As we all know, there are a few items that are a necessity to owning a computer, and one of them is your screen. Most of us will remember back a few years when the rage was all about what CRT you had – mine for example was made by Packard Bell and packed a modest 1280×1024 resolution over VGA. Fast forward a few years and LCD screens started to crop up and fast forward even more and we now see the CRT to be virtually extinct in the computing world. So where can things go from here? There is always a way to improve technology and the latest focus is getting a far superior picture whilst using less and less power whilst doing so.
This is where Asus have stepped upto the mark with the VE228. From the outside, it looks pretty much like any other recent widescreen LCD monitor, and to the majority of people it is, but peel away the layers and you’ll soon realise that this is not an LCD as we once knew it.
LEDs are becoming more and more popular in the tech market and with their extreme light output from such a small power source, its understandable why. So to produce one of their latest screens, Asus have taken away the cathode tubes that traditionally light up and LCD and have replaced them with LEDs to give a brighter, crisper image which also allows for a better colour reproduction and contrast level at the same time.
Typically we see LED lit screens on the higher end of the market and more commonly in TVs, but have Asus been able to harness this technology into an affordable package for the mainstream consumer that doesn’t want to pay over the odds for a 22″ screen? Well that what we’re here to find out…
|Display||Panel Size : 21.5″(54.6cm) Wide Screen
True Resolution : 1920×1080
Pixel Pitch : 0.248mm
Brightness(Max) : 250 cd/㎡
ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR) : 10000000:1
Viewing Angle (CR≧10) : 170°(H)/160°(V)
Response Time : 5ms
Display Colors : 16.7M
|Video Feature||SPLENDID Video Intelligence Technology
SPLENDID Video Preset Modes : 5 Modes
Skin-Tone Selection : 3 Modes
Color Temperature Selection : 5 Modes
|Audio Features||Stereo Speakers : 1W x 2 Stereo RMS|
|Convenient Hotkey||SPLENDID Video Preset Mode Selection
|I/O Ports||Signal Input : HDMI ,D-Sub,DVI-D
PC Audio Input : 3.5mm Mini-Jack
AV Audio Input : HDMI 1.3
Earphone jack : 3.5mm Mini-Jack
|Signal Frequency||Analog Signal Frequency : 30~83 KHz(H)/ 50~76 Hz(V)
Digital Signal Frequency : 30~83 KHz(H)/ 50~76 Hz(V)
|Power Consumption||Power Consumption < 30 W
Power Saving Mode < 1 W
|Mechanical Design||Chassis Colors : Black
Tilt : +20°~-5°
VESA Wall Mounting : 100x100mm
Box Dimension(WxHxD): 576x468x148mm
|Weight||Net Weight (Esti.): 4.1 kg
Gross Weight (Esti.): 6.1 kg
Quick start guide
|Regulation Approval||Energy Star 5.0, CEL, UL/cUL, CB, CE, EuP, FCC, CCC, BSMI, Gost-R, C-Tick, VCCI, PSB, J-MOSS, WEEE, Windows Vista & Windows 7 WHQL
The vast majority of the time, we see Asus products coming in in bright coloured boxes (typically with ROG all over them), but here for once we see a more modest brown box, that simply gives the brand name and tagline, the model number and a highlight at the bottom that this is an LED backlit LCD.
Opening up the box and delving inside, the first thing that we come across naturally is the screen itself, but putting that aside, we also find a quick start guide and an Asus VIP notice.
Alongside the manuals there are a number of cables also in the box, two kettle leads for UK and European use, a single link DVI, VGA and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable.
Before we move onto taking a closer look at the screen, we did note how well the screen is protected in the box alongside the polystyrene packaging and foam sleeve that the screen slides into. Every part of the monitor is covered in sticky back film to protect it from any possible scratches that may occur in transit.
Last of all and most importantly for the vast majority of users is the base stand which comes separated to keep the packaging size down.
Once we’ve peeled the protective covering off the screen and fitted the base, we get our first look at how the screen stands on the desk. This particular screen doesn’t come with any height adjustment, but there is the facility to tilt the screen by +20° and ~-5° to cater for individual needs. The LCD portion of the screen features a full HD resolution of 1920×1080 with HDMI support.
As mentioned on the previous page, the base of the screen comes separate to the main bulk of the monitor, and simply locks into place with a thumb screw that locks into place.
Under the right hand edge of the display, there are 6 quick access hotkeys for the SPLENDID video preset modes, auto adjustment, brightness, volume, input selection and power. The power switch illuminates blue when on and the selected source is available and turns amber when in standby.
Flipping the screen over and starting from the left hand side, we find a Kensington Security lock point to secure the screen to a desk or wall once fitted.
Moving along we find the three pin power connection which auto switches between 110/240v. With this being an LED backlit screen, typical power usage is <30W and less than 1W in standby.
Lastly, and the most important part of the connections are the inputs, from the left we have a 3.5mm audio input and output, HMDI 1.3, DVI-D and VGA. The screens supports audio input via HDMI and has two 1W stereo RMS speakers built in.
Lastly for those who prefer, there is a VESA mounting option available on the screen, with a mounting size of 100x100mm. Each of the four bolt holes are covered with a rubber grommet to leave a clean look on the rear. In the middle of the VESA mount point is the ASUS branding which is etched into the glossy plastic.
The OSD that we have here is very compact in relation to some of the others that I have seen around but this is not to say that it is minimalistic. There are still a wide variety of options for getting the screen setup just right based on your individual preferences.
When it comes to testing a screen, there are a number of individual factors that every person looks for, I personally look for a crisp bright image, with a real depth of colour (in other words, vibrant reds greens & blues and deep blacks) that doesn’t look washed out when used in a bright environment. At the same time I look for a screen that works not only in a working environment (the environment that my screens spend most of their time) but also for watching movies and gaming.
Testing the working environment is an easy one to start with, by swapping it out for my standard LG LCD and using this for a number of days to see how it feels to work with over an extended period. I’ve found with some screens on the past that they are ok to work with for an hour or so, but any longer and they feel like they are glaring too much. For movie watching, to cover a number of bases with colour vibrant images and fast action scenes I chose a couple of contrasting high definition films, namely Toy Story 3 with its bright crisp colours and Crank: High Voltage with its fast action scenes for the screens refresh rate. Last of all and the bit that I rarely get around to doing was a bit of game play. The game of choice just recently has been Metro 2033 and with its dark scenes, is a good test to see how the black reproduction comes out during use.
Going back through the same notion of testing, day to day use of the VE228H was very relaxing, and during long use I didn’t get the feeling of eye strain or tiredness which is a key thing with any screen as even with a poorer quality of screen, the refresh rates and eye strain can lead to headaches and therefore a lesser pleasing experience. The screen as it claims in its spec list is nice and bright even during the day making everything easier to see
Moving onto the movies and gaming, I’ll first point out the audio from the screen, whilst the speakers are ok for windows system sound and the odd bit of light music, but anything more i.e. when watching a film or playing games then you’re better off in doing what I did and switch over to a proper set of speakers. Back to the images, which is the key part after all, Toy Story 3 looked fantastic on the screen with a consistently crisp and colourful image with a real sense of depth and vibrance and Crank: High Voltage was a similar experience with the fast action scenes not blurred by the 60Hz refresh rate. Playing Metro 2033 I found was more enjoyable when switching through the screens SPLENDID feature and selecting the Gaming mode option which enhances the contrast and colour tones of the image to still give a nice depth to the blacks, but not without enhancing the darker tones in such a way that you’re looking at a dark image, unable to make shapes and objects out clearly.
On the whole I am very impressed with the Asus VE228H LED backlit monitor, for general day to day use with work and photoshopping (which is where I’d use it more often) the screen was fantastic and I could easily use it for an extended period with comfort. The bright image was a benefit whilst using Photoshop to edit the images for this review along with the high contrast ratio. I’ve found on traditional LCDs that its harder to tell white from an off-white colour due to the brightness of the backlight, but here the LED backlight made it easy to tell the shades apart.
The same can be said for the colour reproduction and Toy Story 3 was watched with a lovely crisp image and vibrant colours. I really am amazed at the image quality given off by the VE228H, don’t get me wrong there are a whole world of great screens out there, but this is just something else. This same level of quality flows right through the fast changing scenes in Crank: High Voltage and onto the gaming experience, where again the pixel perfect image and vibrant colour base stand out and proud.
As I mentioned before, there is only one pitfall that I can find with this screen, but this is not necessarily something to put against it. Most monitors these days, have speakers built into them but to be honest, they really arn’t there for an all round experience. If you’re listening to a bit of background radio as I tend to do then thats all and well, but anything more (such as watching a film or playing a game) then you really do need to look at a set of dedicated speakers with a better quality of sound. This is nit picking though and for the most part I expect that the vast majority of people won’t even use the built in speakers.
Aside from what you see on screen, the screen is, as you would expect of an Asus product, very well built. The sturdy base latches the base to the main portion of the stand before the single screw locks it in place. The rest of the screen, is much the same with a sturdy and quality feel to it, right down to the hot keys on the underside.
As with all things, there is a cost involved, and may be thinking by now that this is not an affordable option seeing as its from a very reputable manufacturer and has a lot to offer, but you couldn’t be more wrong (that unless you’ve already seen the price elsewhere and you’re reading up this review to see if its really that low). At a wallet friendly price of only £131.99, the price may seem to good to be true, but this is no typo there. You really are getting a cracking little 22″ screen with a ton of features for under £140 and because of this I’ve got to hand it to Asus, they’ve done a great job.