I think it's safe to say that Andi Roth's excellent review of the Eizo S2231W-E pretty much says it all so it would be pointless to write up any kind of semi-formal review as it would pale in comparison!
So, I just thought I'd add my 2 cents on Eizo's S2231W-E (the "-E" is for the EzyUp base) and thought I'd share my first impressions with the possibility of follow-ups (hence, the 'Work In Progress' part of the thread's title ;))
Secondly, there is almost always more chatter on the 'net in German when it comes to Eizos (aside from maybe Japanese) so a bit of extra chatter in English can't hurt
First and foremost, Eizo's build quality is very impressive. I say this as I compare it to a BenQ FP241W which mans my other [private] workstation and a Belinea 1980 S1 at the office. I also have an XPS M1330 which has a Toshiba LED-backlit 13" TN panel.
This is not to say that I'm an LCD expert (because I'm definately not :P) but that I do have a few LCD monitors to compare the Eizo to and the Eizo, in terms of build (housing, ergonomics, etc.) is just amazing!
Design-wise, it's got a simple, solid, matte-black frame and that's the way I personally like it. I can live with my BenQ's and Belinea's black w/silver bezel combos but that's about as far as I care to venture. Some of today's monitors, with their piano-black finishes and funky-looking bases (which are almost always all but useless) just make me squirm. Of course, that's just mho and everyone's entitled to their own taste and preferences.
The inlayed control buttons are also a plus, although in a darkend room are hard to "read". I also personally like the blue-orange power LED but for those hardcore experts, it's definately a bonus that it can be turned off. Ditto for the [ambient] brightness sensor which comes deactivated as default. The last thing I need are mickey-mouse speakers on a monitor but if you're going to include them, then making them unobtrusive like Eizo's done is as good as it gets
If you own / have owned an Eizo, then I guess this is all old hat, but for those of you wondering if an Eizo monitor is worth the extra bills (compared to more mainstream brands) then my personal reply to you is a resounding yesss!
...did I mention the five-year "pick-up" warranty (er, at least in my neck of the woods, that being Western EU)... ?
Functionally and ergonomically speaking: Andi's covered it all and thanks to Siobhan Hayes, it's all available in English too so I feel it's pointless to add to their expert review :p
As for the star of the show, this all-so-special 22" 1680x1050 S-PVA panel... well it sure as heck impressed me some But mho and personal observations are strictly subjective and so Andi's technical observations covers all the bases.
As this is my first PVA panel, I can't offer you any direct comparison, so I "won't go there". Compared to my TN and MVA panels (both my BenQ FP241W and Belinea 1980 S1 use MVAs), all I can say is that black is beautiful
As for this so-called sparkle, I really can't say that I notice it. If you stick your face 10cm in front of any panel, I'm, sure it will look odd, so don't. Again, my first S-PVA, so I can't tell you if this phenomena is more or less apparent than any other S-PVA.
What I can tell you is that the blacks are amazing compared to both my MVA panels as well as my TN (although the TN's a glossy finish, which artificially improves the blacks somewhat). Furthermore, I agree 100% with Andi and a whole lot of other experts on the net who agree that 500 CD/M² is just too bright. Despite countless attempts to calibrate my FP241W at diverse brightness levels, it still hurts to look at it in dimmer environments, literally. The S2231W does not have this problem and after calibration seems to have just the right level of brightness!*
*Again, this is my subjective impression - sort of like the tale of Goldilocks and the three monitors: the FP241W's too bright! The 1980 S1's too dark! But that them there S2231W is just right :D)
As for this horizontal, color/ gamma- shifting characteristic of all S-PVA panels: I personally didn't find the S-PVA panel to "shift" much more than my MVA panel does. I not only do not own an IPS panel, but I've never-ever seen one, so I have no idea what a non-color-shifitng panel looks like, lol! I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm used to it and it doesn't bother me anymore. YMMV.
What's been harder to swallow in my personal transition from CRT to LCD is not so much the color shifitng as is the weak blacks and backlighting bleed issues. I bought the FP241W primarily for my entertainment needs (60% Video & TV playback, 40% gaming) and that's the reason why I went with an MVA panel. But, and it's a biiig "but", the murky blacks are really annoying and I'm reminded of that fact every time I've got a 16:9 movie playing on the 16:10 panel and the letterboxing's a definitive shade of grey... .
This is where the S-PVA panel excels, without a doubt! But... (there always has to be a but, hasn't there... ) the Eizo's backlighting concept is, in a word, baffling! Now this is where I think Andi was a little too kind in his description:
"Although slight clouding is evident in the corners, there are no disturbing light patches visible at the edges that would be caused by the backlight."
Well, maybe this effect changes from one unit to the next, but mine's pretty bright. Having forgotten Andi's comment on it I thought I had a bad unit but having re-read his comment as well as a few German-speaking Forum members' reviews, it is apparent that this is standard. As a matter of fact, this member's* picture of this, ah, X MARKS THE SPOT says it all...
Yes, it does bother me, because I've always gone with simple, black desktop-backgrounds and at least one of the corners is always reminding me of Eizo's "baffling" backlighting concept... And it's definately NOT the first time Eizo's been criticized for their unique back-lighting designs...! In all fairness, this phantom X is not visible in normal working conditions where at least 33% of the screen's illuminated by an open Window or image, etc. Just use something other than a black background (or image of the Aug. '99 Total Solar Eclipse... ;))
*He wrote up a nice review (albiet "Auf Deutsch";) with a few more nice pics here.
Moving along, ahem, we have color. Most people interested in such a caliber of monitor are those that require a notch above average color (& gamma) fidelity. Well, I do a lot of amateur photography and this is the main reason why I bought the Eizo, but I am a long ways away from being a color expert and so it is really hard for me to make any beneficial comments to those serious photographers & graphics artists out there. But it doesn't matter 'cause Andi pretty much wrapped up my own subjective observation with this excerpt:
"When the monitor is calibrated, the white point and gamma value are optimal. Although the deltaE deviations can be reduced, they do not represent an ideal for the sRGB colour space. However, this is not uncommon in monitors with extended colour spaces: WideColorGamut displays have their problems as a result of their larger colour spaces."
Like I said earlier, I'm not a pro when it comes to color matching, etc. but I none the less strive to get the best out of the monitor with my limited means (in terms of knowledge and tools) and I did this by using a Spyder 2 Express which is limited to calibrating for an sRGB color space with a gamma of 2.2. I ended calibrating twice because the first time the whites were way too warm and on the second run, it came closer to my "idea" of true white. Still, when compared to my FP241W which was just adjacent, the colors from the S2231W appeared extremely "vivid", for lack of a better word, if not overly warm. As this wide color-gamut monitor is another first for me, I think I will need a little time to get used to the vividness of it all...
Last but not least, what does it really mean that a display can reproduce 90% of the AdobeRGB color gamut? Is this good enough to consider the monitor suitable for AdobeRGB color work or did it just missed the mark and instead, provides for a vivid rendition of the sRGB colorspace? If AdobeRGB represents approx. 93% of the NTSC colorspace, then what's 90% of 93%?
As for that last question, just kidding
In a nutshell
If you've made it so far, thanks for bearing with me and my ramblings In a nutshell, my only complaint is that of this X-Factor backlighting business. Aside from that, this is one hell of a monitor, as long as you factor in the price (i.e. this is not a professional color-guru monitor but you won't have to shell out €/$ 2,000 for it either).
It doesn't make sense to compare it to any other 22" monitor on the market today - if you want to compare it with something, then you're better off comparing it to one of the semi-pro 20-21" wide monitors (from Eizo, NEC and Samsung, for example). The great news is that the 22" format not only offers a little more real estate (or relief for your eyes, depending on resolution vs. sq. meter) than existing 20-21" monitors, but, more often than not, for a better price, too!
I would classify the S2231W as a jack of all trades with a bias towards digital imaging / graphics work. It's not a gamer's TN and it's not a professional designer's IPS, but, imho, a little of both
p.s. And to think, I almost forgot to mention the icing on the cake: MADE IN JAPAN!