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Appeared on: Friday, July 28, 2006
Viewsonic VP930b


1. Introduction

Viewsonic is one of the largest and best known manufacturers of CRT and TFT monitors. Viewsonic has a complete product line of TFT monitors, which includes a 19" monitor, the VP930b. We had the opportunity to test this monitor and present our thoughts about it, compared with much lower priced TFT displays from other manufacturers. The main reason we wanted to test the VP930b is that it had some unique features (2xDSUB15 + 1x DVI) as well as pivot, swivel and height adjustment.

- Viewsonic VP930b

Viewsonic has many product lines. The VP930b is characterized as "Pro Series", indicating it is aimed more for professional use.

The main features of the VP930b are:

- Used Technology

According to Viewsonic "..SuperClearMVA technology combines SuperClear screen technology and innovative Multidomain Vertical Alignment technology to deliver high contrast, brilliant color, improved viewing angles and superior clarity for moving images...".

The panel, manufactured by AUO, has the following specs:

Size 19"
Model M190EG01 V0
Resolution (pixel)
SXGA (1280 x 1024)
Aspect Ratio
5 : 4
Active Area (mm)
376.3 x 301.1
Pixel Pitch (mm)
0.294
Mode
Premium MVA
Number of Colors
16.7M
Color Saturation (%)
72
View Angle (H/V)
178 / 178
Brightness (cd/m²)
300
Contrast Ratio
1300 : 1
Response Time (ms) (at 25°C)
8 (gray to gray)
Power Consumption (W)
28.0
Interface
2ch LVDS
Supply Voltage (V)
5
Backlight
4 CCFL
Outline Dimensions (mm)
396.0 x 324.0 x 17.5
Weight (g)
2500

The specs indicate that the panel is capable of displaying 16.7 million colors (24 bit), while it offers an impressive 1300:1 contrast ratio. Very good specs, at least on paper.

- Full Specifications
LCD PANEL
Type
19" MVA colour TFT active matrix SXGA LCD
Display Area
376mm (horizontal) x 301mm (vertical),
483mm diagonal
Pixel Pitch
0.294mm
Optimum Resolution
1280 x 1024
Bandwidth
135MHz
Contrast Ratio
1000:1 (typ.)
Viewing Angle
170° horizontal, 170° vertical (at 10:1)
Response Time
8ms (grey-to-grey), 20ms (off-on-off)
Colour Support
16.7M (24 bit)
Brightness
250cd/m² (typ.)
Panel Surface
Anti-glare
VIDEO INPUT
Analogue
RGB analogue (0.7/1.0 Vp-p , 75 ohms)
Digital
DVI-D (TMDS, 100 ohms)
Frequency
Fh: 24-82kHz,
Fv: 50-85Hz
Synchronisation
H/V separated (TTL), composite, sync on green
COMPATIBILITY
PC
Compatible from VGA up to 1280 x 1024 non-interlaced (max. 75Hz)
Mac®¹
Power Mac™ up to 1280 x 1024 (max. 75Hz)
CONNECTORS
Analogue
2 x 15-pin mini D-sub (detachable cable)
Digital
DVI-D (detachable cable)
Power
3-pin plug (CEE22)
POWER
Voltage
AC 100-240V, 50-60Hz (Auto-Switch), internal power supply
Consumption
35 watt (max.), <= 1 watt in suspend mode
ERGONOMICS
Tilt
Down 5°, up 20°
Swivel
270° (135° left/right)
Pivot
0°~90°
Height Adjustment
0~135mm

CONTROLS
Basic
Soft power, menu [1] , down, up, select [2], main power
OSD
Auto image adjust, contrast, brightness, input select (D-sub 1, D-sub 2, DVI), colour adjust (sRGB, 9300K, 7500K, 6500K, 5400K, 5000K, user RGB), information (resolution, H/V frequency, pixel clock, model number, serial number), manual image adjust (H/V position, H size, fine tune, sharpness), setup menu (language, resolution notice, OSD position, OSD timeout, OSD background, OSD pivot), auto white balance, OSD/power lock, memory recall
OPERATING
CONDITION
Temperature
0° to 40°
Humidity
10% to 90% (non-condensing)
DIMENSIONS
(W x H x D)
412 x 356–491 x 289 (w/stand)
412 x 336 x 61 (w/o stand)
WEIGHT
Net
6.8kg (w/ stand);
4.2 kg (w/o stand)
REGULATIONS
TCO'03, TUV/GS, TUV/Ergo, ISO 13406-2 (pixel failure class II), TUV S, UL, cUL, FCC-B (ICES), CB, CE, ICES-003B, NOM, ENERGY, Energy Start, GOSTR, Hygienic, SASO, KTL/MIC, BSMI, CCC, PSB, C-TICK, WEEE
POWER MANAGEMENT
Meets TCO'03, ENERGY and Energy Star standards
PACKAGE CONTENTS
LCD display, power cable, 15-pin VGA video cable, DVI cable, Quick Start Guide, ViewSonic Wizard CD-ROM (User Guide/drivers/PerfectSuite software), portrait/pivot CD-ROM software
WARRANTY
Visit this page

According to Viewsonic, DOA ( Dead on Arrival) timeframe for return is based on the fact that 99% of such types of sub-pixel errors result within a single normal thermo cycle (i.e. after the display has been on for a period, then off for a period and then on again: hot, cold, hot).

Pixel Defect Policy

From Viewsonic: "...For any sub pixel defect (red or green or blue) ViewSonic LCD display products are warranted in accordance with the ISO standard 13406-2 class II. On pixels ViewSonic exceeds ISO 13406-2 class II requirements not allowing for any defective (permanently dark or bright) complete pixel consisting of red, green, and blue sub pixels (“Zero Pixel Defect Policy”)..." This means you must have at least 2 dead pixels, in order to have a monitor replaced. Below you can see what the ISO standard 13406-2 characterises as class II:


2. Package

- The package

Our Viewsonic VP930b was bought at the retail price of €520 (including 19% VAT). The package was quite big for a 19" TFT monitor, but the LCD monitor was well packaged and secure.

Package contents include a power cord, two connection cables (D-Sub15 and DVI), two CDs (Viewsonic Wizard and Perfect Suite) and quick start guide.

Looking at the screen, its design is very simple. The LCD display comes with its base included, which is quiet heavy, at least compared with other standard 19" TFT monitors. This is probably done to add stability since the height can be adjusted.

Click for hi-res!

The major advantage of the display is its pivot mechanism. You can swivel, tilt, adjust the height with simple moves and the best part is that the mechanism operates very smoothly, at least for the moment. By applying little force, you can move the display up or down .

The LCD panel can be lowered down to the base or raised to a maximum of 16.5cm (table-top to bottom edge). As the Viewsonic specs indicate, the swivel range reaches 135° (from full left to full right), while tilt can be adjusted from 5° (forward) to 20° (backward).

The Pivot action can be performed with a little force, while with Viewsonic's software you can enjoy full A4 page appearance on screen. Ideal for those who view documents, such as lawyers for example:

The OSD menu is complete with many options and information. It is very easy to understand and configure all functions.

At the back, you will find the connection and power ports. Viewsonic offers 1x DVI and 2x D-Sub15 inputs, which can rotated by pressing the "2" button at the front.

It would be great if the VP930b had PiP mode, but this isn't anything to worry over. In order to avoid cable chaos, the VP930b comes with three clips on the back of the stand, to help keep them organized. Very useful.


3. Installation

The VP930b was installed on several PCs with different display cards, from Intel 865g to NVidia 7600GT. Plug the display cable (either D-Sub15 or DVI) to the VGA card and power up the device. Viewsonic recommends setting the resolution to 1280x1024x60Hz, while the monitor can handle up to 75Hz without any problems. Below, we can see the properties for the monitor, according to Everest Ultimate Edition 2006:

Something that is not supported is a resolution of 1280x720, which represents HD 720p mode. If you want to directly connect a player to the VP930b, you will have problems at that resolution since the VP930b won't be able to hardware downscale.

Viewsonic offers an interesting application that can be used to control most of the LCD's display functions, called PerfectSuite. With Viewsonic's PerfectSuite, you can use the built-in wizard and adjust accordingly for the "best" settings for your eyes.

There is also an option for the pivot setting, so if you plan on using it, just tick "Auto Enable":

Settings can be saved as presets or use the factory default:

As a last option, you can use a built-in function that "protects" your display against theft. If the monitor is connected to a different SVGA card, it will prompt the user to enter the corresponding password (PIN), otherwise it will not function.

Under Windows properties, you can find the Pivot Pro software to rotate your display:


4. Using the device

- Performance

In order to test the Viewsonic VP930b, we connected it to an NVidia 6600GT card, with the latest NVidia Forceware drivers installed. In addition, we used several videos, games and DVDs to test response times and general behaviour.

Games:
The used panel includes a real response time of 16ms, which means no ghosting should appear in 3D person shooters and racing games. This was confirmed when playing NFS Most Wanted, F.E.A.R and other 3D Person shooter games. Very good performance from the VP930b.

Colors:
With the default settings, the screen is very bright. Reducing brightness and contrast down to 60 with a color temperature of 6500K will probably lead to better results. In the included CD, there is an ICM profile that didn't provide much better results from the above settings. A rather annoying problem was that at any setting, the colors looked washed out and even after several manual settings, we couldn't get vivid colours. We have the feeling that our display maybe defective, so we will ask for a replacement unit and update this review accordingly.

Well, we received our replacement monitor, only two days after asking for it. The colours are much better with greater clarity. With SRGB, the white colour "screams" and both brightness and colours are locked, something not suggest for most users. Our final verdict is that the colours are nice, and black looks black, even though with the very bright panel, you cannot get 100% deep black. If your main aim is excellent colour re-production though, this may not be the best monitor.

Movies:
We viewed several movies and video clips, either with the D-Sub15 or DVI connection. We didn't have any problems, there was no ghosting but the black levels seem to suffer (check above description). Due to the backlight leakage at the four corners, you may be disappointed in some scenes.

Dead Pixels:
We used DPB (Dead Pixel Buddy) software and didn't notice any dead or stuck pixels. Viewsonic doesn't clarify its policy regarding dead pixels. In some regions around the world, they offer a 0 pixel policy for 30 days, whereas in other for 3 years. Ask your local distributor about this.

Our first monitor had zero dead or stuck pixels. However, our replacement monitor had one red (stuck) pixel, which unfortunately isn't covered by Viewsonic's warranty policy.

Problems:
The VP930b series seems to have a specific problem, that can be reduced but not eliminated. When the screen is entirely black, you can clearly notice what appears like 4 spotlights shinning in from the 4 corners. They all point towards the centre of the screen, so it looks like 4 spotlights aimed at the center of the screen.

The following picture illustrates the phenomenon (picture taken in absolute dark, brightness and contrast increased within photo editing software to show the 4 corner leakage).

After playing with the brightness and contrast, you can reduce this "effect" but it won't go away. It is a common problem with LCD displays however.


5. Final thoughts

- Conclusion

Viewsonic's VP930b is an interesting monitor with special features, abilities and an interesting price. With most users asking themselves which TFT monitor would be ideal for them, the Viewsonic VP930b steps in, with its many connectivity options and a very sturdy adjustment mechanism that allows you to set height, swivel and tilt, or rotate the display to 90°, 180° and 270°.

Thanks to its P-MVA panel, you won't notice any ghosting in games or DVD movies. The biggest problem with the monitor is probably the so called "X-Shape backlight leakage", which seems to be common among VP930b users after searching around the net. Till now there has been no workaround, other than reducing the brightness/contrast. The colours on our monitor were far from perfect, forcing us to use Viewsonic's RMA procedure to have the monitor replaced. We believe the washed out colours are due to a defective monitor, so we will update this review when we get our replacement monitor.

Our initial monitor did in fact turn out to be defective, and any problems with the colours have been fixed with the replacement unit. It is unfortunate however, that a stuck red pixel on the new unit has spoiled our initial jump for joy, since you need at least two to have the monitor replaced.

The price of the monitor ranges from €420~€480 (excluding VAT), which indicates that it is aimed at the professional market. We feel that at a somewhat lower price, this LCD display could be a good choice.

The Positive

The Negative



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