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Asus MK241H review: Asus MK241H

The MK241H is a decent performer for what it is, but for AU$100 more you could have the vastly superior Dell 2408WFP or Samsung 245T.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
3 min read

Design
First impressions of the MK241H are solid — the 24-inch, 1,920x1,200 Asus MK241H is designed around a standard black bezel with a brushed aluminium bottom, under which are hidden speakers. A webcam and built-in microphone sits at the top surrounded by more brushed aluminium, while the menu buttons are situated at the bottom right. Unlike the rest of the monitor, the buttons feel plastic-y and cheap. It's a minor point, but detracts from the overall package. The stand — while including cable management — is also limited, with only the option to tilt, missing out on the height, swivel and rotate adjustments offered by some of its competitors.

7.5

Asus MK241H

The Good

Surprisingly good colour and horizontal viewing angles for a TN panel.

The Bad

Poor speakers. External speaker passthrough doesn't disable monitor speaker. Headphone passthrough sounds different to direct PC connection. Better value elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

The MK241H is a decent performer for what it is, but for AU$100 more you could have the vastly superior Dell 2408WFP or Samsung 245T.

Features
The MK241H is built on a TN panel, however, the horizontal viewing angles and vibrancy are rather impressive for the technology — only the over-sensitive vertical viewing angles give away its heritage.

It's also a wide-gamut monitor, meaning that reds and greens look completely oversaturated, as colours designed for a completely different colour-space are assigned something way out of spec with the designer's original intentions. Movies and games seem to be affected the least by this, but Web browsing and image work will see some remaps that can only be considered as hideous. Fortunately the MK241H is nowhere near as bad as the VLED221wm in this regard, and for the most part can be tempered by spending some time with custom calibration.

While it offers a dynamic contrast ratio of 3,000:1 (here listed as ASCR, or Asus Smart Contrast Ratio), the base contrast ratio is set to 1,000:1 and we recommend you leave this marketing addition off so it won't interrupt your viewing. We'd also recommend ignoring the "Splendid" image preset modes of "Theater", "Game", "Night View" and "Scenery", and leaving it in "Standard" mode. The option to turn off the Response Time Accelerator is also present should it cause issues (called "Trace Free" here) — with it left on, Asus spruiks a 2ms grey to grey response time.

The rear of the monitor features inputs for DVI, HDMI and VGA, 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, and finally a headphone jack found under the left-hand side. Audio was predictably dismal, but certainly not the worst we've heard attached to a monitor, with little distortion. Curiously, hooking up a set of headphones to the monitor changed the sound compared to connecting directly to the PC, and a good whack of bass removed. Even more curiously, hooking up a pair of speakers did not silence the monitor's speakers at all, requiring us to hook in headphones to shut them up.

Aside from the monitor itself, the box includes a DVI, D-Sub, USB (for the webcam) and power cable.

Performance
While movies and games looked great, and the monitor was capable of displaying all 255 greyscale tones in DisplayMate, it exhibited a disturbing tendency to heavily band towards the dark end of gradients. It might not cause you too much grief, but it's something to look out for.

The MK241H is a decent performer for what it is, but for AU$100 more you could have the vastly superior Dell 2408WFP or Samsung 245T, along with more video inputs, a USB hub, and in the case of the Dell a card reader. We think that's worth the trade for the webcam.