Naturally the most important element of any monitor is its image quality, so let's see how the ViewSonic VX2250wm does. It's based on TN-panel technology, sports a fairly average response time of 5ms, a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution and – thanks to a its LED backlighting – a claimed dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000,000:1, with a more realistic native figure of 1,000:1. Admittedly, perceived contrast is aided by a dynamic contrast system that actually works well enough that we would recommend turning it on for entertainment material, but it's still a whole continent away from the ludicrous dynamic figure.
Oddly enough, the VX2250wm's major image strengths are also its primary weaknesses. To clarify this with examples, it offers more dark detailing than we would usually expect from a TN-based display, occasionally revealing subtleties that some competitors can't in films and games (which generally tend to emphasise dark tones). However, it does so at the cost of whites becoming greyer than we're used to.
Another example is viewing angles, which are simply superb horizontally and from above. The latter is especially surprising for a TN panel, which normally suffers from sharp contrast and colour shift if viewed from above a narrow ideal angle. Conversely, the VX2250wm's performance in this regard when looking from even slightly below is very poor indeed. To get the best out of it your line of sight needs to be positioned higher than is really ideal, but unless you stack magazines under your monitor that's likely to be the case anyway.
Ultimately, in both examples the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Combine this with decent sharpness, no sign of backlight bleed and minimal banding only noticeable across green shades, and you have a pretty good performer. The only other factor is pixel shimmer due to badly regulated voltages, but while unusual even on a budget display, this is not an issue most users will come across often.
Overall then, how does the ViewSonic VX2250wm hold up to the competition? At £160-odd, it's in the same price bracket as the BenQ V2410T, which not only offers 24 inches of screen real-estate but also a rugged matt finish and, most importantly, full adjustability including height, tilt, swivel and pivot. Admittedly its image quality is inferior, but either screen will do fine for daily use and productivity.
Only when games and films are thrown into the mix does the VX2250wm offer a real advantage, though if you can afford another £40 you can get the Samsung SyncMaster F2380 (the bigger, Full HD cousin of the award-winning F2080), which will beat it in every regard except frugality. However, if your budget is limited and integrated speakers are something you're after this might just be the monitor for you.
Despite its foibles, the VX2250wm offers a few select image quality highlights that few budget LED-backlit monitors can match and speakers that tend toward decent. However, ViewSonic has priced its latest 21.5-incher a bit too high compared to some of the better-featured (albeit speaker-less) competition for it to win our hearts.