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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  • DarkUltra - Thursday, August 19, 2010 - link

    PS I use http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php and http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/white.php and a few new 23" 1080p lcd we have at work are really bad at these tests. My dads benq g2400w is good, so TN can perform and I hope the LG W2363D is similar.
  • AllenP - Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - link

    Hey, I had a question about this statement:

    "It just so happens that it’s pulling one frame behind, which on average worked out to a lag of 1.9 ms."

    Sorry, I don't quite understand where those numbers are coming from... what do you mean by "one frame"? One frame is 8.3ms at 120 Hz or 16.7ms at 60Hz... To be honest, I guess it really doesn't matter: the graphics card ends up being the one that decides how much latency exists between outputs, especially when it's working with two signals at different refresh rates.

    I would recommend using a more simple method of testing that always tries to get the exact same frame, refresh rate, and resolution to both monitors after it leaves the graphics card though one DVI-I port... This will eliminate all the confusion about how much latency the graphics card has when reading from the frame buffer to two different DVI ports. You'll need a really good CRT for that kind of test (one that can support like 1080P+ at 120Hz+), but I'm sure they exist. This way you can just split the DVI-I to a DVI and VGA using a passive component like this: http://sewelldirect.com/gefen-dvi-dvi-and-vga.asp -- Then the only element introducing discrepancies would be the DAC inside your graphics card that is used on the DVI-I (which I would assume is happens /after/ the frame is read from the frame buffer with most graphics cards that support this type of simultaneous output).
  • v12v12 - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    You know when I 1st read the review of this, I thought to myself; hrmmm could I too be "wrong" about this whole 3D-imagery non-nonse... Am I missing out on something really good, bc I'm bias towards CRTs? Thankfully the answer is NO! I'm not missing anything lol!

    I love my habit of always reading through the comments section; you REALLY can segregate the meat from the fat when you go through pages of comments. Comments with BRUTAL honesty and usually spot on; what you don't find in Klug's fanboy-hyped review. Seriously I started questioning my judgment(s) about 3D, 120hz, and (omg) TN-panels, LMFAO! TN—really (?!), for all this money and supposed advancement?!
    __Thanks to the numerous comments about these and many more "overlooked" features/technological implements, I've slammed the gavel on this ridiculous review; GUILTY! This monitor is nothing more than old technology, souped-up with some racing stripe, coffee-can exhaust like "advances," repackaged for the sheepish plebs. Yep I said Plebs; the sheep that will do EXACTLY what the OP has suggested; go out and get this monitor right now! ORLY? Then you read the comments and see all the major flaws of this ricer "technology..." I've been saying this for YEARS when I saw LCDs starting to take a market foot-hold; high-tech MARKETING is selling low-end technology as STANDARD FOR US ALL! WTF?
    Haha, I love having a marketing background; makes seeing all these smoke and mirror, Vegas light and dazzle shows so much easier... But nope, plenty of sheep out there that will be saving up or going out right now to support this con-artist marketing of low-tech "advancement(s)," which hurts the real technological enthusiast or just simply someone that knows the TRUTH about how most folks are being duped on the daily, which sets market precedent for EVERYONE to get with, or pay much more for what we all should demand!

    TN? Glossy? 1/2 arse 3D? No game port? Lack of real lag testing? 16:9???! PRICE? Yeah MARKETING folks...

    I'll PASS!
  • Zoeff - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    Brian, what would be your recommended settings for this monitor when using it for both playing games and some photo editing?

  • Deusfaux - Monday, October 4, 2010 - link

    a 16:10 monitor won't allow you to better see/hunt down enemies in a videogame, as you imply, with it's increased height.

    Almost all widescreen compatible games are Horizontal+, and the vertical FOV is constant. You're actually seeing less with a narrower 16:10 display than a wider 16:9 one.
  • NiteTortoise - Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - link

    Hey Brian Klug -

    I think you have the wrong model # for the display without the glasses. You list it as VG246HE, but its actually VG236HE per Asus's website: http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=RiEoeerrSbel...

    I spent a couple hours trying to find the display without the glasses, and I'm sure others have been in the same situation!

  • snuuggles - Monday, November 22, 2010 - link

    I've been gaming on an older 32" 720p lcd tv for about 3 years. In a pinch I can use it as a monitor for work or browsing email, but of course the resolution is a bit low for that stuff...

    I'd really like to replace it with a higher resolution monitor, but I don't want to go too much smaller, and I'm *very* sensitive to input lag/low fps/ghosting/motion issues.

    Basically for gaming, the things that matter (to me) are:

    - input lag
    - size of screen
    - native resolution that is a good comprimise between sharp/useful-for-work and not-a-frame-rate-killer (hellooooo 1080p, booooo 2560x1600)
    - minimal ghosting/trailing/whatever motion artifacts

    not important:
    - viewing angle (it's just me!)
    - color reproduction (I don't edit photos)
    - energy consumption (unless it starts costing dollars per day, PC gaming is just going to cost real money, and my electric bill is just not an issue compared to all the other costs, even if it *doubles*)

    Seems like a large-format (27"+), 1080p TN+Film 120hz monitor for 500-600 would be something I should expect to be able to buy. Why is there no such thing? For *any* price?!?!

    Can anyone say *for sure* that any of the new 3d TVs actually accept 120hz input. In other words, I know at least some (most? al?) of them use a funny "frame packing" method to get the two frames to the tv, basically using the same 60hz input with a funny resolution that the tv then just splits and displays one after the other. Are there *any* 3d tvs that actually accept a true 120hz 1080p input that I could use as a large monitor? Anything in the next year?

    Should I just say screw it and get the zr30w and game at 1280x800 and work at full rez? There's no way I'm dropping 600 every year just to have a video card that can play the latest games at full rez.

    Seems really really lame that the only two 27" 120hz monitors I can find listed anywhere on google have no release date. What is going on, should I just wait, or is there some reason that the things I care about just don't seem to be something people want to deliver a product for?
  • snuuggles - Monday, December 6, 2010 - link

    Anyone (Brian) looking at this thread anymore? I know I'm basically posing on a dead article, but there's no 'display' section of the forums, and I haven't seen the answer to my questions anywhere (here, TFT reviews, avs forums)!

    My questions consolidated for convenience:

    - When are larger-format (27"+) 120hz input monitors coming out. Is there some reason they aren't out already?

    - assuming the above is going to take a while (6+ months), are there any TVs out there now that will take a 120hz input and display it at 120hz.

    - Assuming there are no tvs currently available that can do that, can anyone say with confidence that 2011 will bring some (given that they'll all have HDMI 1.4 and that supposedly would support 1080p@120hz input). Or will they continue to insist on the ridiculous "frame packing" bs, and not even allow 120hz input.

    It just seems strange that I can't get what I want which is a large (27-42"), low lag, 120hz input display at 1080p.

    Thanks again! Sorry if I'm posting in an inappropriate place.
  • Onslaught2k3 - Saturday, December 4, 2010 - link

    Every single display won't have everything you need. People bashing 120hz calling it a gimmick are just silly. Gamers spend hundreds finding the best mouse around that'll move at 5000+ DPI. After buying this montior, going over 2500 DPI on a laser gaming-grade mouse is unnecessary because the 120hz display effectively doubles the DPI @ 60Hz. You can use a cheaper mouse with this monitor and save money on what you would otherwise be spending on a freaking peripheral! That on its own is pretty good. I have a Samsung T260 paired with this monitor (I've paid MORE for the T260 back in may of 2008 than I did for the VG236HE - the one without the nvidia 3d kit since I use a AMD graphics card) and the difference is plain stunning. Since I focus what's on screen and not on my reflection I find that the glossy screen resembles a CRT with regards to colour reproduction. But as people have said here I know for a fact that CRTs are far better in almost every regard to an LCD picture and colour-wise. My next monitor purchase will most likely be a 120hz IPS panel that is around 27". This probably won't happen for another 3-5 years.
  • MLSCrow - Monday, December 6, 2010 - link

    The title of the Article is, "...120Hz is the future", but I think what you really should say is, "...240Hz is the future".

    Reason(s) being;

    In the introduction of your article, you wrote, "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."

    With that said, I agree, 120Hz is amazing in comparison to 60Hz. I've been noticing the difference ever since I tried noticing the difference, back in the CRT days, however, once you activate 3D mode, you break that value in half for each eye. So, as you said, the 120Hz, becomes 60Hz per eye in 3D mode. However, in order to have that same smoothness that you saw 120Hz prior to 3D mode, during 3D mode, you would need a 240Hz display and considering that 240Hz 3D capable displays (120Hz per eye in 3D mode) are currently available, I'm sure you'd agree that it really is 240Hz that is the future.


    -Fan since genesis.

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