As the screen sizes of LCD monitors continue to increase, more consumers are expecting their monitors to be usable as HDTVs, complete with a full connectivity suite. While the dual-use possibilities are definitely a plus, it does add significant cost to a display that might never see anything more than a spreadsheet and a browser. Picking up on this is the Viewsonic VX2235wm, which offers only VGA and DVI connectivity, but delivers a very reasonable $400 list price for a 22-inch wide-screen LCD monitor. While we weren't blown away by the performance, it should be fine for situations where image quality isn't a top priority. If you're looking to buy an inexpensive LCD and good image quality is a must, we recommend getting a smaller screen that offers better performance, like the Viewsonic VX2025wm or Gateway FPD2185W. Otherwise, the large screen size and relatively low price make the VX2235wm worth a look in the budget LCD category.
The overall design of the Viewsonic VX2235wm is attractive, distinguished by its glossy black finish. While we liked the look, we had a few quibbles with its overall usability. The adjustments options are lacking; while the panel can tilt forward two degrees and back five, it can't swivel or pivot. The height is also nonadjustable at 3.65 inches above the desktop--we find that at least 4 inches fits the average user better. We also thought the buttons on the display were a little too small--we had to use our fingernails to be able to press them. On the upside, we were pleased that the ports in the back were easily accessible.
Mounted on the bottom of the display are two 2.5-watt speakers. Don't expect any miracles from them--they'll suffice for an occasional Web clip or game, but we found dialogue from movies difficult to hear, especially during quiet scenes. As you might expect, music sounded tinny and lacked bass. We liked the addition of the speakers for occasional audio needs, but would have also liked to have seen a headphone jack.
- Resolution: 1,680x1,050
- Dot pitch: 0.282 mm
- Pixel-response rate: 5ms
- Contrast ratio: 700:1
- Viewing angle: 170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical
- Connectivity: DVI, VGA, Audio
- Not HDCP compliant
- Included DVI, VGA and speaker cables
With the low list price, you might expect that the Viewsonic VX2235wm skips on performance, and you'd be right. The VX2235wm got a score of 69 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based tests, which is low compared to other similarly sized LCD displays we've tested. The VX2235wm's colors looked washed out compared to the Asus PW201's; this was evident in movies and games, as well as our DisplayMate tests. In DVD playback, we also noticed significant visible flicker noise, as well as ghosting that was more than we are used to seeing in some scenes--although we saw no ghosting in games. It wasn't all bad news, however, as the system excelled at our tests that expose color banding, with transitions from dark to light intensity looking seamless and smooth. Text readability was good as well, and we found text crisp down to 6.8 font size.