The attractive specifications and smooth design of the ViewSonic VLED221wm widescreen 22in LCD monitor are impressive.

We previewed the ViewSonic VLED221wm during the recent CES tradeshow in Las Vegas.

ViewSonic's 22in widescreen VLED221wm is, according to ViewSonic, the world's first sub-$1000 (£500) LCD monitor with LED backlight technology, which delivers an evenly bright screen and a wide colour gamut.

The ViewSonic VLED221wm, which will be available in the US in late February and should make it to the UK later in the year, offers a 12,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio that allows the display of impressive blacks; provides great colour reproduction due to its ability to represent up to 118 percent of the NTSC colour gamut; has a 1,680x1,050 native resolution; and boasts a 5ms response time.

The ViewSonic VLED221wm is currently on sale for £335 inc VAT - good news considering at the time of our preview it was estimated to cost £500, which is more than some 22in LCD monitors, but far from unreasonable.

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The cleanly designed ViewSonic VLED221wm has a thin, glossy, deep-black bezel. Most glossy bezels collect fingerprints and dirt, making the monitor look as if it were part of crime scene. The ViewSonic VLED221wm, however, proved smudge and fingerprint resistant, despite our repeated attempts to dirty it up.

The ViewSonic VLED221wm's built-in stereo speakers blend nicely and unobtrusively into the bezel, too. Although the display tilts, it does not swivel or pivot. In the user-friendly OSD (on-screen display) menu, you can adjust the colour settings, the brightness and contrast, and the audio volume by using the up, down, and select buttons on the front of the display.

Sound quality is lacking. In our informal audio-quality tests, the high frequencies were too high, and the lows lacked the punch that a standalone speaker system would provide. While the tinny sound won't please audiophiles, it is satisfactory if low background music is all you want.

NEXT PAGE: image-quality tests and our expert verdict > >

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The attractive specifications and smooth design of the ViewSonic VLED221wm widescreen 22in LED-backlit LCD monitor are impressive.

In image-quality tests we were surprised to see the ViewSonic VLED221wm fail to outperform all of its cheaper, non-LED-backlit competitors. Nevertheless, the ViewSonic VLED221wm didn't score poorly, ranking fourth in our graphics tests overall and sixth in our text-clarity tests. This display produced better-quality images than 18 other 20- and 22in displays we looked at.

While viewing a scene from 'Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones' on the ViewSonic VLED221wm, we noticed that the colours seemed inaccurate, but a quick tinkering with the colour-temperature settings fixed the problem. Afterward the onscreen colours were bright and clear, not oversaturated.

Red lasers shot from starfighters looked so brilliant and intense that they reminded us of images from Mitsubishi's Laser HDTV, which exhibits the latest in display technology and, in a demo, showed the brightest colours we've ever seen.

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ViewSonic VLED221wm: Specs

  • 22in widescreen LED desktop display
  • 1680x1050 native resolution
  • 12000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
  • 5ms response time
  • displays 118 percent of the colour gamut
  • Energy Star compliant
  • 22in widescreen LED desktop display
  • 1680x1050 native resolution
  • 12000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
  • 5ms response time
  • displays 118 percent of the colour gamut
  • Energy Star compliant

OUR VERDICT

Although ViewSonic packed a lot of high-end features into the ViewSonic VLED221wm, the impressive specs did not produce a huge image-quality boost in our testing. This monitor is best suited for a movie buff, for a multimedia/graphic designer who needs to see a wide gamut of bright colours, or for any tech enthusiast with money to burn.

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