The V3D231 is a 60 Hz, TN-panel 23” display with 1080p resolution that also does 3D. Most will be happy to hear that it has a matte finish on the display, but due to the passive 3D technology, it also has a patterned retarder on the screen. This is necessary to produce the polarized image to allow for 3D with the included glasses, but it also produces a texture to the display that is clearly visible from normal distances. Some people might not be bothered by this, but I know that I always have been. It’s more apparent on bright images I find, but as most monitors will be used with web pages, word processors, and spreadsheets, there are a lot of white backgrounds that will accentuate it.

Since passive 3D only needs simple polarized glasses, ViewSonic has included both a pair of glasses and a clip-on polarizer for people that normally wear glasses. The clip-on option is very nice as many active glasses do a poor job of fitting for people that have to wear glasses in daily life, making 3D hard for them to watch at all. I wish they had included an extra pair of the regular glasses so two people could watch something at once, but given the screen size they might have thought that was an unlikely situation. ViewSonic has also included a copy of the TriDef3D software that enables most of your games to take advantage of the monitor.

The inputs on the ViewSonic are what you might expect, with HDMI, DVI, and DSub, along with both audio in and headphone out audio jacks. I still don’t understand why all manufacturers continue to place the headphone out on the rear of the monitor where it is hard to reach instead of on the bottom or side of the display, where you could more easily access it. The only ergonomic adjustment available on the display is tilt, but it does have VESA mounting holes if you wish to add your own stand for more adjustments.

The OSD is controlled by four buttons located in the center of the monitor. ViewSonic has had the same menu control system for as long as I can recall, and nothing here has really changed about that. The Up Arrow also functions as a shortcut to the 3D mode selection, and the Down Arrow is a shortcut to the volume control. Little labels to indicate this would have been nice to have on the front panel, so you didn’t need to look it up in the manual or discover it accidentally. I should also note here that the bezel of the monitor is a very glossy black, which does reflect back a decent amount of glare as well as attract fingerprints. All of the controls I would typically look for in an OSD are available, including being able to set a custom white balance.

The tilt mechanism of the ViewSonic is pretty stiff and takes some effort to move it to where you want it, which also makes fine adjustments hard to do. I’d also prefer that the markings for LED, HDMI, and 1080p on the front of the monitor be removable once the buyer has the monitor at home, but they seem to be silkscreened onto the bezel. It’s curious that they have those, but no label that mentions it is a 3D display.

Viewsonic V3D231
Video Inputs HDMI 1.4a, DVI, Dsub
Panel Type TN
Pixel Pitch 0.265 mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 250 nits typical
Contrast Ratio 1,000:1 typical, 20,000,000:1 Dynamic
Response Time 2ms GTG
Viewable Size 23"
Resolution 1920x1080
Viewing Angle 170º horizontal, 160º vertical
Backlight LED
Power Consumption (operation) 36W normal, 26W Eco mode
Power Consumption (standby) < 1W
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare type, Hard-coating
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting Yes, 100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.6 x 15.3 x 7.5
Weight 7.9 lbs.
Additional Features Passive 3D, 2x2W speakers, 3.5mm stereo input, headphone output
Limited Warranty Three years on parts, labor, and backlight
Accessories 2 pairs 3D glases, power cable, audio cable, VGA cable, DVI cable, TriDef 3D software
Price Online starting at $279.00

Overall, the passive 3D feature is the main feature that sets the ViewSonic V3D231 apart from other displays on the market today. Pricing is higher than non-3D displays, but it's also quite a bit less than active-3D 120Hz displays. Of course, whether it's actually a better display or not is what we want to determine.

Viewing Angles and Color Quality
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  • velis - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link


    That said, it is said that LG will introduce new high resolution passive 3D monitors at this CES. Assuming that vertical resolution really reaches at least 1600, I'd really like to see those monitors reviewed as soon as possible.
  • cheinonen - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    If LG has a new, high resolution, passive 3D monitor at CES I'll certainly talk to them about it, right after I look at their OLED and 4K display demonstrations. Even a 2560x1440 LCD would be able to do full 720p resolution for passive 3D and would look far better.

    I'm not a big 3D person, but typically prefer passive when given the choice. I'm testing out an active 3D projector on my 122" screen right now and it's much easier on the eyes than watching an active 3D monitor I find, but the glasses still are not as comfortable and are more expensive. I'll talk to who I can at CES about anything that I see.
  • jkostans - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    It's going to be 2012 very soon and we still haven't come up with a good CRT replacement.

    60Hz is choppy,120Hz should be the industry standard by now
    Viewing angles still suck (120Hz panels)
    Color quality is still a problem, especially from the factory
    Uniformity is still not great
    Resolution is fixed and there are only 1080p and lower options (120Hz)
    ANY Input lag is inexcusable

    LCD should be a very mature technology by now but it seems people would rather pay for cheap crap than invest in a nice display. No wonder the manufacturers haven't fixed any of these problems, it's not worth the R&D time. Why people are even bothering with 3D is beyond me. I got my fix in 2000 with the ELSA revelators. Pretty cool effect for a little while but nothing game changing. A 3 monitor setup provides much more immersion than a single 3D display in my opinion.
  • snarfbot - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    its always going to have some level of lag with a fixed pixel display, it has to update the screen all at once so it has its own framebuffer that stores the image as it gets it from the source.

    its possible that the source say a videocard could have a general controller that supported every different type of display but then they would need a standards group and all that. also it would remove the ability of display manufacturers to provide different levels of features for their products, in effect, they would just be branding the panel and thats it. it really doesnt make business sense for them to cooperate in something like that.

    anyway, it would just move the logic from the display to the source, and might not necessarily improve anything. besides, theres already enough complexity in the display chain, without introducing yet more cost and compatibility issues.

    it would be nice to start over from scratch, get a standard that is forward thinking, drop all legacy baggage etc, (why do fixed pixel displays overscan? which basically involves cropping and upscaling? one of lifes great mysteries.) but i dont see it happening in my lifetime unfortunately.
  • Anthony RAmos - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    Actually Chris, display specialist, Dr. Raymond Soneira, proved that Passive actually provides full HD 3D in the study below:

    He also showed that Passive is very often better than Active 3D at resolution tests because of complex timing issues between Active glasses and the set. Read below:

    "The theory and fundamental principle behind full FPR vertical resolution and sharpness is that the 3D TV images have only horizontal parallax from the horizontally offset cameras, so the vertical image content for the right and left eyes are in fact identical – but with purely horizontal parallax offsets from their different right and left camera viewpoints. So there isn’t any 3D imaging information that is missing because all of the necessary vertical resolution and parallax information is available when the brain combines the right and left images into the 3D image we actually see. So as long as the viewing distance is sufficient so that the raster lines are not visually resolved (for 20/20 vision the visual resolution is 1 arc min, which corresponds to 6.1 feet for a 47 inch TV) the brain should fuse the images from the right and left eyes into a single full 1080p resolution 3D image. One important detail to note is that there are actually two entirely equivalent odd-even and even-odd line pairings for both the right and left FPR images, so both FPR TVs alternate between them at their full Refresh Rate. This also eliminates image artifacts that would result from picking just one pairing or the other.

    That is the theory and principle behind 3D Image Fusion for FPR, so now we need to actually test it to see how accurate it is and how sharp the 3D images actually appear. This can not be evaluated with instrumentation or cameras – only visually – but it can be done in an analytic and systematic fashion with objective quantifiable results that anyone can duplicate at home to verify our results and conclusions on 3D TV imaging and sharpness for themselves. Here’s how…"
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    It sounds like that doctor went in with a desire to prove that passive was better than active. Moreover, it sounds as though he only worked with film/TV sources. Whatever the case, Chris tested this particular LCD and played games on it, and the result is that text in his opinion was more difficult to read.

    Perhaps if he was at least 1 arc minute away from the display it would have worked better. Consider this statement: "But it’s not that simple because we watch TV from a far enough distance that the lines are not resolved and we know that the brain combines the images from both eyes into a single 3D image (the one we actually see) in a process called Image Fusion." His evaluation of active vs. passive points out many of the advantages of passive (less/no flicker and crosstalk), but while all of that may be true, the vertical resolution controversy is hardly disproved by his opinion.

    Again, a quote: "Because they split the odd and even lines between the right and left eyes it’s easy to see why many people (and some reviewers) conclude that FPR technology delivers only half of the HD resolution. Although unsubstantiated it still seems to have evolved into some sort of myth based on hearsay instead of actual scientific visual evaluation." Scientific visual evaluation seems to me to correspond to "personal subjective evaluation", with science not necessarily involved. More importantly, what happens if you're not far enough away? Then suddenly you see the reduced vertical resolution show up. I still use a 1080i HDTV for my home, and while it works fine for video content, it's horrible for text unless the text is very large (e.g. 10 foot UI).

    Ultimately, I also prefer passive 3D for viewing 3D content, but I'd prefer to have 120Hz LCDs more than passive 3D. 120Hz helps in non-3D use (quite a bit actually, in my opinion), and I still feel 3D is largely a gimmick that I don't need or even want. But then, you know what they say about opinions. :-)
  • robinthakur - Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - link

    It's an interesting (and evolving) subject. On LG's bigscreen Cinema 3D TV's with the latest firmware you can now select what format the passive 3D is displayed in. One displays native passive 1080i to both eyes meaning that you actually don't lose any resolution because the eyes de-interlace them. The other mode displays with half vertical resolution 540p to both eyes. However, in terms of which looks better when you are watching it, I have to say that I see very little difference with either, so alot of this is entirely perceptual. I concede that on a small screen monitor, the negative effects will likely appear far larger than it would be a on a larger screen, but the technology itself is not inherently worse than active, just from the specs on paper.
  • cheinonen - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    The ViewSonic has now left my possession, but as both it and the previously reviewed Samsung are targeted at gamers for 3D, the ViewSonic just did not work for games with heavy text levels. The screenshot I attached did a decent job of replicating the effect, but often text was totally illegible and I had to get away from 3D to read it. This was not an issue with the Samsung, but the active 3D caused me other issues.

    I've reviewed a fair number of active and passive TVs as well, and while I have preferred the passive 3D for watching, the lack of resolution made titles like Tron Legacy harder to watch with the aliasing, but also easier on the eyes due to the passive nature. The most enjoyable 3D experience I've had so far at home is with the JVC X30 projector on a 122" projection screen, as I found I had no headaches or anything else from it. The JVC can run at 96 Hz natively, but I am not sure if that is what they are doing with 24p film content or not, but plan to find out. Even a 50" plasma with active 3D started to give me a headache after some time.

    I think the eventual future of 3D is 120 Hz or 240 Hz passive displays with enough resolution (or the Real3D projector that Samsung was working on but abandoned this year) to provide the 1080p experience with passive glasses. The cost benefits, and and more relaxed viewing, make it my preferred choice, but the loss of resolution is a killer for me right now. I also think they need to find a way to deal with the texture from the patterned retarder, as when I notice it, I am driven absolutely crazy by it.
  • OCNewbie - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    I had recently heard about this monitor through the AT forums, and had been looking for a review without any success. I had been considering getting it anyway, but now my purchasing (or not purchasing) decision will be made with much higher confidence thanks to this review.
  • mggstechco - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    So far, LG has the fastest growth in 3D Experience and customer-acceptance in the world. Though they may not be the biggest market share now.
    Most Favorite 3D Experience LED TV

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