Asus VW266H review
An excellent range of connections and good design, but the panel itself is disappointing
Monitor manufacturers are now hoping to lure people away from sub-£200 24in screens to 26in offerings with the same 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. We've seen Iiyama's ProLite E2607WS offer solid performance for around £250, but the majority have aimed higher, with mixed results. Asus is the next in to bat with its stylish black 26in VW266H, and the early pricing suggests it's going for the same value territory as Iiyama.
But this is no barebones monitor. Turn the glossy bezel around and the rear panel reveals a wide array of connections: the usual HDMI, DVI and VGA, along with component video and RCA audio inputs, and even a coaxial S/PDIF output for running the audio from the HDMI source through external speakers. A pair of 3.5mm connectors for input and output complete a fine set, and ensure the VW266H is as at home in the living room as it is in a study.
The inbuilt speakers are pretty good, with a decent level of volume and plenty of punch to the bass, with their biggest flaw being a slightly muffled sound due to their rear rather than front positioning. The menu and control systems are perfectly usable, with clearly labelled buttons and plenty of options in the OSD.
Where the Asus shows its budget is in the TN panel. Out of the box it appeared pale and washed out, and even after extensive tweaking we couldn't eliminate a green tinge to greys. The default contrast setting left bright scenes overexposed and lowering it brought some odd colouring into lower shades and murkiness to shadowy areas. The only way we could add vibrancy to the picture was by switching to the preset Movie and Scenery modes, but doing so reduced the sharpness of the image and introduced noticeable grain; that might do for movies, but for close-up work it's too big a trade-off.
The 2ms response time meant gaming ran smoothly and the entertainment experience on the whole was good, even if the everyday experience is lacking. But whether you'll be willing to shell out £266 for an average quality desktop really depends on how badly you need those two inches. With a high quality 24in monitor like Samsung's SyncMaster T240 available for little more than £200, we're unconvinced this larger desktop is worth the outlay.
|Price ex VAT||£266|
|Price inc VAT||£306|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||3|
|Resolution||1920 x 1200|
|Pixel response time||2ms|
|Dynamic contrast ratio||N/A|
|Speaker power ouput||3W|
|TV tuner type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||0|
|3.5mm audio input jacks||1|
|Other audio connectors||Coaxial S/PDIF out|
|Internal power supply||yes|
|Dimensions||597 x 230 x 462mm (WDH)|