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19in widescreen monitors, it would seem, have recently become something of an endangered species. Of course this is hardly surprising, considering that for the space or budget constrained, the 20in form factor offered a much higher resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 over the standard 19in 1,440 x 900 while only adding one inch.
At the beginning of this year, however, ViewSonic changed the rules of the game by introducing the VX1940w, a 19in monitor sporting a 1,680 x 1,050 panel. Since then, other big names like Iiyama and Asus have also gotten in on the higher resolution 19in gig, and the VX1940w was starting to look a little long in the tooth. And it's that fact which brings us to the new ViewSonic VX1962wm ' Super HD' monitor.
Apart from updating the marketing to include that ambiguous Super HD moniker, ViewSonic has also doubled the contrast ratio from the previous model's 3000:1, added SRS stereo speakers, and most importantly, given the display a major redesign.
The VX1962wm comes in two parts, which slot in really easily once you get the hang of it. We found the best way was putting the base on your desk and then popping the monitor's leg into it. Finally, you need to tighten a screw, though thanks to a handy clip you don't need any tools.
From the moment I took the base from the box, its surprising weight (thanks to metal combined with very thick plastic) gave it a sense of solidity that few monitors below £150 can match. And though the rest of the display doesn't feel quite as solid, overall build quality is certainly nothing to complain about. Despite the base, overall weight is kept to a minumum, and this is a monitor you can easily move about with one hand.
Its incredibly sleek and streamlined design also means it looks better than most monitors - in fact, its chassis is by far the smallest (looking) I've come across since the days of 15in LCDs.
The entire screen is finished in glossy piano black, with a silver trim around the top and sides of the slim bezel making it seem even thinner. There's also a grey line bisecting the base and monitor's leg, which doesn't really add much to the design, and would have looked far better if it had matched the bezel's silver trim.
Aside from this one niggle, the visual design of the VX1962wm is very attractive. The base is a tapered oval shape, which in combination with the stripe reminds me of an American football, while the stand's leg is an incredibly slim rounded column.