Asus LS221H review
We've seen some unusual monitors recently, but the LS221H is a candidate for an 'oddest' award.
Asus bills it as a premium 22in display, and there's no denying that the price is high for a monitor of this size; HannsG's 27in HG281DP costs only £9 more.
What you get for your money is a real leather strip across the bottom of the front bezel, plus a ring of blue LEDs in the base. The strip is reminiscent of the vinyl dashboard in a 1970s Mazda, while the LEDs are noticeable only in a darkened room. A more useful inclusion is the glass front panel, which protects the screen from prodding fingers and scratches. It wasn't reflective when using office applications, but was noticeable when viewing dark images or dark scenes in movies. The glass looks purple when the monitor is turned off, but it doesn't affect colour reproduction when on.
Using the default settings, colours were accurate and images showed good contrast. Asus claims a contrast ratio of 4,000:1 and, while this sounds a bit overblown, it did lead to good detail in dark areas of images. The 300cd/m2 brightness sounds average on paper, but this is a bright monitor in use. Under the dubious Splendid moniker, there are six preset colour modes, although most seem concerned with ramping up the saturation to nauseating levels; this is useful only for gaming, and even then it is of questionable value. Luckily, we didn't see any lag when playing games, which gives credibility to the claim of a 2ms response time. Movies played smoothly with no juddering.
Around the back, you'll find two inputs - HDMI and VGA - at the bottom of the stand. The power input also resides here, but the power supply isn't built in, so you must live with a large black brick on the floor. We assume Asus made this decision as a trade-off to earn the LS221H the title of 'world's slimmest 22in monitor'. Given that the base is as deep as any other 22in display, this isn't likely to persuade anyone to part with their cash.
Those who do will be pleased with the image quality, but will soon become frustrated by the awful buttons. They're slightly recessed, which makes them hard to press, and there is an unintuitive system for navigating menus. There are several colour temperature presets available, including sRGB and useful individual controls for the red, green and blue levels.
At this price, there aren't enough reasons to choose the LS221H over cheaper LCDs, such as LG's excellent L227WT, which is £65 cheaper.