ViewSonic VA2012w review

Price when reviewed

The ViewSonic VA2012w looks similar to the award-winning Philips TFT, with its silver styling and integrated speakers beneath the screen. It doesn’t cost a great deal more either, but it’s in the finer details that it can’t match its rival this month.

ViewSonic VA2012w review

The stand isn’t as versatile as that on the Philips: it’s only tilt adjustable with no height control. Plus, the OSD buttons on the front aren’t intuitive thanks to the enigmatic ‘1’ and ‘2’ labels where ‘OK’ and ‘Cancel’ would have made more sense. But the OSD itself is fairly comprehensive, with plenty of adjustments and colour temperature settings to choose from.

The sRGB setting produces a lifelike image, but whatever colour temperature we tried colours appear washed out when compared to the more vibrant Philips, and this worsens as you move off-centre. However, for everyday PC work when you’re the only one using it, the VA2012w will be fine.

In our DVD test, many scenes appeared too light, even with the brightness reduced (although note that this is disabled under sRGB). But the detail was especially good in the dark greys, as evidenced by full marks in the dark grey technical test. At 600:1, contrast should be similar to the Philips, and it was, but a small amount of light is visible along the top edge at times. This is only really noticeable on a completely black image, though.

Bear in mind that you won’t be able to use the built-in speakers for watching videos. The quality isn’t particularly awful, but their 1W power means the top volume is only suitable for a very small room.

The VA2012w’s best performance came in 3D gaming. A reasonable score in the response-time test contributed to a fairly smooth ride in Far Cry: slight smearing was evident, but no more than the others at this price level. Colours were rich and clear throughout. However, image editing isn’t a particular strength, again due to the lack of saturation, which means you can’t count on colour accuracy.

In terms of other features, the VA2012w is disappointing. It only has DVI and VGA connections (there’s no USB hub or other video inputs), and no DVI cable is supplied in the box. The three-year collect-and-return warranty is better than RTB offerings, though.

For general office use, the ViewSonic is an adequate monitor, but the cheaper Philips outperforms it in every aspect.

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