Pros: Offers good picture quality, HDTV inputs, a flexible stand, and high brightness.
Cons: cons £300 more than the Apple Cinema Display HD 23-inch, which has equal picture quality. Basic design.
The VP231wb is the first 23-inch widescreen monitor from Viewsonic – and as first stabs go, it’s quite impressive. However, Apple’s recent price cuts to its monitor range have left the VP231wb looking overpriced by at least £300.
The case design is the same as Viewsonic’s VP201b and VP211b 20- and 21-inch displays. It’s not classy-looking like Apple’s Cinema Displays, but the thin bezel doesn’t detract from the screen – and at least it’s not beige. A swivelling base provides a wide range of movement, and the ability to raise and lower the screen to fit the ergonomic requirements of your desk is a definite advantage over the Cinema Display design.
As you’d expect from a 23-inch display, the VP231wb’s native resolution is 1,920-x-1,080. In case you feel like using the monitor as an HDTV (or hi-def reference monitor), the VP231b supports 720p and 1080i signals and can even play video protected by HDCP (high-definition content protection, which is designed to stop people pirating HD content).
The single DVI-I digital and VGA analog inputs isn’t as good a setup as dual DVI-I inputs, but it’s better than the single DVI input of Apple’s monitors.
The VP231wb’s picture quality is equal to that of the 23-inch Cinema Display HD. As the specs state, the VP231b has a higher brightness – which is only great if you sit with your back to the window in summer – but overall neither the higher contrast ratio (500:1 to the Cinema Display’s 400:1) nor the wider viewing angle (176-degrees vs 170 degrees) make any difference to the picture quality. The VP231wb’s colour gamut – measured with an Eye-One spectrometer – is nigh-on identical to the 23-inch Cinema Display’s.
The VP231wb’s advantages are minor, so we’d advise spending £300 less on the 23-inch Cinema Display.