ViewSonic VX924 review

22 Jun 2005

With a wide dynamic range that reveals hidden detail, and a fast response time too, we have no hesitation recommending this monitor.

Price when reviewed 
259
5

There's been a lot of talk about LCD response times over the past few years. Faster response times are better, at least in theory, as they should avoid the apparent problem with motion lag that's kept dedicated gamers and movie buffs clinging on to CRTs. ViewSonic's VX924 panel has the lowest quoted response time yet, at 4ms.

There are two issues with these figures, though. First, it takes longer for a black pixel to switch to a 'middle' state (such as a shade of grey) than it does to white, because the crystals move more slowly without maximum voltage applied. ViewSonic's solution to this is its ClearMotiv system, which initially applies a high voltage to kick-start the transition, reducing it as the crystals move, to even out response times across the spectrum.

The second issue is that even a 16ms response time can theoretically cope with 62.5 individual frames per second - well over that needed to produce full-motion video or decent gameplay, so it's clear that the quoted figure alone doesn't tell the full story.

And, in practice, the VX924 doesn't bring to an end the issue of TFT versus CRT. A fast-moving white box on a black background appears to have soft edges, as well as a slight shadow behind it. The same test on a decent CRT results in crisp edges with a distinct trailing tail. But don't let this cloud your buying decision: the VX924 is notably better at handling swift, high-contrast movement than the vast majority of TFTs that pass through our labs. When playing games or watching movies, it's an improvement you'll notice only rarely, but it's still welcome.

Thankfully, the rest of the panel's performance is outstanding. There are a few small blemishes - a slight lack of vibrancy and a minor loss of red saturation - but everything else is superb. The detail offered at the dark end of the scale near black was matched at the white end, and we could distinguish blocks just two steps (out of 256) away from pure black and white without much trouble. This brings out detail in shadows or flared highlights on still images, and clarifies shadows on films - and that's on the default settings. Contrast is well maintained with changes in viewing angles too, and there's practically no discolouration off-centre.

There's also attention to detail elsewhere, with an attractive (if chunky) 27mm bezel, and a stand with a clever system for taming messy cables. The OSD is clear and easy to use, offering contrast and brightness control even with the DVI-D digital input, while colour temperature options include sRGB. The only things you have to forego are swivel and height adjustment, with the stand allowing tilt only.

But in spite of some small compromises, this panel impresses all-round. The exceptional range, decent motion handling and excellent viewing angles mean the VX924 is a great choice for all but colour-critical purposes, and it's available at a reasonable price too.