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Asus VC239H review: A great budget 23in monitor

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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
120
inc VAT

There's a decided lack of frills and fancy features, but Asus' VC239H provides surprisingly good image quality for not much cash

Pros 
Good image quality
Attractive design
Cons 
External power supply
No height-adjustable stand
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The Asus VC239H is a shining example of a budget monitor that can go shoulder to shoulder with the big boys. If you're looking for a frill-free 23in monitor that provides good image quality for everyday use, as well as movies and games, then this is a great choice. 

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best monitors you can buy

Design and features

It’s true that there’s little in the way of fancy features. However, the curvy, black plastic body and narrow “infinity-edge” bezels look great - whereas rival monitors at this price often have thick plasticky bezels and look utterly unremarkable, the VC239H actually has a dash of style and pizzazz. 

It still feels fairly lightweight, though, and where pricier monitors squeeze in adjustable stands, the Asus makes do with a very basic stand that merely tilts back and forth by a few degrees. The other downside to the Asus' super-slim design is that there's no room for an external power supply - instead, you have to make do with an external, laptop-style power supply.

Connectivity and image quality

Hook up a cable to the DVI, VGA or HDMI ports at the rear, and you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised. The Asus’ matte 23.6in panel uses IPS technology and plays its role with aplomb. Photos and movies look bright and natural right out of the box, and while the myriad picture modes often do more harm than good, the Standard and sRGB modes hit the spot.

With sRGB mode active, the 681:1 contrast ratio is lower than pricier models here, but an average Delta E of 1.78 is superb for the money – colour accuracy is excellent. Photographs look impressively natural given how little this monitor costs, and that means you can even indulge in a little photo-tweaking and Photoshop-dabbling without worrying too much about whether what you're seeing on screen is actually accurate.

Switch to Standard mode, however, and the VC239H's contrast leaps to 1,115:1 for a slight trade-off in overall accuracy. This gives images and movies a noticeable increase in punch, and helps the monitor eke out far more detail and subtlety from the darkest movies and games. For instance, where other monitors struggle to pick out the action in tricky movie scenes such as the showdown between Bane and Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, the VC239H has no such problems.

Verdict

If you want luxuries such as an adjustable stand, or an integrated USB 3 hub, then you simply need to spend more money. If, however, you just want a good quality, compact 23in monitor that doesn't cost the earth, then there are few better options than the Asus VC239H.