ViewSonic VP171b 8ms LCD monitor
More to it than a fast response time?
The only real difference when using an analogue signal and a digital one was of overall luminance and a cleaner picture, with the digital signal over DVI giving that extra bit of punch. In both cases I was impressed with the image quality results, but in order to get the optimum quality I'd recommend using the DVI interface, if your graphics card supports one.
Our test photos looked well-balanced and natural, and those notoriously difficult skin tones were rendered well. However, I would reiterate here that some colour, brightness and contrast tweaking was needed to get the balance right. In this respect the VP171b is rather like a motor engine - finely tune it and it will deliver the goods.
The 8ms response time was a feature that I couldn't help but try to assess, comparing the same set of moving test patterns on this machine and a 16ms job. I can't say there was a conclusive difference between the monitors, but it was interesting to note that I could pick out more smearing on test screens where a grey area was surrounded by black in comparison to a white area surrounded by black. This would indicate that the response time is slower when the pixels are twisting from a grey shade to black as opposed to white to black. In our real world tests, however, our test DVD's action sequences looked very smooth, and I couldn't really see any smearing during frenzied gameplay.
The LCD's viewing angles are relatively narrow and although the stated horizontal viewing angles cover an arc of 140 degrees before the contrast and brightness drop off, the up and down viewing angles are narrower. In fact, the vertical viewing angles are narrow enough that when you pivot the screen for a portrait mode the screen can be seen to darken a little on the right (or the top portion of the screen in the standard landscape orientation). In this portrait mode, it only takes a small shift of your head to the left before you notice the fall in illumination down the right.
The VP171b's image quality is very good, but you'll have to spend a little time getting it to that point. As for that fast response time, I'm sure it'll please a number of potential users, but as a display for general use whether it be at home or in the office, the added bonus of good connectivity, a lovely design and a decent price tag should see it gain a wider following.
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