ASUS ML248H: Thin for the Win?by Chris Heinonen on October 27, 2011 12:00 AM EST
Introduction and Hardware Impressions
The stand for the ML248 is unlike any monitor stand I’ve seen before. Comprised of a pair of rings that lock together and then into the rear of the display, this allows for tilt and swivel adjustments but no height adjustment. It is dead simple to install, though, which is nice. The back of the display is a white plastic that stands out compared to the standard black, though likely it won’t be seen much of the time. Perhaps because of the slim profile of the display, there is only a single HDMI input and one D-sub input, but no DVI or DisplayPort inputs available. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to audio carried over HDMI, but no integrated speakers or USB hub in the display. Of course if you were to wall mount this, good luck in getting to that headphone jack.
The front of the display is a shiny black with a fairly thin bezel around the top and sides of the screen, but a very large bezel at the lower half of the display. Perhaps the large bezel at the bottom is necessary to house the electronics and inputs while keeping the overall thin profile, but it causes a couple of issues in my use. The first is that it raises the display up by a few inches compared to if it had no bezel at the bottom. Depending on the height of your desk this might not matter, but for me it puts the display at such a height that I can’t get the angle I want on the display; it makes placement a bit harder and more limited in my experience compared to no bezel.
Another complaint is that the ML248H has LED lit controls that are touch sensitive buttons, but they’re annoying to use in practice. The labels of the buttons disappear until you hit a button to light them up, but that also causes a menu to pop up on the screen. Since you can’t see which menu option you’re selecting until after you touch the panel, you almost always have to back out of that initial menu and then pop up the correct one. Having the initial touch just light up the buttons and the second touch pop up the menu would be far more user friendly. I’m still a fan of actual buttons over touch sensitive ones for my display adjustments as well, but that would ruin the look of the ASUS. On the bright side, the buttons are accurate in responding to touches and I didn’t find myself having to hit them repeatedly to get them to respond.
The one final issue caused by using such a thin display is that the monitor can’t use a standard IEC cord but instead has an external power brick that you will now have to hide away as well. I’m sure most people won’t have an issue hiding the cord and adapter away, but it does make for more of a wiring mess than a typical IEC power cord would.
Here’s an overview of the full display specs:
|Video Inputs||HDMI 1.3, D-sub|
|Pixel Pitch||0.2768 mm|
|Brightness||250 nits (Typical)|
|Contrast Ratio||1,000:1 (Typical)|
|Response Time||2 ms (GTG)|
|Resolution||1920x1080 at 60 Hz|
|Viewing Angle||170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical|
|Power Consumption (operation)||< 30 W|
|Power Consumption (standby)||< 1W|
|Screen Treatment||Antiglare with hard-coating 3H|
|Tilt||-5 degrees to +20 degrees|
|Swivel||-20 degrees to +20 degrees|
|VESA Wall Mounting||Yes: 100 mm x 100 mm|
|Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD)||572mm x 431mm x 221mm|
|Weight||9.04 pounds with stand|
|Additional Features||Headphone Jack (rear)|
|Limited Warranty||3 Years Limited Parts and Labor|
|Accessories||Power adapter, VGA cable, HDMI to DVI Cable|
The OSD menus for the ASUS are pretty well designed overall. The touch sensitive buttons are well spaced and respond well to touches, so you don’t have to hit them multiple times to get an input or worry if you’re hitting the correct one. The main issue, as noted above, is that since the labels for the buttons are hidden until you actually press a button, and you don’t know which one to hit for the menu until you actually try one. That might put you into the brightness or contrast adjustments, and then you have to navigate back out into the main menu. I wish the labels would either stay illuminated (well, that might be a different sort of annoying), or better would be to have the first touch light up the menus instead of selecting an option.
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ProDigit - Friday, October 28, 2011 - linkThen you just have to adjust the adapter to display at 60Hz!
It'll save on the LCD crystals too, operating at half the speed!
james.jwb - Monday, October 31, 2011 - linkI have used IPS for years now. My first foray towards quality was actually an S-PVA, not IPS. Input lag was pretty bad on this, it was the 2407, meant to be usable (then Dell made them even worse after this) but for me it was terrible for gaming. IPS is far, far superior to those older models, when input lag was still a relatively new term doing the rounds on forums, etc.
So as long as you go for a low input lag model, it will be excellent for gaming. I have a 27-inch Hazro IPS and it's super-fast, no issues at all, so look for IPS screens with 10ms or less input lag and it will be perfecto. For the record, I'm very sensitive to input lag.
As for the rest, those who say they can live with TN Film have not used good IPS screens long-term or have incredibly lazy/casual PC standards. Viewing angles under any scenario is a pain in the ass (too much shifting) and colours are not just inaccurate, they have a metallic quality to them, they shine if you even move your head 1 cm. It's mainly when in the desktop these issues stand out. I honestly couldn't browse the net comfortably on the TN film.
One issue i have with a few of these IPS displays, like those from Dell, is the coating they use that causes a slight crystallized impression to the screen when you move your head, which is why I chose the Hazro, just a nice sheet of clear glass on the front, like the Apple displays.
fynamo - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkWhy are you guys reviewing such horrid displays? What a waste of time.
IGemini - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkThe spec list says there is a 100x100mm VESA mount when there are ABSOLUTELY NO VESA HOLES on the back of that monitor.
randinspace - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkI'm more than a little surprised that this monitor is selling for $200 right now when ASUS's own, more recent (by about 5 months, but still), e-IPS (ML239H) and MVA (ML249H) alternatives in the same form factor are selling for less and around the same price respectively. To be fair the ML239h is 23" but at those dimensions I'd certainly trade an inch to have e-IPS. Of course the retail price for those models is comparatively higher, but that only makes it all the more baffling to me that they're selling for cheaper right now.
DarkUltra - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkHow about comparing the input lag on this monitor to one of those 120hz "3d ready" monitors with zero input lag, and mention how nice the desktop experience become with 120hz? That is the target LCD manufacturers should aim for. I see camera reviews does this all the time. A camera can have a 3.1 lens and 720p video recording, but the reviewer say he hopes they would improve that in the next model since other competing cameras have those specs.
Heres some impressed testers if you doubt me:
The ASUS VG236H was my first exposure to 120Hz refresh displays that aren’t CRTs, and the difference is about as subtle as a dump truck driving through your living room. I spent the first half hour seriously just dragging windows back and forth across the desktop - from a 120Hz display to a 60Hz, stunned at how smooth and different 120Hz was. Yeah, it’s that different.
120hz lcd Smoother motion and the lack of RTC artifacts leave a highly positive impression, making you unwilling to return to 60Hz.
Put two computers side by side, one with a 60Hz display and the other with a 120Hz display. Go to the Windows desktop and drag a window around the screen on each. Wonder in amazement as the 120Hz display produces an easily observable higher fluidity in the animation.
cheinonen - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkA 120Hz LCD review is coming soon, don't worry. It's unfortunate that there's no way to display the difference easily, since most people will be reading on a display that couldn't show a 120 Hz recording, even if I had a camera capable of that.
Sabresiberian - Friday, October 28, 2011 - linkThat right there put it in the "no can do" category for me. Add that it's a 16:9 instead of 16:10, and a TN panel on top of that, it's not of much interest to me except to find out what Asus is up to.
Up to producing something I really don't expect from Asus. This is a piece of junk. Okay for gaming? Response time alone doesn't make a good gaming monitor, it's a cheap monitor that actually isn't as cheap as it should be. Strike that, it's a cheap monitor that should have been scrapped before it was manufactured.
Shame on you Asus.
7Enigma - Friday, October 28, 2011 - linkI have no clue why you guys keep reporting min/max brightness as your power consumption numbers. Unlike a CPU/GPU you rarely are going to run a monitor at min/max brightness. You do calibration testing at 100 or 200nits right? Why are you not using those points for your power consumption values? As it stands (and as you pointed out) the numbers are useless because crap screens such as this one in review appear to be the "best" in the power consumption. What we really need to see is a ranking of power consumption in the USABLE RANGE that will be experienced when any normal person sits down to their computer.
Please change this in the future.
7Enigma - Friday, October 28, 2011 - linkTo add to this you should either remove from the chart anything not in the same size (so only 24" screens), or at least highlight or better yet create a separate chart including all of the monitors. It's really pointless to compare a 22" to a 30" monster. Rarely are people going to be interested in one or the other (price range and space/size are so different that the target markets are not even close).