Review: Westinghouse L1916HW 19" LCD monitor

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If you’re moving to a two- or three-display setup, one of the questions you have to ask yourself is whether you want two “equal” displays or a “primary-secondary” setup. A smaller monitor like this Westinghouse is a good option for a secondary, being cheaper and smaller yet still reasonably sharp and bright. Whether this particular Westinghouse is for you depends on a few things.
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Specs
The L1916HW has a 19″ diagonal and a 1680×1050 resolution, which is good for that size; most at that size are 1440×900 or 1280×1024. I tend to game at 1680×1050, so it’d be a convenient size for me if I didn’t already have a large display I use for that. It’s so close to being able to show 1080p and yet — not quite. Oh well.

It advertises a 2ms response time, and I noticed nothing to contradict that, although I did have some serious trailing when dragging windows around on a black background. Sharpness was okay but nothing great, text was perfectly legible and details were just fine in high definition video. Color balance tended towards the warm side, but of course that’s adjustable. I found the viewing angle tolerance to be quite good, so you don’t have to worry about aligning this thing up perfectly with your head if it’s your second display. I have to do that with my little Dell, poor thing.

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The monitor’s controls are probably its most noteworthy feature. There is nothing on the front, if you’ll notice, and all the “buttons” are on the right hand side. In fact, they aren’t buttons but a long touch-sensitive panel. Good or bad? Well, a little of both. The different button areas aren’t well defined — there are little nubbins but if you go by those, you’ll hit every button while you search for the one you want. It’s a pain in the ass to use the menus, but you don’t do that very often once you set up a monitor.

What’s nice, though, is turning the thing on and off. At first I was groping along the side like a nervous virgin, but I shortly learned that nothing worked better than giving it a little slap on the side there on the lower right. It worked almost every time, and it was a quick, convenient, and satisfying way to shut down a secondary monitor.

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The styling I could do without: it looks a bit too much like a monitor you’d find at the concierge’s desk at a nice hotel or something. The clear plastic bits are a bit precious, and the logo glows at you all the time. You get used to it like anything else, but it’s bigger and brighter than other power indicators.

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A minor gripe: in the box there was only a VGA connector. Come on!

All in all, it’s a solid little monitor. I personally needed something a little bigger, but if 19″ is your sweet spot, you could do a lot worse than this one. The high resolution is handy for a lot of things, obviously, and if you’re not doing any serious graphics work on it, you’re not going to notice the image quality shortcomings. If the styling and the idea of touch-sensitive buttons don’t offend you, give it a shot. Right now you can get it for $160 or possibly less.

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