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So how does the all-important image quality of this 19in beauty measure up? Put simply, very well. Let's get the fairly minor negatives out of the way first; there is enough backlight bleed along the screen's bottom to be noticeable, but only if you're looking for it. Banding is also present, but again it's only bothersome under rare conditions.
Text is fairly sharp, and greyscale performance is strong. While this ViewSonic doesn't match up to PVA or IPS based displays, it did manage to distinguish most of the subtle tones at both the dark and light ends of the scale. Amazingly though, the VX1962wm counteracts the biggest traditional weakness of TN panels; namely poor viewing angles. Seriously, the viewing angles on this monitor have to be seen to be believed. The only exception is when viewing the panel from below, but even here you have to be at an extreme angle for them to become poor. From any other angle, colours and contrast stay excellent no matter how far you move - great stuff ViewSonic!
These strengths make this an excellent entertainment screen if you can put up with the small size. Games and movies look great, especially for a cheap TN. Even turning on Dynamic Contrast is quite viable, since it does deepen blacks without costing much in the way of dark detail - although whites will lose some of their impact.
Finally getting onto the fancily marketed SRS Wow HD speakers, it's the usual story in that you're better off using even cheap external speakers or a pair of headphones. However, despite a distinct lack of bass and distortion at high volume levels, they're usable if you keep the volume moderate.
When it comes to direct competition, this is somewhat limited since 19in monitors with a 1,680 x 1,050 resolution are still relatively rare. The VX1962wm beats its predecessor solidly, but unless you're severely space or weight constrained, the real competition lies in 20 or even 22in displays. Here the fully adjustable BenQ G2200WT 22in makes a strong case for itself. However, the ViewSonic's far superior visual design and viewing angles, together with a £33 lower price tag, mean it's still a highly compelling option.
With the VX1962wm, ViewSonic has produced a very stylish 1,680 x 1,050 19in monitor, which puts in an excellent image quality performance to match its attractive looks. While you do pay a premium over other, lower resolution 19in models, if this is the size you're after then you won't regret buying this beauty.