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ViewSonic VP201s

The first time we encountered the Viewsonic VP range was when we reviewed the VP211b and declared it the best desktop display ever. That particular model used the same 21.3in panel that’s in the Samsung SyncMaster 213T, but this screen is slightly smaller at 20.1in and uses a different panel.

Like all the screens in this group test, the native resolution is 1,600 x 1,200. As we've said before, it’s only people that have never worked at 1,600 x 1,200 that think that 1,280 x 1,024 is OK. Once you’ve experienced having multiple windows open, and being able to cut and paste between documents without minimising and maximising them, you’ll never want to go back.

One of the best aspects of ViewSonic’s VP range is the overall design of both the screen and the stand. The bezel surrounding the panel is as thin as you’re likely to find on a screen, which not only means that the monitor takes up less physical space, but also that the image on-screen looks bigger. The s in the VP201s model name indicates that this screen is finished with a silver bezel as opposed to a black one. Personally I much prefer black bezels as they frame the panel better and are less likely to distract the viewer. It is however understandable why ViewSonic offers a silver bezel, since TCO will not grant TCO’03 accreditation to a screen with a black bezel.

If you’re fussy about the positioning of your monitor you will love the VP201s - the stand is quite simply a masterpiece. The central column on which the screen is mounted is steadied by two slender feet, which add to the stylish look. The column itself is telescopic allowing the screen to be raised and lowered vertically, but unlike most displays that offer vertical adjustment, the Viewsonic’s dampened movement is smooth as silk. In fact the screen can be raised or lowered using the force of just one finger.

Running down the back of the central column is a set of cable tidies to make sure that none of the cables stick out and spoil the clean lines. The stand also allows the screen to pivot through 90 degrees into a portrait mode. Although this isn’t an unusual feature with TFT screens, again, few models do it quite as smoothly or easily as this ViewSonic. The icing on the cake is that the OSD automatically rotates through 90 degrees when the screen is pivoted.

Finally, the screen will also pan through roughly 160 degrees on the mounting column, and sure enough the movement is light, smooth and easy.

Below the screen, on the fascia are five buttons. The far left button marked 1 will bring up the OSD, while the next two will move you up and down through the OSD. The fourth button is marked 2 and will select options when in the OSD. When not in the OSD pressing the 2 button will cycle through the inputs. The final button will power the monitor on and off. Navigating the OSD is pretty straight forward, and even though labels of “menu” and “select” might have been more intuitive than 1 and 2, you soon get used to it.

At the back you’ll find both DVI and D-SUB inputs, along with the power socket and a hard power switch. There’s also a USB hub at the rear with one upstream and four downstream ports. But unlike most USB hubs integrated into monitors, this one supports USB 2.0, so you’ll be able to get high-speed transfer rates.

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