It looks a bit like an Etch-a-Sketch, but Nokia's new 18-inch 800Pro+ goes far beyond child's play. Aimed at bankers, traders and deep-pocketed CEOs, the 800Pro+ costs US$2,999. Though high by most standards, that's one of the lowest prices we've seen for an LCD this size -- about $500 below comparable competitors. And this shipping unit's picture quality is terrific.
Capable of both analog and digital display, the 800Pro+ is among the first LCDs to support a bewildering array of would-be standards vying for your computer's monitor connector. These include the older Plug & Display and Digital Flat Panel, and the newly arrived though incomplete Digital Video Interface, which supporters claim provides a sharper image. To use the 800Pro+ as a digital LCD, you need a PC graphics board that supports a digital interface; such boards cost about $150.
In analog mode, the 800Pro+ displayed text and graphics quite well at its default 1280 by 1024 resolution. On everyday business applications such as e-mail, Web surfing, spreadsheets, and word documents, the 800Pro+ rendered text sharply and crisply -- even at font sizes below 10-point. Colors looked rich with deep, saturated hues. You can easily lower the panel's resolution, and the image quality remains good.
The 800Pro+ has integrated speakers, and a built-in USB hub with two upstream and three downstream ports, enabling you to connect USB devices such as a digital camera, a scanner and a printer. There's also a loop in the back for a cable to secure the panel and prevent theft.
You may miss features, such as a pivot mode for rotating the unit 90 degrees -- handy for viewing legal documents and Web pages. Even so, you get one great-looking LCD for a good price.
PRO: Good price for an 18-inch LCD, deep colors, sharp resolution.
CON: No pivot feature, still too pricey for most buyers.
VALUE: Good large panel with lots of USB ports.
Street price: $2,999
Nokia Display Products
PRODUCT INFO NO. 711