The Asus VG236H is a 23-inch monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate and is compatible with the Nvidia 3D Vision Kit. The monitor includes a host of ergonomic adjustment options as well as HDMI and DVI connections. At $340 (without the 3D Vision kit; $500 with it), the Asus is not a terribly expensive investment prospect for a monitor, especially with the features it includes. However, if you spend $30 less, you can get the Samsung PX2370, which is a better performing monitor with some really useful onscreen display options. A green tint problem hampers the VG236H. While you can make adjustments to marginalize the issue, it takes effort to do so, and even then, the monitor's performance isn't perfect. If ergo options as well as 120Hz refresh rate are important to you, the VG236H should fit your needs nicely and at a price most people can live with.
Design and features
The 23-inch Asus VG236H has an extremely glossy, reflective piano black front chassis with a plain matte covering the back. The monitor's screen is also very glossy with mirrorlike reflectance. The monitor includes a typical-looking circular foot stand, which is 9.75 inches in diameter. While the stand provides the monitor with adequate stability, if you knock the monitor, the stand makes a loud clicking sound as the plastic and metal on its bottom grind together.
The monitor includes a five-degree back tilt, panel swiveling, and height adjustment; however, it doesn't have a pivot adjustment. The stand leaves 2.6 inches from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop when adjusted to its lowest height and 6.8-inches when at its highest position. The bezel is 0.75 inch wide and the panel is 1.25 inch deep at its most narrow and 2.5 inches at its thickest, when you take the monitor's ventilation system and connecting options into account.
The VG236H has HDMI, DVI, and component connection options. Asus locates the connections on the back of the display, on the right side, facing downward. The capability to adjust the height of the panel makes them fairly easy to access. The monitor's onscreen display button array includes five buttons in the lower right-hand corner of the bezel. Each button is suitably wide and provides a tactile click when pushed.
The array consists of a Menu button, an Up and Down button, a Source button, and a preset cycle button. The monitor's Up and Down buttons also doubles as the Brightness and Contrast shortcuts. Navigating the OSD is simple, although it took us a few minutes to get accustom to using Menu as the "Enter" button. The VG236H's preset modes include Standard, Theater, Game, Night View, and Scenery. Each preset changes the color temperature and brightness of the display with the intent of them being appropriate to the task at hand. Its additional color preset options include Cool, Normal, Warm, SRGB, and User Mode; the latter letting you change the RGB values individually. Finally, the "Skin Tone" option includes a Reddish, Bluish, and Normal setting.
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, Component
Ergonomic options: 5 degree back tilt, Screen height adjustment, Swivel
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Aspect ratio: 16:9
VESA support: Yes
Included video cables? DVI
Panel Type: TN
Screen film: Glossy
Pixel-response rate: 2ms
Number of presets: 5
Picture options: Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, and Saturation
Color controls: Cool, Normal, Warm, sRGB, Reddish, Bluish
Gamma control: No
Additional features: 120Hz refresh rate and Nvidia 3D Vision compatible
Editors' note: As our test system does not include an Nvidia GPU, we did not test the monitor with the 3D Vision Kit. For an earlier review of the Kit, check out its review.
We tested the Asus VG236H through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC. The display posted a composite score of 83 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, which is more than a few points lower than the Samsung PX2370's score of 97. The VG236H's most glaring problem is its color accuracy, particularly its propensity to coat the screen in a green tint. Depending on the preset used, the green tint diminished only slightly and could always be easily seen no matter which color temperature or skin tone setting used. However, by accessing the RGB values and adjusting the green to 85, we were able to diminish the amount of green tint onscreen to a point where it was not distracting. At that setting, the green was unobtrusive; however, you'll have to adjust the red to about 94 to keep white from having a pinkish look.
In our Black Level test, the VG236H crushed very dark grays to the point that a level four gray--which is four levels above true black--was the darkest color the monitor could display other than true black. This indicates the monitor has a higher than optimal black level. In the Dark Screen test, we saw very apparent clouding on the top and bottom edges of the screen, much more so than on the PX2370.
With text, the monitor had no color problems displaying black text on a white background. We were able to see fonts clearly down to a 6.8-point size.
We tested the Asus VG236H using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." As in our DisplayMate tests, there was an apparent green tint problem in the Theater preset. The problem didn't go away when switching to other presets; however, we were able to diminish the amount of green in the picture by adjusting the red and green values downward. Also, the monitor didn't display dark details, such as braids in the hair of the Na'vi during a nighttime scene.
Because of our intimate familiarity with World of Warcraft, it remains the best tool for us to use when judging color quality and vibrancy in games. We found that the Game mode didn't over saturate the colors and instead presented them in a fairly accurate manner, except of course for the dreaded green tint, which popped up here as well. We were able to diminish the effect by lowering the green and red values.
When viewing photos, the display had only a slight greenish hue, but otherwise we weren't disappointed in photo display quality. Adjusting the monitor's green levels downward improves things slightly, as does changing the Skin Tone function to "Reddish;" however, it was never as accurate as the Samsung PX2370 is.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen's distance down from the top. At this angle, you're viewing the colors as they were intended by the manufacturer. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels that get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from nonoptimal angles. The Asus VG236H uses a TN panel, and when it's viewed from the sides, we perceived the screen to darken about 6 inches off from center; a typical viewing angle limit for a TN-based monitor. At default settings, the PX2370 had a typical viewing angle threshold; however, it includes extra features that improve viewing from specific angles. The Asus VG236H doesn't include these features.
Recommended settings and use
During general use, watching movies, and playing games, we found the VG236H's Standard Mode preset to be the optimal picture setting with the color temperature set to User and the Red to 94 and green to 85. When editing photos, you should set the monitor's Skin Tone option to Reddish. This reduces the slight green tint, making faces in photos look more natural as a result.
As with most TN-based monitors, the Asus VG236H shouldn't be used if accurate color reproduction is required; however, the monitor is good for watching movies, playing games, and for general use. If you do have stringent color needs, we suggest you narrow your search to IPS or PVA-based panels only. The
|Asus VG236H||Average watts per hour|
|On (default luminance)||43.34|
|On (max luminance)||43.34|
|On (min luminance)||21.52|
|Calibrated (200 cd/m2)||32.03|
|Annual power consumption cost||$14.12|
The Asus VG236H achieved poor power consumption, with a Default/On power draw of 43.34 watts, compared with the PX2370's draw of 25.01 watts in the same test. The consumption delta was even higher in our Sleep/Standby test, with the PX2370 costing 0.27 watts and the Asus VG236H drawing over six times as much with 1.72 watts. With both monitors' center points calibrated to 200 candelas per meter square, the PX2370 consumed 19.9 watts, whereas the VG236H drew a high 32.03 watts. Based on our formula, the Asus VG236H costs $14.12 per year to power, compared with the PX2370's $7.65 per year power consumption cost.
Find out more about how we test LCD monitors.
Service and support
Asus backs the VG236H with a three-year casing and panel warranty that covers the backlight. Asus also offers support through a 24-7 toll-free number, e-mail, and Web chat. At the time of this review, Asus doesn't have the VG236H's documentation and support software available on its Web site.