Albatron L17AT 17'': Putting the TV in LCDby Kristopher Kubicki on October 21, 2002 11:18 AM EST
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As we mentioned earlier, we certainly have not seen another LCD based on the same design as the Albatron L17AT. True to Albatron’s roots, the L17AT is designed from the ground up with for the purpose of multimedia presentation. The monitor came standard with a total of 4 inputs; CAT/TV, S-Video, RCA Video and 14 Pin D-sub. We were somewhat disappointed in the lack of a DVI input. The nicer model L17ATD comes with a DVI port, but our model unfortunately did not. As our readers who have been following our other LCD reviews know, LCDs running on VGA connections are extremely prone to streaking problems. We have come to expect DVI on every new LCD manufactured.
The sound features of the monitor drew divided impressions at the lab. We mentioned earlier the 2 x 2Watt speakers were of simply mediocre quality. Even though the speakers did not put out any bass, they did provide enough functionality for everyday use. Power users who use their computer to play CD’s (MP3’s) and games should not rely on speakers found packaged with a computer monitor anyway; they simply cannot perform as well as 3rd party solutions. On the other hand, users who do text processing and minimal multimedia features would not notice any difference between the onboard speakers and a hi-fidelity set. Even though the onboard speakers are fairly weak, this should not discourage potential buyers who value their audio!
Since Albatron has a strong background in multimedia presentation we expected a little more from their speaker set. Thankfully, the downfalls of the speakers were made up for by the other audio features. We should give the L17AT credit for providing an audio out function. One cannot use the audio out and onboard speakers at the same time, so do not expect the Albatron 2Watt speakers to degrade the quality of your Klipsch 6-piece surround sound. This concept works very well, considering one can plug speakers in the audio out, use the L17AT to watch TV and then switch back to a computing environment, all on the same set of speakers. The volume control on the monitor can be used to control the volume on the line out as well. However, there was one feature about the sound we simply could not decide either way on. Apparently, as the LCD goes on standby (or off), the Audio-Out goes into standby as well. Since the standby idle timeout cannot be changed, do not expect to use the monitor’s audio patch-through if you want a playlist of MP3’s to play when the monitor is unattended.
Unique to see was the amount of flexibility in the L17AT! We mentioned how the monitor had a low center of gravity, and it’s certainly a necessity with this LCD. This is the first monitor we have seen on the market that swivels 165 degrees left and right. Albatron clearly targeted this feature to appeal to the corporate world. Rather than asking a co-worker to come over and look at something on the computer, the LCD simply rotates. Considering the lack of flexibility in our Samsung 191T (a monitor that was supposed to rotate 90 degrees clockwise), this was certainly a welcomed surprise. In order to achieve this type of flexibility, the cables are run down a shaft in the base of the monitor and then out to the computer. The monitor also has a tilt angle of 20 degrees back, and another 5 degrees forward. Albatron also has an option to sacrifice the flexibility of the LCD in favor of a wall kit.