Hold the front page: there's a new king of high contrast and it's called the Flatron L1960TR, also known as the Black Jewel. Whereas the average PC screen can produce a contrast ratio of approximately 700:1, this £250 beast allegedly separates darks and whites by as much as 3,000:1 -- potentially making it one of the best displays for movie fans.
LG's design department deserves a pat on the back. It's not always got things right, but the Fantasy series, and now the Flatron L1960TR, show it's really got its act together.
The touch-sensitive power button and accompanying v-shaped LED are particularly drool-worthy, as is the arrow-shaped lower bezel and circular base section, both of which have a glossy piano-black coating. The bezel and rear of the monitor don't have a glossy coating, but this is probably a good thing as there's no chance of depositing unsightly fingerprints every time you touch it.
Round the back there's a removable panel that keeps the power and video cables out of sight. There are cable hoops for securing the D-Sub and analogue ports, although you won't need them as the panel itself keeps the cables from getting unruly.
Picture quality on the L1960TR is mostly very good. We threw a few movies at it and were astonished by how black the black levels were, and how bright light tones were. This is, hands down, the widest contrast we've seen on an LCD monitor. Colour reproduction was also very good. Best results were achieved when viewing dark scenes but we fed it some footage of Delia Smith chopping up multi-coloured foodstuff and could almost taste the melons.
The monitor uses a technology known as DFC, or digital fine contrast. This adjusts the contrast level automatically depending on the type of picture being shown. It's also possible to set contrast levels manually, or by using one of the pre-set video modes. The monitor lets you apply each new setting to half the screen, leaving the remaining half in the previous mode so you can see how the two compare.
The L1960TR has a claimed response time of 2ms, which puts it right up there with the best LCDs. Unsurprisingly it showed no tendency to blur when displaying fast-moving images. We tested it with games and videos of ice hockey matches and it coped admirably. If you can see blurring it's probably because you've had one too many shandies.