ViewSonic VA1912wb LCD monitor

The ViewSonic VA1912wb is a 19-inch wide-screen LCD monitor that may not look stylish, but it has good built-in speakers, a better than average performance and an attractive $349 price.

It has the usual matte black case that is provided on most budget monitors and eight chrome buttons on the bottom bezel. It has a large oval base that is prone to wobble even when minor adjustments are made.

The monitor does not offer much flexibility. You can tilt the panel 5 degrees forward and 25 degrees back, but there is no provision for height, pivot or swivel adjustments.

The panel is positioned almost four inches above the desktop, which suits most users. It takes DVI-D and VGA inputs and both cables are provided. There is not much space to attach the connectors and a plastic cover can be snapped on over the cable area. A clip to hold the cables would have been welcome.

The onscreen menu is very easy to navigate and all the necessary buttons are provided for adjusting the image. A dedicated mute button is provided for the built-in speakers. To adjust the volume, you have to go through the onscreen menu. The built-in speakers sound good, but the volume is not very loud.

The monitor provides better than average performance at its native resolution of 1,440 x 900. Text is easy to read and the grayscale performance is average. There is a little compression at both ends of the spectrum and the monitor may not display the darkest or the lightest shades of gray.

Grays tend to have a reddish tint, which cannot be corrected by the color temperature controls. Bars of gray tend to look darker at the bottom of the screen, than at the top.

The 8-millisecond pixel-response rate is quite fast and provides good gaming performance, though some games may not support the unusual resolution of this monitor. Not much ghosting or streaking is evident during DVD playback, but skin tones look orange and some digital noise is visible.

The VA1912wb comes with a standard 3-year warranty on parts, labor and the backlight. A one-year extension costs $63 and a two-year extension costs $90. With Express Exchange a replacement monitor is shipped within 48 hours. It costs $74 for one year and $105 for two years.

The ViewSonic support website offers toll-free phone support around the clock, and an e-mail support form. It also provides white papers, driver downloads and an interactive Q & A knowledge portal.

The ViewSonic VA1912wb may look a little plain, but it offers better than average performance, good built-in speakers and a very attractive price.

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