- Versatile and a lot of fun
- A cheap route to an AIO PC
- Healthy feature set
- Display quality is so-so
- Such a large touchscreen can feel awkward
Review Price £300.00
IntroductionIn case you hadn't noticed, the tech world is going touchscreen. Large-screen phones and tablets are making the masses more comfortable with touchscreens, and Windows 8 is set to make touchscreen PCs seem normal. The ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display is fully signed-up to the touchscreen revolution. It's a multi-touch display with an integrated Android computer that will also act as the monitor for a Windows 8 PC.
ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display DesignThe ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display's unusual abilities aren't things you'd notice from a glance, though, because in most respects it looks like a simple lifestyle-inflected display. There are no great big bulges on its back and its Android brain fits under the hood - the only additional box here is the power adapter.
Its screen is 21.5 inches across, making it computer monitor-sized rather than something to make the focal point of a living room. Its design straddles the worlds of work and leisure. Its angular black frame is serious and fuss-free, but it uses a picture frame-like kickstand rather than a more officious pedestal stand.
The bottom of the ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display's stand is finished with rubber, supplying enough friction to let you angle the screen as you wish. Fully upright or near-horizontal - either is no problem, and readjusting only takes a second. The entire rear plate can be removed for wall-mounting too.
This lets it fit into places other than the office easily, but the ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display build and looks aren't quite on-par with some of its more expensive all-in-one PC alternatives.
Its frame is all-plastic, even the brushed metal-effect strip at the bottom that wants to will you into believing it's a little classier, and it's not exactly stunningly pretty. It's no Sony Vaio Tap 20, but it costs a fraction of the price.
ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display SpecsThe ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display costs around £100 more than a similarly-sized touchscreen monitor, and the extra outlay buys you Android. As the Android system is fully built into the display, no other hardware is needed to make the VSD220 work.
Within the fairly slim shell of the ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display are a 1GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor and 1GB of RAM that powers the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. It has 8GB of internal memory, and integrated Wi-Fi to give you easy access to all the Android basics - web browsing, email, the Google Play app store and so on.
There's also a front 1.3-megapixel webcam for video chat, Bluetooth and basic internal speakers. You're not going to want to play music through them, but for the occasional YouTube clip they'll do the job.
ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display ConnectivityThe ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display's on-body connectivity opens-up its usefulness much further. There's a microSD slot to let you jam in a memory card, two USB ports on the right edge for plugging-in a mouse or keyboard, a 3.5mm headphone jack and an Ethernet port.
All these help the ViewSonic VSD220 excel as a giant Android tablet, but there's also a microUSB port on the left edge that lets the display work as a touchscreen interface for another device, and a microHDMI video input on the rear. You can plug in a Windows 8 PC if you like, or even a games console.
ViewSonic makes it easy to switch between roles as an Android computer and a "slave" monitor easily, with an OSD (on-screen display) shortcut plugged into the persistent Android nav bar.