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ViewSonic VX2268wm review: ViewSonic VX2268wm

The VX2268wm is a reasonably good entry for a TN screen; however, we're not sold on the 3D, which increases the price greatly. For the dollars involved, we'd rather ditch the 3D and buy a higher quality monitor.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
10 min read

Editor's note: this review has been updated to take our new testing procedure into account.

7.1

ViewSonic VX2268wm

The Good

Passable image quality. OK speakers for a monitor.

The Bad

3D mode can be harsh on the eyes. Pricey. Black levels aren't great.

The Bottom Line

The VX2268wm is a reasonably good entry for a TN screen; however, we're not sold on the 3D, which increases the price greatly. For the dollars involved, we'd rather ditch the 3D and buy a higher quality monitor.

ViewSonic's VX2268wm is one of the vanguards into the 3D space for PC monitors. By day it's an ordinary monitor with a wobbly neck, but by night, it's a 3D viewing monster.

Well, the time of day has nothing to do with it — rather Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision glasses, in combination with a recent Nvidia video card, special drivers and the 120Hz capability of the monitor combine to create a stereoscopic image that's then interpreted as a 3D image in your brain. The glasses used are active, meaning they shutter each eye alternately using a polarised LCD, one eye effectively receiving half the frames, the other, well, the other. The result is each eye receiving a slightly different offset image, creating the illusion of depth.

ViewSonic VX2268wm

ViewSonic's VX2268wm has a curve at the bottom, and crams some buttons there too. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The set up is reasonably straightforward — you'll need to charge the glasses via USB, which can then operate wirelessly. A receiver is plugged into the PC via USB, which then communicates with the glasses via infrared. A jog dial on the receiver lets you set the "depth" of the scene, which in actuality splits the generated offset images on the monitor further apart. We kept it on the lowest setting — increasing the depth increased the strain on the eyes markedly as they attempted to force the split images into a coherent scene. At the highest setting the offset became obvious in certain game elements such as 2D signage, and the eyes began hurting.

As a consequence of essentially serving up two images, you're going to need a reasonably beefy video card to cope with the frame-rate drop. Empire: Total War, which previously ran silky smooth on our GeForce GTX 275, had stuttering issues when viewed in 3D.

The glasses

Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision glasses

The GeForce 3D Vision glasses need to be bought separately. This helps keep an already pricey monitor within the buy-able range. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Nvidia's glasses are reasonably comfortable compared to past efforts, coming with three different nose pieces to suit the bridge of your nose, and being designed to sit over prescription glasses. Although they fit over all the glasses we tried, all of the users mentioned discomfort. Most of the discomfort we found though was on the ears, the arms pushing down quite strongly.

The effect

We tested the 3D glasses in Portal and Empire: Total War, games that Nvidia rates as good and excellent in its drivers. A notification box in the bottom right pops up when running the game, advising of what features you need to turn off to avoid issues; in Portal we needed to turn off Bloom/HDR, Empire was fine from launch. This warning can then be dismissed by a key combination.

Everything that's 2D isn't offset, which places it on the highest 3D plane — the effect being that UIs, text and so forth appear to float on top of everything else. It's cool and easily the most impressive effect, but not entirely worth the AU$300 the glasses cost.

In Portal, the portal gun was given obvious separation from the rest of the scene, whereas everything else received a slight enhancement. There are areas in the game where offices are partially obscured behind windows, and the tech had no idea how to deal with this as a depth problem; resulting in eyes really straining, trying to figure out what it was they were actually looking at. Overall it was kind of neat, but once again not worth the cost and eye strain involved.

Empire: Total War had a significantly increased sensation of depth. Blades of grass, ranks of soldiers, a quick zoom through a battlefield were all given an extra dimension, and it's easy to see why Nvidia ranks it as excellent.

The problem

We should start this by saying: every one is different. We did, however, find the eye strain induced by the glasses to be excessive, causing issues with focusing on a normal monitor afterwards for up to one and a half hours. We found closing our eyes after to rest them resulted in seeing random flickering light under the eyelids, a potential remnant of the shuttering technology employed by the glasses. Playing in the dark exacerbated the effect; turning the light on greatly reduced the strain. Keep in mind this was only about an hour exposure, the author having not been affected at all by the passive 3D technology that was used in Avatar's theatrical release.

Of course you may not be affected by this at all, in which case the cost factor comes into the equation. Firstly, you'll need to buy a 120Hz monitor — the VX2268wm costs around AU$400, a decent premium for what is underneath it all, a fairly TN-based ordinary monitor.

Then you'll need to buy the glasses, which tend to be sold separately at AU$300. Finally to game, you'll need an 8800GT or higher. We'd suggest much higher if you're playing current games, and it won't work at all with ATI cards — you're stuck with the currently lower performing Nvidia alternative.

Specs at a glance

Size 22 inches
Resolution 1680x1050
Aspect ratio 16:10
Pixel pitch 0.282
Panel technology TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 170°
V: 160°
Response time 2ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 120Hz
Connections DVI, VGA, 3.5mm line in
Accessories DVI, VGA, power cables

Stand and ergonomics

The base of the VX2268wm is eye-shaped, with a silver stripe straight through the middle. While it does a good job at keeping the monitor in place, it's a shame that the neck is so thin, causing the monitor to wobble noticeably whenever you make adjustments. Thankfully it doesn't shake too much when typing, but we'd prefer something a little more stable. Tilt is the only ergonomic adjustment offered, with a plastic loop included for cable management.

ViewSonic VX2268wm stand

The base is study enough, but the thin neck can lead to wobbling.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Connections

ViewSonic VX2268wm inputs

Power, 3.5mm audio in, DVI and VGA connections. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Speakers

ViewSonic has included two 2W speakers, both downwards firing. This isn't too bad, and 2W speakers have always provided better performance than the 1.5W equivalent. While providing slightly better clarity in the high end it's still not great, and it lacks punch in the low end. We'd not recommend them for anything more than system sounds; if you're listening to music or gaming, you should get a dedicated set or use headphones.

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

ViewSonic has opted for buttons placed under the monitor, usually our most reviled placement. Thankfully, the straightforward physical nature of ViewSonic's buttons and the clearance of the screen from the desk means after a bit of memory work, you should be able to find your way around the OSD without having to look at the button legend the whole time.

ViewSonic VX2268wm buttons

We usually regard under buttons as evil, but memorising the function of four physical buttons that never change isn't that hard. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Unlike the VX2237wm, the VX2268wm misses out on ViewSonic's new menu, using the old one reminiscent of something you'd see on a CRT. It's straightforward enough, just dated and not as elegant as competing solutions.

Like its other monitors, you'll find no image presets here — simply 5000K, 6500K, 7500K, 9300K, sRGB and User Color modes. Scaling modes include 4:3 and full screen stretch, but no 1:1 option is present.

ViewSonic VX2268wm OSD

The 90's called, it wants its OSD back. Apart from the aged look, ViewSonic's OSD is still reasonably easy to navigate. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Performance

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an
X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the VX2268wm was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Pass Flicker Pass Pass Flicker Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

The VX2268wm actually does quite well here, scooting through all but two of the flicker tests.

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs were taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. The average result over DVI came in as 5.65ms, meaning almost no input lag. The largest difference measured between the two screens was 32ms, although the vast majority were simply zeroes.

Colour accuracy
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of 1 is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than 3 the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor, and dynamic contrast ratio was turned off.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 1010:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.27
White level (cd/m²) 272.78
Gamma 2.18
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
68.7 17.8 19.5 18.6 18.5 18.6 18.0 17.3 16.4 15.0 13.5
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
7.3 3.9 9.7 7.7 12.0 22.9

ViewSonic VX2268wm CIE chart

The uncalibrated CIE chart. The white triangle is the colour space of the monitor, the dark is the sRGB gamut it's trying to match. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

A very nice contrast ratio, but the black levels are a bit high, and everything else is whacked, especially magenta. Let's try and pull things into line with the limited control we have.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 586:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.26
White level (cd/m², target 140cd/m²) 152.45
Gamma (target 2.2) 2.15
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
74.6 20.1 5.5 2.1 0.2 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.5
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
2.8 7.8 3.9 3.9 5.0 10.8

ViewSonic VX2268wm CIE chart

The calibrated CIE chart (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

By sacrificing our dark end, we get a better light end. Black levels still aren't great, and we've lost a great deal of contrast ratio, but the greys are now closer to what they should be.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

ViewSonic VX2268wm viewing angles

Typical TN viewing angles are demonstrated by the VX2268wm. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Backlight uniformity

Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.

ViewSonic VX2268wm backlight uniformity

Nothing amazingly out of the ordinary, except that the bottom right section is brighter than one would expect. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

The ViewSonic is brightest in the middle as expected, and is brighter on the right-hand side than the left.

Light bleed
There is visible light bleed from the top and bottom of the VX2268wm, an effect common among lower-priced monitors.

It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.

Other issues
While reflection against the inner bezel of most monitors seem to be an issue these days thanks to the piano-black surfacing, the VX2268wm seems to minimise this by having the panel not so deeply inset. It's still an issue, just not as bad as some monitors.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values of 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 41W
Power-saving mode 7W
Off 7W

That's a reasonably high max draw — there's definitely less power-hungry options out there, like Samsung's XL2370 — of course it's LED backlit, whereas the VX2268wm is not.

Warranty

ViewSonic offers a three-year warranty for its LCD products. If you have a bright or dark subpixel, you may return the monitor to the reseller up to 30 days from the date of purchase. After the 30 days DOA guarantee, things get a little murkier. The tolerance levels are outlined in the diagram below:

Inside area 1, one dead pixel is required for swap out. In area 2, 3, 4 and 5, you'll need two dead pixels to get a replacement, and sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 will need three before ViewSonic will replace your monitor. (Credit: ViewSonic)

Conclusion

The VX2268wm is a reasonably good entry for a TN screen; however, we're not sold on the 3D, which increases the price greatly. For the dollars involved, we'd rather ditch the 3D and buy a higher quality monitor like the Dell UltraSharp 2209WA instead, or save our pennies and get one that equals the performance in 2D like Acer G225HQ.