This review appears in the August issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents. The picture, specs and scores to the right are for the ViewSonic VX2025wm; for details of the LG Flatron M203WA, kindly click here.
When it comes to buying a flat-panel, size has always mattered. But now it matters for a whole new set of reasons. You wouldn't necessarily want to pay an additional £100 for a 20.1in screen just to get an extra 1.1 inches of viewing area. However, you may be tempted because of the widescreen capabilities on offer.
Standard 19in screens have a native resolution of 1,280x1,024, but both these 20.1in screens can be pushed to an enormous 1,680x1,050. A ratio of 16:10 means you get more width than height but, even if you dislike the compressed feel of widescreen pictures, both of these screens are very comfortable to look at. But do test out a 1,680x1,050 screen before you buy – neither of these flat-panels works particularly well at anything other than their native resolutions and widescreen is not to everyone's taste.
The LG is the heavier of the two, but neither take much effort to carry. Measure up before buying if you're short on desk space, however. The screens share the same 0.258mm pixel pitch and 300 cd/m2 brightness ratings. ViewSonic’s VX has slightly larger viewing angles, but both are very flexible. With a better contrast ratio of 800:1, compared with the LG's 600:1, the ViewSonic should have greater colour depth.
For text work, both screens performed equally well. They offer clear, precise text and a bright white background. In terms of raw colour, though, the ViewSonic slips ahead. Its palette is that bit darker and more intense, and colours hold well. The LG's colour scheme is lighter and not as well suited to vibrant pictures or games.
The ViewSonic has a slightly faster response rate and graphics were smoothly displayed, but the LG's 16ms rate is sufficient.
Plug in an aerial and the LG will double up as an HDTV (high-definition television). The quality of the pictures isn't bad and, while we much prefer it as a PC screen, this flat-panel performs well as a television. The M203WA comes with a host of video and audio connectors – the ViewSonic has only DVI (digital visual interface) and RGB ports.
The LG's remote control is a nice addition. Its onboard speakers are another victory over the ViewSonic, pumping out audio with greater volume and clarity. And the M203WA's onboard functions stretch to such nice features as Picture-in-Picture.