The Viewsonic VSD220 ($399 list) may look like a typical desktop monitor, but there’s nothing typical about this 22-inch touch display. Dubbed the Smart Display, it’s actually part all-in-one (AIO) PC, part tablet, and part desktop monitor. The VSD220 is powered by a dual-core 1.0 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP4430 ARM processor with 8GB of internal storage memory, runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and has touch=screen capabilities, allowing you to use it as an independent desktop tablet-like device. It also has an HDMI input so you can use it as a PC monitor. While its $400 price might be a tad high for 22-inch monitor, it’s actually quite reasonable considering its hybrid characteristics. From a display point of view the VSD220 delivers rich, nicely saturated colors, has an ample selection of features, and won’t stress your utility bill, but its grayscale and viewing angle performance fall short. It performs well as a Smart display too, but the touch screen response is erratic.
Design and Features
The VSD220′s 21.5-inch screen is housed in a slim matte black cabinet measuring 0.86 inches and weighing 10.6 pounds. Thin glossy black bezels frame the 1,920–by-1,080 screen on the top and sides while the bottom bezel gives way to a 1.75-inch panel that holds a set of speakers and the power switch. A white Viewsonic logo is located in the middle of the bottom bezel, below the speaker grill.
The 1.5-watt speakers are standard monitor issue and are adequate for video chats and other applications where robust audio output is not required. Music lovers will find them to be too tinny and devoid of bass, however.
The monitor is supported by a picture frame stand that folds out from the rear of the cabinet. You can remove it if you prefer to use the embedded VESA mounting holes to hang the monitor on a wall. There’s also a removable rectangular panel back there that gives way to an enclosure containing several ports. Here you’ll find a micro HDMI input, a LAN port, a micro SD card slot, and the power jack. The right side of the cabinet holds two downstream USB 2.0 ports and the left holds an upstream micro USB port and a headphone jack. A 1.3-megapixel webcam and microphone are embedded in the screen’s super bezel. Networking capabilities include wireless 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, and wired Ethernet.
You can use the VSD220 as a computer monitor by connecting to your host PC via the micro HDMI port (a cable included in the box), but the webcam will not function in this mode. However, you can take advantage of the VSD200′s touch screen capabilities while in monitor mode as long as you have an operating system that supports touch technology, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.
The VSD220 uses optical touch technology as opposed to the capacitive technology used on many tablets and Smartphones. As a monitor the VSD220′s performance varied. Color samples from the DisplayMate Color Scales test were uniform and well saturated, transitioning evenly from dark to light. Text with small fonts (5.3 points) was crisp and easy to read. Grayscale performance was less impressive; the panel was unable to correctly display the darkest and lightest swatches of the 64-Step Grayscale test. Overall picture quality was still quite good but highlight detail in my test photos appeared washed out.
The LED backlit panel delivers a bright picture as long as you don’t stray too far away from dead center. The view from the side is noticeably dimmer and colors are not quite as punchy. On the plus side, the 5-millisecond (black-to-white) pixel response provides smooth, blur-free video and gaming action.
The VSD220 is a power miser, having averaged 21-watts of power while being tested in display mode. That’s slightly less than the 23-inch NEC AS221wm (25-watts) and just a few watts higher than its sibling, the Viewsonic VA2231wm (17 watts), earning it our Greentech stamp of approval.
Android and Apps
The VSD220 is also, essentially, a very large Android 4.0.4-powered tablet. Android performance here is really peculiar; it’s painfully sluggish at basic, key tasks yet it shines at showing full-screen video.
The devices three USB ports are unusual for an Android gadget (although you see them on Asus Transformer docks), and they let you plug in mice, keyboards, and USB drives. We had no trouble attaching a USB keyboard, mouse, and a 16GB thumb drive. There’s a MicroSD card slot inconveniently tucked behind the display which handled cards up to 16GB, but we suggest relying on the more convenient side-mounted USB port and thumb drives if you need storage beyond the 8GB of built-in flash.
The VSD220 runs a relatively clean version of Android 4.0.4, complete with the Google Play store. It has a 1GHz, dual-core TI OMAP4 processor which clearly struggles at displaying images on the big 1,920-by-1,080 screen. (The HTC Droid DNA, for instance, needs a processor with triple the VSD220′s Geekbench score to push a screen like this.) User interface transitions are slow—sometimes you can watch them happening frame by frame—and many apps are sluggish.
Benchmark scores show the problems here. The VSD220′s Geekbench and BasemarkOS System scores resembled a decent low-end smartphone like the T-Mobile myTouch, HTC One V or Kyocera Rise. But the graphics scores just guttered. The VSD220 got an appalling 5.4 frames per second (fps) at the GLBenchmark on-screen graphics tests and 4.7 fps on the Taiji game simulation benchmark test.
This made for a gumminess all across the device’s UI. Even typing in OfficeSuite Pro, my fingers pretty easily got ahead of the words displayed on the screen. Touch-screen accuracy was another a perpetual problem. Several times I tapped to select something and found that the screen thought I was dragging. Attaching a USB keyboard and mouse really helps with this.
The sluggishness also affected Web browsing performance. While the VSD220′s Chrome browser does a good job of displaying desktop Web pages, there was a noticeable delay between when I turned my USB mouse’s scroll wheel and when pages actually scrolled.
Video performance, on the other hand, was much better than expected. The VSD220 played all of our sample 1080P video files and had no problem streaming HD YouTube without losing lip sync. The device downloads and plays music and video from the Google Play store. Unfortunately, some of Android’s key streaming apps didn’t show up in the Google Play market, including Netflix and TV.com. That really reduces the VSD220′s utility as a TV replacement.
The Viewsonic VSSD220 Smart Display is a versatile hybrid monitor that brings Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS to your desktop without having to connect to a Smartphone or tablet. It pulls double duty as a PC monitor too, making its $400 price a relative bargain. You get bright, vibrant colors without consuming much power, but as is the case with most TN panels, viewing angles and grayscale performance are less than optimal. The VSD220 could double as a thin client PC for businesses or a living-room Internet video station. But as an Android device, its performance is laggy enough to be frustrating.
Compare the Viewsonic VSD220 with several other monitors side by side.
More monitors reviews:
|Native Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Supported Video Formats||1080p60|
|Diagonal Screen Size||22 inches|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc