ViewSonic VX2739wm

At AU$599, the VX2739wm epitomises the "cheap and cheerful" category. It's definitely not a performance leader, but it does provide a huge, full HD monitor for an incredibly cheap price. We'd wager many people would be happy with that.


7.0
CNET Rating

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


The ViewSonic VX2739wm is a 27-inch, 1920x1080 TN-based screen. Coated in gloss black, the fascia is plain save for a single power button in the middle, which glows white below the ViewSonic logo.

This is not the first time ViewSonic has outed a monster monitor, with the 26-inch VX2640w providing a full 1080p resolution before it. It is, however, the first 27-inch screen we've seen with the lower 1080p resolution — competitors like the Dell UltraSharp U2711 or even Apple's iMac come in at a much more impressive 2560x1440, and both are based on IPS technology, which gives them superior colours and viewing angles. Even Dell's older UltraSharp 2709w offered the 16:10 resolution of 1920x1200.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing — for one, the smaller resolution means a significantly larger dot pitch. This means elements will appear larger, and text should be easier to read. While the DPI scaling in Windows 7 makes these sorts of troubles a thing of the past, those who are running on other operating systems or whose eyes aren't as good as they used to be will appreciate the extra size afforded to them by ViewSonic's screen.

ViewSonic VX2739wm front

My, that's a big power button nestled among the gloss. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 27 inches
Resolution 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.311
Panel technology TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 170°
V: 160°
Response time 1ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections DVI, HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm line out and in, 4x USB
Accessories DVI, VGA, USB upstream, 3.5mm audio, power cables

Stand and ergonomics

Despite the screen size, ViewSonic has bafflingly opted to give very little adjustability in the stand at all, only including tilt — a trademark generally found in cheap 22-inch monitors.

ViewSonic VX2739wm stand

One of the corners cut: an incredibly basic level of adjustability is foisted upon us by ViewSonic. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Connections

ViewSonic VX2379wm inputs

Power, HDMI, DVI, VGA, 3.5mm in, USB upstream, 2x USB downstream. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

ViewSonic VX2739wm USB ports

USB ports and a headphone jack on the right-hand side. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Speakers

It's rare to find good speakers in a monitor, and ViewSonic continues the fine tradition of providing incredibly poor audio. While it has better mid-range than some, it sacrifices high-end clarity and completely lacks bass. The top firing speakers also sound distant, and although a respectable volume can be achieved, it distorts easily. As usual, we recommend keeping to dedicated speakers, or making use of the headphone jack on the side to bypass the monitor speakers completely.

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

Side buttons! Only secondary in annoyance to underside buttons, ViewSonic's OSD is all the more annoying as you adjust and attempt to reprogram your muscle memory on the fly. The indented labels aren't particularly clear against the black gloss either, making it a difficult task to adjust settings in low light.

ViewSonic VX2739wm buttons

ViewSonic persists with annoyingly putting buttons on the side. It's not exactly conducive to adjusting in the dark either, but with only four buttons muscle memory will eventually kick in. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

Thankfully, the VX2739wm has received ViewSonic's newer OSD, which sports a cleaner look and it's easy to find your way around, button mashing aside. Don't expect anything fancy here though in terms of adjustments — just like the stand, you're given basic options only. Vexingly, scaling options are limited too, only offering 4:3 and fill.

ViewSonic VX2739wm OSD

The OSD is clean and simple. (Credit: CBS Interactive)

There's a large annoyance introduced here: as far as we can tell, there's no way to switch to a predetermined input, the monitor simply scans what's available, and switches to the next in queue.

This behaviour annoyingly continues when one input is removed. Say you've just shut down your PC, but happen to have your PS3 hooked up to the HDMI port. You're ready to walk away from the monitor for the day, but because it auto-switches, it changes to the HDMI port and doesn't turn off. It's a huge waste of power, and we're not sure what ViewSonic was thinking here.

Performance

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the VX2739wm was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Too sharp Pass Pass Pass Looks a little brown, even when on-axis. Purple banding.
Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Flicker Slight flicker Pass Flicker Slight flicker Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

By default, the image is way too sharp — however, the only time sharpness can be adjusted is when the screen is running lower than native resolution. Most monitors fail between one and four pixel walk tests, so in this instance we're not too concerned; the higher level of failures simply being representative of the price band ViewSonic is playing in.

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs were taken using StoppUhr. Being a TN panel the ViewSonic did well, clocking in at 17.1ms — approximately one frame of input lag.

Colour accuracy
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of 1 is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than 3 the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor.

Measured levels (sRGB mode)
Contrast ratio 1247:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.26
White level (cd/m²) 324.28
Gamma 2.15
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
76.3 12.1 12.2 9.7 8.2 7.4 7.3 7.0 7.0 6.4 8.3
Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
5.2 4.8 8.1 3.9 9.1 17.3

ViewSonic VX2739wm CIE chart before

Not the worst we've seen, but the greys as usual could be better. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Check out that impressive contrast ratio — and that's with Dynamic Contrast Ratio turned off. We'll likely lose a lot of that in trying to get our greys more accurate though. Being a consumer level monitor, this is the best we can do to get closer to accurate colours — the VX2739wm doesn't have the capability to tweak the colours any more at this point.

Measured levels (sRGB mode)
Contrast ratio 737:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.20
White level (cd/m²) 147.43
Gamma 2.30
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
79.9 14.6 3.4 1.7 1.4 0.9 1.6 1.2 1.4 1.8 3.2
Colour ΔE (compared to sRGB)
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
3.4 10.5 5.8 5.6 6.0 16.8

ViewSonic VX2739wm CIE chart after

Better, but greens are way out now. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

While things have generally improved and the contrast ratio stays reasonably impressive, green in particular has been thrown out by the calibration. Still, this is likely the best we can get.

HDMI performance
While a monitor might have an HDMI port that's no guarantee it'll display images as expected. We hooked up a PlayStation 3 and checked for 24p capability, as well as judder and ran the HQV Blu-ray test to see how well it coped with an interlaced source and noise.

24p capable Understands YUV Mission Impossible III
Scene 11 judder test
Mission Impossible III
Scene 14 judder test
Yes Yes Judder Slight judder

HQV noise
reduction
score
HQV video
resolution loss
score
HQV jaggies
score
HQV film
resolution loss
score
HQV film
resolution loss - stadium
score
Total score (out of 100)
0 0 0 0 0 0

As a pleasant surprise, the VX2739wm actually played 24p content. Not so pleasant was its 1080i performance in HQV, failing every test. We can't pretend this is particularly bad for the field — the large majority of monitors fail these tests, with only high-end monitors like the U2711 passing. As such the VX2739wm is fine for gaming using progressive resolutions, but you'll want to stay away from interlaced, and the judder present in the MI:III scenes makes it generally unsuitable for movie watching over HDMI as well.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

ViewSonic VX2739wm viewing angles

Viewing angles aren't great, as is the norm for TN-based panels. Also, the norm for the technology is the image inversion when viewed from below. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Backlight uniformity
Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.

ViewSonic VX2739wm backlight uniformity

Uniformity is a bit all over the place, with corners being brighter than is normal. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
The VX2739wm suffered from obvious light bleed at the top and bottom of the screen, something that is sadly common among cheaper monitors.

It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 57W
Power-saving mode 12W
Off 12W

Considering the screen size, max power consumption is pretty good. It still draws 12W while off though, not terribly efficient for saving power.

Warranty

ViewSonic offers a three-year warranty for its LCD products. If you have a bright or dark subpixel, you may return the monitor to the reseller up to 30 days from the date of purchase. After the 30 days DOA guarantee, things get a little murkier. The tolerance levels are outlined in the diagram below:

ViewSonic dead pixel policy

Inside area 1, one dead pixel is required for swap out. In area 2, 3, 4 and 5, you'll need two dead pixels to get a replacement; and sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 will need three before ViewSonic will replace your monitor. (Credit: ViewSonic)

Conclusion

At AU$599, the VX2739wm epitomises the "cheap and cheerful" category. It's not terribly power efficient, its HDMI performance is lacklustre and the speakers are best not talked about.

However, it does provide a huge, full HD monitor for an incredibly cheap price — and we'd wager many people would be happy with just that.

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