At a Glance
Inexpensive, no-frills model displays text well--but others in the same price range do better with both text and graphics.
The first ViewEra monitor we've tested, the V172D has a very attractive price of $272--but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. This is a bare-bones model, with no physical adjustments other than tilt, no headphone jack or speakers, and no software. It doesn't even come with a detailed manual either on CD or on paper (as do most of the monitors we've reviewed); instead you get a thin, 14-page paper manual that provides little guidance along with a few unfortunate misspellings. A ViewEra representative tells us that an online manual will be available early in 2005, but it wasn't available in time for this review.
Though the ViewEra V172D earned a Very Good image-quality rating for text, so did most other current 17-inch LCDs we've tested. We awarded the V172D a paltry score of Fair for graphics quality (one of only three such scores we've given to an LCD lately). At the monitor's default settings, graphics appeared so severely washed out that details disappeared in our test screen of a group-portrait photo. And in our grayscale test, some or our jurors couldn't distinguish the lightest or darkest shades from the backgrounds.
A tempting choice for bargain hunters, the ViewEra V172D is acceptable for tasks like word processing; but for a little more money, you can get better graphics and a broader array of features.
17-inch screen, 1280 by 1024 native resolution, 12.1 pounds, one 15-pin analog and one DVI digital inputs, 16ms pixel response, 160 degree viewing angle (vendor's specification), two 3-watt built-in speakers. Three-year warranty (one year on the backlight); 9-hour weekday toll-free tech support.