Though its dapper design makes it a smart choice for home use, the ViewSonic VX2025wm is a great machine for light graphic and design work. This stylish wide screen isn't nearly as adjustable as other displays, such as the Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP or even the Envision EN2028, but what it lacks in flexibility it makes up for with excellent performance--only the very expensive LaCie 120 comes close. Additionally, the VX2025wm packs good-sounding speakers and excellent gaming performance for $411, which makes it the most affordable 20-inch wide-screen monitor we've seen. Unless adjustability is a necessity, the ViewSonic VX2025wm is hands-down the best deal in its category.
The ViewSonic VX2025wm gets its handsome look from a two-tone color scheme. A quarter-inch matte-silver bezel surrounds a black bezel that widens on the bottom to accommodate five silver onscreen menu (OSM) control buttons. The base follows the silver-and-black color scheme and is a rather large 11 inches wide by 8 inches deep. This oblong design keeps the display from wobbling side to side, but tilting the monitor back causes the base to lift off the desk. Flexibility isn't this monitor's strong suit: the panel tilts a standard 20 degrees back and 5 forward but offers no swivel, pivot, or height adjustment. The panel is nearly 5 inches above the desktop--a good fixed height for most users, though we appreciate more adjustability options, such as those found on the Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP.
On the back, the monitor provides DVI-D and VGA ports as well as an audio-in connection, which provides sound to the two, built-in 1-watt speakers. The speakers are completely hidden under the panel, and they're loud enough to fill a small room. They sound better than most built-ins, but not unexpectedly, they still sound a little thin. Cube dwellers take note: the monitor doesn't include a headphone jack. Two snap-off plastic covers cleverly hide the input ports and the cords, creating an attractive back panel.
When it comes to adjusting the image, the OSM is easy to navigate. There are two buttons for adjusting the volume, which we prefer to monitors such as the ViewSonic VA1912wb that hide volume-adjustment options in the OSM. The VX2025wm's volume buttons also function to navigate up and down through the menu. Two other buttons allow you to launch the OSM and quickly swap between digital and analog input, which is useful if you frequently work with two computers.
We tested the ViewSonic VX2025wm at its native resolution of 1,680x1,050 and were pleased with the results. The VX2025wm shone on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests, rendering clear and sharp text. Grayscale tests showed even fade, though we did notice very subtle hints of purple in the darker segments. Colors were clear, accurate, and vivid, with red showing slight orange in its brighter variations. In our uniformity tests, we noticed only slight light leakage around the bezel. The monitor also provides a sufficiently wide viewing angel.
Thanks to a relatively quick, 8-millisecond pixel-response rate, we were very impressed with the VX2025wm's DVD and game playback. Our DVD tests showed about-average levels of noise, with clear, crisp images and bright, vivid colors. Our gaming tests provided us with sharp images and lots of detail in light areas, and we didn't observe any streaking or ghosting.