LaCie 319

The LaCie 319 has excellent image quality, but its high price and advanced features make it an LCD that only real graphics pros should consider.

Colour professionals such as photographers, graphic designers, and prepress technicians traditionally use CRT displays for their work because CRTs more accurately display a wider range of colours. But when tradition, hardly a cherished value in the tech world, means keeping an ugly, space-and-energy-hogging behemoth on your desk, the appeal of a svelte, high-performance LCD is undeniable.

The LaCie 319 is built with colour pros in mind. It offers a CRT-grade colour gamut, 10-bit gamma correction, its own hood, and the option to add colour-calibration software and a colourimeter. Its colour performance is excellent, but with a price of AU$1599, it costs twice as much as a layperson's 19-inch LCD; only graphics pros should consider this monitor.

The LaCie 319's design is inoffensive, but it isn't attractive either. It is black, its bezel is less than 13mm wide, and its adjustment buttons are simple, clearly labelled circles. The neck and the base make a squat, stocky L shape that would look right at home in an office, but the boring design allows the neck to telescope smoothly between 38 and 165 mm high. The LaCie 319 swivels easily 90 degrees right and left, thanks to a lazy Susan embedded in the square base. The monitor rotates very easily between portrait and landscape modes (the display comes with Pivot Pro software). The screen also allows for some forward and backward tilt; however, the very stiff ball-and-socket-style joint on our test unit required two hands and a lot of arm strength to adjust.

On the back panel, which is easily accessible if you pivot the display, reside VGA (analog), DVI-I, and DVI-D connections. The LaCie 319 ships with VGA and DVI-D cables. The cable-feed system is a clumsy plastic panel that you clip onto the back of the monitor's slablike neck. The metal hood, which keeps out ambient light while you're calibrating the display, attaches easily; there's a little hook in the center from which you can hang a colourimeter, or if you prefer, a protective crystal.

The straightforward and easy-to-navigate onscreen menu (OSM) lets you adjust basics such as brightness and contrast. It also has a sharpness adjustment and seven colour-temperature settings (most consumer LCDs have three or four). If you want to perform more advanced calibrations on the white-point temperature, the gamma, and the brightness, you have to buy the LaCie 319 with Blue Eye Pro colour-calibration software which costs extra.

The LaCie 319 did an excellent job on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests. It displayed a wide range of colours that looked very rich and didn't shift in tint as they progressed up and down the intensity scale. Greyscale performance was also good, with only slight introduced colour -- a reddish tint -- in the midlevel greys. DVD and gaming are not the LaCie 319's strong suits. It'll do for watching movies, as long as you're not a stickler for a completely smooth picture, but our Labs technician found the game performance jerky and blurry.

LaCie covers the 319 with a three-year warranty on parts, labour, and backlight. LaCie's Web site offers basic features such as FAQs, drivers, e-mail, and fax support.

CNET Labs DisplayMate tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
LaCie 319
ViewSonic VP912b
ThinkVision L191P

Brightness in cd/m2
ViewSonic VP912b
LaCie 319
ThinkVision L191P

NOTE: Products in this test are for comparative purposes only and are not necessarily available in the Australian market.

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