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Viewsonic VX2255 WM
Viewsonic has been on a roll over the past year, with a rash of HD-ready monitor releases. The 22” segment has especially been getting a lot of focus, with a new model appearing virtually every month. The latest release in this lineup is the VX2255WM, which succeeds the very popular VX2235WM. Is it able to improve on its predecessor? Read on to find out.
In a surprising change, Viewsonic has, in a departure from previous models, gone in for an all-glossy look for the VX2255WM. Everything from the bezel to the base and the back area of the monitor, sports the typical piano black gloss finish that has become so common nowadays. The only saving grace here is the silver metallic lining at the bottom and the power button.
This kind of finish, of course leads to the inevitable question… is it a fingerprint magnet? The answer is a resounding YES! Every little smudge stands out sharply. Spend a few days without cleaning it and the monitor looks incredibly dirty. In the few days we used the monitor, we had to add a new ritual to our daily schedule i.e. spend 10 minutes every morning cleaning the bezel with a soft cloth to make the monitor look presentable. In comparison to its predecessor the VX2235 (whose finish was similar but was a more muted black), smudges were not such an issue.
Another annoying thing about Viewsonic is the fact that their products never seem to have a fixed place for menu buttons. Sometimes on the right; sometimes on top, sometimes underneath... and now back on the right. A consistent design would go a long way in achieving the quality that other manufacturers such as Samsung and LG offer. Thankfully, the buttons on the VX2255 are far more usable when compared to previous efforts. They are made of a soft plastic material and register presses quite easily. Shifting through menus is an easy and painless operation.
The base of the monitor, unlike previously, is made of a soft plastic that is surprisingly sturdy and allows very easy movement. The degree of movement is practically 360 degrees. However the monitor does not offer much in the way of height adjustment. This does affect things as one can’t customize the viewing angle too easily. The back of the monitor is unassuming and sports DVI, VGA and webcam connector jacks. Another thing this monitor sports over the VX2235 is the inclusion of a 1.3 MP webcam. Its sensor is surprisingly small but produces usable images.
Like every 22” inch monitor that is currently available, the VX2255 has a native resolution of 1680x1050, response time of 5ms, contrast ratio of 700:1, and a brightness level of 280 cd/m2. These specifications are exactly the same as those of the Viewsonic VX2235WM.
For testing the performance of the VX2255WM, we put it through our normal battery of tests, which included Displaymate, current PC titles like Bioshock , Wow and older titles like Prey/ F.e.a.r and HD movie samples. The results were mixed.
The VX2255 initially gave us some trouble, and required fine-tuning with the help of Displaymate before we could get accurate results. In our sharpness test it was quite accurate, with the text display being sharp and spot-on. This was very apparent in Windows Vista, which has brilliant DPI scaling. However it was after that this, that all our tests went literally to hell.
For starters, in the contrast and brightness level tests the monitor gave us weird results. There was quite a bit of over-emphasis in the contrast/brightness levels in places and caused parts of a game scene to look almost cartoonish. It required a fair bit of fiddling with the controls before we were able to bring things under control.
The color tests fared no better, with gross bleed-ins, and the black levels looked more like pale strips of bacon that had been pasted on to the screen. To resolve these issues, we reset the monitor to factory defaults and reinstalled the color profile settings for Windows. We also sat down and, with the help of Displaymate’s brilliant tests, optimized the monitor for the best display that it could output.
Once all the appropriate settings had been made, we ran our tests all over again to get a proper set of results. Before being fine-tuned the monitor was looking like a major disaster and a bad release. Once it had been brought up to par, it really showed its shine. There was a noticeable improvement in color rendition, with the bleeding disappearing.
Like its predecessor, the monitor aced the grayscale tests and there was a dramatic improvement in its black level output. The contrast / brightness level tests were equally good. The cartoonish effects that were prominent in games had altogether disappeared.
Talking about games, there is nothing much to say. The response time of 5ms eliminated any ghosting that may have occurred. This response time is now commonplace and with virtually every other model carrying this figure, ghosting in games has really become a non-issue.
The inbuilt webcam is a good addition. While its image quality is not all that great, it can be easily used for videoconferencing. It does tend to lag a bit in rapid movements but considering it's been bundled in for free… there's not much we can complain about. It does its job at being a cheap and free replacement for a webcam.
The VX2255 is another typical Viewsonic product. It offers a good balance of features (requires a fair bit of tweaking though); it's VFM at a price of Rs 19,995, and only loses points for its glossy body which is rather high-maintenance. So, despite minor flaws the product offers good VFM and thereby earns itself a recommended rating.