ViewSonic VP2330wb review

18 May 2006

Technically not as good as the Dell, and yet it's £250 more expensive

Price when reviewed: 
841(£989 inc VAT)
3

Though this panel may lack an inch over the Samsung opposite, it still has the same resolution - 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Side-by-side you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference in panel size. However, you'll notice this ViewSonic more when it comes to getting your credit card out; at about £150 more expensive than the Samsung and £250 more than the AListed Dell 2405FPW, we'd expect the performance to be better too.

This is no mean feat, because the Dell is near faultless for that £250 saving; we were eager to see how ViewSonic justifies the asking price. Our tests revealed a few worries, though. While colour handling is excellent - with colour ramps going from bright and bold to black smoothly and uniformly - we saw uneven backlighting in the corners.

And while contrast range is generous - with plenty of detail in both dark and brightly lit scenes - reducing contrast below 70 introduces a green tinge in greys that gives images a sickly look. This wouldn't be a problem were it not for the Auto Image Adjust running after the panel loses and regains a signal, which can happen when launching games. This panel isn't a great choice for gamers anyway, as the motion lag will soon become annoying: almost everything that moved became blurred in our test games. Both the Dell and the Samsung opposite are much better at handling fast motion.

This blur wasn't as noticeable when watching video files, though, and the slight inconsistencies in the backlighting weren't noticeable either. Instead, we just noticed the excellent contrast, which gave every shadow and every ray of light a pleasing depth and realism. The brightness of the panel is perhaps the most surprising given that ViewSonic quotes a dim 250cd/m2. In side-by-side comparison, there was no discernible difference between it and the 500cd/m2-rated Samsung.

We did notice a big difference in build quality though, with the housing round the 23in panel much more solid than the Samsung. Again, the screen slides up and down a trunk but gives a greater range: between 410mm and 545mm. Instead of the trunk splitting in two to give 30 degrees rotation, the whole unit is mounted on a turntable for 300 degrees of rotation. You'll rarely have to use this, however, as horizontal viewing angles approach 180 degrees anyway. Viewing angles are narrower in the vertical plane, with colour and brightness inconsistencies creeping in at about 45 degrees off perpendicular. We're also not particularly enamoured with the giant power-supply brick; at 114 x 74 x 56mm it's hard to tuck away and does little to reduce the heat created by the screen.

We hoped that a 23in panel could really compete against the Dell 2405FPW; the loss of an inch of physical screen space should, if anything, reduce the price while not being noticeable in day-to-day use. However, despite some good results in our tests, the VP2330wb simply can't match the Dell for image quality, and falls woefully short of competing on price.