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ASUS PW201 TFT-LCD Monitor
Widescreen monitors are slowly becoming the preferred choice, as larger resolutions and bigger aspect ratios of 16:9 or 16:10 provide a wider work area. Suitable for office, where one can view two document windows simultaneously, to watching movies in the native aspects, widescreen monitors have a definite advantage over current prevailing monitors.
The monitor we are reviewing here today is ASUS’s PW201. The Asus PW201 is a 20-inch LCD Panel, with a native widescreen resolution of 1680x1050 and has a response time of 8ms with a 800:1 contrast ratio.
The PW201 for a 20 inch monitor sure packs in a huge array of connectivity options. Apart from the standard VGA and DVI outs, the monitor also has composite, component, and S-Video slots, along with a 1.3 MP webcam, 3 USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack. It even has two separate 3W speakers and offers a P.I.P facility. The only thing missing here is HDMI and I am pretty sure a future release of this monitor will pack in that too.
The PW201 is one of the most striking monitors we have ever seen. It is built on a sturdy steel base, with a silver sheen, which allows a user to set the monitor’s viewing height and tilt. It also allows you to swivel the monitor around into a portrait mode. This mode is particularly good for web designers and developers, as it allows them to work in a full –screen mode. The movements are smooth and without hindrance.
The body of the monitor consists of a glossy smooth black bezel with multimedia speakers. The physical screen itself is very glossy which is both an advantage and a problem. The extra gloss makes viewing movies, photographs and game playing a delight and poses a problem in respect to easily visible fingerprint marks. In brightly lit areas , it reflects light back sharply much like a mirror, causing viewing problems and is generally just annoying.
The monitor in keeping with its modern styling has no physical buttons. All the controls are handled by an OSD panel which allows you to set the usual range of options such as colour temp, pre-defined brightness and contrast levels, volume of the speakers etc. This is another aspect of the monitor we found to be fairly irritating. While the OSD panel is a good idea, its difficult to work with. It often does not register a push and can lag if you go through a menu quickly.
The performance of the PW201 in our Displaymate tests was nothing short of stunning. The sharpness of the monitor is near perfect, with text being incredibly clear and crisp. The contrast levels were great too and its incredible sharpness made working on this LCD a very good experience. The monitor’s gray scale performance was above average and posed no surprises. The color tests was another area this LCD performed well. The colors were rich and vibrant without any bleeding. We checked this via a series of high-resolution photographs and Displaymate. The image display on both tests was easily among the best we have ever seen. Our last test was the most practical one. We tested the monitor through a variety of games and movies. Here its 8ms timing assured there was no ghosting at all. Though there are faster response monitors out there, we were surprised at the utter lack of ghosting and found this to be overall a great result. Games like Flatout 2, which support native widescreen resolution simply looked sensational.
The webcam was the only thing that let down this monitor… badly. The Lifeframe software is clunky and at times would just crash while a simple action such as dragging the video window is performed. When it did work, we could never use it beyond 320x240 resolution as anything above that resolution would lead to the display lagging or the software crashing. Though the software does offer some interesting options such as portraits and motion sensing, it needs major work before it can be termed as actually usable. The built-in speakers were another let down. The sound at best can be described as hollow 'tinny noise' with no bass. The speakers are so bad, you would be better off getting a pair of headphones.
|Screen Size||20" wide|
|Native Resolution||1680 x 1050|
|Response Time|| 8ms|
|Power Consumption||80W (max)|
|Warranty|| 3 years|
Overall, the Asus PW201 is a mixed bag. It’s image display and colour quality are among the best we have ever seen or tested. It offers a huge amount of connectivity options with a webcam and speakers truly making it a jack of all trades. However the negative points add up quickly. The cost of the monitor is simply too much. At Rs. 38,000 this monitor is grossly overpriced. Its price point actually places it directly in competition with the Dell 2407FWP a 24-inch monitor, which is a far superior product. The camera software needs a lot of work and the speakers are best avoided. If you can live with these negatives and intend to ignore the webcam and speakers, you will not find better image and picture quality anywhere else.