- Matte display
- Good horizontal viewing angles
- Built-in speakers
- Large base
- No panel rotation
While it seems like Dell took over the computer display market in the United States, ASUS has been making some big inroads. With a strategy of delivering impressive features at a very low cost, ASUS is convincing enthusiasts left and right. Their latest attempt is the VH242HL-P, a low-cost 24-inch display. Read on for our full review.
- Screen size: 23.6 inches
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Resolution: 1920×1080
- Panel type: TN
- Viewing angle: 170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical
- Pixel pitch: 0.272mm
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2
- Response time: 5ms
- Video inputs: VGA, DVI, HDMI
- Analog audio and coaxial digital audio
- Built-in 2W (x2) stereo speakers
- Kensington lock slot
- Dimensions: 22.1 x 16.7 x 9.84 inches (WxHxD)
- Weight: 16.3lbs
The ASUS VH242HL-P display carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $250, but you can currently find it for as low as $219.99 online.
Build and Design
The VH242HL-P plays it safe by following in recent design trends rather than stepping out of the box and going for something new. With the exception of the stand, the entire unit is clad in glossy black plastic to both good and bad effect. On one hand, it gives the monitor a sleek, relatively elegant look, with shiny plastic reflecting light around the matte screen. On the other hand, though, it’s hard to adjust the screen, whether tilting it or changing the height, without leaving ugly fingerprints all over it. Additionally, and other manufacturers have been taken to task for this, this plastic is distressingly soft and can be scratched with the very cleaning cloth you use to buff the fingerprints out.
The bezel, or frame surrounding the panel itself, is actually pretty thick. ASUS uses a little design trickery to make it seem better, by flaring the edges of the top and bottom out. The sides don’t feel as thick, since they don’t flare out as much. Buttons have been relegated to the lower-right hand side of the monitor. There are five extra buttons besides power, one of which opens the menu and the rest of which navigate the on-screen display. The buttons are stiff, but not hard to use as long as the lights are on. When the lights go off, however, it becomes a guessing game of how much you can remember; since there’s no backlighting or glow on the labels, it’s really hard to figure out what button you need to press to open the menu or move around the options.
At the bottom, a large circle of plastic serves as the base, keeping the monitor from falling over as you tilt and raise it to and fro. It’s a little big, but it’s almost a 24-inch display so that’s mostly expected. It would have been nice to see ASUS use a matte plastic on the base as well, since the base is the likeliest part of the unit to get scratched up as things are shuffled around on your desk. On the underside of the base is a swiveling piece of plastic. Plastic grips hold one part to the desk, letting the rest of the monitor swivel up to a hundred and eighty degrees or so. It’s a nice feature to have since users can access the connectors and such on the rear of the device without having to physically pick the monitor up and move it around.
Up above, a rectangular column attaches the monitor to the base. The stand is made of matte plastic, covered with a movable sheath of glossy plastic. When shipped, a metal clip keeps the stand in place; once removed, users can easily raise and lower the display. It’s a very easy movement, doable with just one hand. A plastic clip on the back keeps cords from getting all tangled up as the monitor moves up and down. The mounting unit on the display gives a fair amount of latitude when tilting back and forth; while the vertical viewing angles are nothing special, being able to tilt the monitor forward and back goes a long way to overcoming any handicap bestowed by the TN panel. There’s no rotation capability built into the stand, but since rotation is a little painful on smaller viewing angle displays, no one should really be missing that feature. It also has a standard VESA mount, so if the stand — which is a decent stand, in all fairness — becomes an issue, a 3rd-party stand can always be attached.
One last feature that must be mentioned is the built-in stereo speakers. As features go, they’re not common yet, but it seems like they’ll soon be getting to that point. Users can plug an audio cable into the back right next to the video inputs, or even use their HDMI cable, and enjoy audio playback without having to hook up another set of speakers. The quality isn’t going to blow you away, especially if you like your sound to have a lot of bass. They can probably be fairly compared to better-than-average laptop speakers, but even pretty low-end discrete speaker boxes will give a much fuller sound.