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ViewSonic V3D231 3D Monitor Review

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AkG

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Movie Performance

Movie Performance


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Pre-calibration

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Post-calibration

Some further discussion of the V3D231’s 3D video capabilities is in order. Since this monitor can handle polarized (aka interlaced, or 3Di) 3D format, as well as compatible frame 3D formats such as Left-and-Right (aka Side-by-Side or SbS) and Top-and-Bottom (aka TaB) formatted stereoscopic movies, you will have very little trouble finding compatible content. The included software may not be able to play Blu-Ray movies in 3D, but with some ripping and re-encoding this too can be accomplished. It may not be a perfect solution, but it is possible if you are dedicated enough.

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Be warned that in order to view SbS-encoded 3D material you must download the latest version of the software (1.0.3), as SbS compatibility was only recently re-added to the software due to a patent dispute. You will also need to properly label your media, adding, for example, an “-lr” or “-lrq” to the end of file names for SbS-format content in order to tell the media player how to properly decode the movie. Not doing so will result in a pair of 2D images being displayed (for example) side by side, both in “virtual” 3D.

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Glasses

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No Glasses

If the limitations we have listed above don’t overly concern you, there is one more that may: as with gaming, subtitles and other small font texts are simply unreadable in 3D mode. Even watching the opening credits of a movie while wearing the polarized glasses is an exercise in frustration, as only half of each letter will be displayed to each eye. In theory, your brain should be able to connect the dots and recreate the words, but don’t count on it.

This phenomenon is usually called retinal rivalry or binocular rivalry. What it all boils down to is quite simple: nearly all humans have a dominant eye, and thus when two dissimilar images are sent to the brain, it will opt for only one image as being the “correct” one. It can be alleviated somewhat by increasing the displayed text’s size, but even going this route results in a sub-optimal viewing experience.

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In 3D

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Not in 3D​

The one trick the ViewSonic V3D231 has up its sleeve is the ability to easily transform 2D movies into simulated 3D. To do this, the software simply makes everything at the bottom of the screen “close” to you and everything higher up “further away.” This produces an effect that is much like looking out a window: Nothing in the scene will “pop out” at you, but it will be in 3D instead of 2D.

Like many things with this monitor, the result is extremely variable. Some 2D movies don’t look better when displayed in this virtual 3D, and some even look worse. However, other movies look surprisingly good.

All of this certainly makes the V3D231 a less user-friendly and seamless experience when compared to NVIDIA’s active solution. Nevertheless, given the disparity in price—and other fringe benefits such as lightweight glasses requiring no batteries—it can be considered a good bang-for-your-buck setup. More importantly, while there are issues to be overcome, they are for the most part not insurmountable and ViewSonic’s passive 3D implementation does still provide a fairly decent and enjoyable experience.

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In our final estimation, the ViewSonic VD231 has some weaknesses that must be addressed. The screen door effect we ran into with 2D content and gaming is also noticeable in 3D movies. Basically, anytime a scene consists of mainly solid colors, such as a blue sky, large grass-covered fields, white clouds, ice rinks or anything similar, there is a very noticeable graininess to the image. Also, while the 3D is often good, we did notice that images were generally darker than NVIDIA’s second generation active setup and the resolution was noticeably worse. Halving the image resolution in order to get 3D is a decent tradeoff considering the lowered price, but when you add all these issues together the ViewSonic V3D231’s implementation does leave something to be desired.
 
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AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
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5,270
Non-Colorimeter Tweaking and Results

Non-Colorimeter Tweaking and Results


In a perfect world either every monitor would come factory calibrated to perfection or every single consumer would own a decent colorimeter. We don’t live in such a world and as such most consumers simply use the old Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball to fix any imperfections with the stock colors of their new monitor.

In order to gauge how easy this is to do for a given monitor we have included a new set of tests. These tests will be carried out before any of our standard tests and will consist of us using a combination of the free online LCD Monitor Test Images (found here LCD monitor test images) and then if necessary the free Hex2Bit Monitor Calibration Wizard (found here Hex2Bit - Software by Mike Walters). The goal of these tests is to not only gauge how easy it is to accurately calibrate a given monitor using only the onboard monitor tools, but to see how closely we can come to what a Spyder3 Elite can do.



To obtain these results we did the following:
- used “user control” color mode
- ensured dynamic contrast was off
- lowered the brightness to 39 (which resulted in a 120 cd/m2)
- lowered Red to 80
- lowered Green to 70
- lowered Blue to 64
- Adjusted windows gamma setting to correct for gamma
- All other settings left to default levels

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The default colors can make for a very odd color palette that will need to be corrected ASAP, but thanks in no small part to actual physical buttons and a decent onscreen display, manually tweaking the ViewSonic V3D231 to a semblance of correctness is a relatively quick and painless procedure. In grand total it took us approximately 12 minutes to get the colors close, with an additional 10 minutes to dial them in as close to perfection as we could. It was then a relatively simple procedure to adjust the gamma via Windows’ built-in mode. In grand total it took us less than half an hour to get what was a fairly poor color profile to one that would be acceptable to all but the most finicky of users.
 
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AkG

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Conclusion

Conclusion


The Viewsonic V3D231 is far from perfect for all consumers and scenarios, but it is not without merit either. At its most basic, it can be considered a viable alternative to active 3D monitors for anyone who lack the funds or a compatible graphics card for the current crop of active setups. In addition, people who simply dislike the idea of having large and heavy glasses will want to pay attention to what Viewsonic is offering.

There are some other impressive features here as well. The ability to turn 2D images and movies into virtual 3D environments is certainly impressive under certain circumstances. Not all 2D material looks perfectly realistic when converted to stereo 3D, but some movies actually looked pretty darn good.

The associated reduction in clarity, darkening of images, inability to read text on the screen while in 3D mode, and even the halving of resolutions are not necessarily show stoppers for the V3D231 either. 1080P movies and games won’t look nearly as good on this passive monitor as they will on an active 3D setup. However, for each of these issues there is a benefit as well. With this monitor, you really can play games in a stereoscopic environment without a massively powerful (and expensive) graphics card, unlike NVIDIA’s 3D Vision system. This fact, combined with the much lower price, can make a persuasive argument for consumers who want to experience 3D on a tight budget.

From a purely 2D perspective, however, this monitor falls flat. When used in mundane scenarios such as internet surfing, office work, programming, or other non-entertainment situations, the V3D231’s panel with its built-in polarization filters results in sub-par viewing experience. Text is not as crisp and clear as it should be, and solid colors look muddy. These issues are common for passive 3D displays, but this is still is no excuse.

In the end, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to experience 3D and already own a decent 2D monitor, the Viewsonic may indeed be a viable solution for your needs. For everyone else, this 3D monitor’s capabilities are just too one dimensional to justify this level of commitment. For the same monetary outlay you can get a much more capable, higher resolution 24” IPS monitor such as the Dell U2412 or, for much less, any of the numerous TN panel available. Doing so, you will indeed have to give up “3D,” but for most users, 3D support is simply too minor a consideration to be their only priority.


Pros:

- Is GPU vendor agnostic solution
- Two 3D game modes means it can work with less powerful GPUs
- Software can convert 2D into “virtual” 3D for pictures and movies
- Fairly power efficient
- Good color gamut for a TN panel
- Real buttons
- Decent OSD
- Great panel uniformity


Cons:

- Less than optimal 2D capabilities
- Limited 3D abilities, including all the usual negatives of passive 3D displays
- Limited adjustment options
- Software does not support Blu-Ray playback
- Software does not support DVD playback (and expects you to pay $4.95 for this feature!)
- Relies on 3rd party software to create 3D images
- Price
- The OSD lacks 3D environment customization
 
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