ViewSonic VP211b review
It may be crying out for a higher resolution and a cheaper price, but the VP211b is still a good choice if you want a 21in TFT.
Review Date: 20 Aug 2003
Reviewed By: David Fearon
Price when reviewed: (£1,087 inc VAT); Delivery £5 (£6 inc VAT)
With the same 21.3in viewable diagonal as the Samsung SyncMaster 213T, ViewSonic's new high-end panel is an imposing beast, although its build and design are better than the Samsung in nearly every respect. Like the Samsung, the VP211b's screen rotates into portrait mode, but it positively latches into either orientation and doesn't need to be tilted back to stop it swiping the desk as it rotates either. A tidy running up the stand's spine, meanwhile, helps keep the video and mains cables - which connect directly to the body - from becoming a nuisance while rotating.
The stand is also well engineered, with easy tilt-and-swivel adjustment and a spring-assisted height-adjustment mechanism. It's so well balanced that it hardly requires any force to raise the 5kg screen through its 110mm height range. Round the back you'll find both analog D-SUB and digital connections, with the digital input being a DVI-I connector so it will also accept DVI-A input for connecting two analog video sources. There's a USB 2 hub too, with one upstream and four downstream connectors.
The input source can be switched through D-SUB, DVI-A and DVI-D directly by hitting the Select button in isolation, which is good news for those connecting more than one machine, although the rest of the OSD could do with a slight overhaul. ViewSonic persists with its habit of labelling two of its four OSD control buttons with numbers rather than their function; namely, Menu/Cancel and Select.
But this is the only complaint in a design that's not only practical, but looks good too. Eschewing beige or silver in favour of a matte black housing, the VP211b is consistent with the rest of ViewSonic's range. It also sports TCO 99 certification, as the TCO organisation appears to have relaxed its rule regarding neutral monitor colours. The bezel is a slim 20mm in width, allowing for tiling of multiple displays, and ViewSonic produces specific multiscreen stands for dual-horizontal, dual-vertical, triple-horizontal and quad configurations.
However, in common with all the 21in desktop TFTs we've tested, the ViewSonic's native resolution is just 1,600 x 1,200 and, although this is high, it's well below the usability limit for such a big screen. We're still looking forward to seeing a panel of 1,880 x 1,440 or higher, given the high resolutions that regularly ship with much smaller notebook displays.
Resolution aside, though, the ViewSonic's image quality is excellent, with high contrast and well-saturated colours. The viewing angles are also superb; ViewSonic rates it at 170 degrees both horizontally and vertically, and we found no way of arguing with that.
Loading up DisplayMate Multimedia Edition and running through our formal tests also showed the VP211b to be technically capable. The colour linearity, for example, was exemplary, with greys remaining close to neutral regardless of their intensity. TFTs still can't match old-fashioned CRT monitors for response to movement and animation, but the VP211b's 25ms pixel response time was borne out by reasonably good real-world performance. So, when watching a DVD, the unit's HDTV 720p compatibility consequently won't go to waste.
In fact, there's little that the VP211b does wrong. Whether a 21in TFT can replace a 22in CRT for high-end design is still arguable, but as long as you can swallow the price this is about as good as 21in TFTs get at the moment.
Author: David Fearon
- Flexible tablets closer to reality with graphene ink
- Now Apple is targeted over tax avoidance
- Mobile chip makers overtake AMD in market share
- Nokia Lumia 'EOS' may feature slimmed down PureView
- Leap Motion reveals Windows 8 controls
- Flickr offers "awesome" 1TB of free storage
- EE confirms 4G network outage
- EU promises single telecoms market by 2015
- Samsung courts Android developers with $800,000 contest
- iOS 7: release date, features and more
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- Google Now draining iPhone battery
- Best smartphones for 2013
- The best broadband speed tests
- iPhone apps for business travel
- How to get a job as a mobile games developer
- 25 best Windows 8 apps
- Introducing Arduino - a simple Raspberry Pi alternative
- The tweeting spaceman
- Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
- 30 best web apps
- Getting started with HTML5
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't
- Yes, I write down my passwords
There are dozens of exciting prizes up for grabs on PC Pro Competitions. All our competitions are free to enter. Try your luck.ENTER NOW