Viewsonic N2060W

31st Mar 2007 | 23:00

Viewsonic N2060W

A fine bedroom TV, but this 20-incher isn't a first-rate LCD

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Great with hi-def, but there's no digital tuner, and regular TV and sound are poor

Like:

<p>Fantastic high-def pictures</p><p>Cheap</p><p>Decent connections</p>

Dislike:

<p>Average looks</p><p>Difficult to use</p><p>No digital tuner</p><p>Disappointing standard-def pictures</p>

Viewsonic is best known for its computer monitors, but the company has clearly decided that it's time to cash in on the hi-def revolution by launching a range of HD-ready LCD TVs.

This model has a 20-inch screen, making it very much at the small end of the HDTV spectrum, and you won't get much benefit from its hi-res panel and HDMI if you're sitting more than a few feet away. This TV is really only for bedrooms, kitchens and the cosiest of living rooms. And let's face it: if you're going to shell out big money for a hi-def disc player or Sky HD box, you'll probably want to be seeing those pictures on a bigger screen than this.

Connectivity is standard for an HD-ready TV. There's the HDMI, plus component video, an RGB-capable Scart, composite and S-video, plus a VGA input for linking the N2060W to your PC (it works as a 1366 x 768 resolution monitor).

The styling couldn't be described as attractive, and the remote, in particular, is a complete dog, looking like the sort of thing you'd get with a £10 DVD player. The ergonomics aren't much better, either: the channel and volume controls are tucked away in an odd corner and the button in the middle of the navigation keys (traditionally the "OK" command) is the menu button.

This makes setting the thing up, or even tasks as simple as adjusting the brightness, needlessly complicated and drawn out. And at one point during testing, the remote even increased the volume without prompting.

HD for glory

Things start to look up once you hook up a hi-def source. Sky HD's showing of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith looked impressively detailed and sharp here, with searingly bright lightsabres and smooth movement during the Jedi battles. The slightly lacklustre black levels were the only weak point, but with this much detail, we barely noticed.

Standard-def content looks a lot worse, understandably, but it's nothing amazingly bad. There's a softness to the image, and some stepping on diagonal objects, such as the lines on a football pitch, but that's not bad going for the price.

Viewsonic has kitted the TV out with SRS WOW for a bit of added power to the audio, but whether it's switched on or not the speaker output here is rather poor. The famous sound of lightsabres clashing was near-inaudible here, while anything at the opposite, low-frequency, end of the spectrum has a tendency to rattle the TV's plastic casing.

One area where we really expected the N2060W to impress was gaming as Viewsonic has a great pedigree in fast- responding, smear-free monitors. Despite this, hooking up an Xbox 360 using the VGA connection and sticking on Dead Rising does little to improve the TV in our estimation - there's definite motion smear here, and it's especially noticeable when you quickly rotate the camera. In games with constant fast horizontal panning, such as Pro Evolution Soccer 6, it's even worse. This won't ruin games, but it's annoying and much worse than on many LCDs.

Overall, this isn't a terrible TV for £400, considering its limitations, but it needs a hi-def source to create a good picture; it's too tiny for anything but a small room; its speakers don't work well with bass-heavy sounds; and its performance with fast- moving games is disappointing. If your needs happen to coincide with what it's good at, it's worthy of consideration.

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