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Over the last year, widescreen monitors have a preferred choice due to their larger aspect ratios (16:10), and resolutions (1440x900, 1680x1050). These specifications are beneficial for consumers as it gives them a wider screen area to work with, and allows them to enjoy multimedia content in its native aspect. Microsoft acknowledging this fact, has gone on record to say that its newest customer OS Windows Vista, which will ship later this month, has been optimized for widescreen displays. For its Windows Vista "Premium" rating Microsoft has suggested a 22-inch widescreen monitor, as being the ideal choice to enjoy Windows Vista’s new UI.
Keeping this in mind, ViewSonic recently introduced a range of widescreen monitors in a variety of ranges from 19 inches to 24 inches. The product reviewed is the ViewSonic VG2230WM a 22-inch TFT-LCD panel.
Anyone who has owned a ViewSonic monitor over the last decade or so, will be pleasantly surprised to know Viewsonic is finally taking care of its monitor’s aesthetics. Previous generations of ViewSonic LCDs have been great performers, but no one was giving them an award for their looks. In a refreshing change the VG2230WM looks sleek and stylish with its black bezel. The sides of the bezel is edged with a muted silver finish running all the way around. The silver color fits in perfectly with the shiny silver function keys which are present on the right side of the screen. There are 4 long tabbed buttons and one round button which controls contrast, brightness and sharpness. These keys although add to the appeal of the monitor are actually quite annoying. Since these keys are so recessed, pressing them to access functions becomes a chore.
The power button is present in its normal place at the center of the monitor and is indicated by a blue LED indicator which adds a touch of class to its excellent design. The bottom half of the monitor houses the rather large and extensive multimedia speaker grill, which ViewSonic has been promoting as a replacement for standalone speakers. The back of the monitor houses the DVI and D-Sub ports alongside the audio port for the multimedia speakers.
The base of the monitor really sets this unit apart from any other monitor I have ever used. The base is circular and features a height adjustable backbone that allows you to raise or lower the monitor to your heart’s content. The monitor’s base also allows rotation and swivel which allows you to turn to turn the monitor nearly 360 degree around without picking up the whole monitor. This degree of freedom in movement and customization for a perfect viewing angle is the first of its kind among monitors.
The VG2230WM being a 22-inch has a native resolution of 1680x1050. This is a nice large HD ready (720p) widescreen resolution that is perfect for gaming and watching movies. We ran a variety of games that are widescreen ready such as Flat-out 2 and GRAW to test it. The monitor sailed through our tests with its incredible 5ms timing which ensured there was no ghosting at all. If you got that Rs. 35,000 graphic card this is the monitor to own.
For our main line of testing we used Displaymate. Display mate is a software that tests and details every aspect of a monitor. If there is a flaw, Displaymate will catch it. The sharpness tests we ran on the monitor provided no surprises. The text was clear and crisp. The next level of tests we carried out was on the monitor’s gray scale. Here too, the VG2230WM had no issues. Its performance was above average. Color tests revealed the monitor to display rich and vibrant colors without any bleeding.
The contrast and brightness level tests were an area the monitor finally ran into trouble. During our tests we noticed a few dark "blots" in some places and over bright pixels in other places. This did irritate us initially as the brightness problem was most apparent while using a blue background. The default windows theme is Blue and hence this problem shows up acutely at times. However when the monitor remained operation for a few hours, the brightness levels seemed to adjust themselves or rather faded into the background.
Our final test was the audio test. It’s what we had expected. The speakers best can be described as "white noise" with no concept of bass or treble or mids for that matter. Our suggestion; invest in a pair of headphones or be prepared for major embarrassment. Yes! That’s how bad these speakers are.
|Screen Size||22" wide|
|Native Resolution||1680 x 1050|
|Response Time|| 5ms|
ViewSonic has hit a home-run with this monitor. It is priced at Rs. 27,000 and comes with a 3 yr warranty. Overall it offers great VFM with its exceptional color output and sharpness.