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ViewSonic VP231wb

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About a year ago I stated that the ViewSonic VP211b was the best desktop screen I had ever seen, but now ViewSonic is trying to trump the VP211b with the VP231wb. The VP211b was 21.3in screen with a native resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 and a stand that was head and shoulders above the competition. The VP231wb is a 23in screen with a massive native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 and the same VP series stand. So, on paper at least, it looks like the VP231wb is set to steal the crown from the VP211b.

As the b at the end of the model name suggests, the VP231wb is finished in matt black. The black bezel means that this screen can only receive a TCO ’99 rating as opposed to the newer TCO ’03 which insists on a light-coloured bezel. Personally though, I prefer black bezels and don’t put a huge amount of stock in the TCO standards anymore.

Despite the screen’s impressive dimensions, the bezel has still been kept very narrow, in keeping with the rest of the VP range. ViewSonic has also kept the branding and labelling on the bezel very subtle, so as not to spoil the clean lines.

Below the screen, set into the front fascia, you’ll find the usual five buttons that adorn all ViewSonic monitors. On the far right there’s the power button with an indicator light next to it – this glows green when the screen is active and yellow when it’s in standby. As usual there are up and down arrow buttons, and two buttons marked 1 and 2, which equate to Menu and Select.

The OSD is pretty comprehensive and you’ll find a decent amount of adjustments to get your image just about perfect. Of course, if you’re connecting the VP231wb to your computer via DVI, you won’t need to make many adjustments – as long as you have a graphics card and driver that supports reduced blanking, you should be able to manage the native 1,920 x 1,200 resolution over a single link DVI. If you do decide to connect up the VP231wb via an analogue D-SUB, you’ll still get a good image, and the extensive colour adjustments will help you get the image just right. That said, the auto adjust option does a very good job, and saves you a lot of time and effort.

Because the VP231wb shares the same stand as the rest of the VP range, it benefits from some great features like dampened height adjustment – this makes it easy to get the screen to the right height with minimum effort. You can also pan the display from side to side easily, as well as tilt it forwards and backwards. The screen is mounted on a central telescopic column with two angled feet that make the whole device very stable, but without resulting in an overly large footprint. Down the back of the central column, there are three cable tidies which help to keep those clean lines unsullied protruding cables.

One feature that is missing is the ability to pivot the screen, which is a real shame. All of the other monitors in the VP range will allow you to pivot the screen into a portrait format, allowing you to view far more of a long document than you could in landscape mode. ViewSonic said that the portrait mode was disabled because the screen would hit the desk when being twisted, and this is probably true. However, the lack of pivot function is a limitation of the standard VP stand, since it doesn’t rise high enough to facilitate pivot functionality with a screen this size. The stand on the hp 2335 however, allows for a couple more inches of vertical movement, and thus gives you enough room to pivot a large 23in screen.

At the rear you’ll find both DVI and D-SUB ports, a power socket and a hard power switch. Unfortunately, the power supply isn’t integrated into the screen or base, so you have to accommodate a very bulky external power brick, although the flip side is that you have a very slim power cable routing to the screen itself. Also at the rear is a USB 2.0 hub with one upstream and four downstream ports. This is a pretty useful addition if you keep your PC on the floor, especially since it operates at the faster USB 2.0 standard rather than the older USB 1.1.

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