ViewSonic VX2435WM
Simon Baker, 5 August 2007

 

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Viewsonic detail their new 24" widescreen LCD display as "the perfect display for the serious professional gamer or digital entertainment enthusiast who wants great pictures in big-screen brilliance." The competition is fierce in the 24" sector at present, with a wealth of impressive, and well established, screens available at pretty reasonable prices nowadays. There's the ever popular Dell 2407WFP, now updated even with HighColor 92% NTSC gamut in the new "HC" edition. The BenQ FP241W is impressive in features and functionality, and also comes with BenQ's proprietary Black Frame Insertion (BFI) technology in the Z model (FP241WZ). So where does that leave the new Viewsonic VX2435WM?

First, let's take a look at the published specifications of the display. The VX2435WM offers the kind of spec you'd expect in the current 24" market. Viewsonic have implemented an S-MVA panel from Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) to offer good all round performance and a decent spec. You will notice that one of the positive features of this model is that there are S-Video, Composite and Component interfaces available, affording you a wide choice of connectivity for external devices. There is also an HDMI connection, offering HDCP certification. However, the monitor sadly lacks a DVI interface, meaning you need to use a (supplied) DVI >  HDMI cable to connect digitally to a PC. It would have been nice to have seen both an HDMI and DVI interface, allowing you to connect a PC using DVI, and still leave you an HDMI port for external devices like DVD Players etc.

Size

24"WS

Colour Depth

8-bit (16.7 million colours)

Resolution

1920 x 1200

Viewing Angles

176 / 176

Response Time

8ms G2G (20ms ISO)

Panel Technology

S-MVA

Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Interfaces

HDMI (HDCP certified), VGA, component, composite, S-video

Brightness

500 cd/m2

Colour

Glossy Piano Black bezel, partly silver stand

Special Features

Tilt adjustment, integrated stereo speakers

 

 

 


Above: side views of the VX2435WM. Click for larger images

 

Sticking with the design of their other recent models, the VX2435WM is reasonably basic in ergonomic features. Only a tilt function is present, and it's a little disappointing to see the lack of at least a height adjustment on a screen of this size. The loss of rotate functionality is no great thing since it tends to be impractical on a 24" monitor in my opinion anyway.

 


Above: Base section of the display which is detachable

 

The screen comes with a detachable base pretty basic in design. It doesn't offer all the extra features of the VX2245WM though, but is sturdy enough to support the weight of the huge screen. The bezel to the screen itself is reasonably chunky, but looks quite attractive in a glossy 'piano black' colour. The panel itself features traditional Anti-Reflective coating or the matt variety.

 


Above: 5 operating buttons shown above intergrated speaker section



Above: OptiColor preset menu accessible though OSD

 

The OSD buttons are non-intrusive and reasonably easy to use. The OSD itself is easy enough to navigate and feels intuitive. The buttons also give quick one-button access to selections of interface, brightness / contrast settings and preset colour profiles (Viewsonic's "OptiColor" modes). There are no options for PiP (Picture In Picture) or PbP (Picture By Picture) which is sometimes handy when you have a range of devices connected to the display. The power LED glows a blue colour when the screen is in use, and reverts to the usual orange colour in standby mode.

 


Above: Back of the screen with detachable backing plate in place hiding interface connection area. Cable tie also shown.

 

The back of the monitor features a large detachable plastic plating section which hides the various interfaces. These are situated vertically along the central section of the monitor as opposed to being along the bottom section of the screen. With the plastic housing in place, the cables are well hidden and can be clipped nicely out of the way using the usual cable tidy clips at the back of the stand.

 


Above: (left) Vertically orientated interfaces for composite, S-video, audio line in and AC power
Above: (right) interfaces for HDMI, VGA and component

 

The VX2435WM was reasonably attractive in design, but I did feel a little lacking in functionality. The stand felt a little flimsy when moving the screen (not that you can much given it only has a tilt), but the materials and build of the main screen section were decent. I felt the bezel was perhaps a little too large but it didn't really detract from the feel of the screen too much in practice.

 

 


Colour Quality and Accuracy

The Viewsonic VX2435WM utilises an 8-bit S-MVA panel, capable of producing a 16.7 million colour palette. The standard CCFL backlighting used offers a gamut covering 72% of the NTSC colour space. An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user. I restored my graphics card to default settings and set it to its standard profile. The VX2435WM was tested at default factory settings out of the box using the LaCie Blue Eye Pro and their accompanying software suite.

Default settings of the screen were 100 brightness, 70 contrast. Colour temperature was set to 6500k with the preset colour profile of "standard" being selected through the OptiColor control button.


Viewsonic VX2435WM - Default Settings


 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

552

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.62

Contrast Ratio

890:1

 

Out of the box, the VX2435WM was almost painfully bright! With the default OSD setting of 100% brightness, the VX2435WM was very hard to use. In fact, it was much more comfortable to turn the screen down to around 30 - 35% brightness in practice. For the sake of this analysis I have left the brightness at 100% for now. The LaCie Blue Eye Pro recorded the luminance at a very high 552 cd/m2, higher than the specified 500 cd/m2 even, and way off the desired 120 cd/m2 recommended for LCD screens in normal lighting conditions. Black depth was recorded at 0.62 cd/m2 something which I knew could be improved since the screen was using an S-MVA technology panel renowned for decent black depth. Contrast ratio was an impressive 890:1, close to the specified 1000:1. Gamma was close to the desired 2.2 measurement recommended for computer displays, and colour temperature was reasonably accurate at 5999k (8% variation from the desired 6500k temperature). It seemed at least the preset colour temperature profile was pretty accurate.

 

The screen was a little washed out at default settings due to the intense brightness, but colours were vivid and felt even. The graph on the right shows the DeltaE values for colours tested by the LaCie Blue Eye Pro. As a reminder, the lower these bars down the Y-axis, the better, in terms of colour accuracy. For reference, LaCie describe the DeltaE readings as:

  • If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer.

  • If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable.

  • If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.

 

As you can see, the accuracy of the produced colours was pretty poor at default settings, with an average DeltaE of only 3.8, and a maximum of 9.4. While colours felt pretty even and appeared vivid to the eye, advanced testing shows that accuracy is not suitable for any colour critical work without calibration. The monitor's gamut covered only the sRGB space pretty much, but is expected given the use of standard CCFL backlighting.

 

 


Viewsonic VX2435WM - Calibrated Results
 

 

 

Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

121

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.22

Contrast Ratio

550:1

 

I set the screen to the "standard" OptiColor profile, and adjusted the colour mode from the preset "6500k" temperature to a user controlled setting. This allowed me access to RGB adjustments which were important for the calibration process. Calibrating the screen using the LaCie colorimeter showed some nice improvement in all areas. Gamma was corrected to 2.2 as desired, colour temperature was improved to 6451k (only 1% out from the desired 6500k now), and luminance was a much more comfortable 121 cd/m2. With the brightness setting now lowered to 30% through the OSD, and the graphics card LUT adjusted during calibration and profiling, the screen felt much more comfortable to use. Black depth was also improved to a much more respectable 0.22 cd/m2, and useable contrast ratio now sat at a decent, but not staggering, 550:1.

 

Colour accuracy was improved somewhat, with grey shades improved greatly. The main red, green and blue channels remained a little higher than desired, but overall, average DeltaE was reduced from 3.8 to 0.9, meaning LaCie would describe the calibration as a success, and colour fidelity was now excellent. Overall, calibration was quite successful, but the VX2435WM did remain a slightly behind other screens I have tested in the past in terms of colour accuracy. As such, the VX2435WM is probably not the most suited for professional photo work or general colour critical work, since there are more impressive screens in this sector becoming available more suited to this use. The new generation of enhanced CCFL backlit monitors for example are now offering 92% coverage of the NTSC colour space, a nice improvement over traditional 72% coverage. There are also some LED backlit models appearing which will improve on this further to over 100% coverage of the NTSC colour space. However, since the VX2435WM is marketed as a multimedia screen, the colour accuracy shown is perfectly adequate for movies and gaming, and where accuracy might be lacking a little, the screen makes up for it in its vivid and bright appearance. The VX2435WM achieves what it set out to do here.

 

Testing the screen with colour gradients showed some slight gradation in darker tones, but no sign of any real problematic banding.

 

 


Viewing Angles

 

Above: (top) Viewing angles shown from front and sides
(bottom)  from above and from below. Click for larger images

 

Viewing angles of the VX2435WM were very good, with wide fields of view afforded both horizontally and vertically. There were acute contrast shifts detectable if you look very closely which are inherant to VA panel technology. However, this was less noticeable than I had seen on some other screens, and seemed to be less prominent than on my Dell 2405FPW. Viewing angles are obviously a step above TN Film based displays, and very impressive even when compared with S-IPS based screens. S-IPS is slightly superior in this area since it does not suffer from the VA contrast shift I describe, but users of the VX2435WM will not be disappointed in this area of the screen's performance.

 

 


Panel Uniformity
 


Click for larger image

 

In our usual testing process I viewed an all black screen in a darkened room, which allowed me to test the uniformity of the panel and to examine whether any backlight bleed was evident. The VX2435WM performed very well in this test, with pretty much no evidence of backlight leakage of any type. It is not uncommon for LCD displays to show some uniformity variations, especially around the edges and in the corners. However, the build quality was obvious very good with this model, and I saw no problems, even in darkened room conditions.

 

 


Office and Windows Use

 

The 24" panel real estate, and large 1920 x 1200 resolution make this an ideal display for office work in my opinion. The resolution is sufficient for running two side by side documents or web-pages without cutting too much off horizontally. I have often found that the 1680 x 1050 resolution of a 20" or 22" screen is not quite enough for this type of side by side working, but the extra pixels of a 24" display are another matter. The image appeared clear and sharp. The digital HDMI connection offered an ever so sightly sharper image than the very good quality VGA interface.

 

Turning the brightness down is a necessity of course, especially when you consider that at the factory default 100% brightness, the screen's luminance is upwards of 550 cd/m2! Turning brightness down in the OSD to around 30 - 35% is far more comfortable and avoids you burning your retinas when viewing white office backgrounds. The OSD OptiColor preset mode for "text" was actually a little darker than my calibrated standard profile, so might be handy for those who are using the screen for office in low light conditions, or who like a brighter standard setting. The screen doesn't offer a rotate adjustment which is sometimes handy for office documents. However, I personally feel this is more useful on screens of up to 20" maximum, and rotating a screen this size is a little impractical I think. No real loss that the VX2435WM doesn't offer this feature I don't think.

 

 


Responsiveness and Gaming

 



 

The Viewsonic VX2435WM was tested using the chase test in PixPerAn, a good bit of software for trying to quantify differences in real terms responsiveness between monitors. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared. The images above show the best case example on the left hand side, and the worst case example on the right hand side. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy as a way of keeping a constant test of each screen.

 

The VX2435WM faired pretty well considering it's 8ms G2G response time specification. The screen was not as fast in practice as the 6ms G2G rated NEC 20WGX2, widely considered still as one of the best gaming monitors available today. There was some sign of blurring in the moving car image but it did show some pretty decent performance. The screen remains a step above the 5ms rated TN Film generation, such as Viewsonic's own VX2245WM as shown above. This is due to the fact that CMO have applied a degree of response time compensation (RTC / overdrive) to the panel to boost grey to grey transitions. This is an improvement over the non-overdriven generation of panels, including the 5ms rated TN Film panels of the current market.

 

So CMO have done a good job boosting responsiveness in their S-MVA panel thanks to their 'Fast Response LC + Special Driving' technologies, and the performance of the panel was pretty good. Testing the screen in games showed some decent performance as well, with no obvious ghosting. Texture blur is hard to eliminate with current LCD technology (which is why technologies like BFI, MPA and 120Hz have been introduced), but for most users, the performance of the VX2435WM will be adequate I'm sure. Black depth was good and so darker scenes were rendered well, and colours looked vivid and bright. The "Game" OptiColor preset mode available through the OSD was quite similar to my calibrated "standard" mode, but did boost colour vibrancy a little. Might be handy for some users who want a slightly more colourful gaming experience.

 


Above: Aspect Ratio Control options available through the OSD

 

One consideration you will need to make however is that the large 1920 x 1200 resolution requires some high end graphics card power to run modern games at the native resolution. Playing at lower resolutions forces the monitor to interpolate the image, and while this is pretty decent in gaming situations, you will lose some of the sharpness and clarity of running at the native res. The monitor does feature hardware aspect ratio control which is important for many games and certainly for external devices. There are options for 1:1, 4:3, 16:9 and Full Screen. If you can't power the full native resolution of the screen in some games, and don't want the image interpolated to full screen by the monitor, you can always opt to play at 1:1 and at a lower res (e.g. 1680 x 1050). This would result in the game being letter-boxed with black borders around all sides.

 


Above: Input lag tests with screen hooked up in clone mode with a CRT. Click for larger image

 

As usual I tested the screen in clone mode with a CRT to determine the level of input lag. This is something which can put off some gamers and is a delay between graphics card and monitor output. By hooking up a CRT you can show that  the LCD lags behind somewhat, which can affect users in some situations where they rely on the screen image being as fast as their inputs (e.g. fast FPS shooting games). Often, input lag is very low and probably wouldn't represent too much of a problem in real terms. The VX2435WM was a little behind other models I have tested of late, with a typical input lag of between 30 and 40ms. Compare this to screens like the Acer AL2216W (typically 10ms) and  Viewsonic VX2245WM (10 - 20ms) for instance, and it is a little slower. Maybe an issue for some serious gamers, but probably not to most normal users.

 

 


Movies and Video


 

The Viewsonic VXX2435WM is well suited to movie playback in many ways:

  • The 24" screen size offers a decent viewable area, and a good compromise between desktop display and LCD multimedia screen

  • The 1920 x 1200 resolution of the panel means that the screen can truly show 1080i/p content at it's full 1920 x 1080 resolution

  • The HDMI interface supports HDCP encryption, something very important in today's HD market

  • The S-MVA panel technology offers wide viewing angles, good black depth and good panel uniformity as shown in this review

Some noise is evident in practice, and with the large screen resolution, low quality or SD content can appear a little blocky. Artefacts in low resolution content are accentuated due to the screen's resolution, but HD content looks very nice indeed. However, with a screen this size, you really want to be positioned about 2 metres away from the screen for an enjoyable viewing experience. At this range, artefacts and noise are pretty much unnoticeable and the screen offers an enjoyable viewing experience. Since viewing angles are very wide thanks to the S-MVA panel used, the screen is perfectly usable for more than one viewer. In darker scenes, the black depth offered of 0.22 cd/m2 means grey shades are easily identifiable. Since the uniformity of the panel is very good, there are no issues with backlight leakage which can sometimes become distracting when watching DVD's or content with black borders at the top and bottom.

 

A pivot or height adjustment would have been handy for this application since it's not always as easy to position yourself in front of the screen as when it is used as a PC display. The addition of extra interface options is a nice touch though, with component, S-Video and composite all being widely used in today's market of external DVD players and games consoles. As I said in the introduction, it's a shame there isn't a DVI interface as well as the HDMI interface, since you are limited now to using the single HDMI connection for one device.

 

The presence of aspect ratio control via hardware is very useful if you want to use external devices, so users will be happy to see options are available here. The integrated speakers are obviously not up to much, but handy enough for occasional video clip viewing. The monitor's preset OptyiColor mode for "cinema" was not that great, since it had an obvious tendancy towards blue I found. I'd stick with either a calibrated standard profile, or maybe use the slightly more vivid "Game" preset perhaps. All in all, the VX2435WM is well suited to this use and does do what it set out to do, offer a good multimedia display solution.

 


Conclusion

I found the Viewsonic VX2435WM to be a pretty decent screen overall. It is advertsied as a multimedia screen suitable to be used as a TV or a monitor, and I think it achieves what it sets out to do very well, offering a good hybrid of the two. The S-MVA panel technology was a good choice, and is capable of offering decent colour accuracy, good black depth and impressive wide viewing angles. It's a same that default settings of the screen are very poor, with brightess way too high and colour accuracy pretty far out. You will need to spend a bit of time setting the screen up to suit, but it is certainly able to offer some decent performance all round once you have. The screen is well suited to multimedia use, with it's decent movie rendering capabilities, good responsiveness and wealth of inputs for external media players and games consoles. The design was a little chunky and lacking in ergonomic adjustments for my liking, and the lack of a seperate DVI connection was disappointing I thought. However, these issues asside, the VX2435WM would make a good choice for someone who is looking for a screen for all round use and with the possibility of connecting other devices for that truly multifunctional display solution.

 

Pros

Cons

Impressive range of interface options

Missing seperate DVI interface

Good all round performance thanks to S-MVA panel technology

Limited ergonomic adjustments

Good multimedia display solution

Slightly bulky design

 

 

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