When buying an LCD monitor, panel type is one of the prime considerations. TN, found in the vast majority of affordable displays, is the least desirable panel tech due to poor viewing angles which mange colours and contrast - despite its faster response time still making it the default choice for FPS fanatics. The best balance between speed and quality is found with IPS and Samsung’s PLS equivalent - and from once being priced in the hundreds of pounds, we’re now seeing a whole range of 23in IPS monitors for under £180.
First we had the £145 AOC i2353Fh, then we looked at the £170 Philips Blade 2, and we’ll soon be putting the £175 Dell UltraSharp U2312HM on our test bench. However, today we’re looking at a rather special entrant: the £111 ViewSonic VX2336s, or VX2336s-LED to give it its full title.
No that price is not a typo, you’re really paying a mere £111 for a Full HD, IPS-panel, 23in monitor – making it not only the cheapest of its kind but the cheapest IPS monitor ever. That’s seriously impressive on paper, yet leaves us wondering if ViewSonic managed to maintain adequate quality.
The VX2336s-LED is neatly packaged and includes VGA and DVI cables. The display itself comes in two parts, but assembly is as easy as clicking the base and monitor leg together.
So far so good, but from a design perspective this ViewSonic is the least attractive monitor we have seen in a very long time. It mixes glossy and matt plastics in an attempt at visual appeal that falls rather flat; its chassis is as bulky as we remember from CCFL-backlit displays; its stand is plain without any cable tidying; and the VX2336s-LED’s controls are horribly prominent in the bezel at the front.
One immediate advantage to the monitor’s bulk is that it doesn’t require an external power brick as most of the slimmer models on the market do. Build quality is also a lot better than this ViewSonic’s looks would suggest. Sure there’s the occasional creak, but generally the plastics used are solid and the predominant matt finish feels good to the fingers. Adjustability is as basic as we would expect at this price, with tilt being the only option.
Connectivity likewise comprises the bare minimum, with VGA for analogue and DVI taking care of digital. The lack of HDMI is certainly no problem when it comes to video signal, as HDMI-DVI adapters are very cheap and easy to get, but it does mean you’ll need to get your audio directly from the source. Connecting multiple digital sources can also be achieved by buying an HDMI adapter and splitter, though you may be better off spending the extra on a display that offers multiple digital inputs to begin with.