Why virtualise your NAS environment?
- Excellent colour and response time, Wide variety of AV ports, HDMI is included
- Speakers could have been better, Bulky design, High-resolution AV devices look a little soft
With many manufacturers releasing panels at 30in, the 28in Viewsonic VX2835wm is a cheaper and viable alternative.
Price$ 1,289.00 (AUD)
The Viewsonic VX2835wm is a 28in widescreen (16:10) LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1920x1200. With integrated speakers, AV ports and 1080p support, it looks more like a TV masquerading as a monitor, or a monitor masquerading as a TV. It's hard to tell, but whichever way you look at it, it means more connection options for the end-user.
The VX2835wm looks like a larger version of the VX2235wm, as its design is very similar. However, it's actually far more versatile; it has HDMI, Component, Composite and S-Video video input, and RCA audio inputs for each of those video input. It supports two PC connections (one via a VGA port and the other via an HDMI port), as well as multiple AV sources. Curiously, the unit doesn't have a DVI port. Instead, it ships with a DVI-to-HDMI cable so that a second PC can be connected via the HDMI port. Since HDMI and DVI are essentially the same thing, this isn't a problem, but should you want to have a DVI monitor and an HDMI AV product connected at the same time, you may need to compromise and use a DVI-to-VGA adapter.
We connected to the monitor via the HDMI connection and ran its native resolution of 1920x1200 without any major issues. The desktop looked a little too sharp but this was easily corrected. At its default settings, the monitor's colours were a little overbearing, but using the on-screen calibration options, we were able to find a happy medium. The monitor comes with various visual preset modes, which are designed to optimise image quality based on the type of content you are viewing. We didn't find any of them all that helpful, so we stuck to the "normal" profile, but with a few custom tweaks. It's worth spending some time learning this monitor's settings in order to find the colour, contrast, sharpness and brightness levels that feel right for you.
To test the colour reproduction of the unit, we ran tests using the game World of Warcraft. We used World of Warcraft due to its lush environments and extreme colours in between game areas. We were impressed by the colour - not only the accuracy, but also the subtlety as well. Areas with fine colour variations blended seamlessly without any stepping, thanks to the 800:1 contrast ratio. We also checked the panel's ability to render grey by running a series of greyscale tests using DisplayMate Video Edition. Strangely enough, despite performing well in the Warcraft colour tests, there were yellow, magenta and cyan discolourations at various points along the greyscale. This was most notable in mid-level greys. While this doesn't seem to harm the overall performance of the panel, it's still worth mentioning.
Viewsonic claims that this monitor has a pixel response time of 3ms. To check this response time, we used scrolling text and also ran more gaming tests, this time using Unreal Tournament 2001. We didn't notice any ghosting during the gaming tests and the scrolling text was smooth. Due to its good performance in these tests, and also because it has so many AV inputs, it seems that this monitor is aimed squarely at gamers.
To test the AV ports, we connected an Xbox 360 to the monitor at various resolutions: 720p, 1080i and 1080p. At all resolution, the image quality was good, but tended to look a little soft. We attempted to compensate with sharpening, but when the sharpness was turned up too far, artefacts became visible and a halo effect was noticeable on all edges. We ran gaming and movie tests at these resolutions and were largely happy with the results. It wasn't perfect, by any means -- it can't compare with a proper LCD TV -- but if you want a monitor that can be used to quickly switch between your PC, gaming consoles and other AV equipment, it will do the job convincingly.
The speakers are greatly improved over other models in Viewsonic's line up. They can produce a reasonable amount of volume, though not as much as a set of dedicated speakers. The sound quality was a mixed bag. At times, it with rich and vibrant, while at other times it was muddled. At high volume, there was a notable amount of case resonance when the bass kicked in, as well as some crackling distortion. We would recommend buying speakers if you get this monitor. However, the built-in speakers are convenient, especially for quickly switching between the PC input and the AV inputs.
The design is good in some ways, and poor in others. In the 28in space, most monitors don't ship with integrated speakers. As such, they're designed as pure display panels. The VX2835wm, on the other hand, has a rather prominent speaker system and appears to be a lot bulkier than other large-screen monitors. The stand comes pre-installed and it can be raised or tilted backwards and forwards. The rear of the unit has connections for VGA D-Sub, HDMI, component, S-Video and composite, as well as accompanying RCA audio ports.
With many manufacturers releasing panels at 30in, the 28in Viewsonic VX2835wm is a cheaper and viable alternative. Some gamers may not appreciate the bulky design of the unit, but its excellent performance is reason enough to give it some serious consideration.
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