Overview and Specifications

First off, let’s get the name down for this 23 inch, 120Hz display, because ASUS is selling the VG236 in two different packages and model numbers. One is the VG236H, which comes with a NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit and retails for $499. The other is the VG246HE, which is the exact same display, but comes without a bundled NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit and retails for $349. Both of those packages contain the exact same display, but just differ in whether they include the shutter glasses you’ll need to do stereoscopic 3D.

ASUS is basically selling you the 3D Vision Kit for $150, which is a pretty sweet deal. As of this writing, the same NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit is retailing on Newegg for $174.

The VG236H packs HDMI, DVI-D, and component video inputs, though the only one that will work with 120Hz refresh rates, and thus 3D, is DVI-D.

HDMI, DVI-D (120Hz and NVIDIA 3D), and Component Video

The VG236H display is glossy, as is nearly all of the bezel. ASUS claims to have added an antireflection coating to the display, as they well should. It no doubt mitigates the reflection a bit, but there’s still going to be unavoidable glare, especially if you have lights behind you. That might be killer for some, but it isn't a huge issue - I still wish it was matte though. The VG236H is also a TN panel, partly out of necessity to drive that super fast refresh rate, however color quality is actually pretty good as we’ll show in a minute. ASUS is using a technology called Dual Side driving to get to 120Hz.

Hate it or love it, the VG236H is also 16:9, and thus native 1920x1080. Finding 16:10 1920x1200 monitors which used to be the norm, not the exception, is increasingly difficult. Honestly, I’d rather have my extra 120 pixels of image height when hunting down people in games than deal with two black bars when playing back anamorphic video content. Oh well, 1080P is more marketable I guess.

Let’s go into the rest of the specifications:

ASUS VG236H - Specifications
Property Quoted Specification
Video Inputs DVI-D (120 Hz 3D), HDMI, Component YPbPr
Panel Type TN (with Dual Side driving), CCFL backlight
Pixel Pitch 0.265 mm
Colors 16.7 Million (24 bit)
Brightness 400 nits maximum
Contrast Ratio 1,000:1 (standard), or 100,000:1 (dynamic)
Response Time 2ms (g2g) with Overdive/"Trace Free" control
Viewable Size 23" (54.8 cm) diagonal
Resolution 1920x1080 at 120Hz (1080P)
Viewing Angle 170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical
Power Consumption (operation) <60 watts typical
Power Consumption (standby) <2 watts typical
Screen Treatment Glossy (with antireflection coating)
Height-Adjustable Yes: ~4" (100 mm) of travel
Tilt Yes: -5 degrees to 15 degrees
Pivot No
Swivel Yes: +/- 150 degrees
VESA Wall Mounting Yes - 100x100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.7" (550 mm) x 16.5" (420 mm) x 9.8" (250 mm)
Weight w/o Stand 15.4 lbs (7.0 kg)
Additional Features NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit, 120 Hz operation
Limited Warranty 3 years - repair or replacement
Accessories DVI-D cable, power cable, quick start guide, manual, warranty card, support CD, NVIDIA 3D Demo DVD, NVIDIA 3D vision kit
Price VG236H (includes 3D vision kit): $499
VG236HE (w/o 3D kit): $349

ASUS definitely understands its gamer segment, as including component and HDMI video inputs is definitely an added plus for people who want to hook up a game console or two. Of course, the caveat with HDMI on a display like this is that there’s no audio out for connecting headsets, something which would definitely put this over the top for most gamers. We could get upset about DisplayPort being absent, but honestly it isn’t that big of a deal, yet.


Introduction Impressions and Subjective Analysis
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  • Gris - Monday, August 9, 2010 - link

    "Manufacturers need to create circularly polarized monitors before it is really usable."

    I think you may be right, (if that's even viable), but more so for tv's than computer monitors where viewing in a vertical position is more the norm.
  • zoxo - Monday, August 9, 2010 - link

    Yes indeed, but why settle for a half-solution?
    But I agree, that anything that uses passive glasses is a huge step-up. Those active glasses drive me nuts.
  • ChongDOTcom - Monday, August 9, 2010 - link

    I guess this display is quite popular, since it's sold out at nearly every online retailer. The only site I could find that has some in stock was Best Buy, where I luckily just ordered one last night.

    I was originally going to get the Alienware Optx, but that's the same price but doesn't come with the glasses. It looks a little cooler, but they seem extremely similar. I don't even need the glasses, though (I have an ATI card). I'll likely sell them.

    Anybody know any workarounds to get 3D to work on this screen? I'd be willing to purchase another 3D kit.
  • meldog11 - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    i think most of you are missing the point...the point is true functioning 3-d gaming on almost 24 inches of landscape @ true 1080p.....i hear you throwing out a huge wish list of things that arent available now nor where they available before....but this is closer to your wish list of demands, at a price point that 3 months ago you could only get 22 inches and 1680 x 1050.....what i took from this whole review is that the reviewer was overwhelmingly impressed with the 3d technology...meaning it actually "works" and a worthy skeptic is converted!...so if your not a fan of 3d technology then fine, if you wont be impressed with a new level of immersion in the games that you play fine, if close to 24 inches of landscape dont improve on the previous 22 inches of landscape fine.....but make no mistake about it this is a definite step in the right direction in terms of gameplay and performance for an imerging tech and at a price point that is impressive or at least competative to its predeccesors......just my humble opinion
  • RaZz! - Thursday, August 12, 2010 - link

    Nice review. In the conclusion you mention the Acer and Alienware monitors - in my opinion the LG W2363D should be named in this league as well.

    Since reviews of these monitors are cluttered all over the web on different sites with different test methods etc, it's pretty hard to really compare the monitors respectively the results from these tests.

    I'd really love to see these 120Hz monitors tested with the same test methods - compared from one source.

    Anandtech would do a lot of people a favor with a 120Hz monitor roundup ;) Many forums have threads going on with exact this topic and a lot of people are unsure which monitor is better. Facts and detailed field reports are very rare, even though some of these monitors are out there for quite some time already.

    On a side note: there have been a lot of issues reported for the Acer, like too aggressive Overdrive which makes fonts too sharp and hardly readable as well as green and red coronas when doing fast turns in games. Videos of these problems can be found on Youtube for example.
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, August 12, 2010 - link

    I'm sooo glad to read an up-to-date article that describes the 120Hz LCD monitor in a discreet state. The previous articles I read (back when they first came out ) left me with the impression that they weren't really 120 Hz, just 60Hz gimmicked-up, and not much better. Brian has answered that question and I am thrilled to know we aren't entirely hampered with 60Hz as a standard for future video.

    Looking forward to a real quality unit along the lines of the Dell U2711 or HP ZR30w in true 120 Hz capability. Better yet, true 240 Hz so that each eye can live with 120 Hz in a 3D setup! Heh.
  • Orip - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    Seems to be doing whatever the Asus VG236H is doing (except that the 2233RZ is 22" but is also a 16:10).

    What am I missing?
  • Orip - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    Being keen on the sanctity of my fps I'm still using my good ole' trusted Iiyama CRT.
    Now that LCDs are nailing down 120mhz I could finally grab one but there seem to be no concensus as to where one's money would be best spent.
    The samsung is cheaper by far out of all the 120mhz LCDs out there (atleast in israel that's the case).

    A lil' help here would be welcome :)
    Thanks! :)
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - link

    As the subject line says 120hz ips panels are the way to go; colour reprodution and fluidity of movement... with no issue regarding viewing angles.

    I have one of those NEC ea231wmi panels and I have to say it's fantastic. I play a lot of fps games and have not noticed any colour distortion, left to right, ghosting or lag and I've had no problem with the anti glare coating. Maybe I'm just too easily pleased!
  • DarkUltra - Thursday, August 19, 2010 - link

    I don't see any black level impressions. Just that contrast is good and MEtro 2033 needs a bump in the gamma setting in 3D mode. Other reviews have found the black level on this monitor bad:

    The display was equally unable to separate very dark grays from absolute black. As a result, we had a difficult time seeing what was happening in the Blu-ray version of Watchmen’s opening fight sequence.

    This is not acceptable to me. I don't wanto mess with gamma settings in games and reduce the color representation further. I guess I'll get the LG W2363D or wait for a 16:10 or LED backlit 120hz monitor.

    The other 120hz monitors have other issues, AW2310 have blurring and smearing in 2d mode despite the 120hz performance, GD245HQ have serious sharpness issues, the others are "only" 22" panels.

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