ASUS Designo Series MS238H 23-in LCD Monitor Review
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Ever since the LCD computer monitor has become popular, the design has stayed stagnant. While bezels have gotten thinner, most monitors look relatively alike. However, Asus aims to change this with their "Designo MS" series of displays. Today we take a look at the 23" Asus MS238H.
From the moment that you take it out of the box, the most striking feature of the MS238H is how thin and light it is. With the entire monitor measuring just 16.5mm thick, it is one of the thinnest monitors that I have ever used. Also, this display weighs in at about 8.60lbs, making it a few pounds lighter than most 23" class monitors.
Asus opted for an unconventional design in the Designo series of monitors. Instead of looking like what most people would expect an LCD monitor to look like, they are styled more like a small LCD TV. The bezel extends down significantly on the bottom of the display, and houses the touch sensitive controls for all of the usual monitor settings, such as brightness and contrast, as well as providing a way to change the input. The touch sensitive controls are very responsive, and work surprisingly well compared to how they are implemented on other devices, however they can be difficult to learn and master as the text labels above the buttons only light up after one has been pressed.
Also, this entire display is enclosed in a glossy black plastic material, which makes it a fingerprint magnet. It becomes extremely difficult to keep fingerprints off, especially when the only controls are touch sensitive.
The unique stand implementation on the MS238H also makes it "stand" out from the crowd. The general idea is that there is a plastic ring screwed back to the display, which sits on the desk or other surface and supports the monitor. While this stand allows for minimal viewing angle adjustment, it keeps the monitor at about 85 degrees, which becomes difficult to view while sitting down (obviously depending on relative chair and desk height). With a lack of VESA mount capability for wall mounts and arms, this becomes the only way to use this monitor.
On more of a technical aspect, the visual fidelity of this display is quite nice. The MS238H uses a lower-quality Twisted-Nematic (TN) LCD panel, the main drawback of which is limited viewing angles. However, with the design of the stand on the MS238H, and the limited angles that it can be set at, it becomes a non issue. The LED backlighting also helps to produce a more vibrant image.
The addition of a HDMI port and built in speakers is also nice for plugging in things such as a game console or even a set top box. However, since Asus only provides VGA and HDMI ports on this display, it is likely that for most users, the HDMI port will be connected to a computer using the included HDMI to DVI cable.
While the MS238H may not be ideal for a normal desk setup, the unique design allows it to be used in other more niche situations. With the addition of built in speakers and a HDMI input, this could be the perfect display to use in a small bedroom or sitting on a counter top as a TV replacement. However, with the lack of things such as a ATSC tuner, you would be relegated to playing content from a HTPC or device such as a Roku.