Compaq flat panels prepped for future
- By Michelle Speir
- Apr 17, 2000
In some government workplaces, space is at a premium. One way agencies can
stuff more technology into tighter spaces — aboard a submarine or a mobile
command center, for example — is to use flat-panel displays.
These slim displays use the same thin-film transistor (TFT) technology
used in notebook computer screens. We took a look at two new flat-panel
monitors from Compaq Computer Corp. — the TFT5010, a 15-inch display, and
the TFT8020, an 18-inch model.
Both monitors support the analog display signal used with most current
computers, as well as optional digital connectivity based on the new Digital
Visual Interface (DVI) standard. The TFT5010 offers one port that supports
both digital and analog interfaces, while the TFT8020 has two ports, one
digital and one analog. Both ports on the TFT8020 can be used at the same
time for dual-PC input, and both units come with an analog cable pre-attached
and a digital cable included in the package.
One other major difference between the two models is that the TFT5010
can be purchased with an optional touch screen while the TFT8020 cannot.
Compaq designed the monitors with the present and the future in mind.
Agencies can use them with today's analog-equipped PCs. Alternatively,
if you need digital capability right away, you can buy a Matrox Graphics
Inc. DVI video card from Compaq to ship with the monitor.
The TFT8020 we reviewed offered a luxuriously large display but took
up only 9.7 inches of depth with the base attached. Without the removable
base, the unit is only 3 inches deep, which makes it possible to mount on
a moveable arm or a wall.
Setup is a breeze with Compaq's automatic setup feature. A built-in
image processor detects the computer's signal and automatically calibrates
the monitor to that signal for optimal performance. An auto-adjust button
on the front of the monitor enables you to hot-plug the monitor into different
sources and use the automatic setup feature without rebooting.
The base swivels and the screen can be tilted vertically, but users
may not even have to adjust the angle, thanks to Compaq's 140-degree wide-angle
viewing. We were able to view the screen from any angle and still see everything
on it. The image did dim slightly when we viewed it from extreme angles,
but it was still entirely visible, unlike many LCD panels we've seen.
The TFT8020's image is bright and clear, supporting 16.7 million colors
and 1,280-by-1,025 pixel resolution and featuring a dot pitch of .28 millimeters.
Both models feature a Universal Serial Bus option. For about $50 extra,
you can purchase the monitors with four USB ports built into the back of
the base for connecting perpherals such as speakers.
Full-screen scaling on the TFT8020 will size any image to fit the screen.
E-Color Inc.'s Colorific software is included with both monitors for accurate
color matching on screen and in print.
Settings are easy to adjust with Compaq's three-button navigation. Both
displays are available in opal (off-white) and charcoal (black), so you
can match them to various computing environments. Just beware of the still-high
prices of flat panels. The TFT8020 will set you back $3,337 and the TFT5010