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Thin, Great Resolution and Nice Price, Envisions EN-7100e, May 21,2002

When LCDs first made their splash a few years ago, analysts predicted wide adoption after prices edged near those of CRTs. Back then, prices for LCDs were triple or quadruple those for CRTs with comparable screen real estate. This past year, LCD prices have dropped dramatically, making them more affordable. Now, Envision ups the price ante with a solid 17-inch LCD that sells for $549. This price matches that of a 19-inch CRT (a 19-inch CRT has screen real estate similar to that of a 17-inch LCD) about a year ago. It's also one of the lowest prices we've seen for an LCD of this screen size.

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spacer Envision is known for its rock-bottom LCD pricing. The company manufactures its own panels, thereby eliminating some of the middleman costs. But keep in mind that while the EN-7100e won't empty your wallet, it also won't offer such features as USB ports, built-in speakers (which typically are not very good anyway), a pivot feature, or an interface that can accept "pure" digital signals from your video card. Still, if price is a top priority and all you need is a basic LCD with better-than-average image quality, the EN-7100e fits the bill. In terms of price and features, there aren't many competitors at this price point, though other LCDs -- such as the Philips 107B, which for $799 features DVI-I compatibility and delivers crisper images -- offer more. Samsung also sells a relatively inexpensive LCD that delivers good image quality.

Design-wise, the EN-7100e's panel is housed in a metallic gray bezel, and weighs a little over 12 pounds; it's easy to pick up and move around on your desktop. The controls won't win any contests for usability: They're mounted on the panel's top right side, making them both hard to see and access for fine-tuning individual adjustments. You're not likely to use them often, though, as an auto-correct control will do away with the need to make many manual adjustments. When we purposely distorted the image, the EN-7100e automatically restored our whacked-out image to its bright previous state. Still, it would have been better to mount the power button on the panel's front bezel.

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