NEC MultiSync LCD1550X

You get top image quality from this 15-inch LCD monitor, but for a price

WHAT'S HOT: The NEC MultiSync LCD1550X achieved top text scores in our test screens, producing sharp, easily readable text even at small font sizes. It came in second to the Iiyama Pro Lite 3835UT in graphics, but only by a whisker, as its colors on our test screens looked bright and true to life.

Plenty of nice design touches make the monitor easy to set up and use. You can rotate the entire unit easily, and you can quickly pivot the monitor into portrait orientation. Tilting the panel is also easy, but the height control was rather stiff on our review unit, so increasing or decreasing the panel height was a little harder. The MultiSync LCD1550X boasts both analog and digital video inputs.

WHAT'S NOT: At $515, this is one of the most expensive monitors on the chart. The seven buttons on the front can be a little confusing; some perform more than one operation, and it's not always clear what a button's going to do. For instance, one button lets you not only switch between the digital and analog inputs but also move to the next option in the on-screen menu.

The setup software that comes with the MultiSync LCD1550X is also somewhat bewildering: It brings up a series of screens to help you calibrate the monitor and asks you to go to a particular option on the on-screen menu, but it gives you no step-by-step explanation of how to get to that option.

WHAT ELSE: NEC bundles Portrait Software's Pivot Pro, which lets you rotate the screen image into portrait mode with only two mouse clicks. Portrait's LiquidView software makes switching between different resolutions easier, but NEC provides only a license code for it--you must download the software.

The MultiSync LCD1550X does not come with speakers, so it won't fill the needs of space-strapped users looking for an all-in-one solution.

UPSHOT: For those willing to pay for top quality, this monitor provides excellent image quality and pivoting capability.

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