Viewsonic V3D231 review
Viewsonic's V3D231 is a 23in Full HD monitor with a TN panel and passive 3D - that is, you don't need bulky active-shutter glasses to view 3D. Instead, it comes with a pair of polarised glasses and clip-ons for those who wear specs. Apart from its 3D capabilities, the V3D231 is a fairly standard 23in monitor, with a choice of VGA, DVI or HDMI inputs, a fixed stand and a pair of tinny speakers.
For the most part, viewing movies or playing games in 3D is painless, although Viewsonic does a bad job of helping you through setup. The most important part is installing the TriDef software that comes on the CD, but the help page that pops up when you first insert the CD doesn't mention it, and it's not in the manual at all. TriDef lets you view photos and play games in 3D, whether you have an AMD or Nvidia graphics card.
The first thing TriDef does when you run it is show you a test screen, so that you can tilt your monitor to get the best 3D effect. Unfortunately, the V3D231 has poor vertical viewing angles - the image loses contrast and colour accuracy when viewed from too sharp an angle. The 3D effect is also highly dependent on viewing from a particular angle, so getting the screen tilt right should be the first thing you do.
Once the angle is right, it's a breeze to watch a 3D Blu-ray film from a Blu-ray player - you just have to choose the option to view the 3D version when you start the film, and the monitor switches to 3D automatically. Watching 3D films on a PC monitor this size isn’t ideal, as 3D is much more immersive when the film fills your vision. We noticed some crosstalk when using the monitor, where one eye sees the other eye's image and leads to a ghosting effect, especially if we hadn't got the screen angle right.
Games require a bit more work to set up. TriDef can scan your PC for games, but when we used this facility it only found our copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and not our other Steam games. You can add a game manually, and there are ready-made profiles for a huge range of titles. It's not all smooth sailing, however; when trying to run Deus Ex, our PC crashed to a blue screen.
We had more luck with Eve Online and Call of Duty 4, both of which are listed as supported on TriDef's website. In Eve, the chat, NeoCon and overview windows formed a foreground layer, while space was a flat backdrop. Only with ships and stations visible on screen did we get a sense of depth, but overview icons in space are rendered in the foreground plane, spoiling the 3D effect on the objects they represent. In Call of Duty 4, with more tight spaces and more objects on-screen at once, the 3D effect was far more convincing.
Unlike active-shutter glasses, the polarised glasses were light to wear and didn't strain our eyes as much. They're also much cheaper to replace, being only a couple of pounds each, so you can buy a pair for each member of the family without spending too much.
As a monitor, however, the V3D231 isn't that impressive. The LED backlighting is even and bright, but contrast isn't great and there's quite a bit of light bleed-through. Colours are natural but washed out, especially when compared to some of the VA and IPS panels we've seen lately. If you're keen on 3D but don't want to spend a lot, the V3D231 offers a good balance between ease of use, cost and image quality. However, if you're looking for a decent 23in monitor, the LG IPS235V has better picture quality from its IPS panel and costs almost £100 less.
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