Review Price £310.13
ViewSonic V3D241wm - 3D, Value and Verdict
So far, so good, but 3D is where things start going down-hill for the V3D241wm. First there are the glasses, which are cheap and cheerful. They're fairly sturdy and even reasonably comfortable, but by no means as ergonomic as the wireless specs Nvidia provides with its GeForce 3D Vision system, and they look like something from the bargain bin in your local pound shop. Also, because their USB cable is permanently attached, they can only be unplugged at the monitor end, resulting in a lot of fiddling about when you want to re-attach them after a tidy-up. An extension cable would have been an inexpensive yet excellent solution here.
However, the V3D241wm's biggest failing has little to do with hardware and everything to do with software (or so we hope for ViewSonic's sake). You see, AMD doesn't have its own 3D standard, leaving it to third parties to come up with solutions for 3D gaming and video. ViewSonic has chosen to partner with iZ3D, which has been in the business of providing drivers for passive, active, stereoscopic and anaglyph (the hideous red and green glasses solution of yore) 3D for a long time now. Surprisingly then, its software isn't all that good.
First of all, there's the interface, which looks amateurish at best and doesn't make it easy to navigate. For example, who would think of looking for test and setup screens under Help? Then there's the way it works – or rather, doesn't work. Though we tested only recommended titles on iZ3D's compatibility list, one resulted in a black screen while another had its menus messed up (where you would need to click in a randomly different place to where your onscreen pointer appeared to be), though the game itself worked fine.
Admittedly, most titles didn't suffer from these specific problems, but the worst issue was an interlaced effect once the monitor went into 3D mode. We could understand if the V3D241wm was displaying passive 3D, but this effect makes no sense on a 120Hz active system (check out our 3D TV Buyer's Guide for the lowdown on the different 3D types). It resulted in a headache-inducing experience severely lacking in sharpness, which was more tiring than fun.
We tried installing TriDef, which is a more polished software alternative and should, in theory, have been compatible with ViewSonic's latest. Unfortunately, though games worked perfectly and were displayed in stereoscopic 3D without fail, the hardware didn't recognise it was supposed to go into 3D mode, rendering TriDef unusable in this case.
As the V3D241wm is a very new product, we're hoping iZ3D will iron out the major bugs sooner rather than later. Even then it seems inevitable that Nvidia solutions will be superior, more integrated and with a higher compatibility level. We feel the best solution would be for AMD to adopt a similar, first-party approach, or integrate more tightly with third-party solutions.
When it comes to value, this £299 ViewSonic isn't easy to qualify. On the one hand, the company offers a complete 3D solution with good connectivity and image performance for less than many competing efforts. On the other, as things stand it's one of the most frustrating displays we've yet used for 3D, to the extent that we would gladly pay more for an alternative.
Cheap but not so cheerful, ViewSonic's V3D241wm may offer decent hardware, but frankly it was difficult for us to tell through iZ3D's buggy software. Hopefully these issues will be ironed out soon, but until then this is not a 3D display we can recommend.
Scores In Detail