ASUS MS236H Monitor Review
Without specifically saying as much and spoiling the conclusion, you might have noticed that I'm not a big fan of the stand. I'm not sure if it's merely that our test model has been around the block a bit and so the hinge is loose, but if you attempt to leave it more vertically orientated it doesn't take more than a few minutes before the lack of grip on either the ring or the triangular stand shines through to allow the monitor to slide back.
In case you're thinking, come on VB that is a minor issue, here is a couple of photos taken with the monitor in the position it naturally rests at, and on the right the position I prefer it in and calibrated it to. As you can see the differences are vast. This is hugely frustrating because the quality of the contrast and colour on the ASUS MS236H are excellent for a panel of this type, and yet something so simple lets the whole thing down.
Having applied an extremely high-tech OC3D solution to the issue of the monitor slipping (Blu-tac) we then set about the odious task of watching lots of films and playing lots of games. It's a difficult job but someone has to do it.
With the monitor fixed and calibrated it was time for some films and what are better to test the saturation, sharpness and motion abilities than with the always finely detailed and fast paced world of Animation.
The quality of the image on the ASUS MS236H is wonderful with saturated colours that really pop without becoming slabs of colour. The gradients still shine through, something that hopefully I've managed to capture in these shots from Kung Fu Panda and Monsters Inc respectively.The main thing you have to remember is that the picture quality is impossible to show properly in a photograph as a CCD can't handle the image as well as the human eye, and by the time it's gone onto the camera, resized for the site and uploaded it's had a lot of processing. So although they are impressive here, in real-life the quality is even more so.
During testing of the games, which are similar to the movies in that they look wonderful, one small issue arose. When testing via the DVI port the image, 1920x1080, filled the screen up perfectly. When switching to the HDMI port there was a border around the edge. This appears to be related to the ATI control panel and its overscanning, but is also a problem with the lack of 1:1 mapping available within the settings menu of the monitor. However it only happens when using the HDMI input.
During testing we ran plenty of games through the MS236H, including our normal benchmark games of Dirt2, NFS Shift, Crysis Warhead etc, but also almost anything we had around the office from Pacman to Napoleon Total War.
Regardless of what we tried and how hard and fast we pushed it, the ASUS just kept pace. No noticeable smearing occurred in even the most demanding situations. Turning quickly to cap a flanking enemy or drifting through Eau Rouge for example.
The number one thing that kept us impressed throughout though was the colour reproduction. This led to a bit of head-scratching as we wondered what the best game to demonstrate this to you is, before we settled on the arcade candy goodness that is Sega All-Stars Racing.
Time to wrap up.