January 6, 2008 ·
About 2 minutes
As I alreadymentioned, I was interested in buying a 24" widescreen monitor for both my laptop and PlayStation 3. I considered many different options but, based on my requirements (1920x1200, 1:1 pixel mapping, dual HDMI/DVI-D inputs), I ended up choosing the BenQ FP241W Z (yeah, did it again).
This thing is gorgeous as the following photos will show you. Lots of real screen state to work — the ability to have many different, non-overlapping editors and terminals open at once is very convenient — and great to watch videos. But it has a "small" problem (I want it fixed!) that I'll explain after them...
So here are two photos of the MacBook Pro working in clamshell mode, connected to the new monitor:
And here are a couple of images showing the PlayStation 3 in action:
OK, this last image is the one I wanted to discuss. It is showing the "PlayStation Store", accessible directly from an option in the XMB interface. It is easy to see that the image is cropped on the four sides: some letters are cut, and the top and bottom buttons are shown extremely close to the screen border's. This is not what I expected.
Even more, booting Linux reports that the framebuffer's dimensions are 1688x964 even though the screen says it is working in 1080p mode (1920x1080). If I force Linux to go to full 1080p, then the terminal is also cropped on the four sides, making it unusable. According to this thread, this is caused by the monitor assuming that the HDMI input has overscan hence it crops the image. (Note that the image is being slightly scaled up to fill the whole screen, because the visible area is smaller than the displayed one! And I certainly don't want that.)
It looks like that a firmware update released on May 2007 adds an Overscan tunable option on the settings, which allows you to disable this feature and thus get the whole image. But unfortunately my monitor was manufactured on April 2007, so it has the old firmware. Grr. Will call BenQ support tomorrow and see if they can do anything about it (I guess they'll be able to do a firmware upgrade, but they may need to take the monitor for several days^Wweeks.). Otherwise I may end up returning this unit. Heck, I searched 1:1 pixel mapping like crazy and now I find this other, unexpected problem. No way.
Other than that, great display. Now, if only I had a Mac Pro to accompany it... ;-)