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Monitors

Asus VW198T: No-nonsense Vista monitor

Asus has released the VW198T monitor but has forgotten to stuff it full of weird and wonderful gimmicks. But is it any good for, you know, looking at things?

Asus has a habit of making interesting computer screens. They've given us monitors with a built-in subwoofer, and even 'scratch-proof' monitors that you can punch.

Today it brings us the remarkably gimmick-free VW198T. Its biggest selling point is its 1,000:1 contrast ratio, which can be boosted to '3,000:1' when you switch on the Asus Smart Contrast Ratio Technology mode. We tried it, and the image quality is very good. But it didn't seem as good as the LG Fantasy series monitors, which have true 3,000:1 contrast.

Still, the VW198T supports HDCP, so it's fully Vista-ready and you can watch copy-protected Blu-ray flicks over its DVI port. It also has a 5ms response time and runs at 1,680x1,050-pixel resolution, which although not quite 1080p, isn't bad for a 19-inch screen.

Now the bad stuff: it has one of the worst integrated speaker systems known to man, it doesn't tilt or pivot, there's no height adjustment, and no USB hub. We're guessing it's aimed at the budget end of the market. If it's cheap enough it could be an attractive prospect, given the image quality. Watch out for a price confirmation and a full review shortly. -Rory Reid

Update: Asus recommends a price of £130 for the VW198T. Result.