You may remember Dell's fancy-pants Crystal Monitor, the sliver of prettiness that costs rich guys US$1,200. We know it looks nice, but how does it, you know, work? Not so well, it turns out.
Much like a gold-encrusted hot dog, this thing is pretty on the outside but doesn't have the goods on the inside to make it worth the price. Maximum PC reviewed it, finding that the piece of glass that covers the monitor pretty much ruins the experience.
The monitor's artful exterior looks great on our desktop. If only the picture followed suit. Even after cranking the Crystal's brightness to the extremes, the 1680x1050-native picture was unable to produce acceptable differences on its dark grayscales during our DisplayMate testing. This translated to a noticeable loss of quality and increased darkness levels in every real-world test we could conjure up: details escaped our pictures and movies; subtle lighting effects smudged together on our games.
This is the fuel behind the Crystal's fiery glare issue. The display's tempered glass lends the entire unit a mirror-like quality, more so than any glossy-panel monitor we've reviewed. We didn't notice ourselves when we were working with a brighter scene, but seeing our blatant reflection during darker images, like Sweeney Todd, was more than a mere distraction. It destroyed the picture.