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ViewSonic VX1962wm Review

by The Review CrewJune 10, 2010

Despite its good performance in games, smart design, and a high 1,680×1,050 resolution, we do not recommend the ViewSonic VX1962wm because Westinghouse has a 19-inch LCD that’s slightly cheaper and a better performer. A slightly blurry picture during DVD playback also detracts from the ViewSonic’s appeal, and we noticed a yellowish hue to the image while in the 6500K color temperature; switching to 9300K fixed the color hue problem. There is no rotation, pivoting, or screen-height adjustment feature, and the side viewing angle is not as wide as that of the Westinghouse L1916HW.

The ViewSonic VX1962wm can be found online for roughly $200, or $40 more than the 19-inch Westinghouse currently sells for at Best Buy. The Westinghouse has slightly better performance, though it comes with only a one-year warranty to the ViewSonic’s three-year term. Also in the 19-inch LCD mix is the Lenovo ThinkVision L1940p, which costs about $50 more than the ViewSonic VX1962wm but boasts better overall performance along with more ergonomic features but a lower native resolution than either the ViewSonic or Westinghouse panels. Our recommendation? Go with the Westinghouse; you can’t go wrong with any of these three, but the performance issues of the ViewSonic make the $180 Westinghouse an even better deal.

Design and features
The Viewsonic VX1962wm is a sleek-looking 19-inch display with a black, glossy finish that extends from the bezel to the back. The right and left sides of the bezel are less than an inch thick and the width of the panel is 17.5 inches. The Westinghouse 1916HW and Lenovo ThinkVision L1940p measure 17.75 inches and 17.25 inches, respectively. The footstand is oval shaped and measures 12 inches wide and 7 inches deep. Even with such a wide footstand, the display wobbled considerably when knocked from the sides.

The connection options include VGA and DVI. No HDMI is included; however the display is HDCP compatible. The display’s neck is only 3 inches long and the connection options are located above the neck. This makes them easy to access and connecting them was a painless process. There is no pivoting, rotation, or screen height adjustment here, but the screen does tilt back about 20 degrees. The top of the panel houses the built-in speakers and, while most 19-inchers top out at 1,440×900, the ViewSonic features the unusually high resolution of 1,680×1,050.

The onscreen display is basic, with options for contrast, brightness, and color temperature. Navigating through the OSD menu was simple and painless. The four OSD buttons located on the underside of the bezel are tactile and have an inch between each of them. The buttons protrude enough from the panel that you could easily calibrate this in the dark even though the blue LED power button is not bright enough to adequately illuminate the buttons.

Manufacturer’s specs:
Resolution: 1,680×1,050
Pixel-response rate: 5ms (bwb), 2ms (gtg)
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1, 6,000:1 (Dynamic Contrast)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Connectivity: VGA, DVI
HDCP compliant? No (However we were able to play HD content from Blu-ray and Cable)
Included video cables? VGA
Performance
We tested the ViewSonic VX1962wm 19-inch monitor in its DVI connection in the 6500K color temperature. The monitor posted a composite score of 81 on CNET Labs’ DisplayMate-based performance tests. That’s just above the 79 posted by the Westinghouse 1916HW and six points below the Lenovo ThinkVision L1940p’s score of 87.

While the ViewSonic scored better than the Westinghouse in color tests like the Intensity Color Ramp test and screen uniformity tests like the Dark Screen test, it actually exhibited inferior performance on our real-world games and movies tests.

With the monitor set to the 6500K color temperature, we noticed that King Kong on DVD had an overall yellowish hue to it, almost as if the film stock itself had a yellow coating. This is not something that stands out dramatically, and we found it wasn’t apparent until we compared it with the Westinghouse or the Lenovo showing the same image. We also noticed the DVD image on the ViewSonic was slightly blurry when compared with the Lenovo and Westinghouse. World of Warcraft had a similar yellow hue to it, but otherwise looked good.

When we switched the color temperature to 9300K, we saw dramatic improvement in the color hue and the colors looked more balanced. The yellow hue was all but gone in both games and movies, however image was still slightly blurry. We also noticed that the backlight increased the black level to the point that the colors looked slightly washed out. The display didn’t exhibit the deep blacks we saw on the Westinghouse. The ViewSonic VX1962wm posted a brightness rating of 283cd/m2 according to our tests. This is compared with the Westinghouse, which got 307cd/m2 and the Lenovo, which came in at 273cd/m2.

Viewsonic claims a viewing angle of 170 degrees, but we found that when our viewing angle was only about 2 feet from center, the detail of the image would decrease. When we viewed from a couple inches below the optimal viewing angle–one-quarter of the screen distance from the top–screen detail began to drop at about 3 inches below.

The monitor includes a Dynamic Contrast Ratiooption, but we didn’t notice anything “dynamic” about it. When switched on, it seemed to increase the contrast and brightness, but there was no dynamic dimming or increasing of the backlight during movies.

We found that the best settings for viewing games and movies on the display were the 9300K color temperature, Dynamic contrast: off, Contrast: 43, Brightness: 50 (more or less brightness depending on how much your eyes can take).

The built-in speakers reach a good volume for watching YouTube videos, but their tinny sound prevents them from being tailored for games or movies.

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The Review Crew
The Review Crew is a group of beat editors, writers, and consultants that have been working together for years. They know just about everything about everything collectively and have published their collective work under the Review Crew brand moniker for almost 20 years.

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