Review: ViewSonic 22” HD ViewDock Widescreen LCD Display VX2245wm
[Editors' Note: On November 1, 2006, iLounge published The 2007 iPod Buyers' Guide, with more than 30 brand new, capsule-sized product reviews - only for products we considered to be amongst the very best we've seen throughout the year. The short review below is excerpted and expanded from the Guide, which you can download here.]
ViewDock is a 19- or 22-inch monitor with an iPod dock, USB hub, microphone, and speakers built into the base; details are below. We’re not going to tell you that ViewDocks are brilliant iPod add-ons - the reason for their only limited recommendations - as the dock is only for syncing and charging, doesn’t allow straight-to-monitor playback, and benefits only mildly from the speakers. But as monitors go, ViewSonic’s new offerings are well-priced, have great screens, and look nice enough on a desk to pass muster.
The 22” HD ViewDock combines a traditional 22” widescreen display (digital and analog PC/Mac standards) with a front-mounted iPod dock. With a “bring it together” theme, ViewSonic has also integrated two 2.5-watt speakers inside the display, a 3-watt “subwoofer” in the base, and a headphone port for quiet listening. There are also four powered USB ports (front and back), an 8-in-1 card reader (right), and a microphone (front). Audio, video, and power cables are included - two separate power outlets are needed for the display and base.
The display’s specifications are up to modern snuff - 1680x1050 resolution, a 5-millisecond response time appropriate to high-speed game graphics, a 280 cd/m2 brightness level, and a 700:1 contrast ratio - but you can’t drop an iPod in the dock and watch videos, and the manual suggests that you should load iTunes to listen to music through the integrated speaker system.
Though we found the monitor nice for use with our Mac and PC computers, and had no complaints about its performance as “just another computer monitor,” ViewSonic dropped the ball on delivering what should have been a slam dunk - a monitor with the small amount of video processing hardware necessary to let you drop in your iPod and watch content without powering on your computer. Simply grafting an iPod dock onto the base of a monitor takes little effort, and produces underwhelming results, coming across as more of a marketing-driven iPod device than an engineering or customer-driven one. We’re hoping for much more from future ViewDock models, assuming that there are any.