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So there I sat, staring at my screen, wondering why there's never anything I can review that's ever in Level 1 on dooyoo and certainly never a listing of something I have that nobody else has written about. So I sat and I stared and then I looked at the bottom corner of my monitor and thought "Hmm, I wonder". Serendipity indeed; the HP Compaq LA1951g was listed and nobody had written about it. I'd been literally looking a gift horse in the screen and not realising it. In fact I'd been surrounded by these - there are a dozen within a few meters of where I sit, all blowing raspberries and saying 'You just take us for granted, don't you?'
Like most people I do indeed take my workplace equipment very much for granted until it goes wrong and these monitors DON'T go wrong. I work off a laptop - a pretty whizzy one if truth be told - which is too small to use for 10 hours a day. It's acceptable 'on the road' but its 12 inch screen is not something you really want to be staring at all day long. Consequently when I'm in the office, I have a docking station with HP keyboard, mouse and monitor all connected to the dock. Yes, it's true, the IT department are committed to HP. I must have been using this screen for a couple of years now but it could be more. I have a vague recollection that it might have been changed at some point in the four and a half years I've been sitting at this desk, but I can't be sure. If I'm honest, I don't think I would notice if the screen had been taken away and replaced with another. That's the power of a good screen - you really don't notice it most of the time. It only makes an impact when it goes wrong.
The screen is 19 inches in diameter - that's the '19' in LA1951g. I suspect the 'g' might mean that it's grey but I'm not sure and I could be making that up. But it brings me to the most noticeable characteristic of the screen and that's that it isn't black, it's a silky effect in silvery grey. I can offer no suggestion for the 'LA' or the '51' but I guess everything has to be called something. At home I have a 22 inch widescreen monitor which blows my mind every time I look at it but I think for work purposes 19 inches is perfectly adequate. If you fancy one of these, it will set you back something like £125 brand new.
The monitor has a wide base with a depressed area (sounds like Stoke on Trent - sorry to any Stokies) which is a perfect place for putting all those little bits and pieces that like to live on a desk - in my case there are post cards, business cards, teabags, hand cream, inspirational messages out of fortune cookies, coffee tokens and rather a lot of lids from Bic biros. Joining the back of the base to the back of the monitor is a solid arm with swivels at either end which enables the height, direction and angle of the monitor to be changed but does mean that in order to be stable and not fall over, the monitor stands quite a long way forward from the edge of the desk and cuts into my work space quite a lot. Raising and lowering the monitor to get it to the most comfortable height is easy and turning it to the side to show my long suffering colleagues yet another photo of my cats doing something mildly amusing is very easy. Should I wish to I could rotate the screen from landscape to portrait view but I've never yet found the need to do so.
Due to the horrible design of our desks - they were chosen by a designer who was much more interested in form than in function - the middle area of this absurdly curved desk is really rather narrow and it's not possible for me to sit looking straight at the monitor and instead it sits slightly to one side in order to ensure that the distance from my eyes is comfortable. I therefore live my working life at a slightly odd angle which I can't help thinking can't be good for me. However, when I look at other monitors around me everyone else seems to be coping with this better than me so perhaps it's just my eyes that are a bit odd.
There monitor has four buttons on the front. Not surprisingly one of these turns the monitor on and off whilst the other three relate to changing various things about the display. One of the buttons brings up a menu and then the other two navigate up and down that menu. I can honestly say I'd never looked at these before but that goes to show that sooner or later we should probably review every bit of kit if only to actually find out what it can do. The first few options are pretty obvious and to be expected. You can change the brightness, contrast and colour. Next option is called 'image control' and offers the ability to change the clock settings, the horizontal and vertical positions and the sharpness. I've lived happily without touching any of those. OSD control comes next and I have no idea what it means or what you do with it but if you do know, then no doubt you'll be happy to know that you can control your OSD.
The 'management' option button offers control of power saving functions and enables you to set how long the screen should wait before it goes to sleep and other related skills that you might be looking for. The language function enables you to get the monitor to display messages in German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch and Portuguese so if you speak Bulgarian then you're out of luck and should buy a different monitor or learn a more typical language. Information gives you - surprise surprise - information on the resolution of the screen and other such things and there's a 'factory reset' function but you can guess what that does, I'm sure.
Power is supplied via what I call a 'kettle lead' although that's probably an outdated notion now that most kettles are cordless. The only other cable coming out of the screen attaches to my docking station.
I cannot tell you whether the screen is any good for watching videos or playing games as we don't have sufficient bandwith at work for the first and I'd lose my job if I tried the second. However, for a screen I can sit and bear to look at for many hours every day, I'm more than happy with my HP Compaq LA1951. It's easy to adjust for position, easy to change the display attributes (now I've found the buttons) and it's given me no trouble. I also can't swear whether it's colour is fabulous and vibrant as I spend most of my day looking at spreadsheets and dull stuff like that, but I've certainly never switched on in the morning and cursed my pitiful life for lacking colour.