour accuracy was generally pretty poor out of the box, with an average value of 3.5 recorded. This was not as bad as I have seen from some other screens at default factory settings, but is not suitable for any colour critical work at this stage. This is probably rather irrelevant however since if you were needing a screen with a high colour accuracy you would probably not choose TN Film based panels, and you would also invest in a hardware colorimeter to ensure you got the most out of the screen.

The 4 CCFL backlight tubes used in the L1960TQ are standard TFT monitor backlighting, and feature colour gamut covering 72%  of the NTSC colour space. The monitor did pretty much cover the sRGB gamut range in testing, with only blue range being a little lacking. This was actually evident in practice as well, as the screen did look a little 'warm' and with a tendency towards red being noticeable at default settings. Black depth was measured at 0.7 cd/m2 (not shown here but available in the PDF report), giving a usable contrast ratio of 297:1. This is a pretty weak black depth but can be attributed to the excessive brightness setting of the screen at factory defaults.



LG L1960TQ -
Calibrated Results

During calibration the screen was changed to 35 brightness and 67 contrast using the OSD. After calibration the luminance, gamma and colour temperature were far more accurate and the monitor covered the sRGB gamut range more evenly. DeltaE was on average reduced to 1.1 offering pretty excellent colour accuracy as measured by LaCie. The maximum DeltaE was only 2.0 and so any slight difference between the desired colour, and produced colour was barely detectable. This was a good improvement over default settings and again goes to show that with the right calibration tools, it is possible to get some decent colour accuracy out of TN Film panels. The DeltaE values were not as low as those measured on some other TN Film based screens I have tested (LG L1932P and Samsung SM205BW for example) but performance was perfectly acceptable.

Black depth was also measured at a far more acceptable 0.3 cd/m2 giving a usable contrast ratio of 403:1. In practice I found the L1960TQ did offer bright and rich colours, with the only slightly annoying issue being related to the viewing angles of the screen. As is common with most TN Film panels, vertical viewing angles were restrictive. However, the L1960TQ showed some variation in colour temperature as you moved above and below your view directly facing the screen. This is not something I've noticed as clearly on other TN based panels I've tested and the issue proved a little distracting, particularly in office use. Lifting your head up slightly above the central view showed a slight tendency towards blue, while dropping your head down a little showed a tendency towards red. This was not really an issue for most uses, but when viewing some images, it would effect the skin tones quite noticeably.

There was only slight gradation across RGB colour gradients, and it was nothing particularly problematic. I saw no issues in regular use, and it seems the 6-bit +FRC panel is performing well in this regard. There was no noticeable FRC artefacts either and no obvious twinkling across colour bands.

 


Viewing Angles


Above: Front view and side views
Below: Top view and bottom view

As demonstrated in the above images, the viewing angles of the L1960TQ were as expected. From a side view the screen showed that horizontal viewing angles were adequate at least but there was some noticeable contrast shift, even with a small change in the viewing angle. Vertically the screen showed the trade-mark contrast shifts of TN Film panel technology. As mentioned before, slight movements in viewing field vertically also showed some noticeable difference in colour temperature with a tendancy towards red as you lower your head, and a tendancy towards blue as you lift your head above the central view. However, the tilt function of the screen does allow you to position the screen at a comfortable height and this issue can be largely avoided in practice. It was a little off-putting when compared with S-IPS or VA based screens which offer much wider viewing angles.
 


Panel Uniformity


Panel uniformity on a black screen. Click for larger image

Panel uniformity was actually very good on this screen, with no obvious backlight leaking from the edges or corners. This resulted in no adverse issues during movie viewing which is often a problematic area when it comes to panel uniformity.
 


Office and Windows

Testing the screen with both VGA and DVI connections exhibited an ever so slight difference in image sharpness; with the DVI interface being slightly clearer. However, the VGA connection is of a very good standard as well. With a native resolution of 1280 x 1024, office use was comfortable and text was nice and clear. Personally I prefer a larger screen so that side by side office working is possible, and the 19" screen size here does not offer that desktop real estate. While the pixel pitch is quite large due to the resolution and screen size, it is perfectly acceptable and still offers sharp and crisp text.

There is an F-Engine preset for "text" on the L1960TQ but I found it increased brightness compared with my calibrated (120 cd/m2) "user" setting, and so was not really desirable to use. It is there from a simple button access for those who do want to use it, and at least it shows you a split screen of before and after so you can evaluate whether you want to use it or not. When viewing photos, the F-Engine "User" > "Skin Tone Enhancement" preset mode was handy to enhance skin tones quickly and with a few presses of the buttons.
 


Responsiveness and Gaming

I tested the screen using PixPerAn software which showed some quite impressive results in the 'flag test' moving car animation. The moving image showed no obvious ghost images behind the car but blurring of the textures was evident. The screen uses a 4ms G2G rated TN Film panel, and thanks to a heavy dose of RTC, they have done a good job of producing a responsive screen in practical use as well as on paper. I did feel that it was a little behind the performance of the NEC LCD20WGX2 I have examined before in these tests, with the moving image being a little more blurred than on the NEC's AS-IPS panel. Still, a decent result and a step ahead of non-overdriven panels like that in the Samsung SM205BW for example.

I tested the screen in some games as well. There was no real issue with ghosting although you could notice the usual blur across textures which is inherant to LCD displays if you look closely. Even the fastest TN Film matrices will leave you with some texture blur, but this is largely down to image persistance in the eye, and it is other technologies that are looking promising when it comes to eliminating perceived motion blur (BFI, MPA, 100Hz etc). The L1960TQ performed well enough in games though. I switched the display over to the F-Engine "User" preset mode and opted for a brightness of 70, and the ACM (Adaptive Colour Management) setting for "enhanced colour". This helped improve brightness and colour vibrancy in the games which I think can be handy and makes the games more pleasing to the eye. Testing the screen with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro showed that colour accuracy was way off, but that can be expected given the aim here is overly bright and 'cartoony' colours.

 


Above: Input lag. Click for larger image

The screen was hooked up in clone mode with a CRT in order to test input lag and it's degree. As you can see from the above image, the L1960TQ was commonly 10 - 20ms behind the CRT. This is a little higher than other screens I have tested, which are also gamer orientated (LG L1932P - 10ms, Samsung SM205BW - 10ms). However, I doubt many people would really notice this in practice. If you're really a hard core FPS gamer and think this might be problematic to you, maybe there are some other screens which don't show as much input lag as the L1960TQ. On the other hand, if you're that bothered by it, maybe a CRT would be more suitable!

 


Movies and Video

The L1960TQ performed pretty well in movie tests using Microsoft's HD content. There was minimal twinkling and colours looked vivid and black depth was impressive. I was actually quite please with it's performance in this regard, and certainly from a metre or two away there was no real problem with watching movies on the screen. Watching movie clips with a lot of dark scenes showed some problems however as it was often very hard to make out detail and the screen seemed overly dark. Using the monitor's F-Engine preset for "movies" enhanced the black depth, but meant that dark scenes were hard to watch. The black depth of the screen is not as good as on some other panels, particularly VA based technologies and so this is one area which could be better on the L1960TQ. Obviously the 5:4 aspect ratio and TN Film technology don't lend themselves to movie watching. If you are planning to use your screen to view a lot of movies, I'd suggest that a widescreen format model would be better. You may also want to consider something a little bigger than a 19" model, especially with the availability of well priced 20" and 22" models nowadays. MVA based screens may well be the best option for movie watching with their improved viewing angles and deeper black depth, but if you want to stick with a lower priced screen, a 22" TN Film model might be more suitable than a 19" 5:4 aspect model such as this.

 


Conclusion

LG have released an attractive new range of displays in their new Fantasy Series, and the L1960TQ fits right along side those models. It is certainly a nice looking screen and the black finish is very classy. The screen is well built and solid, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of functionality from the screen. With only a minimal tilt range, the screen felt a little basic in this regard. The viewing angles were perhaps the biggest let down of the screen, especially with the noticeable shift in colour temperature with even a slight move in the vertical field of view. However, this could be expected of TN Film technology, and it is easy enough to align the screen to a comfortable angle for viewing. The L1960TQ did accomplish what it sets out to do, providing a fast and responsive panel suitable for gaming along with some nice aesthetics. Colours were clear and vibrant and the F-Engine presets came in handy for various applications as well. The screen currently retails for around 200 and so if you want a sleak and fancy looking model for some gaming and office use, this is a premium designed model which should fit the bill nicely.

 

 

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