Low rider: Solid Viewsonic VX3211 4K monitor, Techspin tested
UPDATE: This monitor has a 3ms response time. Thanks to Numinous123 for discovering this, it’s listed as 4ms on several places online as 4ms, and Viewsonic EU’s site doesn’t list a value, Viewsonic’s MY(Malaysia) page lists it as “Response Time: GTG(AVR; Scaler OD) *2:3ms (Typ)” which is non-standard formatting for this value.
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Remember back in the old days with CRT monitors? ViewSonic held the market at that time, but they’re looking to get back in the fight with a new monitor lineup, including this 4K panel. But as they held the crown in the past, they’re now getting back in the market which is already dominated by large name brands with great displays.
So will they be able to compete with this 32″ ViewSonic VX3211-4K? That’s what we’ll be seeing today, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and subscribe and bell, all that good stuff. On to some honest testing and opinions, and if you find a great deal on a 4K screen, leave your comments down below. Let’s get to it.
Quick Summary of the ViewSonic VX3211 4K monitor
So this here 32” ViewSonic VX3211-4K is a good 60 hertz 8-bit plus Hi-FRC monitor capable of 10-bit colors with Freesync, good upscaling, 300 candala and the ability to accept HDR10 input. Motion blur is minimal on this VA panel and NTSC has 95% coverage, and for photo and video work, a tiny bit of color calibration may be needed out of the box.
Construction is good, and the stand is rock solid with the monitor sitting an inch lower than most, and it has speakers with some decent power but small speakers have no low end. There’s a long 8 and a half second source switch delay, and the button controls as well as the menu aren’t that easy to use. If you’re trying to fit a 32” in somewhere, this is your best shot, or if you’re using it for a single source like a PC or console, it should work pretty well for you.
Now I’ve been daily driving a 1440p 144 hertz display until just recently, when I started trying out 4K options, as we evolve our workflow and screen captures for 4K recording.
Quick tip for creators; having a 4K set to your primary monitor when booting windows affects how text scales in programs like Premiere. So this ViewSonic VX3211-4K comes in about 450 bucks in the us, and is a 31.5 inch VA type panel at 60 hertz with 4 milliseconds response gray to gray.
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How’s the ViewSonic VX3211 4K monitor’s screen?
The 8-bit +Hi-FRC replicates 10-bit color, and we’ll talk about this tech in a bit, with 300 candala and 3000:1 contrast at 46 watts power, which is more efficient than other 32 inch 4Ks in this range, so you’ll save a bit on the ol’ power bill.
With a quoted 95% NTSC color range, on PC we first had to go into our Nvidia control panel and change it to use Nvidia color settings and change the output dynamic range from limited to full to get deep blacks, and why the hell is limited range the default? Grrr Nvidia! With that out of the way, both colors and blacks look pretty good on the ViewSonic VX3211-4K.
With 178° degree viewing angles, as you get further off center it’s got the typical contrast and saturation shift, and there’s AMD Freesync to ensure no frames tear in game, and we couldn’t determine any excessive input lag while gaming.
Backlight bleed is a slight bit more than normal for a non OLED panel, with a little more coming out in the four screen corners, but nothing too dramatic here, and with a picture displayed it’s not noticeable. We saw a tiny bit of ghosting which was better than typical for this VA panel and 60 hertz response.
Build quality on the ViewSonic VX3211 4K monitor
Following the market trend of 4K panels with centimeter wide front bezels, the connecting rear shroud overlaps, adding 4 millimeters on the outside, and with one millimeter black screen inside, true pixel to air is 15 mils. Perhaps a missed opportunity here to make the ViewSonic VX3211 4K stand out in the crowd with a zero-frame bezel, though a design update would have likely made this panel more expensive.
At least one thing done well here is the stability of this low sitting monitor, the wide base and lower center of gravity make this super stable, the flat forks of the stand claim a bit of desk space. With no height adjust, swivel or rotate though, the -5° to 13° degree tilt is your only option for adjustment.
Dual 2.5 watt speakers give you sound out of the box, so that’s useful, and with speakers and volume at 100 percent testing with music, we got 75 decibels minimum from a half meter distance, 85 decibels peak during harmonizing vocals, with an average about 80 decibels, though the tiny speakers deliver hardly any bass at all, and of course the speakers will likely get drowned out a bit in a noisy environment.
And with a headphone holder included, you don’t see this panel cheaping out on inputs like the Samsung 4K we just checked out, link up here for that review.
Inputs on the ViewSonic VX3211
This panel did 4K 60 hertz over DisplayPort as well as both HDMI 2.0 inputs no sweat. Speaking of cutting corners, the ViewSonic VX3211 ships with a standard power cable and HDMI 2.0, though disappointingly, no DisplayPort cable.
Now most consumers are probably just gonna use one monitor; for PC, console gaming or both; however, if you want to hook up two sources, you’ll need two cables, and if you are upgrading, you might want to use your older monitor as a second display. With most new graphics cards having just one HDMI out, including a DisplayPort cable in the box would serve dual-duty, connecting two monitors to your pc OR hooking up a console and computer.
On the back at the top there’s a standard 100 mil VESA mount, and control is done with 6 right side buttons. What? Entering the market in 2015 or before, 5-way joysticks have been around for years, so lemme tell you, using 6 buttons to control the monitor isn’t as easy as it could be, and the spacing just fits medium hands but is spaced too small if you have slightly larger… jazz hands.
Menu control on the ViewSonic VX3211 4K monitor
We’ll step through the menu a bit here, and we’ll take note of Color Adjust, with a 6-axis color and RGB/YUV color space, full range and a quite wide gamma from 1.8 to 2.6, along with HDR10 auto or off. Response time can change from standard, advanced to ultra fast, 14 languages above the Freesync on/off toggle, re-assignable shortcut key which is useful; and osd size which we set to large immediately, as normal is the smallest dang menu we’ve ever seen.
Below Eco mode next screen, I’ll take issue with two items, DisplayPort 1.1 on/off and Memory Recall. For our smart audience, we know that only DisplayPort 1.2 can do 4K 60 hertz, but for the general consumer, enabling this will actually cause issues, cutting input down to 30 hertz.
ViewSonic, it’d be better to write this as DisplayPort Type and the switch should be 1.1 or 1.2 as bigger values are generally better, and Memory Recall would be better defined as Reset All or Restore Defaults, much clearer and -standard- terminology for the function.
Another tip, we found that you can cut down the auto-off time from a lengthy 25 seconds down to just 11 by turning off auto-source select in the menu, which takes the same time when physically disconnecting cables from the monitor as well.
Hi-FRC, HDR on the ViewSonic VX3211 4K monitor
Though this is an 8-bit panel, it can display 10-bit color by using Hi-FRC, or Frame rate control. So this replicates 10-bit color by using two adjacent colors to the desired value and then rapidly swapping them to create the needed color. With fast refresh rates, flickering from FRC won’t be visible in most cases, but would be a bit noticeable in darker areas with blacks and grays, though we didn’t see any so far.
We tried out HDR using PS4 Pro Netflix as it was reliable and repeatable, and watching the ‘Coastal Seas’ episode of Our Planet, the blue ocean and sunbeams and especially yellow fish had a bit more pop to the colors vs the SDR version, one of our better HDR experiences in the studio so far. For Windows 10, HDR is still a mixed bag and lots of fiddling is required, more than we have time for.
Summary: The ViewSonic VX3211 4K is a decent performer
So the ViewSonic VX3211-4K has pretty decent color and brightness, and the picture is sharp and usable, and we tested it with PS4 Pro, and it looked good there also, and HDR showed some nice color and highlight differences, and it should work fine with PS5 and XBox Series X.
It’s got great construction with no wobble with the flat leg stand making it sit low, and if you want to VESA mount it, get a taller stand as the mount is at the top. The lower sitting monitor isn’t an issue for us, but if you use the space under and behind your monitor a bit, you may need a mount. Overall for $450 bucks, it’s okay, but we have some issues to address.
First, the controls and menu, and the buttons aren’t easy to use, and the spacing is a couple of millimeters too close for large hands. Now we’re being a bit harder on these controls than the similarly spaced Acer buttons, as the ViewSonic doesn’t have a fairly common 5-way joystick for easy navigation.
If you’re the “set-it and forget-it” type using just one source, this won’t be an issue for you, but if you switch inputs or adjust viewing modes frequently, a 5-way control would have made this a breeze. The mixed horizontal and vertical menu isn’t the easiest with vertical buttons, they should have made a full vertical style menu in this case, though the functions change from left to right to up and down as you use it. Also the default menu size is wayyyy too small, and forget getting around the menu quickly, as rapid key presses aren’t registered.
Source switching issues on the ViewSonic VX3211
And the monitor inputs are spaced a bit too close on the back, making disconnecting DP cables harder than it needs to be. Now we did see a couple of Amazon-consumer reported wake up issues, but we didn’t have any connectivity issues in our testing.
However, switching inputs, that slow 8.5 second source switch may cause issues, especially if you have a source that goes back to sleep if the monitor doesn’t connect right away, and without a picture on the monitor, it’s pretty unresponsive if you’re trying to access the menu to change sources, and is a little bit too quick to go into Standby mode.
In normal usage booting up windows 10 using DisplayPort, there’s under a 5 second on-to-picture time, which is pretty good, but if you’re using the power button for off and on, there’s no way to turn off the ViewSonic splash screen. As for other reports, the matte coating is standard and comparable to other monitors at this price range no issues here, and colors also hit the standard mark.
Side note: Windows 10’s terrible HDR implementation
If you’re trying HDR on PC that’s good-for-you, but windows 10 washes out colors and it can be problematic getting everything working, and this has nothing to do with the monitor. For a sanity check, using a PS4 Pro doing 4K, HDR looked pretty darn good. If you’re reusing cables, don’t forget an HDMI 2.0 cable is required for 4K 60 hertz and HDR, HDMI 1.4 will only do 30 hertz and will not support HDR.
Performing well with consoles is important and there was no issues with a PS4 Pro, and for PC gaming, this ViewSonic VX3211-4K is a decent choice and the experience was fun and without issues. If you’re a gamer, looking for 144 or 240 hertz refresh rates, you should be looking at a fast 1440p screen anyways.
We’ll also throw the link here for a different option which is the Acer32″ 4K we just reviewed, that model has colorspace options, a 5-way joystick with a nice menu, a clean startup, a bit more low end to the speakers, HDR support, and comes in at the same price too, and if you click through our affiliate links it helps support us here with no extra cost to you.
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Thanks again to FSP and their power supplies for being our sponsor this episode. So what features are you looking for in a 4K monitor? Join the discussion down below. And we’re interested to hear what hardware you want to see reviewed, let us know in the comments.
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