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LCD monitor prices are finally becoming affordable, but just when it's time to finally dump that old CRT and get a new LCD, new 19” widescreen monitors have begun to take all the attention away from 15” and 17” monitors. Let's take a look at the ViewSonic VA1912wb 19” Widescreen LCD monitor and find out why I bought it.
The specs are guessable: a contrast ratio of 500:1, brightness of 300 cd/m2, 130 degrees of horizontal viewing and 150 degrees of vertical, an anti-glare display surface, etc. The monitor takes in both DVI and D-SUB inputs, so while DVI is highly recommended, you do have the option of D-SUB if your graphics card or motherboard doesn't do DVI. Consider upgrading to an entry level graphics card that supports DVI input, such as the GeForce 6200 (PCI-e) or FX 5200 (AGP).
This monitor shows flawless detail, color and sharpness. The brightness is also fantastic. Probably the only issue is that the lowest setting of brightness as well as contrast is not low enough for totally dark viewing!
The 19” VA1912w offers a maximum resolution of 1440x900, while a regular 17” offers 1280x1024. That's right, the 17” offers more vertical resolution than the 19” wide, but the 19” obviously offers a lot more horizontal resolution. Still, after calculation, a 17” offers more pixels (1,310,720) on the screen than the 19” wide (1,296,000). Size wise, the 19” wide isn't even a whole lot bigger than the 17” - it's almost the same size, but its wider.
The 16:10 aspect ratio is another bit of concern - DVD movies that are widescreen in 16:9 will still leave black bands on top and bottom, although they won't be as thick as a standard non-widescreen monitor. Needless to say, ultrawide 2.35:1 movies will leave bigger black bands. This can be worked around if you use Media Player Classic, which has a freeform zoom feature that lets you effectively cut out the black bands by either stretching the picture vertically, or zooming in a little bit so the movie occupies the entire screen.
The front-mounted speakers on the VA1912w deliver crisp and clear, but extremely flat, sound. They are pretty loud, so you could actually use them as front satellites coupled with a subwoofer, which is what I've done at my place. My only complaint is with the energy saving auto-power off feature of the monitor, which turns off even the speakers. I usually leave music on and idle around elsewhere in the house, so if I've set my monitor to go off in 10 minutes, that's all the music I can listen. Also, I would have liked a headphone jack on the front.
Right now, there's an offer going on that gets you a free ViewSonic W2201 webcam that captures at 640x480, 30fps. The webcam has a microphone built in and connects to your PC via USB. Its also designed to sit on top of this monitor, however, the front clamp is about half a centimeter longer than the bezel of the monitor, so it comes in the way. The birds on top can be removed!
Coupled with this offer, the ViewSonic is an excellent buy at Rs 18,000. It's a 19” widescreen 16:10 LCD monitor that does 1440x900 native, offers great quality detail and color, DVI as well as D-SUB input, good quality speakers that can be used as satellites and right now you get a free webcam with it too! Buy it.. I did!