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17" LCD Part III: It's Christmas Already!

Iiyama AS4314UT

The price war heated up in the fall and Iiyama had to launch a new, less expensive range in order to get back into the game, and it shows. The AS4314UT benefits from a screen surround that is a little less elegant than its predecessor, the AS4332UT, which is still one of the best LCDs ever manufactured. It's important to note that Iiyama has produced two different versions of its AS4314UT. The first, launched in the fall, uses a Hyundai screen of a previous generation, and is rather disappointing. But in early December, the new AS4314UT, the one on test here, made its appearance. It uses a screen of more recent manufacture whose performance is much better. There are some significant changes. The newer model, the AS4314UT, has the fastest response time in the world - 20 milliseconds! This AS4314UT also has better contrast, 500: 1, as against 300: 1 in the earlier version. Unfortunately, we are not aware of any way of distinguishing between the two series by their outer appearance.

Color tests based on patterns revealed that if the default brightness is increased slightly (from 46 to 50), the screen acquires a color palette that is much better than average, although it still suffers from dominance in the blue range. We were not able to reduce this tendency by using the OSD menu or by manual adjustments of the colorimetry. This defect is quite common in LCDs, and that is why they have attained the reputation of not being fit to grace the graphic designer's desktop. For this purpose, cathode ray monitors remain the most satisfactory screens. With its 256 shades of gray displayed and counted, the AS4332UT is never theless the first screen to get the highest grade, 5/5, for the number of colors it can display.

ColorDarkest shade displayedLightest shade displayed

Note in passing that the Iiyama has limited the prerecorded colors to 6500 K and 7800K, the latter having a slight advantage as being better balanced and more neutral.

In game-playing, there is very little trailing, and even though the brightness indicated in the spec is quite low (230 cd/sq.m.), it is perfectly adequate. The darkest areas in Unreal Tournament 2003 are clearly visible and very detailed, even if they are bluish instead of being somewhat gray. Fortunately, unless you compare two screens side by side, this is not a problem. But to get back to the main point: there is very little trailing! Fast-action games such as Quake and Unreal can be played without a problem, you can run all over the place and shoot anything that moves. The AS4314UT is a pleasure to use for game-playing, as long as you don't attach too much importance to the color rendering, which is slightly weird due to the predominance of blue. So be prepared for a few surprises and a certain amount of adaptation, if you have just left the world of cathode ray tubes.

Note: The way to distinguish the newer version of the monitor from the previous one is to look carefully at the labeling. The older one is called "AS4314UT", while the new one is called "AS4314UTG" - the difference is only in the "G"! However, to make things a bit more complicated, this extra "G" usually only shows up on the cardboard box containing the monitor. Reseller Web sites and retail stores generally continue to refer to the new monitor by its old name. In order to make sure what you're getting, it's best to check the packaging yourself. And when in doubt, check the monitor specifications.