Have lengthy files you want to view on a single screen?





The 15-inch ViewSonic VPD150 digital LCD monitor will turn your perceptions
upside-down, or at least sideways.


ViewSonic Corp. understands that many Web pages are designed as if on paper—longer
top to bottom than side to side. Especially at higher resolutions, the viewing is better
and easier with the monitor turned on its side. To reverse the 12-inch side-to-side and
the 9-inch top-to-bottom viewing areas, simply rotate the VPD150 on its swivel base.


I was disappointed that the monitor was not smart enough to know when it had been
tilted. Back in the days when CRT displays started to have tiltable screens, internal
mercury switches automatically activated the correct graphics mode for a changed
orientation. Mercury switches are undesirable for environmental reasons, but you would
think another conductive liquid medium could be found, or at least a gravity-activated
device.


ViewSonic’s software switch did not always work. With the screen tilted the long
way and the software activated, certain programs—especially those involving
graphics—still displayed as if the monitor were not tilted. Movies ran sideways. Most
but not all standard programs with a Microsoft Windows interface looked OK.


The VPD150’s selling point is its swivel base, but the display is of extremely
high quality, sharp as a high-end CRT display and bright at 200 nits. One nit equals the
brightness of one wax candle.


The VPD150 has an impressive 140-degree horizontal viewing angle, and images do not
fade or blur at extreme angles, as sometimes happens with other LCD monitors. The viewing
angle is less impressive with the monitor turned lengthwise because tilting puts the
smaller top-to-bottom view on the horizontal axis. But it still looks good compared with
most LCDs.


As a digital monitor, the VPD150 conveys special advantages as well as special
requirements.


In the advantages column, there is almost no signal loss between computer and monitor.
Images that are supposed to be crisp maintain their color depth.


The controls are limited to a simple brightness button, and contrast and color balance
adjust automatically to ensure optimal viewing.


In the requirements column, you must buy and install a separate graphics card with a
special digital monitor connector, called a mini-D ribbon (MDR). Few users have MDR
connections on their machines.


The included pair of stereo speakers suffers from the same inadequacies as most other
tiny monitor speakers. They don’t deliver much bass and lose quality at higher
volumes.


Surprisingly, the VPD150 costs only $995. I expected a higher price for such a good
monitor.


Some of the savings is eaten up in buying a new graphics card with an MDR connection,
but you still probably won’t find a better LCD with as many features in the same
price ballpark.  


About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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