As business LCD monitors go, the 19-inch ViewSonic VP930b doesn't stray far from the norm in its basic, boxy design. However, the VP930b offers useful color-calibration and asset-management software and tons of adjustability to fit nearly any ergonomic demand. Unfortunately, its poor image quality leaves us cold. For everyday uses such as viewing Web pages and text documents, the monitor's flaws aren't deal-breakers, but for its high $559 price, we expected better performance. For much better image quality and comparable flexibility, consider the similarly priced Sony SDM-X95KB or Philips Brilliance 190P6.
The ViewSonic VP930b's display panel is framed by a simple, narrow bezel with five rectangular adjustment buttons set discreetly into the bottom edge. Its range of ergonomic options is excellent. The panel glides smoothly up and down a track set into the neck, and you can raise and lower it an impressive 5.5 inches. The neck swivels 270 degrees, so it's easy to share what's on your display with coworkers or transition from working on your desk to watching a video on the couch. You can also tilt the display 20 degrees back and 5 forward and rotate it between portrait and landscape modes. ViewSonic even includes pivot software so that you can change the orientation of your Windows desktop to match that of the panel. The base isn't perfect--its four arms keep the monitor very stable but take up quite a bit of desk space.
On the back panel and within easy reach are one digital DVI port and two analog ports, the latter of which let you share the display between two computers. The monitor comes with one cable of each type. After you connect them, you can thread them through the three loops on the back of the neck so that they stay discreetly tucked out of view. The buttons for the onscreen menu (OSM) have little icons etched into them describing their functions, though we found them somewhat difficult to read. Despite the labels, navigating the OSM is easy to master.
ViewSonic also provides its new PerfectSuite software, which includes tools for color calibration, screen rotation, and asset management (for maintaining a fleet of these displays across a network). In addition, the software's theft-deterrence feature lets you protect the display and its settings with a personal identification number (PIN).
With all these great features, we hoped for great image quality. Unfortunately, this display delivered merely acceptable performance. Its performance on DVDs and games was average, as was its image quality when displaying basic Web and productivity-application material, but it really stumbled on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based grayscale and color tests. Grayscale screens showed so much color that we could clearly see blocks of bluish gray, blocks of greenish gray, and a distinct swath of pink right before the display dropped off to peak white. Colors took on unusual, unnatural-looking tints. The display's uniformity wasn't great either: fans of light were visible in all four corners of the screen.
The ViewSonic VP930b's service and support options are quite comprehensive. The warranty covers parts, labor, and backlight for an industry-standard three years. For $23 you can add an Express Exchange feature, wherein ViewSonic will ship you a replacement unit within 48 hours. Adding one year to the warranty costs $63 ($74 with Express Exchange), and adding two years costs $90 ($105 with Express Exchange). ViewSonic offers 24/7 toll-free phone tech support, but you have to go through an interactive knowledge portal where you type in questions and get answers from a "virtual support assistant" before you get the phone number--a slight annoyance, but it could save you a phone call. ViewSonic's Web site also has white papers, driver downloads, and a form for e-mail support.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)