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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  • pandemonium - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    I was happy to see a review from AT for a Viewsonic monitor - it's been a long time since the last one - until I saw it was this one in particular. I'm not big on 3D display technology.

    I definitely enjoy seeing the test bundle you guys throw at displays!
  • Samus - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    There is a reason Active 3D costs more. Passive 3D sucks outside of a movie theater with a 3DLP projector. Technical explaination aside, Passive 3D will always be a poor choice for viewing on an LCD screen. But it is significantly cheaper and the glasses are cheaper and lighter.

    But Active 3D is superior in resolution, viewing angles and overall experience at home.

    Headaches tend to be one of those things where if you get them with Passive, you'll get them with Active, and vice-versa. It isn't the shutter speed that causes the headaches, its the trick the image is playing on the brain. The shutter speed is too fast to notice. You can't even blink fast enough to catch it if you tried. 120hz is faster than you think.
  • UpSpin - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    I completely disagree. For me active is useless and passive is superior. If you get headache with passive you'll get with active, too. if you get headaches with active you won't necessarily get with passive.
    At the side the retina can dissolve more images in a shorter time. Thus if you use active shutter glasses it might look ok at the front, but at the sides of your eye you always see the flicker, causing headaches.
    It's also wrong that active is more expensive, contrary, it's cheaper. You can use a traditional LCD with a high refresh rate and only have to add the active shutter glasses (PS: This technology is from pre 2000 or earlier, my ASUS graphics card had this shutter glasses already, which worked with CRT monitors with a high refresh rate just as good as current LCD)
    If you want to make a good passive display, you have to double the resolution, and use two special polarizers, one of the most expensive parts of a display. And if you want a good one, you have to use circular polarizers.

    This display is so cheap because it uses the cheapest parts available, poor TN panel, low resolution, probably linear polarizers, ...
  • marc1000 - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    Indeed, this technology is from earlier than 2000. I had ACTIVE glasses on my first gaming console, a MASTER SYSTEM 8bit console. This is 1990 or so... long before first gen playstation...

    it worked with ANY crt television (no LCD at that time), and did have really slow refresh rates (mostly 24fps, blinking the glasses at 12fps each eye), using the interlaced nature of TVs at the time.

    So you could see the closing and opening of the lenses if you tried too. The only game I played was pretty simple (Blade Eagle 3d) but that 3d really worked.

    It worked so well that i'm pretty critic at seeing 3d movies and 3d TVs. The only TV that provided a experience similar to the one I had in childhood was an active type - passive 3d like in movie-theathers and the new TVs is not even near as godd.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 30, 2011 - link

    120Hz panels are more expensive generally speaking, and active glasses are substantially more expensive than polarized glasses. Ergo, active displays are "more expensive". Unless you can find me a 120Hz panel that costs less than the passive equivalents, I'll stand by the statement that active 3D costs more.
  • UpSpin - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    120Hz displays are available already, 1920x2400 not (which is a requirement to get the same resolution in 3D) and those will be more expensive. Active glasses are cheap to produce, just two simple LC, not more, and you can mass produce them because they can work with other models, too. Active displays don't get more expensive than 2D display with increasing size, the important part, glasses, don't need a change. Passive however becomes more expensive, because the two additional circular polarizers in the panel must get larger, too, and you need new one for each model.
    So in the end, for an active system, you only need a currently mainstream 120+Hz display and a not so expensive to manufacture active glasses.
    For passive you need a LC panel with twice the resolution, two opposite circular polarizers which must fit to each individual pixel and the glasses with two additional polarizers.

    The reviewed display is the only display I know which currently uses the passive approach in the mainstream. It's not comparable with active displays, because this reviewed model uses the cheapest parts available (poor panel, low 3D resolution, ...) and doesn't offer the quality of active models, thus a price comparison is stupid, because they aren't comparable. Wait for a 1920x2400 IPS passive 3D display. Oh, it isn't available? Mh, what could be the reason? Too expensive yet, maybe?

    Active is the cheapest full color 3D option, passive will be the future(almost all 3D cinemas use it already), it isn't yet, because of money.

    You're right, active 3D costs more for you at the moment, but because no real higher quality passive 3D displays are available yet, so a comparison is impossible.
  • grammatonF - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    I think the point is that the passive reviewed here uses a 60hz screen and makes no attempt to double the vertical resolution and so the end result is VASTLY INFERIOR to active shutter. I've used active shutter since 2004 at least since Nvidia have supported it for a long time. Never had headaches nor have I noticed flicker.

    I can agree that a hypothetical passive 3d system using a screen with double vertical res would be better. But then why bother with that when glasses-free 3d is almost upon us.

    The "3d monitor" on review here is inferior to active shutter 3d. Do I want a 3d system with vertical res so bad I can't see small text? No way!

    I will be purchasing my shutter glasses today. I've had an LG 120hz monitor for many months now. Cost £178. My friend got the same monitor used at BT shop for £135.
  • Bownce - Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - link

    It's from WAAAY before 2000. It was available as a plug-in accessory for 3-D CAD design for the Atari Mega-ST business computers in the late 80's (working with a standard, CTR monitor).
  • snarfbot - Saturday, December 31, 2011 - link

    the best passive tech in terms of crosstalk is the dolby 3d, each lens filters out all frequencies of light except for 3 specific bandwidths in each primary color range.

    the projectors project through similar lenses of course one for each eye, it doesnt require a silver screen either.

    microvision already has their pico laser projector on the market, so its just a matter of time until its scaled up for theater use. provided it can be made safe enough for the fcc. lasers can be sorta dangerous.

    anyway it would be perfectly suited to the technology, considering it can output a specific wavelength in each primary band.
  • jconan - Sunday, January 1, 2012 - link

    No, it's not the trick vision, it's that the 3D images aren't optimized for varying intra-ocular distances that vary by a few mm. There are quite a few studies out there on 3D imaging and viewer fatigue.

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