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Dated: Apr. 01, 2013

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Thanks to the simplicity of its use, and a large number of applications and possibilities it offers, Android OS quickly evolved beyond mobile phones for which it was made in the first place.

From watches to fridges and cameras we came to another seemingly ordinary device that is in the smart utensil category. The VSD220 Monitor comes from ViewSonic. Although the specification states  the TN panel as having a 21,5 inch diagonal and 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is pretty average, you can tell by just looking at it that it is no regular monitor.
 
There is no classical stand. Instead of that a movable holder is placed on the back, like the ones that hold a professional camera, which can be used to tilt the device to an angle of 15° to 70°. Connecting with the image source is done only through a micro HDMI port, DVI and VGA ports don't exist. From the lack of those ports you can see that in ViewSonic they are expecting for this device to replace the PC, and the HDMI port is there mostly because of gamer consoles and BluRay players.
 
The backbone of the ''smart'' part of this monitor is a dual core Texas Instruments OMAP4430 processor with 1 GHz tact, based on the architecture of the ARM Cortex A9, which we have seen in the Kindle Fire tablet. Next to that, there is 1 GB DDR2 RAM memory, as well as a graphic chip PowerVR SGX540, which are powered by Android 4.0 OS. From the 8 GB internal memory, a bit less than 6 is free, but the capacity can be expanded using a microSD slot or external USB disks. The capacitive multi-touch layer on the screen is, as in other Android devices, the basic means of navigation, but you can also use the two USB ports on the side to connect a keyboard and a mouse, if you need more comfort when working. A web camera with 1,3 Mpx resolution is there to satisfy your video chatting needs, and the multimedia possibilities are completed with stereo speakers and a microphone. Next to the WiFi connection, there is a RJ45 connector for connecting on the local network, and there is a Bluetooth module for connecting with mobile devices and wireless peripheries.
 
Monitor VSD220 ViewsonicThe performances look good on paper, but the question is asked if the VSD220 can replace the common PC and justify its high price with that? The answer to that question solely depends on the use of this computer. The hardware is capable enough to give  comfortable work time every day whether it is surfing, playing music or movies, and you should add to that impeccable reproduction of HD video material. The impression is somewhat spoiled by the fact that the TN panel was used – although the sharpness and color display are good, the viewing angles could have been better.
 
But, the real problem is the moment when you want to do some more serious work on this machine. While the touchscreen keyboard can easily be replaced by a real one, the limitations of Android when it comes to multitasking and the number of business apps limits the use of this machine almost completely to purposes of having fun. If you look at it from that angle, it can absolutely replace the PC. Furthermore, we find that this concept is almost ideal for the average user – there are no piles of cables, no OS breaking down, and you can find everything you need for household conditions.
 
Although we would like to see a similar solution with a larger diagonal and lower prices, we think that ViewSonic did a great job, it offered a more innovative product and we are sure that these kinds of systems will be more available in the future.

M.B.

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