22" LCD Monitors Roundup. Part III

Today we are going to talk about five LCD monitors with 22-inch diagonal. All of these monitors have one similarity: they are all built with 5ms TN matrices. This roundup will include solutions from NEC, Samsung and ViewSonic.

by Oleg Artamonov
10/22/2008 | 09:02 PM

You will see five models of 22-inch LCD monitors in this review, from the simplest NEC LCD22WV to the full-featured Samsung SyncMaster 225MW. These monitors share quite a lot of common traits because they are all based on 5ms TN matrixes which are not exceptional in terms of viewing angles or response time, but highly popular due to low price.

 

As a matter of fact, 22-inchers are almost all based on TN technology. I know of only one exception: it is the Lenovo L220x which employs an S-PVA matrix.

Before proceeding to the body of this review, I’d like to make a few comments on the way of the presentation of the test results. There is a short list of highs and lows of each monitor at the end of its description. The recommended usage of the monitor is indicated there, too. This Recommended Usage item has proved to be somewhat misleading for some readers, especially such remarks as “viewing and simple editing of photographs” and “movies and games.” The first remark means that the monitor’s color reproduction quality is more or less acceptable for basic nonprofessional processing of photographs captured with inexpensive nonreflex cameras. I mean such things as keyframing, brightness/contrast correction, removal of the red eyes effect, etc. Such monitors will satisfy the majority of users. However, if you are a professional photographer and need as accurate color reproduction as possible, such monitors are likely to disappoint you. The color reproduction flaws will catch your eye even when you try to do some basic things. The usability of monitors for this application is evaluated basing on two parameters: gamma curves and color temperature setup. Moreover, I also take into account the model’s price category and the quality-related notions associated with it. For example, a color temperature dispersion of 500K among different grays is very good for a home TN-based monitor and very bad for a professional S-IPS-based one. But in most cases it would be as silly to compare these two monitors to each other as compare a car with a bus in terms of passenger seats. Such a comparison can only be made to demonstrate the advantage of the latter, but this demonstration is for professionals only. Ordinary people just cannot afford to buy a monitor that costs two or three times as much as home-oriented models of the same diagonal length.

When it comes to movies and games, the average response time (measured by the GtG method) is taken into consideration. By the way, all 5ms TN-based monitors have a real response time of 13-15 milliseconds GtG and fall into the same category in this test. This problem is subjective, of course. Some people can play quite comfortably on an old and very slow 25ms PVA matrix whereas others are not truly satisfied even with today’s 2ms TN matrixes (the problem is deeper than the formal response time, though, as we wrote in an older article). However, most users can see the difference between monitors with and without response time compensation. Therefore I classify LCD monitors into slow and fast ones depending on whether or not they have RTC.

Testing Methodology

Use the following link for a description of our testing methodology, the equipment we use, and for a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of LCD monitors mean: X-bit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology In Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this article abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the mentioned article for an explanation.

You can also view all previous monitor reviews in our Monitors section.

NEC LCD22WV

NEC’s monitors traditionally come in two series, AccuSync and MultiSync, but the LCD22WV model is not assigned to any of them. The reason is unclear to me. Perhaps NEC decided to push the market positioning of the low-end AccuSync series up by excluding junior models from it.

The monitor’s specs are far from impressive, indeed. It is not even a true 22-incher as the exact size of its screen is 21.6 inches. Otherwise, it is an ordinary monitor with a 5ms matrix without response time compensation. The large viewing angles of 170 degrees are due to the relaxed method of measuring them.

I told you about 21.6-inch monitors in one of my previous articles. In brief, one centimeter of screen diagonal is the only difference from regular 22-inchers. 21.6-inch models have the same type of the matrix, the same specifications and native resolution. It is hard to tell 21.6-inch and 22-inch models apart unless you put them right next to each other.

The LCD22WV has a humble appearance. Its flat gray bezel seems even wider than it really is due to the lack of any decorations. I doubt this monitor will attract anybody with its exterior.

The round plastic stand allows you to adjust the tilt of the screen. The ring at the back of the stand can help you lay the monitor’s cables neatly.

The default stand can be replaced with a VESA-compatible mount. You may only want to do so in order to wall-mount the monitor. If you want to have an ordinary stand with wider adjustment options, you should buy a more expensive monitor instead. Purchasing a good stand for the LCD22WV is unreasonable.

This monitor is equipped with an analog input only. That’s normal for an entry-level monitor. The power adapter is integrated into the case.

The control buttons are centered below the screen and have clear and comprehensible captions. The Power button is on the far right. It is accompanied with a LED indicator that has modest intensity and will not distract your eyes at work.

Quick access is provided to the brightness and contrast settings, to the automatic adjustment, and to restoring all the settings to their factory defaults.

The onscreen menu is simple but handy thanks to its large and clear icons and text captions (I used to criticize some of NEC’s inexpensive models for the lack of such captions). The only problem is the process of changing the parameters. When you press and hold the minus or plus buttons, the numbers change very slowly at first, but then accelerate so suddenly that you are sure to miss the desired value.

The monitor has 50% contrast and 90% brightness by default. I achieved a 100nit white by selecting 70% brightness and 40% contrast. The monitor regulates its brightness by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 387Hz.

The monitor’s color gamut is just what you can expect from ordinary backlight lamps: it is somewhat larger than sRGB in greens, smaller in reds, and coincides with it in blues. The diagram shows that the point of white of the NEC monitor (marked with a white circle) is shifted towards greens a little.

 

The average nonuniformity of white brightness is 6.3% with a maximum deflection of 17.2%. For black brightness the average and maximum are 6.1% and 20.5%, respectively. The numbers are not very good. The pictures show that the center of the screen is brighter than its sides, and there are brighter areas along the top and bottom of the screen on the black background.

The gamma curves are acceptable at the default settings. The blue curve betrays an exceedingly high level of contrast while greens are lighter than they should be. Anyway, these drawbacks are not critical, especially for an entry-level monitor.

The gamma curves improve at the reduced brightness and contrast. Now they lie close to the ideal curve for gamma 2.2 which is black in the diagram.

The color temperature setup is sloppy. The grays differ by 1000K in every mode, and the Warm mode is not warm at all. It yields a color temperature of 7000K and higher and most users will perceive this as neutral or even cold (with a bluish hue), but not as warm. On the other hand, if you disregard the temperatures of white, which are not insignificant if you work at a reduced level of contrast, the Warm and sRGB modes are going to be quite satisfactory.

The monitor’s brightness is somewhat higher than 200 nits. This is normal for a modern model and quite suitable not only for office applications but also for movies and games even under daylight. The contrast ratio isn’t high. Most modern monitors, even TN-based ones, have a better level of black.

The response time average is 14.4 milliseconds (GtG) with a maximum of 21.9 milliseconds. And I have to remind you that TN-based monitors with a specified response time of 4 and 5 milliseconds actually differ threefold, not by 25%, in terms of real speed. Why? 4ms monitors feature response time compensation technology and their response time is measured according to the GtG method whereas 5ms monitors do not have RTC and their response time is measured according to the ISO13406-2 method which has little to do with reality. I use the GtG method in my tests for all monitors as it provides the most accurate picture.

Summing it up, the LCD22WV is far from impressive. It can be purchased as a simple monitor for working with text and watching movies. Its low price is the single advantage but there are quite a lot of alternatives in the entry-level sector. You should consider other models if quality is important to you.

Highs:

Lows:

NEC MultiSync LCD225WNX

This monitor from NEC comes from the MultiSync series that covers not only home-oriented but also semiprofessional models. The LCD225WNX belongs to the former category, though.

It is based on a TN matrix without response time compensation. You shouldn’t be misled by the surprisingly large viewing angles of 176 degrees. As usual, these numbers are arrived at by using a relaxed measurement method coupled with the high specified contrast ratio. TN matrixes are still far inferior to *VA and S-IPS matrixes in terms of effective viewing angles.

The monitor has a black plastic case with a thin, somewhat rounded, bezel around the screen. It resembles the most expensive models from NEC except that it lacks the exclusive joystick among its controls.

As opposed to the LCD22WV, the stand offers all the adjustment you may want. You can tilt screen and change its height from 85 to 195 millimeters. You can rotate the screen around the vertical axis and pivot it into portrait mode. The latter feature isn’t very useful with TN matrixes because their poor vertical viewing angles become poor horizontal viewing angles in portrait mode, which is not good at all.

The stand can be replaced with a VESA-compatible mount if its adjustment options do not satisfy you for some reason.

The monitor is equipped with analog and digital inputs, a line audio input for the integrated speakers and a headphones output. The latter is located at the back panel, which is not very handy unless you keep your headphones permanently plugged in.

The integrated speakers are located in the corner protrusions of the back panel. One of them can be seen distinctly in the photo above. Their sound quality is low, but they can do the job of informing you about incoming email or a new ICQ message well enough.

The control buttons are placed on a ledge below the front panel. This design is employed in NEC’s more expensive models which also have a 4-position joystick. Here, we have buttons only. The Power button is on the far right. A dim LED is integrated into it.

Quick access is provided to switching between the inputs and to the brightness and sound volume settings.

Another difference from NEC’s expensive models is the plain and unfriendly onscreen menu. It doesn’t have any text captions. You have to rely on icons, some of which are far from intuitive. The menu doesn’t offer the option of selecting the position of itself on the screen. When you work at non-native resolutions, you can choose the way of scaling the image up: full screen or with restrained proportions.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 50% contrast by default. I achieved a 100nit white by lowering both to 40% and 29%, respectively. The monitor regulates its brightness by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 209Hz.

Color gradients are reproduced normally at the default settings but become striped at low values of contrast.

The color gamut is perfectly standard: coinciding with sRGB in blues, smaller in reds and somewhat larger in greens.

 

The average nonuniformity of white brightness is 6.6% with a maximum deflection of 20.0%. For black brightness the numbers are 6.5% and 20.4%, respectively. These numbers are not quite good. As the pictures indicate, the monitor has a bright center and darker sides.

There is too much contrast at the default settings which is indicated by the characteristic bend of the curves in the top right of the screen. It means the monitor will not differentiate between some of light halftones. I must confess it’s a common problem with NEC’s monitors.

The bend in the curves disappears as soon as you lower the contrast setting by at least 5 steps in the monitor’s menu. This provokes another problem, though. The value of gamma is now too high, and the curves go lower than the theoretical one, resulting in a darker image on the screen.

The color temperature setup is better than with the previous model. White differs from gray considerably, but this is due to the exceedingly high level of contrast I mentioned above (I perform the color temperature measurements at the monitor’s default settings). There are no warm modes again, however. The sRGB mode yields a color temperature of almost 8000K instead of 6500K as described in the sRGB standard. Many users are going to be satisfied with the Native mode and its color temperature of somewhat higher than 7000K, but if you prefer warmer colors, you’ll have to set the monitor up manually.

The maximum brightness is perfectly normal for a modern monitor but the contrast ratio is low. The LCD225WNX is comparable to the LCD22WV in this respect.

The response time average is 14.3 milliseconds (GtG) with a maximum of 32 milliseconds. This is somewhat worse than average in comparison with other RTC-less matrixes. Although the response time of 5 milliseconds specified for such models looks good, you should keep it in mind that this number is due to the specific measurement method. In fact, 5ms TN matrixes are many times slower than 4ms and 2ms matrixes.

So, there is nothing exceptional about this monitor (and about most of other 22-inchers, by the way), yet it does its job well enough. The MultiSync LCD225WNX can do as a monitor for both home and office. Unfortunately, it is rather expensive, like many products from NEC. It costs almost as much money as entry-level 24-inchers. I guess you may want to have a really fast matrix and neater color reproduction setup for such money.

Highs:

Lows:

Recommended usage:

Samsung SyncMaster 225MW

This model is more expensive than the NEC MultiSync LCD225WNX but surpasses it in functionality. I guess the enhanced functionality covers the difference in price with interest. First of all, the SyncMaster 225MW has an integrated TV-tuner, antenna input, and a remote control. All of this allows you to use it as a TV-set apart from a computer.

As a PC monitor, the SyncMaster 225MW has ordinary specifications. It has a native resolution of 1680x1050 like typical 22-inchers. Its matrix does not have response time compensation. I’d like to note that its brightness of 300 nits is lower than what is usually declared for TV-sets and monitors positioned as multimedia products (they have a specified brightness of 400-500 nits so that you could watch movies on them under any ambient lighting). Well, 300 nits should also be quite enough for any situation except for direct sunlight.

The exterior design is something new because Samsung’s home-oriented models tend to have rounded shapes whereas the 225MW is obviously angular, with barely rounded-off corners. Well, I have already met this design in the SyncMaster 225UW.

The glossy black plastic of the front panel is adorned with a decorative chrome stripe at the bottom. The downside of glossy surfaces is known to everyone. Dust, greasy fingerprints and scratches are all too visible on it. On the other hand, such monitors are eye-catching and thus popular among buyers.

The stand is angular as well. Its functionality is limited to adjusting the tilt of the screen.

You can replace it with a VESA-compatible mount. You can see the required threaded holes around the word Samsung in the photo above.

Besides the above-mentioned TV-tuner with antenna input, the monitor offers D-Sub and DVI connectors, a HDMI interface, a line audio input, a component video input, and even a SCART.

There is a second group of connectors on the side panel: composite and S-Video inputs for analog video. Thus, this monitor is equipped with every video interface you may meet with in modern computer and home appliances!

The 225MW has touch-sensitive controls whose labels are centered below the screen. The Power button is placed apart from the others on the right of the decorative chrome stripe. A blue indicator of power is located near it. The indicator is shining constantly when the monitor is turned on and blinking in sleep mode.

Quick access – with a press of a button bypassing the onscreen menu – is provided to the sound volume, to switching between the inputs, to the automatic adjustment at analog connection, to choosing a TV channel, and to turning on Picture-in-Picture mode.

The touch-sensitive buttons work well, without false reactions or misses. There is only one thing I can complain about: the labels are painted in low-contrast paint and almost invisible in semidarkness.

The onscreen menu is hardly user-friendly. Samsung traditionally uses a TV-oriented menu in its monitors equipped with video inputs. Such menus do not work well in computer monitors. The menu’s first tab is where you can choose the input to use and rename them but it is faster to select an input with the Source button, especially as Samsung’s monitors can identify what video inputs are connected at the moment and do not switch between the unconnected ones. As a result, you have to press as many as six buttons to get through to the Contrast setting, for example. The menu doesn’t remember the option you changed last.

Fortunately, the SyncMaster 225MW offers two ways to solve the problem of the unhandy menu. You can use the MagicTune program to control the monitor from Windows or you can use the included remote control. The latter works for both computer and TV modes and helps navigate the menu much faster than when you use the monitor’s own controls.

The brightness and contrast settings are set at 100% and 90%, respectively, by default. I achieved a 100nit level of white by lowering both to 40%. The monitor’s brightness is regulated by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 375Hz.

Color gradients are reproduced perfectly.

The monitor’s color gamut is standard enough, being about as large as the sRGB color space. It doesn’t differ from regular LCD monitors excepting the few models that feature LED-based backlight or lamps with improved phosphors.

 

The average nonuniformity of white brightness is 6.1% with a maximum deflection of 14.1%. The average value is somewhat worse than usual but the maximum is quite good, indicating the lack of zones with conspicuously different levels of brightness. Indeed, the picture above shows you that the monitor produces a uniform picture with the center and bottom of the screen being somewhat brighter than the rest of it.

It is worse with black: an average of 7.3% with a maximum of 20.4%. The bottom of the screen is definitely brighter.

The gamma curves are all right at the default settings but not without minor defects. Particularly, the level of contrast is too high for blue.

The curves improve at the reduced brightness and contrast but go higher than the theoretical curve in the left part of the diagram. It means that darks are displayed brighter than they should be, and the resulting image has less contrast.

The color temperature setup is sloppy. The temperature dispersion between the levels of gray is over 3000K in two out of the three available modes. The Warm mode is more or less acceptable although many users will consider it cold. The Normal and Cool modes produce a picture with a definite bluish hue.

The brightness and contrast ratio are quite normal for a modern monitor. The monitor is not as bright as TV-sets. You won’t be able to watch movies comfortably under bright daylight. For other conditions this level of brightness should be enough.

The monitor offers Samsung’s traditional MagicBright technology that allows you to switch between different image modes differing in brightness, contrast and color temperature settings. MagicBright is preferable to many similar technologies (ASUS’s Splendid or NEC’s DV mode, for example) because it does not affect color saturation, gamma curves and other deep color reproduction parameters. Therefore you do not harm your monitor’s color accuracy by using MagicBright. Samsung has got another technology for enhancing color saturation. It is called MagicColor and works independently from MagicBright.

As the table above suggests, the three available MagicBright modes are set up correctly. The Text mode is indeed as bright as necessary for working in text applications. The Internet mode is somewhat brighter, and the Entertain mode makes the monitor as bright as it can be. Thus, many users won’t even have to set the monitor’s brightness and contrast manually. You can just use the available MagicBright modes.

The response time average is 14.0 milliseconds (GtG) which is normal for an RTC-less matrix. The longest transition takes 25 milliseconds. That’s enough for movies and office applications, but not for dynamic games.

Thus, I could find only two serious drawbacks in the SyncMaster 225MW. It has poor color temperature setup and a brighter bottom of the screen when displaying black. Both problems are far from catastrophic, though. As a result, the 225MW is quite an interesting offer for people who need a pretty home monitor with an integrated TV-tuner and a full selection of video inputs. Its price is not low, but ordinary LCD TV-sets with the same screen diagonal but a lower native resolution, often without a DVI or HDMI input, cost about the same money.

Highs:

Lows:

Recommended usage:

Samsung SyncMaster 2243BW

The SyncMaster 2243BW belongs to a new series of business monitors with screen diagonals of 19 to 22 inches. We already discussed the 20-inch SyncMaster 2043NW and 2043MW and will soon test 19-inch models of the 943 series. Right now I will introduce to you a 22-inch model from this family.

Samsung’s entire 43 series includes monitors for office use, so the specifications are not surprising. It is quite logical that the 2243BW is based on a 5ms TN matrix without response time compensation.

By the way, besides SyncMaster 2243BW, Samsung also offers two 22-inch models in the 43 series: the 2243NW that lacks a digital interface and the 2243WM that has integrated speakers.

Such a series had been called for because Samsung had got carried away with fanciful monitors shining with glossy panels. Such monitors look splendid at home, but not so in the office. Glossy plastic is impractical and easily gets dirty. It doesn’t fit into an office environment well. Furthermore, fanciful design solutions often contradict the rules of ergonomics. For example, very few of Samsung’s home monitors provide screen height adjustment.

Contrary to modern home monitors, the SyncMaster 2243BW features a purely utilitarian, functional design. There are no extras here: a matte black plastic case, a square shape with somewhat rounded-off corners, perfectly visible captions on the touch-sensitive buttons, and a neat stand. This product is not ugly. I would even say that you can’t discuss the 2243BW in terms of pretty-ugly because its exterior design just does not attract any attention and does not give you a reason to talk about beauty or ugliness.

What we can talk about here is functionality. The stand allows you to tilt the screen and adjust its height from 60 to 140 millimeters. You can also turn the screen around its vertical axis and pivot it into portrait mode. You’ll have to put up with the poor viewing angles of the TN matrixes in portrait mode, though. The horizontal viewing angles are much better, and they exchange places with the vertical viewing angles then.

The monitor has analog and digital interfaces. Its power adapter is integrated into the case.

The touch-sensitive controls are located in the bottom right of the front panel and have clear light-gray captions. The buttons work well, without false reactions or making you search for the proper way of applying your finger to them as the earlier models of monitors with touch-sensitive buttons did. A blue LED is placed to the right of the Power button. It is shining constantly at work and blinking in sleep mode. You can’t turn it off.

Quick access is provided to switching between the inputs, to the automatic adjustment feature, to the Brightness setting, and to the MagicBright modes. To be exact, the latter is the default feature of the programmable button called Customized Key.

This is Samsung’s traditional menu for monitors without additional video inputs. It is logical and user-friendly. I can find no fault with it.

Beside ordinary settings, the menu offers a gamma adjustment option (you can choose out of three values), a color saturation enhancement mode called MagicColor (it yields vivid but inaccurate colors), and Color Effect modes. Color Effect feature can discolor the image in different ways, producing a black-and-white, greenish, bluish or sepia picture. The result looks funny, but I can’t think of a practical application for it.

As I noted above, one of the monitor’s buttons can be redefined. You can do this in the Customized Key item of the onscreen menu. This button can be assigned the job of switching MagicBright (by default), MagicColor or Color Effect modes, or the interpolation method for nonnative resolutions (full screen or with restrained 4:3 proportions). You cannot turn interpolation off altogether, which might be useful if you have to work at 1280x1024, for example.

The monitor has 100% brightness and 75% contrast by default. I achieved a 100nit white by choosing 40% brightness and 42% contrast. The brightness is regulated by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 182Hz.

You should not increase the contrast setting above 89% as it makes lights indistinguishable from white. Color gradients are reproduced correctly at any level of contrast below 89%.

The SyncMaster 2243BW surprised me with its very quick response to the change of display resolution whereas other monitors take about two or three seconds for that.

The color gamut is perfectly standard: this model doesn’t use backlight lamps with improved phosphors.

 

There is a dark band along the right edge of the screen on the white background, so the average nonuniformity of white brightness is an acceptable 5.8% with a maximum deflection of 17.4%. It is worse on black: 6.1% and 21.6%, respectively. There is a brighter band along the top of the screen then.

The gamma curves are good at the default settings but you can notice an unnecessary bend in the right part of the diagram.

The curves are closer to each other at the reduced settings.

As I noted in my previous reports, my calibrator normalizes each of the three gamma curves independently from the others, so the diagram of the curves is not enough to see the real correlation between the three basic colors. It is also necessary to measure the color temperature of white and different levels of gray.

The 2243BW is a good illustration of my point: the curves seem to be close to each other, but the color temperature setup is poor. There is a difference of over 2000K between gray and white in every mode. As a result, white looks reddish or gray looks bluish depending on the ambient lighting and the mode you’ve selected. It is only with a hardware calibrator that you can get rid of a hue in different levels of gray. Or you can do the same with meticulous manual setup that requires certain experience.

The monitor’s brightness and contrast are very good. Comparing it with the other monitors in this review, this one is only inferior to the ViewSonic VX2255wmb in terms of maximum contrast ratio.

Like other modern monitors from Samsung, the SyncMaster 2243BW features MagicBright technology (a set of predefined modes with varying brightness, contrast and color temperature). If set up correctly, such modes can be very helpful at everyday use of the monitor (for example, when you switch from an office application to a movie or game, you can press one button and make the monitor two times as bright as before, and quickly lower its brightness again afterwards).

The Text mode is set up for rather low brightness. It is indeed appropriate for working in text-based applications under good office lighting. But you may want to set it up manually for even lower brightness if you are going to use the monitor at home.

The gamma curves in the Text mode are the same as at the monitor’s default settings. They betray no problems.

The Internet mode is somewhat brighter. It might be called a mode for viewing photos and pictures. After all the Web is mostly about text, and you don’t need too much brightness to read it.

The other three modes all have about the same and high brightness but differ in color temperature which is set at Normal (see above) in the Game mode, Warm in the Movie mode and Cool in the Sport mode.

The gamma curves are normal in the bright modes (the diagram above shows them for the Movie mode). There are no color distortions or any problems with the reproduction of darks or lights.

The response time average is 13.5 milliseconds (GtG) with a maximum of 24 milliseconds. This is just the speed you can expect from an RTC-less matrix.

The SyncMaster 2243BW can hardly appeal to home users. Its slow matrix, poor color temperature setup and unassuming exterior do not make it competitive to other manufacturers’ products or even to Samsung’s home-oriented series.

On the other hand, the 2243BW may be an optimal choice for an office environment where its neat design, matte plastic case, superb ergonomics and screen height adjustment should come in handy. Among the other monitors discussed in this review the NEC MultiSync LCD225WNX might be comparable to the 2243BW but it costs considerably more and doesn’t offer any special advantages.

Highs:

Lows:

Recommended usage:

ViewSonic VX2255wmb

I will end this review with a home multimedia monitor from ViewSonic. This model has integrated speakers as well as a web-camera.

The key parameters of the five monitors included into this review are almost identical. They differ slightly in terms of specified viewing angles and brightness/contrast, but as you could see in our reviews the promised numbers do not always match the real ones.

The monitor would be pretty enough if ViewSonic’s designers were not so fond of tall stands as in the VG2030wm model. The VX2255wmb has a tall stand, too. Fortunately, it doesn’t have speakers in its front panel (they are hidden well out of sight), and the screen is not as high up as in the VG2030wm, yet it is not really low, either. It won’t be comfortable to work at the VX2255wmb if you’ve got a tall desk or a low chair.

The monitor’s case is made from black glossy plastic, excepting the silvery ornamental stripe that goes along the bottom edge of the front panel. The overall appearance is elegant and appealing. Unfortunately, the black glossy surface makes dust, greasy fingerprints and small scratches all too visible.

Besides black, the company offers a glossy-white version of the VX2255wmb.

I’d like to thank ViewSonic’s designers for the appearance of the monitor’s back panel. This panel gets no designer’s attention in most models, but the VX2255wmb won’t be ashamed to stand with its back to the guests, for example if you put it on a secretary’s desk. The only missing thing is a cover for the connectors at the bottom part of the panel.

The stand allows to adjust both the tilt and height of the screen. The monitor remains rather tall even in the bottommost position, however, as you can see in the photos above.

The stand can be replaced with a VESA-compatible mount if necessary.

The monitor is equipped with analog and digital inputs, a USB connector for the web-camera and a line audio input for the integrated speakers. I have seen monitors that allowed to connect their speakers, camera and microphone all with a single USB cord, but the VX2255wmb has it the old way. It doesn’t have a USB hub, either.

The web-camera is integrated into the top center of the front panel. It is immovable, so you can’t adjust its angle of view.

The monitor’s controls are placed on its right panel. They are most unhandy. I guess the VX2255wmb is almost as worse in this respect as some models from LG in which the buttons are located at the back panel. The controls are small and sit close to each other. They are all stiff and have the same size and shape. The black labels on the black plastic can be only seen at a certain angle and under good lighting. Added to that, the buttons called Menu/Exit and Select in most monitors from other brands are denoted as “1” and “2” here.

Quick access is provided to the sound volume setting of the integrated speakers.

The onscreen menu follows ViewSonic’s traditional style. It might be good enough if it were not for the unhandy buttons and a few small but annoying things in the menu design.

Can you guess what option is selected in the photo above, Contrast or Brightness? Yes, it is Brightness which has a narrow black edge to the left and top of it. This seems to be a trifle, but such trifles accumulate to spoil the overall impression from a product.

The monitor’s brightness and contrast are set at 100% and 70% by default. I achieved a 100nit white by selecting 43% brightness and 50% contrast. The monitor regulates its brightness by means of backlight modulation at a frequency of 240Hz.

Color gradients are reproduced with barely visible banding.

The color gamut is standard. It is larger than sRGB in greens, smaller in reds and coinciding with it in blues.

 

The average nonuniformity of white brightness is 4.9% with a maximum deflection of 14.2%. The average and maximum for black are 6.8% and 15.8%, respectively. The pictures based on the measurement results show that the screen looks almost ideal when displaying white. When displaying black, there is a brighter spot at the top of the screen and brighter bands along the top and bottom. The overall result in this test is good.

The gamma curves are good at the default settings except that the characteristic bend in the top right of the diagram indicates an exceedingly high level of contrast. The Contrast setting is set at 70% by default, but you should keep it below 65% if you care about color accuracy.

The mentioned defect disappears at the 100nit settings. The gamma curves get closer to each other and to the ideal curve for gamma 2.2.

The color temperature setup is rather odd as the warm modes (6500K, 5400K and sRGB) are very good while the cold modes are very bad. You may want to select the 6500K mode (the sRGB mode is the same as 6500K but locks the user-defined brightness and contrast settings while the 5400K mode is going to look too warm for most users).

As I wrote at the beginning of this section, specifications do not always agree with the real parameters of monitors. That’s what we have here: the VX2255wmb is specified to have a contrast ratio of 700:1, which is rather low for today, but it proves to be the best among the five tested models in this parameter according to my measurements.

As you may have expected, this 5ms TN-based monitors is not very fast. Its response time average is 13.5 milliseconds (GtG) with a maximum of 27.5 milliseconds.

Thus, the main problem with the ViewSonic VX2255wmb is its design and ergonomics. The tiny stiff controls and the tall stand may be inconvenient. The tallness of the monitor is especially annoying for two reasons. First, ergonomics demands that the user’s eyes were at the same level with the top edge of the screen, looking somewhat downward. This prevents the eyes from drying out and getting tired at work. Second, it is better to look at TN matrixes from above due to their specifics. Otherwise the top part of the screen looks darker (many users think this is due to nonuniform brightness, but that’s wrong). Of course, it is hard to meet both requirements if you have a monitor with a large 22-inch screen and a tall stand.

Highs:

Lows:

Recommended usage:

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer really interesting models left in the segment of 20-22-inch monitors. And today I have tested five rather standard products based on same-type matrixes. I’ll give you a brief summary on every of them now.

NEC’s LCD22WV and MultiSync LCD225WNX disappointed me rather. Although cheap, the former has an unassuming exterior, poor color reproduction, and no digital interface. The latter might be appealing as an office or even home monitor for users who prefer modest design and don’t need a fast matrix but its price is rather too steep for its class.

Samsung’s SyncMaster 225MW and 2243BW just ask for a comparison with the LCD225WNX. The former is somewhat more expensive than the NEC but far superior in design and functionality. It has an integrated TV-tuner and a rich selection of video inputs. The other is a good office model that matches the NEC in functionality and ergonomics but costs considerably less.

And finally, the ViewSonic VX2255wmb is good for its class in terms of setup quality. It might make a good monitor for home and office but the designers made it pretty, yet not quite ergonomics-friendly. As I have noticed in my recent reviews, this is a common problem of ViewSonic monitors. Hopefully, the manufacturer will solve it soon.