Innovations in the LCD display space have been on-going and LED-backlighting has been just one such improvement. As users build mainstream PCs, there’s also a demand for stylish looking displays to keep things lively. We’ve reviewed a few Asus monitors in the past such as the PA246Q and the PA238Q , which are both displays made for graphics professionals. The new ML238H is more for the style-conscious crowd.
On Video: Asus ML238H
Design and build quality
The first thing you notice about the ASUS ML238H is its ultraslim design. Owing to the LED-backlighting, the panel itself is really slim and light-weight. The power unit is outside the display in the form of an adapter, the same size as a netbook power adapter. The finish on the frame surrounding the display itself is all gloss. The rear end of the display has a white colour finish while the front panel which houses the touch-sensitive controls has a black finish. The edges of the display have a fine perforated feel and look to it.
Plain white finish on the rear
The tripod is also pretty unique. It’s made of two sturdy circular metal frames which neatly lock into each other to support the screen. Installation is simple but we had some issues with one of those loops. After spending a few minutes with it, we managed to get it all setup. The stand allows no vertical movement of the screen but it can rotate from side to side to some extent. It does this very smoothly with little effort but there is some wobbling when you put some pressure against the monitor.
The screen doesn’t have a very slim bezel and lower panel that houses the touch senstiive buttons is pretty large. This gives the user the impression of it being a large screen, but this is in fact a 23-inch display. There are five touch sensitive buttons excluding the main power button. The interface on the ML238H is simple but the touch sensitive buttons aren’t always responsive so there are occasions when you need to keep pressing the buttons to get a feature to work. There are smooth transition and fading in/out effects, so there’s always a feeling that the interface is lagging. The menus only light up when you touch them once.
The ML238H uses a full HD1080 (1920x1080) TN panel, unlike the IPS panels on their higher professional line of displays. LED backlighing is part of the panel and its thin profile is all thanks to this technology.
Slim display with an elegant stand design
In terms of connectivity, you don’t get a lot, as compared to some of the other models that Asus and other brands have to offer. For example, there’s only a D-Sub and a HDMI connector at the rear. The display also comes with a DVI-to-HDMI convertor, which means you can also use your PC with no HDMI ports with this display. There are plenty of connector options for the power adapter as well.
Large bezel at the base of the display
There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack at the rear, which can be used to connect earphones or speakers. There are a couple of display profiles besides the sRGB mode. Most of them adjust the level of saturation on the colour while the night viewing mode tones down the backlighting levels. The sRGB and Standard modes are the recommended ones though.
Darkness levels between basic grey blocks is good. Black level itself isn’t very impressive, but still good. Grey level transition is good and there isn’t a hint of other colours seen in it. Almost all of the blocks are visible. Basic colours are very prominent without being over-the-top. Colours at full screen are all even and there are no signs of dark or brighter patches. Bright Reds look a little too light. Darker shades look as natural as the other colours do.
The stand could've been sturdier
Dark to bright colour gradient test does well for all colours, except Red, where the darkest of shades is almost not visible to the eye, as compared to the other colours. It’s the same case with the 64-band colour transition test.
Movies and images look great. There is good detail and colours for the most part are natural. There’s no framing or blurring visible on the screen. There’s little need for calibration for a display such as this. Out of the box, images look nice, perhaps a little too bright. A slight decrease in brightness and contrast levels is all you need to do. Viewing angles on the display are pretty good despite being a TN panel. Images do get darker when you view from the sides but colours don’t vary a lot. Picture quality on the desktop is also good - fonts and images appear well defined without jagged edges and artificial picture sharpening.
Affordable pricing, slick design
There are no volume controls on the monitor, which isn’t really necessary. We noticed some hiss in the background even without any audio playing. The audio output isn’t very loud either.
The Asus ML238H is more than just a stylish monitor. It might not be the perfect monitor if you want to use it with a couple of consoles and a PC. An additional HDMI port or maybe a dedicated DVI port might have been handy. For a PC user, this is a great display that offers a good design but at the same time, offers pretty solid performance. You get all of this for a price of just Rs. 10,600, which is very competitive with other products in its category today.