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Meet the VX2770Smh-LED, a mouthful of a monitor that’s beautifully designed and has some interesting, uncommon features. For $320 suggested retail, this thin-bezeled, widescreen, TFT-paneled, native 1080p display could be yours. For that price, you’re also getting some fancy shmancy filigree—touch-button controls, and a built-in speaker.
This 27-inch monitor is priced within the industry’s middle tier, and is also new for 2013, so our standards were a little higher than usual. Fortunately, it passed each test with some degree of success. The ViewSonic VX2770 performs solidly, with no unforgivable flaws.
The one drawback we found was an overly bright black level. Other than that, it’s a great choice for almost any use save pro graphics work, and is fairly priced. Add to that its media-friendly port selection, and it’s hard not to recommend it.
We really like this monitor’s design. The stand is sturdy and larger-than-average, housing the monitor’s built-in, front-facing speaker. While this causes the whole thing to take up quite a bit more space than it would on, say, a basic pedestal, the stand is hefty enough that the 27-inch panel feels secure.
The touch-buttons that control the VX2770’s OSD are located along the front of the stand. If we have one bad thing to say about this design, it’s that the stand-mounted controls are a little hard to see/reach, as they are entirely out of sight, beneath the display’s lower bezel.
Best for last, the panel itself: The effect of such a thin bezel is striking, maximizing the screen and really helping it get the most out of the 27-inch real estate. The screen’s lower bezel is embroidered with ViewSonic’s bird logo, while the remaining three sides almost disappear in their thinness. The VX2770 looks as good as many high-end monitors we’ve seen, and stands out clearly from the sea of stale-looking, entry-level displays.
In the Box
Open up a new VX2770, and you’ll find the LCD display, the product’s power cord, an AC/DC power adapter, an audio (3.5mm) male-to-male cable, a D-Sub (VGA, RGB) cable, a DVI cable, an HDMI cable, and a driver installation/user guide CD-ROM.
Contrast—black/white differentiation—is extremely important to any kind of digital display. Unfortunately, the VX2770’s contrast ratio was on the narrow side, owing to its poor black level. This monitor tested with a black level of 0.80 cd/m2, which is really bright.
To determine a display’s contrast ratio, you divide its peak luminance by its minimum luminance. The VX2770’s peak luminance measured 198.70 cd/m2, which—divided by its black level—gives it a contrast ratio of about 250:1. This is average for an entry-level monitor, but we were expecting better from ViewSonic’s new, $300 beauty. More on how we test contrast.
The ViewSonic VX2770 tested with excellent uniformity. Uniformity refers to how evenly a display’s backlight distributes its light across the screen. We check a 100% white screen for blemishes, and a 100% black screen for light bleed-in. The VX2770 had no problems in these areas. More on how we test uniformity.
Another area where this ViewSonic performed well was in color temperature consistency. Our color temperature test checks the average color temperature of each of a display’s 256 intensity steps, from 0 (black) to 255 (peak white). While an ideal display temperature is 6500°K, we are not checking the temperature so much as the consistency across the greyscale itself.
Across the intensity input, a variation of +/- 200°K is visible to the human eye. Fortunately, the VX2770 has no visible color temperature error, and barely any technical error, which is a great result. More on how we test color temperature.
The VX2770’s color and greyscale curves describe the proper ramp—a gamma of about 2.2—but their 0-intensity luminosity is too bright, and they are spaced too far from one another, exuding an unevenness and bumpiness. Essentially what this means is that each shade and hue, from darkest to lightest, is going to be given equal attention.
While this is normally a good thing, the human eye tends to be more sensitive to certain luminosities than others—very bright and dark tones specifically—so mid-tone details are going to be less apparent in the picture. This isn’t a bad result, but a little more curvature would be welcome. More on how we test color curves.
We tested the VX2770’s color gamut (the peaks of its red, green, blue, and white) against the sRGB color gamut, the international standard for digital display color. While its gamut is not perfect, it’s very close.
Green and white peaks are spot-on, but the VX2770’s peak red and blue are both undersaturated by a small amount, meaning they don’t contain as much color information as they should. This will lessen the vivacity of content ever so slightly, but considering that the human eye is more sensitive to white and green than red and blue, it won’t be too noticeable during everyday use. More on how we test color gamut.
To determine a display’s horizontal viewing angle, we check its 90° (head-on) contrast ratio against a standard off-angle contrast ratio—in this case, 45°. When viewing the VX2770 at a 45° angle, its contrast ratio drops from 250:1 to 166:1, meaning that off-angle viewing is possible, but with the caveat that some contrast brilliance will be reduced.
The VX2770 is much more multimedia friendly than the average entry-level monitor. For example, the average ~$200 display only has inputs for VGA or DVI. The VX2770, on the other hand, allows for HDMI, DVI, and VGA, as well as some much less common inputs: an analog audio out jack for headphones, and an analog audio in jack for making use of the display’s built-in speaker.
Controls & Menus
The VX2770’s menu takes the shape of a small square, filling about 15% of the total screen space. The on-set controls work easily enough: Function keys 1 and 2 control most aspects of progressing or regressing through menu pages, and the controls’ up and down arrows make selection fairly simple. There is a lot here, to allow for full customization of the display, but navigating through is fairly easy once you get used to it.
The only thing we really dislike about this set-up is about this set-up is the control placement; controls mount to the stand, deeply recessed beneath the display itself, making them both difficult to see and reach. Otherwise, things work well.
Unlike the vast majority of computer monitors, the VX2770 comes equipped with a stand-mounted speaker that sits nicely within the crook of the stand. If you’re connected via HDMI, the speaker will automatically play back sound from your computer. With a VGA connection, you’ll need to wire a male-to-male audio cable (included) to the monitor’s audio in port.
As to the quality of the speaker itself: It’s not bad. We played back a FLAC file (lossless audio) and there was very little support for middle frequencies, or much space for a wider range of audio. However, the speaker works well for YouTube videos, pings from a computer’s OS, and most other sounds.
The VX2770Smh-LED is attractive and functional, and it performs efficaciously. For an MSRP of $320, ViewSonic has bundled an awful lot of quality into this monitor, and it shows. The real question remains: Why buy it?
Well, this color-accurate monitor is great for all kinds of uses: browsing the web, watching TV, gaming, even light photo editing. It doesn’t have the color space support for high-end graphic design, and its black level is not dark enough to make for good film watching, but for everything else it’s in the gold.
If you just need something cheap and effective, this monitor is not the way to go. It’s too pretty to hide away from the world; you should put it on display, in a lobby or a reception area. Buy it as a serious investment—unless you’re rolling in dough, $320 is too much to spend because you “just need a monitor.” However, if you’re looking to upgrade from low- to middle-tier in the most painless way possible, the VX2770 is winking while holding a pack of Mentos.