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AOC LM729 17-inch TFT LCD
By Vijay Anand
Category : Monitor
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 13th February, 2004
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

The Features

With a 17” viewable area, the AOC LM729’s native and maximum resolution is 1280x1024 @ 60Hz (maximum is 75Hz, but 60Hz is recommended on AOC’s website). The monitor’s 450:1 contrast ratio wasn’t as high as its 19” brother we reviewed earlier (600:1), but it was still adequate for most uses and is the normal spec for many LCDs. More details of the performance will be made known on the following pages, but on this page, we’ll focus more on the build and other features of the monitor.

A carry handle is integrated at the top to facilitate easy carrying of the unit.

When the monitor was first unpacked from the packaging, its base is detached to fit in the slim box and requires manual assembly. Nothing to worry as installing the main panel to the base is a cinch. Unlike the all-plastic base on the AOC LM914 display (as well as its overall plastic feel), the LM729 has a large, sturdy and heavy metal base (with plastic finish). This wasn’t without a cause because the main neck of the display houses a heavy pneumatic-like piston for smooth and easy height adjustment. We have handled a host of other LCD monitors while reviewing monitors in HWM, but few if any allowed such smooth adjustment of height. Only a rare few such as Viewsonic’s 19”/21” and Sony’s professional series integrate a pneumatic piston in their neck like that of the AOC LM729. When the neck is fully extended, it raises the monitor by 110mm higher. Check out what else the monitor is capable in the following pictures.

Additionally, the neck of the monitor is swivel capable up to 70 degrees (35 degrees either to the left or right from center position).

Tilting options are at 20 degrees up and 5 degrees down.

With all these options, one should have no problems obtaining an ideal view. However, the screen’s viewing angle is relatively limited to 140 degrees horizontally and vertically when contrasting to the bigger AOC LM914’s 170 degrees. In real usage of the LM729, we found the sweet spot for viewing the screen is dead center whereas the LM914 was more forgiving and offered a rather clear view of the screen even when not seated directly in front. This is just what we observed, but the LM729’s other capabilities and adjustments mentioned above give it enough flexibility that its narrow field of view can be easily overlooked.

Another strong argument going for the AOC LM729 is its pivoting capability. Surprisingly, this ‘entry-level’ 17” LCD monitor has a 90 degrees pivot capability to change the screen orientation from Landscape to Portrait mode. If you were hoping that the display would automatically change orientation after swiveling the screen physically, that won’t happen anytime soon yet. Pivoting of the display is done via Portrait Display’s Pivot Pro software included in the package. Alternatively, NVIDIA graphics card users can also control this option via the drivers (only fairly current versions have this feature). Either method, after assigning the angle to pivot the display, you will have to physically rotate the LCD panel as well. Portrait displays are most useful when working with documents, reading long pages of text and even in areas of DTP and design work related to the DTP business.

‘Business’ class stereo speakers are integrated to the AOC LM729 and they are located at the bottom of the display panel, as shown below.

The speaker bezel lined below the LCD display.

Withdrawing the bezel, we see the tiny 2W speaker. Another one is located on the opposite end of the display.

On the right flank of the LCD panel are four control keys: Auto Adjust, Left Key, Right Key, Menu Key, On/Off Key. Note that while not within the OSD mode, the Left and Right Keys double up as volume controls. Within the OSD, the following options are available for fine-tuning:

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Focus
  • Clock
  • H/V Position
  • Color Temp (Warm, Cool & User) Auto-Config
  • OSD H/V, OSD Timeout and OSD Language
  • Input Signal Information
  • Reset

    It takes a little while to get used to navigating the menu because of the orientation of the keys and it is probably why we had preferred the Brightness and Contrast functions to be accessible individually without traversing though the menu. The keys themselves had a nice tactile feel when depressed, but unfortunately, the display tends to pivot if you use a single hand to perform adjustments to the OSD. Apart from that small nuance, we had no other unfavorable remarks. In fact, the OSD had a new refreshing feel to it unlike the older LM720 and LM914 models. While the AOC LM729 was still on the drawing boards, we think AOC decided to update the monitor’s design and the firmware within to give it an all-new outlook. If that was what they wished to achieve, we think their efforts has paid off.

    The controls for the monitor are placed on the right side of its bezel.

    At the bottom of the LCD display are inputs for DB-15 VGA, DVI-D…

    … and audio-in, main-power input.

    A side profile view of the monitor.
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