ViewSonic's 20-inch VG2030wm wide-screen LCD monitor compares well against similar displays we've seen from the likes of HP and NEC. And also like the NEC, it lacks HDCP compliance, making it unable to play protected HD video content. With a price tag around $250, this monitor brushes very close in cost to its 22-inch competition. And if you're locked into the 20-inch screen size, HP's w2007 performed better on our tests, meets the HDCP standard, and is also better designed. With all that, the ViewSonic VG2030wm isn't a bad display, but it doesn't do enough to separate itself from the rest of the pack.
If there's one thing we like about the VG2030wm, it's the stand. In addition to its tilt action, a disc on the bottom of the display stand lets you spin the screen a full 360 degrees. Similar LCD monitors from NEC and Envision, as well as the aforementioned HP, limit you to tilting only. From there, the design goes more or less downhill. The casing is relatively unobtrusive, although it has some superfluous, funky gray pieces. The biggest issue is its onscreen display (OSD) and the accompanying, nubby buttons. The buttons are hard to distinguish from one another, and that, combined with the non-intuitive menu design, makes the whole OSD experience irritating.
Pixel-response rate: 5msn
Contrast ratio: 800:1
Connectivity: DVI, VGA
Viewing angle: 160 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical
Included DVI and VGA cables
Without HDCP compliance, you can't use the VG2030wm to watch Blu-ray or HD DVD movies. We don't hold that too hard against displays like this one that can't achieve 1080p resolution. Still, other monitors in its category do offer that capability, so as far as keeping up with the Joneses, the VG2030wm falls behind. We're also loath to complain about LCD audio output, because, surprise, it's bad. But in the case of this monitor's stereo outputs, we were surprised at how underpowered they are.
Despite our gripes, there is an upside to the VG2030wm. Its performance was fairly solid on our tests. HP outpaced it on our overall image quality tests, but not by a significant margin. And of similar displays we've reviewed recently, the ViewSonic came out the brightest, which can help in making images, especially games and color in general, look better that they might on a darker display. The brightness didn't totally help the VG2030wm overcome a lack of "pop" on games and DVD playback, but in general, this display is suitable for most consumer-level tasks.
Service and support
Aside from the swiveling stand, the biggest differentiator for this display is ViewSonic's service and support policies. The three-year warranty covers parts, labor, and the LCD backlight, which is not always common. You also get 24-7 toll free phone support, and a fairly comprehensive Web site, with up-to-the-minute Windows Vista drivers, a variety of FAQs, and other resources.
Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)