Lenovo L222wA LCD Review

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  • Pros

    • High resolution
    • Small footprint
    • Included speakers
  • Cons

    • Mediocre viewing angles
    • Few stand options

Lenovo has been known for their great service and products with outstanding build quality.  Lately, they’ve been churning out display after display in catching up to some of the bigger brands, but most of these monitors have been geared toward the same business market to which their ThinkStations and Thinkpads ultimately end up.  Today we look at the Lenovo L222wA display, a monitor included with several of their desktop computers.  Read on for the full review.

Specifications

  • 22.0-inch viewable image size
  • Native resolution: 1920 x 1200
  • Brightness: 300cd/m2
  • 700:1 contrast ratio
  • TN Panel
  • 170 Degree Horizontal Viewing, 160 Degree Vertical Viewing
  • Supports High Definition Content Protection (HDCP)
  • VGA and DVI out ports
  • Kensington lock slot
  • Meets 100 mm VESA standard for mounting
  • Detachable base for wall or arm mounting (other mounts sold separately)
  • Includes sound bar with built-in stereo speakers
  • Available in glossy black with silver and glossy black stand
  • MSRP: Included with the IdeaCentre K220 desktop
  • 3-Year limited warranty

Build and Design
We’ve talked several times over the past year about the build quality inherent to Lenovo’s business-oriented product lines. Sturdy devices, where style is important, but function certainly reigns over form. While we’ve finally seen Lenovo reach out with some consumer devices (such as the IdeaCentre K200 with which this panel came) past China’s borders, this is the first such display we’ve gotten in. The differences in design between the two product lines are definitely striking. The L222wA leaves behind the chunky, oversized stand and monitor framing for a sleek black support and thin, glossy frame and bezel. The design feels more refined, but at the same time it’s much more basic; this time around, all you can do is tilt it forward and back. There’s no going up and down, no swivel. At least the tilting function is deep enough to use the monitor when standing up, and comes forward enough to place it a little above the working surface.

Lenovo L222wALenovo  L222wA

On the rear of the monitor are the video inputs: one VGA and one DVI-I. No HDMI, but
that’s a problem easily solved with a simple DVI-HDMI adapter. The only other ports back here are the power jacks; one fits the regular monitor cord while one is actually an output to power the speaker bar. That’s a really handy feature to have; the fewer cords strewn across your desk, the better. The sound quality from the included soundbar isn’t amazing, but it’s better than other monitors’ built-in speaker solutions by a fair margin, with an individual volume dial on the speakerbar itself. The bar hooks into notches on the rear bottom of the display with little plastic hooks and fits securely into the slots. A cord from the speakerbar plugs into the little DC-out jack on the bottom of the display. A Kensington lock slot also sits in the rear left corner for users wanting a little extra security for the monitor.

Lenovo L222wALenovo L222wA

The stand, however, is a bit of a letdown. The mounting options are well designed; a small switch on the back of the monitor releases the lock for the stand which then lifts up from the display. It’s pretty hard to shift the stand release button, over, though. The stand itself looks like it should be adjustable, with a line down the middle where it appears as if it separates. The answer, however, is no. It’s not adjustable in any way, except for the aforementioned tilt functionality. It is sturdy, but after Lenovo’s other products, which offer stand raising and swiveling and all sorts of other functions, it’s a little disappointing.

Lenovo  L222wA

On-screen menus are controlled by capacitive touch sensing buttons on the lower-right hand side of the display’s front. Just brush a finger over the darkened area, and it lights up with glowing blue buttons that can then be manipulated by making contact with the lighted areas; there’s no need to actually press down.

Image Quality
Given that this monitor is sold as part of a bundle with Lenovo’s IdeaCentre desktops, you might expect that it doesn’t use a very high-end panel like VA or IPS, and you’d be right. TN panel types are given more of bad reputation than they really deserve, however, as they do offer a number of advantages over the “better” panels. The most obvious and relevant one is likely cost; TN-based monitors cost a great deal less than the other monitors. The color reproduction is not quite as good, but at the same time they offer enough for the vast majority of consumers; anyone who doesn’t do proofing for print or professional design will be fine. That’s really where this L222wA sits: the colors are vibrant but not amazing. The matte finish is another area where people tend to either love it or hate it: I prefer matte types because they overcome extraneous light, glare and reflections better than their glossy brethren.

Lenovo L222wA

The viewing angles are about typical for TN panels; horizontal viewing angles are okay, but not great. As a user views the display from an increasingly oblique angle, the image’s color shifts get progressively worse. Even at a far angle, however, the display is still easily readable. Far vertical angles, however, are another story. Strong angles from either the top or the bottom result in color shifts and inversions, making the display hard to decipher. Fortunately, however, this is where the stand comes into play; since the monitor can be tilted back and forth the viewing angles, while not great, are much less of a problem than they otherwise might be.

Lenovo L222wA
Lenovo L222wA

My favorite thing hands down about the display, however, is easily its resolution. The L222wA is a 22-inch monitor, yes, but it features a resolution of 1920×1200. This resolution is typically reserved for 24-inch monitors and above, and the high resolution on a 22-inch display makes the monitor feel might tighter than it would be if it were stuck with the traditional 1680×1050 standard. Text is razor sharp and images are crisp and clear. The higher resolution in a smaller space means users can fit more information on a smaller monitor. Users with poor eyesight may not be as pleased with the smaller images, but resolution scaling and DPI settings in Windows can alleviate a good bit of that.

The monitor also comes with several settings that change how the display shows information. The company added in several different functions, depending on what users are viewing. It can be changed to accentuate text, pictures or movies, for example, but the results are not exceptional. The movie function certainly does make things darker, for example, which is nice for black scenes, but overall it’s a bit of a pain to use, and most people are probably better off finding the settings they like, such as brightness, contrast, and color temperature, and leave the quick feature settings alone.

Power and Heat
The L222wA performed admirably in this arena. With the backlight at its dimmest setting, the monitor used an exceptional 16 watts of electricity, which is a few times less than what the last 22-inch 1920×1200 display we reviewed from Lenovo used. Turning the backlight all the way up to max increased the display’s electrical usage to around 36 watts of power. That’s still not too bad, and most people likely won’t run the display at its brightest settings most of the time, anyway. Since it doesn’t use that much power, it also doesn’t use that much heat. After running an extended period of time, the display only reached 87 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of the screen, and less than a hundred on its hottest part. It’ll heat up the room like any component, but it won’t do it as quickly as many other displays we’ve seen.

Conclusion
For a value add when buying another computer, the Lenovo L222wA is actually a very nice monitor. The panel is a TN variant, which means that users trade a little in the way of viewing angles and color fidelity for lower cost and speed. Viewing angles aren’t so hot, but when staring straight on users will have no problems whatsoever. The high resolution means that text is razor sharp and very legible, and you’ll be able to fit more information into a smaller space. Paired with the IdeaCentre desktop, Lenovo has a nice little bundle on their hands; it’s definitely a nice add-in than most of the ‘free’ displays we see.

Pros

  • High resolution
  • Small footprint
  • Included speakers

Con

  • Mediocre viewing angles
  • Few stand options

 


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