by Matt Serrano on March 10, 2008 in Displays
The display market is chalked-full of models that fill up the quality spectrum, from sub-par up to high-end. The VW222 falls into the sub-par category, sadly, with overall poor color representation and noticeable screen-door effects, resulting in a model that should not be considered for purchase.
I have used the monitor on and off over the past few weeks, both on a Mac and PC, and to deal with my frustrations, I’ve tried doing a variety of things to get the display to look acceptable. On the Mac side, I had the most luck with using the Adobe color profile, but the colors continued to look washed out to some degree even after calibrating it. I had worse luck with Windows, but changing the settings with NVIDIA’s control panel did help remedy the quality.
Generally the display was very washed out (even discounting the color shifting). Out of the box, I wasn’t impressed with the way it looked, and the brightness was almost unbearable. Looking at whites and other bright colors was almost painful because it was so harsh. There was also a moderate amount of backlight bleed, which I wasn’t impressed by either.
I found this to be one of the most difficult displays to calibrate to look acceptable with both images and the desktop. I was able to set it when looking at a color palette, but when I got back to the desktop, things were still incredibly washed out. The problem could be fixed with a hardware calibration tool, but if you’re going to make that kind of investment, you’re better off getting a better display in the first place.
To test the display for gaming, I played a few levels of Half-Life 2: Episode One. I didn’t notice any ghosting while playing, or in my standard trailing tests which was to be expected, but I did discover an odd issue in the earlier levels. The VW222U and a Dell 2007WFP was set up, across from each other mirroring what was on screen. In the earlier levels where the gravity gun was used, I could see a visible halo around the edges of light emanating, while the IPS panel on the Dell exhibited no such problem.
Another problem I discovered by chance was with gradients and changes in color. The display does have problems displaying them uniformly as some banding is present, which I’m willing to give a level of credence to, but it also has problems displaying certain colors at all. This may be because the panel is a 6-bit panel instead of an 8-bit, but I’ve taken a look at other TN displays and I haven’t seen the problem anywhere else.
The monitor should be capable of displaying each increase in color as separate blocks. The last group of colors (nearing the 90-100% mark, or in some cases, even less) seems to be collected together as if they are one color. In other cases, looking at images which should have contained gradients didn’t display at all This is very alarming to graphic professionals who need the accuracy, but I would try to follow a general rule to stay away from TN panels all together if accuracy was something of concern.
There doesn’t seem to be an outstanding reason to purchase this monitor. The sub-par quality leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I really wish it could have performed better, but in the end, there is nothing I could find to justify the cost.
Even if you’re a gamer, I would look elsewhere simply because there are other options that are better suited. Any TN panel would be perfectly fine for gaming, and an MVA or IPS panel would look even better, even at the risk of higher response rates (which can be negligible anyway). The lack of input options and style do phase me, so it ends up looking like a budget monitor with little afterthought for the consumer.
- It’s a monitor, and it turns on
- Doesn’t scream the ASUS quality we’ve come to expect
- Less-than-average color
- Screen-door effect is noticeable most of the time
- Other similarly-priced monitors offer better quality
March 16th Addendum: We have since received our replacement VW222 and have noted some noticeable improvements. Our original sample was indeed defective in some regards, but even our replacement didn’t blow our pants off.
The replacement showcased better color, with the gradients looking more defined. In addition, there is virtually no backlight-bleeding on this new unit at all.
So while our replacement unit proved better than the original, we still don’t think very highly of it. At its price-point, there are numerous other 24″ models on the market that would deliver better overall image quality.
We originally gave this monitor a 4 out of 10 as our final score, overlooking the fact that we meant to discontinue including ratings with monitors, as we do with other products that proved too difficult to be handed a simple score. We’ve been doing this for a while with our notebooks and processors. Instead of handing our simple scores, we will focus more on our pros and cons list to let people award their own score, since everyone will weigh their pros and cons differently.
After consideration, though we have removed the original rating of this monitor (to reflect our new method), the resulting score, if we had one, would be bumped up to 6/10 thanks to the few improvements we have seen.
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