At one time the ViewSonic VP171 (the letter at the end of the name – S or B – denotes the color of the case) was among the first monitors on a 16ms TN+Film matrix. The quality of the image was lacking then: the monitor had small viewing angles, a low contrast ratio, and bad color rendition. But many things have changed since then and now the monitor comes with a modern 8ms matrix (ViewSonic, just like NEC, doesn’t like to change the names of its monitors too often).
The case of the monitor proper looks small against the massive column of the base. This base, however, provides the necessary functionality. You can change the tilt and height of the screen (from 45mm to 160mm – the screen is at its lowest position in the snapshot above) and even turn it into the portrait mode.
The monitor is equipped with three connectors: two analog D-Sub inputs and one digital DVI-D input. Thus, you can easily connect it to two computers with analog video outputs (for example, mainboards with integrated graphics still usually have analog rather than digital outputs). The power adapter is integrated in the case.
The control buttons are placed in the center of the front panel. Following the traditional ViewSonic style they are plain-looking and do not have intelligible labels (they prefer to say “1” instead of “Menu” and “2” instead of “Select”). The buttons are easily pressed, and that’s actually all you can demand of them: legibility and understandability of the labels begin to play any role only when there are six or seven buttons. Here, you have to cope with four buttons only.
The menu is ViewSonic’s traditional, too. It looks nice, but is of average handiness. Sometimes the lack of the numeric values on the sliders is inconvenient, for example:
The menu options are quite standard: brightness, contrast, color temperature, and the parameters pertaining to the onscreen menu itself. Quick access is provided to the brightness and contrast settings and to switching between the monitor’s inputs.