- Great response time, sharp and clear pictures, HDCP compliant
- Colour balance wasn't as good as we'd hoped
Gamers who are after a high speed monitor will be more than satisfied with this 22in model from ASUS.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
With a price tag of $799, you'd expect the MW221U to offer a high-quality image, and for the most part it did. Running at a native resolution of 1650 x 1080 via DVI, this was most noticeable when displaying fast-paced material, such as PC games.
LCD monitors, unlike CRT monitors, can suffer from what is called ghosting. Ghosting occurs when a fast-moving object leaves a small trail behind it. The faster the monitor can switch its pixels from one colour to another, the less obvious this trail is. The MW221U can switch its pixels from one colour to another in 2ms. During our tests, using Unreal Tournament 2004, we noticed no ghosting whatsoever. This makes the MW221U an ideal choice for the hardcore gamer. Scrolling tests using the built-in Windows Marquee screen saver also showed minimal ghosting for white text on a black background and black text on a white background.
In our colour tests, the MW221U didn't perform quite as well, despite being a 16.7 million colour monitor. Using DisplayMate Video Edition's colour block charts, we noticed a higher than normal level of blue across most shades, particularly evident in the greyscale. We had some success adjusting this using the calibration settings in the OSD menu, but this didn't completely eliminate the problem. Other colours were better balanced, although reds were slightly oversaturated. DisplayMate showed that black levels were good for the most part, although not the best we have seen.
However in our other DisplayMate tests, the MW221U impressed. Vertical, horizontal and curved lines were all rendered with great clarity and no noticeable aberrations. There was no image noise visible at all and no backlight bleeding either. Similarly, contrast was handled exceptionally well, with great definition between shades on our colour block charts, and an even gradient on our colour intensity ramps.
While it has a fast response time, the other notable thing about the MW221U is that it's HDCP compliant, which makes it a good investment if you have home-theatre in mind. In the future, high definition digital content will be encrypted using this new protocol. High definition content that isn't encrypted will not play back at its highest quality if all your devices, such as a Blu-ray player or an HD-DVD player, are not HDCP compliant.
Aesthetically the MW221U is quite nice. It has a slim black and silver bezel and indented neon buttons, which add a touch of class. The included speaker is decent, and fairly typical of in-built monitor speakers. The usual connectivity options are present, including DVI and D-Sub ports.
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