Over the past couple of years, we've seen several exciting new technologies added to the tried-and-true LCD display. First, we had in-plane switching panels, which took off-axis image quality up a notch, improved color accuracy and lowered energy consumption. Resolution has increased from the 1920x1080 pixels of the average desktop monitor to 2560x1440 (QHD) and 3840x2160 (UHD). And we're starting to see 5K (5120x2880) panels now from Dell and HP. And of course gamers have finally been given some real choices thanks to faster refresh rates and signal-sync technologies like G-Sync and FreeSync.
The one common factor present in all of these innovations has been high cost. Any new technology will cost more at first; that's a universal constant. It just seems that monitors take longer to drop in price than other kinds of hardware.
Ultra HD is a great example of this. The first screens came out at 32 inches and were priced at around $3,000. We got our first significant price break when UHD came to the 28-inch form factor. The drawback is that those screens rely on TN technology. What everyone really wants is IPS and until recently, IPS commanded a premium.
We've reviewed 24-inch UHD monitors before but they were still priced at the high-end. Dell's UP2414Q can be found for around $600 and the NEC EA244UHD is closer to $1,000 at the time of this writing. If you're willing to give up those screens' wide gamut option however, ViewSonic has a brand-new IPS UHD model for only $400 -- the VX2475Smhl-4K that we're reviewing today.
At this price point, ViewSonic is bringing Ultra HD to the business class. The monitor is based on a Samsung-manufactured PLS panel with a white LED backlight, 300cd/m2 of peak output and an sRGB color gamut. By the way, that backlight is flicker-free courtesy of its constant-current design. No pulse-width modulation is used here. It's pretty much the same feature set you'd see on most 27-inch QHD displays, which are gradually replacing FHD as the new desktop standard.
One thing you'll need to consider with an Ultra HD screen in this size is pixel density. The new 27-inch 5K screens (5120x2880) are highest at 217ppi. But second place goes to the 24-inch (actually 23.6 inches viewable) UHD monitors, which boast 187ppi.
That density in this screen size means that without dpi scaling in Windows, text is all but unreadable. We had to up the setting to 150 percent, which rendered everything clearly. That value seems to be a sweet spot for this particular monitor size.
Other VX2475Smhl-4K features include a Blue Light Filter that warms up the white point to reduce fatigue, a quick 4ms-rated response time and two HDMI 2.0 inputs that can accept the monitor's native resolution. The spec sheet and price pretty much guarantee the monitor's acceptance in the enterprise, but can it also satisfy gamers? Let's take a look.
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