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erik
Posts: 5,013
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: United States
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lenovo thinkvision L220x review (pics)

[ Edited ]

lenovo thinkvision L220x review

12/11/2007


i have had an L220x for about two weeks and decided to write up a review of my experiences thus far.   as a professional graphic designer and semi-professional photographer, my intent is to cover every aspect of this display while concentrating on the details most pertinent to those working in color-critical environments.


specs in brief
- 22” (559 mm) S-PVA display panel
- WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution
- 325 cd/m^2 brightness
- 1200:1 contrast ratio
- 92% color gamut
- +/- 89° horizontal and vertical viewing
- 6 ms response time
- DVI-D and VGA inputs
- portrait/landscape pivot function
- $499.99 MSRP


design
upon unpacking the L220x, i immediately noticed its miniscule size compared to the 24”, 27”, and 30” displays i have used.   the thin bezel surrounding the display helps keep the size in-check at only 17mm (0.67in) on the top, left, and right sides and 31mm (1.22in) on the bottom.

design cues are clearly reminiscent of the thinkpad and thinkcentre platforms using 45° angles and circles in its architecture.   it looks right at home alongside my T61p and X61.

the external controls are labeled with subtle red, green, blue, and gray text labels.   their colors can be difficult to see in low light but also do not overpower the image itself – a point which i find more important.   along the same lines, the status LED is bright enough to do its job yet dim enough not to be noticeable.


controls and user interface
on-screen display controls are intuitive.   i still have yet to open the owner’s manual.  there are only five buttons on the front of the L220x in the lower-right-hand corner.   admittedly, i started pushing them to figure out what each one did.

inputs can be switched between DVI and VGA on-the-fly with the push of an external button.   this allows the simultaneous use of two systems (in my case a T61p via DVI and and X61 via VGA) without the use of a separate KVM switch.


viewing angles and brightness
viewing angles are excellent.   i have yet to show a client a design or batch of photos and be asked to turn the display because they cannot see.   this is one of the biggest reasons to purchase a wide-viewing-angle panel using IPS/FFS or S-PVA technology.  with that said, having used various displays utilizing all three technologies, i cannot tell that this isn’t an IPS panel.

having used the L220x under ambient sunlight, fluorescent, and tungsten lighting, i am thoroughly impressed with this display’s backlight.   325 cd/m^2 has been enough to keep the display viewable in all conditions i have thrown at it.   in most cases it has been too bright.   on average i will use it at 75% brightness during the day and 25% brightness at night, depending on the amount of ambient light.   never once have i wished it could go brighter.   since CCFL backlights lose power over time, i am confident that this display will last for years due to its current power output.


color, contrast, and color accuracy
right out of the box i thought that colors were a bit over-saturated.   this is a common complaint with displays capable of showing 92% color gamut.   since about 90% of my work is in the sRGB color space, i set the display up around the sRGB color space.   this can be done using the on-screen menu under Image Properties > Color > Preset Mode > sRGB.   while some colors still appear overblown, sRGB helps minimize the effect.   conversely, this does not effect the ability to display AdobeRGB or ProPhoto color spaces.

contrast on this panel is the difference between black and white – literally.   at a 1200:1 ratio, it rivals some of the best plasma and LCD television displays.   Pure black is so dark that it almost looks like the panel is turned off in that area.   pure white is both bright and clear.   light leakage of the CCFL backlight is almost non-existent.   this helps keep the display accurate both during work and when watching video or other content with a black or darkened background.

once set up properly, color accuracy is nearly dead-on.   i have a top-of-the-line pantone colorimeter and used it to create a calibrated ICC profile.   to my surprise, it matched lenovo’s included ICC profile nearly perfectly.   however, this display must be set up properly to keep colors accurate.   out of the box, colors at their maximum values (ie; red at 255-0-0 RGB) will appear much too bright and over-saturated.  it took me a few days to get this toned down with proper calibration.   this is one of the negative sides of a 92% color gamut-capable panel since it shows more color bandwidth than the average display.   i could easily see the average user becoming frustrated with colors from a 92% display without a background in color management.   even with proper calibration, some colors still seem overblown.


temperature
at 50% brightness, the display panel itself has a maximum temperature of 105°F (40.5°C).   the upper-most vent on the reverse of the display has a maximum temperature of 120°F (49°C).   these are low enough that they would not adversely affect a small room’s overall temperatures.   the fan on a hard-working thinkpad would likely top these numbers anyway.


DVI vs. VGA
i compared DVI output from the T61p via advanced mini dock against VGA output from the X61’s onboard DB15 port.   while DVI output is better than VGA, the difference is marginal.   if a user did not have a way to readily compare the two side-by-side, i would be very surprised if he or she could notice a difference.


conclusion
if you are looking for a compact, high-resolution display for color-critical applications then the lenovo thinkvision L220x is definitely one to consider.   keep in mind that colors will seem over-saturated without proper setup and some colors still seem over-saturated even with proper setup.


as i continue to use this display, i will expand on the above in further detail and include more pros and cons as i discover them.

Message Edited by erik on 12-14-2007 11:07 AM

 

Note from Moderator:  Add pic warning to subject line.



Message Edited by nonny on 12-14-2007 08:18 PM

this is the least untruthful answer i can give.Microsoft MVP

JaneL
Posts: 3,862
Registered: ‎11-20-2007
Location: Greenville, SC USA
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Re: ThinkVision L220x Review

Great write-up, erik - thanks!

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Jane

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erik
Posts: 5,013
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: United States
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Re: ThinkVision L220x Review

thanks, nonny!   it needs some work but should be a good start for now.   the next step will be to add some photos and polish the text.

this is the least untruthful answer i can give.Microsoft MVP

Fanfold Paper
recoiledsnake
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎12-13-2007
Location: USA
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Re: ThinkVision L220x Review

Thanks for the review. It's probably the first one on the internet. I have been searching one for long. I'm planning to use this for gaming. Any idea on how bad the input lag is? In case you don't know about input lag you can read about it here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1056882 and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Input_lag It's hard to buy a monitor without looking at it(no retail store seems to be carrying it) and without any reviews. Most shops online seem to have draconian return policies(including Lenovo.com).
erik
Posts: 5,013
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: United States
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Re: ThinkVision L220x Review

i'm not a gamer and have never stressed this display enough to notice input lag if it does exist.   but, i can test for it and report back.   response time, at least, seems as fast as any other external flat panel i've used.

this is the least untruthful answer i can give.Microsoft MVP

Serial Port
Etheidon
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-11-2007
Location: Oregon
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Re: ThinkVision L220x Review

Any pics?  I ordered this monitor and i can't wait to turn it on when it arrives.

Jeff
erik
Posts: 5,013
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: United States
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Re: ThinkVision L220x Review

i haven't taken any of my own images yet but here are a few from the lenovoblogs L220x article:


the icons above the row of 5 buttons are actually colored and not blue as shown in this picture.

 

this is the least untruthful answer i can give.Microsoft MVP

Paper Tape
Eagle784
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
Location: USA
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Re: lenovo thinkvision L220x review (pics)

I'm concerned about the lack of 1:1 pixel mapping, can you comment on it's internal scalers?
erik
Posts: 5,013
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: United States
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Re: lenovo thinkvision L220x review

i just tested various resolutions and they're all blurry.   if you intend to use this panel at any resolution other than the native WUXGA then you won't be happy.

this is the least untruthful answer i can give.Microsoft MVP

Paper Tape
Eagle784
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎12-16-2007
Location: USA
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Re: lenovo thinkvision L220x review

Thanks for the response - no, I plan to use it at its native resolution.  However, I'm interested in how it deals with 1080p video.  Reviews of other 1920x1200 monitors that do not support 1:1 pixel mapping report losing up to 5% of the video due to poor internal scaling.  Another problem is increased blurriness e.g. http://pixelmapping.wikispaces.com/Pixel+mapping+explained

Thanks.