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Wide Load
If phase one in the LCD monitor revolution was worthwhile resolutions at an acceptable price, then I think phase two must be the introduction of monitors created with a specific task in mind, be it gaming, multimedia playback, video walls high definition content or what ever else may be on the horizon. Widescreen may not seem like a vast advance but with the gradual progression of mainstream LCD screens from 15" to 17" to 19" and now moving very slowly to the higher resolutions found in most 20" screens, it's a bold move to try and ween us onto the initially questionable benefits of widescreen.

The idea of using a widescreen monitor may, at first, seem like something that would only appeal to genuine movie nuts, in fact that's an opinion I held myself, but after using today's review candidate for a couple of weeks I was won over. There's certainly more to widescreen than a night in with a good DVD.

There are lots of debates raging over the merits of widescreen, the most convincing argument agains it is that the human field of vision, though definitely wider than it is high, is around 175 degrees by around 130 degrees and this is in fact closer to the ratio found in a standard 4:3 screen than it is to a 16:9 widescreen. Then there's the argument that the wider the aspect the smaller the actual screen area given the same diagonal size. What I mean by that is that a 20" screen with a 1:1 (square) aspect will have a greater area than a 20" 4:3 screen which in turn has a greater screen area than a 20" 16:9 screen. In fact the monitor we're reviewing today has an aspect ration of 16:10 which slightly increases its screen area and takes it half a step back towards the "ideal" 4:3 ratio.

Click to enlarge



ViewSonic's VA2012w is in fact a 20.1" widescreen monitor with a reasonably fast 8ms response time and a fairly modest feature set. It comes in both silver and black and comes equiped with a 1680 x 1050 screen with 300 cd/m2 of brightness and a 600:1 contrast ratio. Here are the rest of the specs for those of you who care:


LCD Panel Type 20.1" color TFT active matrix SXGA LCD
Display Area 17.1" horizontal x 10.7" vertical; 20.1" diagonal
Optimum Resolution 1680x1050
Contrast Ratio 600:1 (typ)
Viewing Angle 160° horizontal, 145º vertical @ contrast ratio > 5:1
Response Time 8ms (typ)
Brightness 300 cd/m2 (typ)
Light Source Long life, 50,000 hrs. (typ)
Aspect Ratio 16:10
Surface Anti-glare
VIDEO INPUT Analog/Digital RGB analog (75 ohms, 0.7/1.0 Vp-p)/DVI-D (TMDS, 100 ohms)
Frequency Analog: Fh: 30~94kHz, Fv: 50~75Hz
Digital: Fh: 30~82kHz, Fv: 50~75Hz
Sync H/V separated (TTL)
AUDIO Speakers Dual integrated stereo speakers
COMPATIBILITY PC VGA up to 1680x1050 non-interlaced
Mac® Power Mac™ G3/G4/G5 up to 1680x1050
[Adapter may be required.]
CONNECTOR Analog/Digital 15-pin mini D-sub/DVI-D
Power 3-pin AC plug (CEE22)
Audio In Stereo mini audio line in
POWER Voltage AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz
Consumption 47W (typ)
CONTROLS Basic Power, 1, down, up, 2
OnView® Auto image adjust, contrast, brightness, input select, audio adjust, ViewMatch® color adjust (sRGB, 9300K, 6500K - default, 5400K, user color RGB), information (resolution, H. frequency, V. frequency, pixel clock, model number, serial number, web site), manual image adjust (H. size, H. position, V. position, fine tune, sharpness), setup menu (language, resolution notice, OSD position, OSD timeout, OSD background), memory recall
POWER MANAGEMENT   Meets TCO'99 and ENERGY STAR® standards
REGULATIONS   UL, cUL, FCC-B, CB, CE, NOM, TUV/Ergo, ICES-003, TUV/GS, (covers ISO 13406-2 and MPR II), TCO'99, GOST-R, SASO, PCBC, TUV-S, BSMI, CCC, ENERGY STAR®, PSB, C-TICK, Green Mark, MIC
DIMENSIONS
(WxHxD)
Physical (mm) 479mm x 423mm x 216mm
Physical (in.) 18.9" x 16.7" x 8.5"
OPERATING CONDITIONS Temperature 32-104°F (0-40°C)
Humidity 10-90% (non condensing)
WEIGHT Net 12.1 lb. (5.5 kg)
Gross 15.4 lb. (7.0 kg)
PACKAGE CONTENTS   LCD display, DVI cable, VGA cable, power cable, audio cable, Quick Start Guide, ViewSonic Wizard CD
WARRANTY   Three-year limited warranty on parts, labor and backlight