Asus MK241H review
Of all the 24in TFTs we’ve seen, none has come close to matching the combination of quality and value offered by the Samsung SyncMaster 245B. The 245B can currently be picked up for a mouth-watering £260, a price no other quality screen has so far been able to match, but we’re finally beginning to see some getting close.
See also: Samsung SyncMaster 245B
Asus’ MK241H is a fine example. It may not have the fully-adjustable stand of the 245B – it only tilts and swivels – but the MK241H compensates in other ways.
For a start it comes with a pair of integrated 2W speakers on the rear; they’re not really loud enough to fill a room and they lack bass, but for solo gaming they’ll be absolutely fine. A headphone socket also sits on the underside of the screen if discretion is required.
Then there’s the presence of a rotating webcam above the screen, connected via USB. Asus is touting it as a full video-conferencing/instant messaging solution, as the 1.3-megapixel camera is accompanied by a dual-microphone array for proper stereo sound.
You have to be sitting quite close to be heard clearly but it’s certainly more convenient than using a separate webcam and microphone.
But a monitor of this size lives or dies by its image quality, and thankfully the Asus performed well in our tests. It’s a good job it required hardly any tweaking out of the box, as the control buttons are appallingly springy and wobbly, but over HDMI we were delighted with the colours it produced.
We noted a very slight green tinge in our greyscale tinting test, and minor banding in the gradient ramps, but neither seemed to make any negative impact in real world applications.
The black level is wonderfully deep and the white almost blinding, thanks to the 3,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. These dynamic features often result in wildly swinging brightness levels during films, but the Asus implementation works surprisingly subtly.
Make no mistake, though, this is a ludicrously oversaturated display. It produced some of the most vivid greens and reds we’ve seen, and the 92% colour gamut results in truly immersive games and videos.
It’s capable of displaying an HD source pixel-for-pixel – so you can choose to watch a 1080p video stretched to the full 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, or as it should be seen, with black bars above and below.
It certainly won’t be for everyone – typing in Word will give you a headache if you don’t reduce the brightness – so the Samsung 245B remains a better choice if you use a monitor predominantly for work.
But for those who see a 24in TFT as more than that, perhaps as a route to console gaming and HD movies, the Asus MK241H is an excellent example of just how good a TFT display can look.