Looks Good for the Money: The Cornerstone p2460 19" Flat Screen CRT Display

Installation, Continued

Once installed, the bundled software utilities reside on the system tray, although they can be "floating" or "docked" if desired. The utilities include the following: Quick Display Resolution, which lets you change resolution and color depth settings from a long pop-up menu; ScreenPro 3.0, which allows you to arrange applications in templates; BestView, which automatically resizes fonts and icons for higher resolutions; and a color correction utility that allows you to specify custom color control settings for different applications. There were other selections on the BigMonitor pop-up menu such as "Scale-to-Gray" (marked Brightness and Contrast), which supposedly improves the appearance of black and white images. However, when we tried to launch this utility, we received an alert box stating that the Cornerstone Scale-to-Gray window could not be found and to check the manual on the disc. Unfortunately, there is no BigMonitor software manual on the disc, and the onscreen help included with the utilities is virtually useless. (The p2460 PDF user manual makes no mention of this problem; in fact, it does not mention any utilities whatsoever.) Two other utilities, the Pan Control and Control Panel Display, didn't appear to do anything and weren't explained anywhere. All in all, when the utilities functioned, they were of limited use and the lack of any useful documentation was frustrating.

Having the 16 page manual on disc in PDF format was also a bit annoying for a few reasons. For one thing, you won't see the warnings about not connecting the monitor if the PC is still on until after you have started the monitor (unless you check the disc before you connect the new monitor). Another minor annoyance about the PDF was that one of the pages has colored highlights (which my color printer dutifully printed). Now that's not really a big deal, but with color cartridges going for $40 a pop, I don't want to print color pages unless I have to (printing the words "Contents" or "Getting Started" in colored boxes isn't a necessity for me). While the 16 page manual is fairly complete, it doesn't go into much detail about what the various OSD (On-screen Display) functions actually do or when you might want to use them.

We tested the p2460 on two different systems. The main test platform was a Pentium 4, 1.8 GHz system with a 64 MB ATI RADEON 8500 graphics board with a 350 MHz internal DAC. Our second system was an old Pentium II, 333 MHz box with an old 16 MB 3dfx Voodoo3 board. In both cases we used DisplayMate for Windows Multimedia Edition v.2.0 from DisplayMate Technologies Corporation (www.displaymate.com ) to calibrate and test the monitor.

The first thing we noticed when setting up the monitor was its depth. Now, we do expect CRTs to have a certain amount of depth to them; however, the 477mm front-to-back dimension interferes with the vertical tilt of the pedestal. The maximum down-tilt is about -3 degrees, but because the back of the monitor will quickly reach the desktop, you can only tilt the monitor upward to about 12 degrees. This isn't enough if you will be placing the monitor flat on a desk or table at the same height of your keyboard. We had to place the monitor up on a stand in order to get close to a 90 degree view.

The second thing we noticed right off the bat was the fact that the monitor was going to need a fair amount of calibration before we could use it. Now, there are two schools of thought when it comes to calibrating monitors (particularly when evaluating them). One is to adjust and calibrate the monitor before you begin your evaluation; the other is to evaluate the monitor straight out of the box, the way that the manufacturer set it up at the factory. I have mixed feelings about both approaches. If a monitor needs a lot of adjusting straight out of the box, then I am generally skeptical about its overall performance and suitability. Unless someone has the proper calibration software and knows how to use it properly, I am reluctant to recommend a monitor that doesn't function perfectly right from the start to that person. On the other hand, once a monitor has been calibrated properly it could perform admirably, as I found with the p2460. For this review, I'll use a bit of each approach.