To date, ViewSonic has wowed with its dabbles in the LCD TV market, in price, connectivity and performance. With each foray, lessons have been learned and criticisms heeded. Now its 27in set arrives and, bar one obvious omission (more later), it's the best yet.
The N2750W has shiny metal strips on the stand. Not overly sure why, but they do place it in a higher design class than other displays from the company.
Like the base strips, connectivity is really where ViewSonic has previously shone and it's in this area that this TV starts to outclass its head-to-head rival. Although only one RGB-capable Scart is on offer, there are also component inputs (progressive scan-enabled) and a VGA port for PC hook-up. Unfortunately, the set's not HD Ready due to the lack of HDMI or DVI inputs, but at least it can be fed high definition pictures from non-digital sources; if not Sky's forthcoming HD service.
Regular S-video and composite video inputs are included, alongside two for stereo audio. So you could feed all manner of set-top boxes, videogames consoles, a DVD player and a media PC into the TV without a switching box. Which is just as well really, because the single in-built tuner is ropey old analogue. Oh well.
Functionality is a doddle, from autotuning to picture tweaking, mainly due to the menus being mostly devoid of interesting modes. In fact, the only major feature of note is picture-inpicture. Useful if you want to browse the internet while keeping an eye on the shenanigans of those inside the Big Brother house.
Instead, the focus is squarely placed on picture quality and with some reason. To put it simply, the N2750Ws images are the best yet from the company. Unlike most larger brands LCDs and, specifically, the Sony KLV-27HR3 there's no over-reliance on the bells and whistles of proprietary image smoothing technologies. Unlike many proprietary image enhancers ViewSonic's technologies, UltraBrite and ClearPicture, concentrate more on colour reproduction and deliver such incredibly rich and saturated effects, especially through RGB Scart, that you'll be amazed this is an LCD TV at all.
Blacks too are deep without loss of detail. The only minor concern is some marginal picture blur and green tinge over fast moving scenes but it only really becomes noticeable if you're really looking for it.
Sound is the only area where the Sony is able to better this TV. The two inbuilt 5W speakers just don't compete with the booming soundscape of its competitor, although they do provide clean audio.
In short, apart from the lack of digital connectivity, the ViewSonic 27 incher is another display from a manufacturer that's less knocking on the door of the big guys than bringing a battering ram.
There's really little competition here. It's difficult to recommend the KLV-27HR3 without comparing it with a rival that betters it in most respects. Its lack of connectivity is damning and I could never see it becoming the focal point of a living room set-up. The ViewSonic, however, seems ideal as long as you're not worried about Sky's HD plans.
You also have to be wary if you're considering the purchase of a HDMI or DVI outputting DVD player. They too have HDCP protection and even a DVI to VGA adapter won't be able to supply a feed. However, when coupled with a media PC the N2750W is truly a remarkable performer.