ViewSonic VP171s review

Packed with features and great quality, the VP171s bridges the price and quality gap between Sharp and Eizo. A great TFT.

17 Feb 2005
Price when reviewed 

NOTE: An updated model - the VP171s-2 - supplanted this in the A List. The entry reads:

"The original VP171s impressed us with its quality and multitude of connectors, but not with its price. But with an updated panel that reduces response time to 8ms, and a new lower price to match, the VP171s-2 has taken its place on the A List"

ViewSonic's VP171s looks impressive straight out of the box. The black stand is solid and offers a huge array of movement - 110mm up and down, 45 swivel in each direction and decent tilt angles. It pivots to portrait mode as well, something the Sharp can't boast. The stand, however, offers no way of locking at a specific height, so the spring is left to take the strain - and the whole panel moves around when you knock it.

At the back there are two D-SUB connectors accompanying the DVI-D. This is useful if you want to hook up three devices; you don't have to switch cables if, say, you have a second PC that you wish to flick to now and again - you just press a button on the front.

The silver bezel is nice and thin at only 14mm and the OSD controls are intuitive and simple to use. When using the DVI interface, though, there are hardly any adjustments beyond colour temperature.

In our quality tests, the VP171s came second overall. Fine focus and pixel tracking caused no problems, and the same went for green and white colour purity. Unlike the Eizo, there was a very faint backlight glow at the bottom of the black screen but nothing serious. The colour combinations were good too, with only a slight washing out of green when on magenta and cyan backgrounds. In the white-level saturation test, almost every shade of white was displayed. Without adjusting the contrast or brightness settings it then also managed to display all but one shade of grey on a black background. This excellent contrast bumped it ahead in the technical tests over the Sharp.

An excellent colour ramp was displayed, with a great shade range only slightly marred by faint banding in the green and white sections. The range was good in the grey ramp too, though banding was a little more pronounced here. Colour scales were fine, as was the colour spectrum - our only criticism is that yellow and blue areas were a bit too large, muting other colours. The VP171s walked the real-world tests, dropping very few points indeed. Only the Eizo beat it for viewing angles, despite a relatively low claimed 140.

All in all, the VP171s is one step above the Sharp. It's technically more proficient and has more features, but this is reflected in the price. Ultimately, the quality differences won't be noticed by everyone, and the Sharp is better value. Still, it's cheaper than the Eizo and is a great choice if you need the features.

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