ViewSonic flat panel's price is right

If you've been delaying a flat-panel purchase because of prohibitive pricing, you may not have to wait any longer. Last month ViewSonic Corp. introduced a 15-inch flat-panel display with an estimated street price of $499.

The VE150m is a wall-mountable slim-line model with built-in speakers, 1,024-by-768 resolution and a full set of features. The unit is only 5.4 inches deep including the stand, so it's a great space-saver. The panel tilts up and down for angle adjustment, but does not swivel left or right. It also does not feature height adjustment.

Setting up the monitor is easy, but once everything is plugged in, be prepared for a somewhat lengthy color calibration process. There are eight steps for calibrating angle, contrast, color, lighting and luminance. It was difficult to tell exactly how much difference the calibrations made, but colors were indeed vibrant and the screen was easily visible under fluorescent lighting.

The picture was not as perfect when it came to text. When viewed from a comfortable distance (about 24 inches), text appeared slightly fuzzy around the edges.

Overall, buyers will get a bang for their buck with the VE150m. It's an eye-catching space-saver that may not have all the bells and whistles of fancier monitors, but it doesn't skimp on important features and it's easy on the wallet.

The VE150m is not available on the General Services Administration schedule as a stand-alone, but resellers such as GTSI Corp. offer it as part of a package.

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