The Good: Space-saving, Works well, Easy to install, Nice size
The Bad: Well, it's not huge nor the absolute best for professionals
The Basics: Crisp, clear picture on a thin monitor, the Envision EN-7100si is a wonderful step up from the old, bulky units.
I need to preface this review by saying that my family is full of photographers. My wife, my father, my mentor are all huge photographers and my Dad even started his own photography business. In his pursuit of making his business great and functional, he recently purchased a huge supermonitor. His monitor is the type that has a screen that has amazing contrast, comes with its own color bar sheet to calibrate to and needs a professional to adjust every few years. It's the type that when he puts his photographs up on, they look like you're looking through a window into a room where that image actually is.
This monitor, the Envision EN-7100si, is not that monitor.
However, for those of us not needing the ridiculously high standard (and price) that a professional photographer would need, this is a fine monitor, arguably even perfect. In fact, it's easily the best monitor for a computer I have ever had. I probably would have been writing a far more impressive review of this had I not seen that other one. But the truth is, the Envision EN7100si is affordable, has excellent color contrast and wonderful resolution.
What is it? This is a 17 inch flat screen, thin screen monitor. That means that not only is the screen surface flat, so there is no distortion from a curve, it is also less than two inches thick, making for a wonderful space saver. Whereas the old style monitors used to take up a full third of my desk, with this thin monitor, it takes up less than a fifth of the space my old monitors uses to.
The nice thing is that in addition to saving desk space, this is one of the larger monitors I have ever had the pleasure of owning. When I bought my first computer, I had a 12 inch monitor and that was considered a good size at the time. The extra five inches (diagonal measurement) does a great deal. I spend a huge amount of time in front of my computer (I'm a novelist) and I can look at this screen for hours and hours on end without any significant eye strain. The bigger monitor helps alleviate eye strain by forcing the eyes to move around more. It's also great for playing the computer pinball that is standard on Windows 2000. I run it at 1024 X 768 pixels because that was the factory default setting and everything looked great as it was.
I recently chanced the settings from 16-bit color to 32-bit color and I was wowed. At 16-bit color, the monitor had realistic depth of color and contrast between the various shades of any color (so a blue and a lighter blue were distinctly different, even when next to each other). But when I turned it to 32-bit color, this baby really exploded with real life color such that even the most subtle hues of the same color may sit side by side and look intensely different. I haven't seen such quality since, well, since looking at my dad's monitor. The truth is, at some point, a monitor is just a monitor and the average user will not notice the difference. This is a nice enough piece of equipment that when you change the settings on it, you can see quite clearly what the effects are and how good an image can be on a computer.
Moreover, the controls on the actual monitor are very easy to use. The adjustments for colors, contrast, everything are very easy to access using a "Menu" button at the bottom of the monitor. The very brief manual is more than for even the most computer illiterate person to need to connect this to the computer. As well, the driver software that comes with the monitor makes it almost idiot proof to install to the computer. Believe me; I'm horrible with computers and whenever I have to reload everything onto my computer, the monitor is one of the few pieces of hardware I never have difficulty with integrating.
Finally, the base that the screen is connected to is very nice. It creates a small pedestal for the screen which does a good job of keeping the cords from the monitor out of the way. As well, it is very easy to adjust the tilt of the monitor, making this a great accessory to clean around and move to multiple user's comfort preferences.
And, hey, this thing looks good. It has a gray finish to the border that frames the screen well. It's not terribly expensive and it is often on sale and in the two years since my last monitor burned out, this has served me without a single problem. Ideal for anyone who needs a monitor and especially thrilling for those of us who have been going through the generations of computers and their accessories; it's a nice step up to have the flat screen, larger screen, and the convenience of the thin monitor.
I have had my Envision EN-7100si now for over six years and I have had no problems with it, which reassures me that this is a durable monitor. Moreover, recently, I have begun watching DVDs on my computer and the Envision EN-7100si handles them perfectly. There is no pixelation and the only serious issue is that it is significantly smaller than my HD-TV! But for general audiences, this is a perfect monitor and I am fairly confident that should this one ever go, I will be looking for another of the same before any other type.
For other computer equipment, please check out my reviews of:
HP LaserJet 1200 printer
Microsoft D66 optical mouse
Apple iPad 64 GB
For other computer products, please check out my index page!
© 2010, 2004 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.