capsule review

ViewSonic VP231wb

At a Glance
  • ViewSonic VP231WB 23

    PCWorld Rating

    Businesslike 23-inch unit includes the full range of physical adjustments and pivot software for viewing in portrait mode.

ViewSonic VP231wb
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

Switched off, the ViewSonic VP231wb looks businesslike and understated, thanks to its thin bezel and monochromatic, two-footed design. But once you fire up the 23-inch wide screen, you'll discover that vivid color reproduction and sharp text are the VP231wb's business. It nearly matched the Samsung SyncMaster 243t's stellar performance on text, and finished a solid second in both text and graphics. Like all the other 23- and 24-inch wide-screen monitors we tested for our July 2005 chart, the VP231wb has a native resolution of 1920 by 1200 pixels.

The overall scores are only part of the story. The $1749 VP231wb outperformed every other recently tested large wide-screen monitors on our real-world text screen of a Microsoft Word document, and its clean lines on an Excel spreadsheet rivaled that of the reigning Samsung. On our photo test screens of a group portrait and a fruit tart, the ViewSonic beat all the other contenders, showing vivid colors and natural-looking flesh tones with equal aplomb.

One clear business advantage is that the screen can pivot on its axis. Portrait viewing yields a better picture of full document pages, Web sites, and some specialized business applications. Pivoting the screen also makes it easier to reach the four USB 2.0 ports in the back. The VP231wb comes with Perfect Pivot, ViewSonic's version of Portrait Displays' $40 Pivot Pro software; if you're bargain-shopping for a large wide-screen monitor and plan to use pivot, take this add-on into account.

The VP231wb has only analog and digital PC inputs--no composite, component, or S-Video inputs--so we tested it with its digital input. When we watched a scene from our test movie DVD in full-screen mode, images looked sharp and colors rich, but subtle shadows and highlights in a black velvet cloak didn't come through. Video quality improved at the smaller sizes of picture-in-picture displays; but even at these small sizes, a little motion artifacting was evident. ViewSonic rates the VP231wb's response time at 12 milliseconds, which is its intergray (also called gray-to-gray) response time; its rise-and-fall (or black-to-white) response time is 16 milliseconds. In any case, the monitor displayed smoother video than did the Samsung 243t (its closest LCD competitor for overall image quality), though it couldn't match the motion display quality of a good CRT.

The ViewSonic VP231wb displays gorgeous still images and reasonably good moving images; the pivoting screen and included pivot software could tip the balance in this wide-screen monitor's favor.

Laura Blackwell

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Businesslike 23-inch unit includes the full range of physical adjustments and pivot software for viewing in portrait mode.

    Pros

    • Excellent for text and photos
    • Screen pivots; pivot software included
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