Why did LCD screens beat the old-school CRT monitor? They’re more expensive, don’t always get the colour balance right and, unless you’ve bought a 30in panel, they’re not even higher resolution.
The answer is, of course, size, an advantage that Asus’ new LS221H takes to the extreme. It’s apparently the thinnest 22in monitor in the world, and is indeed very narrow, measuring around 6cm at its widest point. Combined with an elegant, halo-shaped base and a leather trim it has the same kind of elegance as Asus U2E latptop, for which it would make a happy companion.
Unusually, the LS221H doesn’t have a DVI-in port. Instead, there’s a VGA and HDMI, plus a DVI converter in the box. The screen itself is the standard 1680x1050 of a 22in widescreen, but it will take a 1920x1080 feed from a Blu-ray player.
There’s no built-in USB hub or card-reader, though, presumably because this would add embarrassing inches to its waistline. Indeed, the only extra is a coloured LED strip in the base that acts like a Philips Ambilight, changing colour with the on-screen action. It’s a little too small to be really effective though.
That doesn’t change the fact that this is a highly desirable monitor. The screen is set behind a high contrast filter, which boasts an anti-reflective coat to alleviate the usual shiny problems of using, say, a Sony X-Black monitor near a window.
Something we could live without, though, is the awkwardness of the on-screen menus. They’re not intolerable, but having to wade through screens just to find the contrast and brightness sliders is just poor design.
But that’s not the biggest flaw. Behind that funky new glass filter is an old-fashioned TN (twisted nematic) screen. That means that although response times are good, colours are more than a little washed out, and you’ll need to do some serious tweaking in that awful menu to get the desktop looking right.
Review continues after the break…
It’s not all bad. A dynamic contrast ratio – as seen on HD TVs – helps to hide the effect in games and movies, which really benefit from the fast refresh speed.
But unless you really need the extra desk space, you’re better off with a wide colour gamut monitor like the Samsung 226cw. Equally good for gaming and media, they’re far more reliable and pleasant to use when editing photos or working on the desktop.