GCN LAB REVIEWS
Big-screen punch, small-screen power consumption
- By John Breeden II
- Aug 02, 2012
This is the last in a series of five reviews of green IT products.
Displays have come a long way since the days of the CRT. Not only is the quality of today’s monitors much better than in the past, they are also lighter, easier on the eyes and use a whole lot less power. By extension, they also generate less heat, which means less strain on the AC units, and again, less power.
The move to LCDs helped a lot, and then power was again reduced when LCDs began to use LED technology in the backlight instead of florescent tubes. The problem, at least we thought before we looked at the VA2451m, was how to make an economically efficient monitor use even less power. We thought we were at the end of the eco-rope.
As a baseline, we used a fairly standard 20-inch widescreen LCD with LED backlight technology. It sucked in 21.7 watts of power per second while powered and displaying something on its screen. That’s not very much, but there could be room for improvement.
Ease of Use: A
Pros: Great color accuracy, low energy consumption, good brightness balance
Cons: No HDMI or DisplayPort
The VA2451m from ViewSonic is a 24-inch model with LED backlighting. We were surprised to find that it only drew in 20.5 watts of power when powered up and displaying images on the screen. That is a four-inch bigger panel that uses slightly fewer watts. Given the low $215 price tag, there is almost no reason not to upgrade to the VA2451m if you are looking to move up to a nice large display.
And the VA2451m is really good when graded just as a monitor. It was able to put 227 lumens of power in the middle of its screen at 80 percent brightness with only a 40 lumen drop-off at most in the corners. It takes 100 lumens for the naked eye to tell any difference, so images will be homogeneous throughout.
Text looked great down to 7 points in size. Below that you could still read the letters, but it was a bit more difficult. Color-stepping along a 256-hue grid was highly accurate, without very much blending of colors, even if they were similar.
On the very slightly negative side, there is a slight persistence with very swiftly moving pixels, but only when they are moving at 800-pixels per second or faster. Also, there is neither an HDMI nor a DisplayPort input on the monitor. Those factors mean that the VA2451m probably isn’t designed for watching movies. But it looks just fine for office tasks or the occasional video. And, especially for a 24-inch display, it uses a very tiny bit of power.
The VA2451m is a perfect example of an eco-friendly monitor that doesn’t suffer performance in the name of energy consumption. It would be good for anyone who wants to upgrade to a large panel, and then still be able to claim the resulting energy savings in their yearly report. For this, it earns our Reviewer’s Choice designation.
Other green IT reviews in this series:
An eco-friendly LCD that doesn't cheat on performance
Big desktop performance in a, literally, Tiny package
This UPS will scare off phantom power loads
ColorQube proves you can't judge green by power use alone
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.