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Review: ViewSonic N3250w

ViewSonic's N3250w -- a 32-inch, high definition LCD flat panel suitable for both desk and den -- is a great display to handle your high-definition programming, DVD movies, and even that new Media Center PC in the living room.
ViewSonic has built quite a name for itself in computer monitors, and puts that same high quality into its line of high-definition television sets. The N3250w -- a 32-inch, high definition LCD flat panel suitable for both desk and den -- is the latest example of this.

From the front, this monitor looks like an HDTV, even before it’s switched on. A sharp black face is broken up by a single power button and a simple silver stripe that separates the display from the built-in speakers below it. Whether mounted on a wall or resting on the included stand, the N3250w is ready for most living rooms.

But like any good audio/video device, the N3250w is as impressive from the back as it is from the front. There are no less than seven types of video inputs, including a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) for connecting the latest devices, a VGA connector for your PC, and component video. Rounding out the inputs are a standard video connector for older video gear or game consoles, S-Video, and even a coaxial input for analog cable or over the air standard television. The HDMI connection is the biggest deal of them all, as it not only lets you attach the latest and greatest devices, but also backward compatibility with older DVI devices (with the right cable). The mix of old and new connections makes it easy to transition your entertainment center without replacing every component.

I hooked up just about every video source I had near me, and just about everything looked great. With the non-HD sources, such as from the analog cable and PVR devices, the N3250w stretched the signal to fit its 16:9 wide screen aspect ratio. Image quality still looked good, but I did notice some pixilation on the text of the PVR menus. DVD playback is bright and crystal clear.

While definitely not a replacement for a home theatre for DVD’s, the built in pair of 10-watt speakers worked well for the more common television programs or console gaming.

I also ran the N3250w through its paces attached to my PC, and it performed well. Although it handled screen resolutions of 800X600 and 1024X768, it worked the best at its native 1360X768. I even ran a couple of first person shooters on the big screen, and never experienced a problem (other than being blown to bits by an alien). One word of caution, however: Expect to slide it all the way to the back of your desk. The sheer size of the display, as well as the brightness of it, is just too much up close.

In the end, Viewsonic’s N3250w is as comfortable in the living room as it is in the office. It is a great display to handle your high-definition programming, DVD movies, and even that new Media Center PC in the living room.

Viewsonic N3250w, $1,599 http://www.viewsonic.com

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing