LG's 23-inch W2363V offers some truly unique features. Aimed squarely at gamers, this monitor has a 2ms response time and an incredibly high, 70,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. It also has a 1080p resolution, multiple inputs and built-in lighting effects that react to music. The W2363V is available for about £190.
All that flickers is not gold
Unusually for a PC display, the W2363V is finished in a high-gloss white with a black trim and what appears to be (but isn't) a black speaker bar below. Turning the monitor on or off causes the black bar to display an attention-grabbing sweep of tiny white illuminated dots, accompanied by a few cheery bleeps. This will happen every time the display enters or leaves standby mode.
The fun doesn't really start until you hook up an audio input to the monitor. The display's 'TruLight' feature will then kick in, reacting to sound with a built-in light show. The idea is that these flickering lights will enhance your enjoyment of games, movies and music, each of which has a relevant TruLight mode, selectable via a dedicated switch. We couldn't really tell much of a difference between the three settings, though, and found them all equally annoying. This feature does add a touch of individuality to the display and gamers might like to show it off, but it's of little practical use.
We turned off the auto brightness feature and measured the display's output using a Spyder3Elite calibrator. With this tool, it's possible to measure the darkness of the darkest blacks, and the brightness of the brightest whites. You can also measure how accurately the monitor displays the range of colours in between, and just how wide this range of colours is.
The first thing we noticed is that the W2363V's contrast performance is astonishingly good. We measured a contrast ratio of up to 977:1. While this is a very long way from the claimed figure of 70,000:1, we weren't allowing for any dynamic-contrast features to come into play. What these numbers mean to the user is that games look incredibly intense and dynamic, and images have an almost 3D-like depth. The latter effect isn't the same as you'll get with a proper 3D-capable monitor, but you won't have to wear any funny glasses to enjoy it.
When you're not gaming, the W2363V is still comfortable to work with, but the high-contrast, gamer-friendly settings aren't well-suited to tasks in which accuracy is required, such as editing photos. We managed to pull the colour response back to normality by using our hardware calibrator, but, if you don't have one of these, you may find that images don't look quite the same on your display as they do on everyone else's.
You can change quickly between the gaming, movie and text modes via the graphical on-screen menu, which is clear and easy to use, unlike many tiny, text-based ones we've seen. The results are never quite as accurate as those of a standard monitor, such as LG's own W2353V, though.
The W2363V's connectivity is excellent. If you have a PC, an Xbox, a Blu-ray player, a PlayStation 3, a laptop and, er, something else, you could hook them all up at the same time and use the picture-in-picture function to keep an eye on two simultaneously. To list the connections in full, the W2363V has DVI, VGA, component video and not one but two HDMI ports.
The stand is a simple tilting device with no ergonomic-adjustment capability, and there are no built-in USB ports. Perhaps most surprisingly for a monitor that's aimed at gamers and supports sound-to-light and 3D surround-sound features, there are no built-in speakers, and there's no audio output save for the headphone socket.
LG designed the W2363V as a gaming monitor, and the company's done a very good job. It makes gameplay very engaging, and the ultra-high contrast adds depth and excitement. Multiple inputs make it great for sharing your PC with other devices, but the lack of built-in speakers is disappointing.
Edited by Charles Kloet