Great panel; decent price; HDMI 2.0.
(-) No Way
Screen size too small for 4K; plasticky chassis; limited adjustment.
This article was published in the November 2015 issue of Maximum PC. For more trusted reviews and feature stories, subscribe here (opens in new tab).
What’s a few inches between friends?
This whole 4K thing is all about compromises right now. Forgetting the fact that running games at the mighty 3840x2160 native resolution of 4K monitors is incredibly demanding on your graphics hardware, just trying to find the right monitor in the first place can be incredibly tough.
The first 4K panel we checked out was a frighteningly expensive Asus 32-inch IGZO panel; great-looking but wallet-destroying. From there it was either weaker panel tech in TN trim for the larger screen sizes, or too-expensive IPS technology. Or you could compromise and go for a smaller screen space paired with a finer panel. This is the route Viewsonic has taken with its latest 4K monitor.
Matching Samsung’s PLS panel technology (IPS by any other name would smell as sweet…) with a 24-inch screen size means Viewsonic can offer lovelylooking image fidelity for around $400. In 4K terms, that’s a bit of a bargain.
Pretty much any other 4K panel you’d care to mention at that price will be resolutely TN. Not that today’s twisted nematic tech is as bad as the old days—both the color reproduction and viewing angles are much improved—but it’s still nowhere near the image quality you’ll get from a bona fide IPS screen. And the oh-so-similar PLS technology in this Viewsonic panel is top-end 8-bit style, so it’s rocking 16.7 million colors and full sRGB color depth.
The white reproduction on this screen then is pretty much immaculate, and the contrast levels typically excellent. As is the way with this sort of panel tech, however, the black levels aren’t quite up there with the depth you’d get from an MVA screen like the lovely and large Philips BDM4065UC. But when you’re talking about color reproduction and viewing angles, the Viewsonic’s got it. So, all is rosy then, right?
The Scaling Situation
If this monitor was just a little bit bigger—say, 27-inch—we’d be all over it. With a quality display, we’d say 27-inch is about the minimum screen size you can really get away with for a 4K monitor. And even that is pushing it. You don’t really get the same stunning effect that the extra pixel count has on image depth with a 27-inch panel that you do with something like that 40-inch Philips, let alone a 24-inch screen such as this Viewsonic.
At that size, you’re simply not getting the most out of the 4K resolution when we’re talking gaming. The incredible demands that native resolution makes upon your graphics card are only worth the GPU effort when you’re really getting to see the full benefit from the extra texture detail. And on the desktop, the native font on a 24-inch display is eyestraining, to say the least.
Windows 10 has of course improved its scaling efforts, but you’ll inevitably come across older software that simply doesn’t work with the new UI scaling boost. We use FRAPS in hardware testing almost constantly, and if you ever try running that classic app on a scaled desktop, you’ll see what we’re talking about.
With a $400 price tag, we can forgive it the flimsy, plasticky chassis. There’s no height adjustment or twisting here, this is a basic setup. Until you get to the inputs that is. Incongruously, this is the first panel we’ve had in the lab that rocks the new HDMI 2.0 interface, which will support the 4K resolution over HDMI at 60Hz for the first time, providing you’ve got a compatible GPU.
With just a few extra inches across the diagonal, we’d have a seriously impressive 4K package. Unfortunately, at 24 inches, the screen size is too small. It’s just too big a compromise.
$400, www.viewsonic.com (opens in new tab)
|Specifications||Row 0 - Cell 1|
|Response Rate||2ms (GtG)|
|Connections||HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2a, MHL 2.0|