Asus may not be the top of the line name specifically for LCD monitors, but that does not mean they cannot take over. It's a thin line leading to the top, and one good product can tip the fortunes of an IT brand. Let’s just forget that Asus is a major name in core PC components, and focus the spotlight on their latest endeavor in the world of LCD monitors. This one is a 25.5-incher with an integrated webcam, called Asus VK266, and it’s brand new.
Design and features
This monitor is definitely a looker, with a glossy black bezel and a single metallic strip on the bottom panel, which makes all the difference in aesthetics. This same strip is segregated into buttons on the right, thus making the overall look very seamless and classy. The Asus logo is conspicuously positioned at the center of the bottom panel, above this metallic strip. The stand is round and sturdy. The top panel has the webcam integrated, which can swivel up and down.
This monitor is a widescreen, 25.5-inch unit, with max resolution at 1920 x 1200, making this a 16:10 regular monitor ratio. I would have preferred a pure 16:9 native ratio, as desktop entertainment these days needs a native Full HD screen. There is a point I would like to add here. The manufacturers have not provided any indication of whether this is a TN panel or a better PVA, S-IPS type like the higher end models by competition. The response time is 2 ms and contrast ratio is 1000:1 native. By the viewing angle measurements stated in the specs, and the quick response time, plus the color bit rate being 6 bits, I’m assuming this is a TN panel. The monitor has an HDMI 1.3 and also DVI with HDCP compatibility. Full specs are on the last page.
First things first. We wanted to see how this monitor calibrates and how good an image we could get. So out come the patterns and color plugs. We then lined up 300 (720p) and Iron Man 1080p, and also some HD trailers I downloaded off the net, mainly Transformers 2 and Monsters vs. Aliens. For games I was in the mood for COD4 . After calibration we conducted a few test for grayscale and color, the readings of which are on the last page.
The monitor unfortunately does not impress too much in the realm of black levels. The image has a little paleness to it even after lengthy tweaking. We ran a test that displays different levels of gray one after the other, which yielded another faulty observation. The 100 IRE screen (brightest white) was shifting toward off white. This exposes weakness. Even on the luminance graph we had a few points higher up moving away from 6500K.
Colors were quite fine, though not absolutely neutral. Nothing near reference grade. There was accuracy amongst the various colors though, and overall animated JPEGs look quite nice. Viewing angle is decent and satisfactory up to the rated 160 degrees.
The webcam can be used with bundled software, which comes on a CD included with the unit, and performance wise, the mic and webcam setup is definitely useful as an add on feature in the monitor itself, though it's not the best quality webcam there is.
What I really like about the monitor was the clarity and sharpness, in the highest res HD movies and gaming content we were watching. Hardly any blur or other artifact, plus icons, text etc. look crisp.
At Rs. 25,999, I would have to call this one a little expensive. It does have features like webcam, HDMI 1.3, and of course it’s a large screen, though it’s not pure 16:9. This can be a big drawback for videophiles/hardcore gamers, as they all HATE black bands, and hate stretched images even more. The contrast brightness department could have done better. If the price comes down, which it will, when 26-inch LCD screens become popular, this one will make sense.
SPECS and Readings
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