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The ViewSonic VX2255wmb sits squarely in the middle of ViewSonic's X Series line of consumer LCDs. ViewSonic lists a price of $411, but you can generally find the LCD online for $50 less, which is about average for a 22-inch LCD. Given the various devices you can today connect to an LCD, we were surprised to find a limited amount of video ports, which may inspire you to look elsewhere if you require component or S-Video connections. For those who need only a DVI or a VGA port, the wide-screen ViewSonic VX2255wmb provides excellent image quality under a variety of scenarios. Its piano-black bezel gives the display a modern look, and the Webcam that's built in above the display provides easy Web conferencing. Although we found a lot to like with the ViewSonic VX2255wmb, we still prefer the similarly priced Gateway FPD2275W for its cleaner design, sturdier base, and superior video input selection. Alternatively, while the HP W2007 gives you two less inches of real estate, it also costs less and provides better image quality with the same native resolution.
|GLBenchmark 2.7 (native resolution, T-Rex HD, C24Z16)||GLBenchmark 2.7 (1080p, T-Rex HD, C24Z16)|
The ViewSonic's onscreen menu is straightforward and easy to use, letting you adjust brightness, contrast, and color, as well as video input. The menu options are clearly labeled to aid navigation; there are no mysterious icons to decipher. The middle two buttons let you adjust the volume. A convenient headphone jack resides just below the menu button.
The monitor's base lets you swivel the screen a full 360 degrees, but its round shape means the display is more prone to wobble than is the Gateway LCD, with its wider and heavier oval base. The stand offers 3 inches of height adjustment, and you can tilt the monitor forward a few degrees and back about 25 degrees--but you can't pivot the screen into a portrait position.
Pixel-response rate: 5msn
Contrast ratio: 700:1
Connectivity: DVI, VGA
Included DVI, VGA, USB, and audio cables
The ViewSonic serves up extras such as a Webcam and integrated speakers. It's purely a PC (or Mac--it works with either platform) monitor, however, skipping the added video ports found on the Gateway, which include component, composite, and S-Video, yet offering the standard duo ports, VGA and DVI. Don't buy this display for its integrated 2-watt stereo speakers, however; they are among the weakest speakers we've encountered. In addition to being underpowered like almost all monitor-integrated speakers, they also face downward, which further detracts from their output. The speakers are downright unusable for listening to music, and really aren't much better for anything else. There's an upstream port to power the Webcam, but there's no downstream USB port to be found--a curious omission.
The Webcam, however, is a feature that might sway you. It features a fairly typical 1.3-megapixel resolution and--with the tiny microphone to its right--gives you quick-and-easy Web conferencing right out of the box. The Webcam software is polished, and lets you take snapshots or video and adjust camera settings to fine-tune the image. It lacks the fun, goofy effects that you get with the Apple Phone Booth application, however.
The ViewSonic VX2255wmb is HDCP compliant, which means you can view copyrighted content (read: Hollywood movies) on high-definition Blu-ray or HD DVD discs. The display's top resolution of 1,680x1,050, however, means you just miss 1080p output and must settle for 720p.
On our CNET Labs benchmark tests, the two displays gave results that were very close throughout--posting an identical score of 80, for example, on our DisplayMate benchmark, a very respectable showing. The score is derived from a suite of tests that measure all aspects of display quality--from sharpness, screen uniformity, color, and grayscale performance, to how well it performs with DVDs and games. The ViewSonic posted a higher sharpness score, while the Gateway took the honors in color performance and screen uniformity. Brightness levels were statistically the same, while the ViewSonic performed better on our Contrast Ratio benchmark, displaying slightly darker blacks and brighter whites. The ViewSonic 2255wmb did show improvement over the 22-inch 2235wm model we reviewed last year, which was able to muster only a composite score of 69 on our DisplayMate tests.
In anecdotal testing, the display was rock solid. With a fast 5msn-pixel response time, Casino Royale (on DVD) showed smooth movement and natural colors, while the action in F.E.A.R. was ghost-free. The display exhibited some backlight bleed, mostly along the top and bottom edges of the screen, but only when the background was black and viewed in a dark room. DVDs and Web pages and other images looked fine, even in a pitch-black room.
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Service and support
ViewSonic backs the VX2255wmb with a standard three-year warranty that covers parts, labor, and the backlight. Because monitors are its bread and butter, ViewSonic's site is packed with useful information about its displays, including a large knowledge base, user guide PDFs, and drivers. Toll-free phone support is 24-7.