After adjustment, we set the N3235w up alongside a couple of other 32-inch LCDs, namely the Samsung LN-T3253H and the aforementioned Vizio VX32L HDTV. To evaluate the ViewSonic's picture quality, we checked out the Bulletproof Monk Blu-ray disc on the Samsung BD-P1200 at 1080i resolution.
Not surprisingly for an inexpensive LCD, the ViewSonic N3253w produced a relatively light shade of black. Its letterbox bars and shadowy areas, such the recesses of the underground walls where Kar runs afoul of the punks, both appeared lighter than those of the other two LCDs. The lighter blacks made many shots on the ViewSonic appear slightly washed-out in comparison. Details in shadows, such as Kar's hair and the machinery in the background during his confrontation with the main punk, also looked slightly more realistic on the Samsung, although they were about the same as the Vizio.
The effects of our compromise color calibration were also apparent, especially in skin tones. In darker areas, such as when Jade quarrels with the punk leader in the subway car, her pale skin looked the most accurate of the three; her cheeks didn't look too red, and the variations from her cheeks to forehead were realistic. But in fully lit areas, such as when Jade chats up Nina at the museum, her face appeared slightly bluish and less lifelike than the others'. Of course, these color issues vary with how the set is adjusted, but our best compromise was still a bit less accurate than we'd like to see.
We did appreciate the accurate primary colors of the Vierwsonic, however, and its color decoding was relatively good, although greens were a bit undersaturated. One of the largest influencers of saturation and color vibrancy is deep black levels, so the N3235w's lighter blacks did rob the colors of some punch.
We found most other aspects of the ViewSonic's picture pleasing. There was no excessive false contouring in areas such as the smoky light streaming in through the museum windows or the shine of a light over Kar's shoulder as he stoops over the preresurrected Jade, although there was slightly more than the Samsung. We did detect slightly more noise than the Samsung showed in skies and other flat fields from our 6-foot seating distance, but the difference wasn't drastic.
Uniformity in flat-panel LCDs is always worth mentioning, and in the N3235w's case it's about average--similar to the Vizio's but not as good as that of the Samsung. We noted some variations in brightness, which appeared as slightly brighter vertical areas, visible primarily in dark fields. They also appeared in the film and other program material if we paid close attention, but didn't distract too much from our viewing experience. From off-angle, the ViewSonic didn't wash out nearly as noticeably as the Vizio, however (partly because it looked more washed out to begin with), and its color stayed true.
With standard-def sources, the ViewSonic performance was about average. It resolved every line of the DVD format, although we did see slight flicker in the finest horizontal lines from HQV's color bar pattern. We liked its relatively sharp details in areas such as a stone bridge and grass seen from a distance, and the fact it quickly engaged 2:3 pull-down detection. The ViewSonic was not good at smoothing out the jagged edges from moving diagonal lines, however, such as the waving American flag. We also would have really appreciated some kind of noise reduction; the intentionally noisy, low-quality shots of skies and flowers, for instance, looked worse on the ViewSonic than on either of the other two LCDs.
The ViewSonic N3235w unsurprisingly performed very well as a big PC monitor. It handled a resolution of 1,360x768 with no problem, resolving every line in both the horizontal and vertical axes according to DisplayMate. Text down to 10-point type was quite sharp and legible, and there was no pesky overscan of the desktop.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6,487/6,455K||Good|
|After color temp||6,500/7,063K||Poor|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 116K||Good|
|After grayscale variation||+/- 411K||Poor|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.641/0,334||Good|
|Color of green||0.272/0.604||Good|
|Color of blue||0.147/0.067||Good|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Yes||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Y||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Fail||Poor|
|Viewsonic N3235w||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||146.85||146.18||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.34||0.33||N/A|
|Cost per year||$45.19||$44.99||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Poor|