LaCie 324 LCD Monitor (First Look Review)31 May, 2008 By: Ron LaFon
High-quality, moderately priced display also provides precise color calibration.
LaCie is noted for its high-quality displays, and the recently introduced LaCie 324 LCD monitor is no exception. A 24", wide-gamut, 16:10 LCD monitor based on a S-PVA panel, the LaCie 324 features an embedded 10-bit gamma correction mechanism that minimizes banding and ensures that color gradients are rendered smoothly.
The LaCie 324 has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, but it can display both 1,024 x 768 and 1,280 x 1,024 resolutions without distortion. The LaCie 324 has a vendor-rated brightness of 400 cd/m2 and a typical contrast rating of 1000:1. Pixel pitch is .270 mm, and the rated viewing angle is 178° both horizontally and vertically. The monitor has a built-in, three-port USB 2.0 hub (one upstream and three downstream), and although it doesn't have integrated speakers, it does include a speaker/headphone port. The display offers a speedy 6 ms gray-to-gray response time and uses a maximum of 140 W of power.
The stand for the LaCie 324 is very stable and well engineered, allowing for tilt and swivel, though no pivot — the display is landscape (horizontal) only. The controls consist of seven touch-sensitive membrane buttons at the bottom right of the bezel for menu, down, up, left, right, input, and power, with an associated LED indicator. Although not always easy to see, the control buttons are responsive. The on-screen menu (OSM) is excellent, easy to understand and navigate. You'll find controls for gamma settings, picture-in-picture (PIP), and aspect ratio, among the extensive display controls offered. Color calibration is handled by the available Blue Eye Pro colorimeter hardware.
The LaCie 324 is a 24", wide-gamut, 16:10 LCD monitor that targets the needs of creative professionals.
I tested the LaCie 324 using an Xi MTower 2P64X dual quad-core workstation that Cadalyst is reviewing for an upcoming Cadalyst Labs review. The system was based on Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 and all available updates installed. The graphics card in the system was the speedy NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 with 512 MB of integrated memory on board. NVIDIA drivers v.126.96.36.19939, dated February 1, 2008, were used for all tests.
For specific tests, I used DisplayMate Multimedia edition on USB (www.displaymate.com), which offers a broad range of display tests, including some that are specific to LCD panels. I tested the LaCie 324 for brightness, contrast, focus, convergence, color purity, geometric distortion, and raster rotation, and it scored A grades on all of the tests. The yellows were clean and pure but a bit weak in intensity, though not significantly enough to warrant a deduction. The grays were neutral, and both color and grayscale ramps were relatively smooth. I saw no ghosting or flicker during any of the tests. The LaCie 324 can display two A-size pages side by side with room left over for palettes and such, and 9-pixel (6.8 point) type was easy to read in this configuration.
Pricing for the LaCie 324 starts at $999 for the display only. You also can purchase the LaCie 324 bundled with a viewing hood, calibration software, and the Blue Eye Pro colorimeter. LaCie covers the monitor with a three-year limited warranty with advance replacement.
The LaCie 324 is a high-quality, moderately priced display that has much to offer in professional environments, and for users whose needs extend to precise color calibration, the availability of both hardware and software calibration options is a bonus.