ViewSonic – VG150 ViewPanel review

15-inch LCD display
Photo of ViewSonic – VG150 ViewPanel
£800 + VAT

LCD monitors are becoming increasingly popular, but are still nowhere near dominating the desktop. There are various reasons for that, not least of which is price, and that’s set to rise due to increased manufacturing costs. ViewSonic is a company that’s had a good grip on the conventional CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor market for quite a while, and was also pretty quick to introduce an LCD display. This VG150 ViewPanel is the newest in the range.

This is a 15-inch display, which means that its viewable diagonal screen size is a true 15 inches. That’s in contrast to a CRT monitor, where 15 inches usually means a 13.5-inch screen size. In other words, the visible screen area on this monitor is probably just a little bit smaller than that of a 17-inch CRT, which is a good size for home and general business use. That’s especially true since the VG150 is just over five inches deep from front to back, so it can easily be squeezed onto a relatively small desktop, or even wall mounted with the appropriate kit.

Its TFT screen can handle a maximum resolution of 1024 x 768. That’s its fixed resolution, in fact, which means that although the monitor is capable of handling 640 x 480 and 800 x 600, zooming them up to full screen size, only the 1024 x 768 mode looks ‘right’, with relatively little distortion. Macintosh modes are supported too, although you’ll need a special adapter for that, since the only connector at the back is a 15-pin D-sub analogue RGB socket for use with standard PC graphics adapters.

ViewSonic’s documentation states that the VG150 ‘supports’ 16.7 million colours, which equates to 24-bit colour depth. Where most LCD panels are concerned, this 24-bit support is actually an interpolation of 18-bit colour depth (i.e. 262,000 colours) and although – or perhaps because – we could find no mention of the details anywhere, it seems likely that this is also the case with the VG150. Whatever the actual specifications, the display looks good for an LCD. It’s bright, sharp and rich in colour.

The VG150 supports the latest TCO99 ergonomics and emissions standard, is Plug and Play compliant and comes with a monitor information disk for Windows 95/98, which helps to ease the setup process. Should you need to tweak the display, you can do so by means of the on-screen menu system, which allows you to adjust the screen geometry, colour balance, synchronisation, brightness, contrast and so on, all accessed via five buttons under the screen.

Company: ViewSonic

Contact: 0800 833 648


Verdict
This is a bright, crisp display with good colour depth support for its size. It can be desk or wall-mounted and complies with all the major monitor standards. It's expensive compared to a CRT display, and the digital-analogue-digital conversion required by current LCD technology means that the display is not as comfortable as a good CRT, but if space is at a premium and money isn't, this might be what you're looking for.