When it comes to LCD monitors, to be honest there isn’t a great deal to differentiate between the various models once you get past the screen size and price tag. Unless you are LG, that is, who have taken the rather bold decision to stand out from the crowd.
Based upon the same design concept as has proven so successful with the Chocolate range of mobile phones, the Fantasy Series comprises three similar but different designs: Jar, Eclipse and Ring.
Apparently, the names refer to the shape of the stands but that didn’t stop us sniggering away like naughty schoolboys every time the PR girl asked if we wanted to inspect the Ring.
Thankfully, despite our childish behaviour, LG still let us take a sneaky peak at all three models, and we are very glad they did because the only word to describe these monitors is stunning.
Actually, not quite true, as expensive can be used as well, considering that standard 19” monitors can be found for half the price of a Fantasy LG.
There are some slight variations in size and weight between the three models, but the first to hit the shops is the Ring, and this is also the largest and heaviest at 417 x 432 x 114mm and 6.3kg respectively.
The idea behind these screens is simple: as computers are increasingly moving out of the bedroom or office and into the main living space, so they should be designed to blend in with modern decor, becoming a focal point for all the right reasons rather than a blemish.
Certainly the "noble black" gloss finish alone is a step in the right direction, but LG are not alone in providing that. What really makes these monitors stand out is, err, the stand funnily enough.
Each has a distinctively crafted shape, the Eclipse looks like an eclipse of the moon (or a slice of melon), the Jar looks totally unlike any jar we have ever seen (a small tent perhaps?), while the Ring looks more like a doughnut although we can understand how that name might not have conjured up quite the same brand image as Ring (uh oh, the playground giggles are returning).
If the stands were just a lump of shaped black plastic, there would still be little to write home about, but they are not. They are lumps of black plastic that have totally unnecessary soft red glowing illumination built in. Unnecessary yes, but very cool none the less.
The red glow can be toggled off just by touching your Ring (guffaw) which is handy if you want to watch a bit of telly and find it more distracting than usual if your other half is immersed in their Second Life experience at the time.
This touch-sensitive trigger is echoed in the monitor power switch itself, and LG have really paid attention to the detail here. Which is why these monitors are not only good looking, but they look good in use as well.
A contrast ratio of 2000:1 means that you get a truly crisp image against dark backgrounds which not all displays can achieve, and the response time of just 4ms means you can enjoy that crispness while playing games or watching the football.
Although the maximum resolution is just 1280 x 1024, which is not exactly high end for a costly 19” screen, the brightness of 300cd/m2 and viewing angle of 170º (horizontal and vertical) lift this above the norm: we found the quality of the display itself to be simply stunning.
Don’t expect a whole host of connectivity options though, you get DVI-I and that’s pretty much it. Apart from a hole in your wallet where your money once was, but then again, works of art never do come cheap...
Stunning design, stunning display, stunningly expensive