capsule review

Sharp LL-T1820B

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder 18IN LCD COLOR MONITOR BLACK SXGA DUAL DVI-I 10-BIT GAMMA CORR (SHARP ELECTRONICS MONITORS-LLT1820B)

Sharp LL-T1820B
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard
The LL-T1820B displayed deep, striking colors in our photographic screen tests. Strawberries in our test photo appeared as they should, deep red and without any hint of the slight orange tone we've seen on many competing LCDs. Blueberries had rich blues, with fine shadings. The Sharp's color fidelity may be due to its ability to interpret and display all the colors that a PC sends to it (and even more colors beyond that). The LL-T1820B uses an internal 10-bit color-lookup table that can define over 1 billion possible hues. PCs use 8-bit color, producing up to 16.7 million hues. Sharp claims that the monitor, using the 10-bit lookup table, can fill in shading information to provide better detail in very bright or very dark images, as well as to produce smoother color gradients to combat a splotchy or "posterized" look.

The LL-T1820B offers full and smooth adjustment options--including pivoting from landscape to portrait mode--and very smooth swivel and height adjustment. It also includes a two-port USB 1.1 hub, located behind the lower portion of the screen.

We noticed a grayish tint to the white background of Word documents and Excel sheets that made text slightly harder to distinguish than on competing models. By contrast, we found far better text quality and nearly equivalent graphics quality on this monitor's 19-inch sibling, the Sharp LL-T19D1. And while the 18-inch LL-T1820B sold for $1099 at the time of our review, the LL-T19D1 sold for just $705. We also saw good text quality, and even better color, on Eizo Nanao's 18-inch ColorEdge CG18 monitor, which we reviewed alongside the LL-T1820B for our December 2003 issue. The Eizo is considerably more expensive, however, running $1640 at the time of our review.

To make sure that the grayish tint was not an anomaly on our particular review unit, we asked Sharp to send us a second monitor for comparison. However, it was identical in all quality characteristics, including the presence of a single defective pixel. While pixel defects were common in years past, nowadays we often see error-free panels, and we were disappointed to find detectable defects on two units of a monitor costing nearly $1100. (Sharp representatives say the company will replace a monitor that has at least five defective pixels.)

The LL-T1820B comes with a 30-page printed manual that provides thorough specs and detailed setup and adjustment information. Unlike monitors from most other vendors, however, the LL-T1820B doesn't have online documentation. Most disc-based manuals are more detailed than the LL-T1820B's printed manual, for instance offering extra features such as troubleshooting information. The bundled CD includes Pivot Pro software for reorienting the screen when it switches between landscape and portrait positions, and a basic utility for adjusting the screen to optimize its performance in analog mode.

If your only concern is great-looking graphics, and you are somewhat limited in terms of price, the Sharp LL-T1820B is worth considering. If your budget is even tighter, go for the Sharp T19D1. And if money is no obstacle, the Eizo ColorEdge CG18 is a better choice.

Séan Captain

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder 18IN LCD COLOR MONITOR BLACK SXGA DUAL DVI-I 10-BIT GAMMA CORR (SHARP ELECTRONICS MONITORS-LLT1820B)

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