ViewSonic VX1945wm review
While essentially an entertainment-focused 19in widescreen TFT, ViewSonic’s new ViewDock VX1945wm stands out in a crowded field by building an iPod dock directly into its base. All current iPods except the shuffle are supported, although you’ll need to remove the plastic adapter to fit a second-generation nano.
Via the USB port on the rear, the dock acts like any other iPod connection, allowing you to sync your music, drag and drop files, and charge your device. Other than that, the dock isn’t much use when your PC is on: while it’s nice to be able to watch video from your iPod on the big screen, in most cases you’ll already have used the PC to transfer the video to the iPod in the first place. The same applies to music, with your iTunes library on your PC.
But switch off the PC and the VX1945wm shows its real party trick: the base has a separate power supply and power switch, allowing you to plug in the iPod, switch on the speakers and use it as a jukebox. Obviously, you’re restricted to using the iPod itself as the control panel, which is a little awkward, but it’s a useful function nonetheless. Unfortunately, it’s limited by the speakers. Despite the separate 3W subwoofer, the sound is muffled and lacks treble detail, and the maximum volume is far too low to be considered for anything other than occasional use.
On the plus side, the base also features four USB ports for peripherals, and a full media-card slot array for viewing photos and videos from cameras on the big screen via USB. The 1,440 x 900 widescreen panel itself is decent enough, and we saw no problems with banding or colour tinting in our technical tests. The 5ms response time eased it through our videos and games, and the Desktop was fine in daily use. However, for a screen so clearly aimed at the home, it’s a shame the colours weren’t more vibrant.
A price of £216 is a lot to pay for a 19in TFT, despite the wealth of useful ports it offers. If you need a new TFT and were already considering buying an iPod dock, by all means go for this one, but for everyone else the ViewDock remains a novelty feature that simply doesn’t justify the high price.