Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED review

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Impressive colour quality
  • Wide viewing angles

Cons

  • Inconvenient button placement
  • Some motion blur
  • Limited feature set

Affordable IPS (In-Plane Switching) monitors are popping up all over the place thanks to the advent of low-cost IPS panel technologies such as e-IPS and Viewsonic's Super Clear IPS. Whatever the naming convention, the latest batch of IPS panels are cheaper to manufacture than the pricey (and better performing) P-IPS panels used in higher end monitors.

With the Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED you get a beautifully crafted 27in Super Clear IPS monitor offering rich colours, wide viewing angles, and good greyscale performance. This model is not without flaws, however, and you don't get much in the way of features.

Design and features

The VX2770's 1,920 x 1,080 panel is housed in what Viewsonic calls a frameless bezel chassis. The matte black cabinet has an extremely slender (18mm) profile and a 33mm glossy black bottom bezel. The top and sides of the panel are framed by 3mm of glossy black plastic trim, making the 27in screen appear bigger than it actually is. A small colourful Viewsonic logo is etched into the centre of the bottom bezel.

The cabinet is devoid of function buttons and I/O ports. Instead, there are five touch buttons tucked away beneath the cabinet on the face of the stand. Here you'll find the power switch, up and down menu arrows, and buttons for selecting choices and exiting menus. The placement of the buttons certainly helps maintain the monitor's streamlined look but they are not easy to reach, especially if you have large hands. Right below the buttons are two 1.5 Watt speakers that are best used at a low volume as they lack mid-tone and bass response, and generally sound way too trebly.

The wedge-shaped stand offers tilt adjustability, but that's all; you can't swivel the panel or adjust its height. At the back of the base are DVI, HDMI, and VGA video inputs and two audio jacks (audio-in and headphones). You don't get any USB ports on this model, nor is there a webcam or a card reader. With the ports built in to the stand you can't mount the panel on a wall, which explains the absence of VESA mounting holes.

Picture controls are very basic and include contrast, brightness, colour temperature, and dynamic contrast ratio settings. If you're using an analog signal you can use the Auto Image Adjust option or manually tweak sharpness and fine tuning settings. There are also three ECO power saving settings (Standard, Optimise, Conserve) and an aspect ratio control.

Performance

The VX2770Smh has a non-reflective matte coating that keeps glare in check without diminishing brightness. Colour quality is typical of an IPS panel; we witnessed bold, well saturated colours popping out from the screen while watching the Blu-ray version of the BBC's Planet Earth, and swatches from the DisplayMate Colour Scales test were uniform and bright. Skin tones appeared natural as well. Colours remained bright and true from any angle, and the picture did not lose luminance no matter how far away I moved from dead centre.

The panel performed admirably on the DisplayMate 64-step Greyscale test, but the darkest and lightest shades were not as crisp and well defined as I have seen on pricier P-IPS monitors. There was no evidence of tinting in the greyscale, and small text was easy to read.

The VX2770Smh has a 7 millisecond (grey-to-grey) pixel response, which proved adequate for most home entertainment (i.e. video) tasks but produced a few motion artifacts during my gaming tests. I observed minor blurring while playing Burnout Paradise on the PS3 console, but it was sporadic and not detrimental to game play. If you're a hardcore gamer who demands a speedy pixel response, the BenQ XL2420T is a better choice, but it uses a TN (Twisted Nematic) panel.

The VX2770 used 30 Watts of power during testing, which is just a tad shy of the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM's 32 Watts. Switching to the ECO Optimise mode brings that number down to 26 Watts, and the Conserve mode reduces it further to 21 Watts, but both modes are too dim to justify the slight cost savings.

Verdict

With its slim profile and bezel-free design, the Viewsonic VX2770smh-LED is sure to jazz up even the drabbest desktop environment, but there's more to this monitor than aesthetics. The 27in panel delivers a solid colour performance and offers the wide viewing angles that IPS technology is famous for.

A few USB ports and a built-in webcam would be welcome additions, and better motion handling would help win over the gaming crowd, but this monitor’s £235 price tag is quite reasonable for a big-screen IPS monitor. If you're looking for a 27in IPS monitor with a more robust feature set, including an ergonomic stand and a USB hub, the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM remains our top pick for big-screen monitors.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Product

Viewsonic VX2770Smh-LED

Native Resolution

1920 x 1080

PC Interfaces

Analog VGA, Digital (DVI-D), HDMI

Diagonal Screen Size

27in

Supported Video Formats

1080p24

Aspect Ratio

16:9