EIZO Foris FS2332 LCD Monitor Review
One of the most under-appreciated parts of any gaming PC is the monitor. A quality monitor can be the difference between a good gaming experience and a great one. It’s not just a TV that you toss on top of your desk. With this in mind, we were excited to get to review a monitor that is something of a rarity: an IPS panel designed expressly for gaming.
The FORIS FS2332 is a brand new monitor from EIZO, a company that is well known for its high-quality IPS panels. Normally, they can be found in graphic design shops, photography and post-production companies, and even medical and air traffic control applications. The FORIS line is a departure for the company, targeting home entertainment and gaming markets.
Normally, gaming monitors are TN panels, since they have the fastest response times. If you’re not familiar with the different types of panels, here’s a quick rundown for you:
- IPS (In-Plane Switching) – Excellent colors and viewing angles, slower response time
- VA (Vertical Alignment) – Good colors and viewing angles, medium response time
- TN (Twisted Nematic) – Average colors and viewing angles, fastest response time
Obviously, those are just the basics, but the short version is that the IPS panel represents the highest image quality of any LCD monitor. The tradeoff is that the response times are much slower, usually around 16ms. So, with an IPS panel in place of a TN, how would the FORIS stack up?
The FS 2332, as mentioned above, features a 23-inch IPS panel with LED backlight. As with most IPS monitors, it has 178° viewing angles. Its native resolution is a full 1920×1080, allowing it to display not only games, but Blu-Ray movies without any telltale black bars. It also sports 2 HDMI, one DVI, and one VGA input. This means you can build a gaming station around the FS2332, using it not only for your PC, but your consoles as well.
Outside of all that normal stuff, the FS2332 also packs some pretty advanced features into its matte black casing. One of my personal favorites is the ‘EcoView’ system. Consisting of nothing more than an ambient light sensor, this system helps keep the backlight’s brightness properly proportioned to the light in the room it’s in. Its effect is most noticeable when you’re using your computer as the sun sets outside. As the room darkens, the monitor’s brightness actually drops. I found this resulted in less strain on my eyes than my regular monitor.
Of particular interest to gamers, the FS2332 incorporates FORTIS’ new Power Gamma feature, as well as an overdrive circuit. Power Gamma offers two settings for automatic gamma adjustment. One sharpens midtones, and the other reinforces differences in low tones. The overdrive circuit is something you’ll really appreciate, as it reduces gray-to-gray response times to 6ms, helping to prevent annoying ghosting in moving images.
The FS2332 also includes a remote control, which is invaluable if you plan to use this monitor for more than just PC gaming. One unfortunate design choice: A number of important buttons (including the “Menu” button) can only be found on the remote. That means that if you lose it, you’re going to lose access to a lot of this monitor’s features. That could be especially true later in the life cycle of this monitor when replacements may be harder to come by.
The FS2332 is easy to setup, and comes with a DVI cable as well as the audio cable to connect the unit’s small, 0.5 watt speakers. Sounds quality is about as average as you’d expect, but they’re serviceable for every web browsing. Unfortunately, the included stand offers no height or tilt adjustment, so you’ll need to make sure you get the monitor set exactly where you want it.
Once you get the monitor on, you’ll be blown away by how clear the images and colors are. Even sitting next to my current MVA panel, there was a noticeable improvement in colors. I also could almost immediately see one other large difference. The blacks are extremely dark, and the images are razor sharp. Color reproduction on the FS2332 blows away every TN panel I’ve ever used, and even surpasses my MVA panel in that regard.
One last software feature the monitor offers is ‘Smart Resolution.’ This feature basically analyzes images, web pages, and other displayed items in order to make them appear more natural. It may smooth one small part of a video, sharpen an image, or do absolutely nothing. However, when it’s on, you can see a difference in the way pages look. Images appear smoother and more natural. More impressively, it detects the text section of the page and makes no changes to that, preserving readability.
OK, I know what you’re thinking. All this technology is awesome, but how does it handle gaming? Well, I’m happy to report that it’s a solid gaming monitor as well. The folks at EIZO told us that they were targeting the monitor at the real-time strategy market, so I spent a ton of time with games like Starcraft 2, Company of Heroes, and other RTS favorites. Throughout those sessions, the monitor couldn’t have performed any better. There was no visible ghosting, no lag, and the images were crisp and attractive.
With the RTS stuff out of the way, I decided to push the limits of the overdrive system by playing Battlefield 3 through the FS2332. Once again, it had no issues with ghosting, and the gorgeous environments created by the Frostbite 2 engine were almost popping off the screen. MMOs and even Minecraft presented no challenges for this monitor. Pretty much every gaming experience I had was thrown at it, and the FS2332 simply shook them off and kept looking amazing.
One thing that may give gamers pause when considering the FS2332 is the price. While many of the 23-inch gaming monitors on the market that incorporate TN panels can be had for around $200, the FS2332′s IPS panel comes in at around a $500 price point. This may sound prohibitive for a lot of gamers, but the quality of the product is really top notch.
Overall, the FORTIS FS2332 impresses at almost every turn. It’s a well-built device that incorporates plenty of technology, and looks awesome to boot. It may seem a bit pricey, but monitors are like anything else, you always seem to get what you pay for. You certainly won’t have any reason to regret owning this monitor, unless it’s that you never want to stop staring at it.
You can find more info on the FORTIS FS2332 on the EIZO official site.