Portrait/15 plus. (color monitor) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Robert Bixby
If you've ever laid out a page of text on a PC, you've likely lusted in your heart for one of those rotatable monitors that can serve as either a portrait or a landscape display. Knowing what a whole page looks like--not in some greeked miniature but in full-size, editable type-- makes layout less of a chore and more of a joy. Only one thing may have stood in your way: price.
For those who have been waiting for rotatable displays to come within the price range of the individual, Portrait Display Labs has the monitor for you. Using special Windows drivers, the Portrait/15 Plus monitor allows you to specify a portrait or landscape view for Windows. The software automatically reconfigures the windows onscreen for each view with a single keypress (which you can change). This allows you to work on a full page of text at a time with a portrait orientation. The crystal clarity of the monitor makes the text readable even at very small sizes, and it's easily legible at full-page zoom in Word for Windows.
The software drivers require that you have one of the Super VGA cards on a fairly short list (or a computer with appropriate video on the motherboard). Among the video cards supported are ATI, Boca, Cirrus, Diamond, National Design, Number Nine, Orchid, Radius, S3 Sigma Designs, STB, and Video 7. Contact Portrait Display Labs to find out if your specific card is supported.
The monitor itself offers a very sharp, clear screen. I ran the DisplayMate Video Display Utilities on the monitor to gauge its performance. There appeared to be no distortion at the edges or the corners, and there was no perceptible bloom or barrel distortion. The colors were sharp and clear. In fact, the only test the monitor didn't perform perfectly on was screen regulation; the onscreen image changes size depending on the average brightness of the screen, a problem which is very common among computer monitors.
One complaint I have about the monitor is that I had to constantly adjust the screen when I went back and forth between DOS and Windows. This is common enough on standard monitors--the graphics screen doesn't always occupy the same position as the text screen--but it seemed a particular problem on the Portrait/15 Plus monitor.