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ViewSonic VG191b

ViewSonic's latest large-screen flat-panel monitor aims to provide graphics and business professionals with the sharpness, saturation, size and shape of desktop they need. The VG191b is a 19in. LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, and a claimed brightness of 250cd/m2. It also rotates on its stand to support either landscape or portrait orientation, although the switch in aspect ratio isn't automatic.
Written by Jonathan Bennett, Contributor on
viewsonic-vg191-thumb.jpg
8.0/10

ViewSonic VG 191b

Excellent
Pros
  • Portrait or landscape mode digital and analogue inputs.
Cons
  • No automatic aspect change controls difficult to use in portrait mode.
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

ViewSonic's latest large-screen flat-panel monitor aims to provide graphics and business professionals with the sharpness, saturation, size and shape of desktop they need. The VG191b is a 19in. LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels, and a claimed brightness of 250cd/m2. It also rotates on its stand to support either landscape or portrait orientation, although the switch in aspect ratio isn't automatic.

The VG191b supplied to us differs from the VG191 only in its case colour. The 'b' model has a grey casing, while the VG191 has a white case. The pedestal includes a height adjustment with just under 6cm of travel, which may not sound like much but does make a difference to your viewing angle. The power and four control panel buttons are at the bottom of the screen bezel. The bezel itself is quite wide, and each edge of the case curves outwards. This isn't ideal if you want to stack several of these monitors together and save space.

The panel tilts and twists as you'd expect, but also rotates clockwise through 90 degrees giving you a portrait display if required. The VG191b is supplied with Portrait Displays' Pivot software that changes the display aspect ratio accordingly. This is a manual process -- you have to press a hotkey combination or use a right mouse button menu to perform the switch -- since there are no electronics built into the bearing. This also means that the on-screen display doesn't rotate, making screen adjustments in portrait mode very awkward indeed. An automatic aspect change system would require another connection -- probably USB -- and would add slightly to the cost of the system. Although it may seem inconvenient to have to switch modes manually, in practice you're unlikely to be rotating the monitor often enough to warrant the extra complexity.

The VG191b has both VGA and DVI-D inputs, and will automatically switch to whichever has a signal. If there's a signal on both you can select which one you want from the on-screen display. You're supplied with detachable cables for both types of input. If you're using the analogue VGA input, there's an automatic picture adjust option on the on-screen display that will set the correct timings for the signal. You'll get a message popping up advising you to switch to 1,280 by 1,024 if you use another resolution, but the monitor will display smaller screen sizes using scaling.

ViewSonic also supplies Sonnentech's Colorific calibration software with the VG191b. Colorific can match your screen's colour characteristics to a particular application, or it can match the colour response to your printer -- as far as possible. As mentioned above, the Pivot portrait display software is also included. Note that any significant change to your display system, such as installing a different graphics card, will require you to reinstall Pivot as well.

ViewSonic's VG191b isn't the largest LCD monitor available today, and there are similar models available from other manufacturers. Its price and specification are similar to Eizo's FlexScan L685, for example, although the VG191b's screen area is slightly larger. Shop around, certainly, but if you're in the market for a LCD monitor with portrait capability, put the VG191b on your list of models to consider.

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