ASUS ML248H: Thin for the Win?by Chris Heinonen on October 27, 2011 12:00 AM EST
Introduction and Hardware Impressions
The stand for the ML248 is unlike any monitor stand I’ve seen before. Comprised of a pair of rings that lock together and then into the rear of the display, this allows for tilt and swivel adjustments but no height adjustment. It is dead simple to install, though, which is nice. The back of the display is a white plastic that stands out compared to the standard black, though likely it won’t be seen much of the time. Perhaps because of the slim profile of the display, there is only a single HDMI input and one D-sub input, but no DVI or DisplayPort inputs available. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to audio carried over HDMI, but no integrated speakers or USB hub in the display. Of course if you were to wall mount this, good luck in getting to that headphone jack.
The front of the display is a shiny black with a fairly thin bezel around the top and sides of the screen, but a very large bezel at the lower half of the display. Perhaps the large bezel at the bottom is necessary to house the electronics and inputs while keeping the overall thin profile, but it causes a couple of issues in my use. The first is that it raises the display up by a few inches compared to if it had no bezel at the bottom. Depending on the height of your desk this might not matter, but for me it puts the display at such a height that I can’t get the angle I want on the display; it makes placement a bit harder and more limited in my experience compared to no bezel.
Another complaint is that the ML248H has LED lit controls that are touch sensitive buttons, but they’re annoying to use in practice. The labels of the buttons disappear until you hit a button to light them up, but that also causes a menu to pop up on the screen. Since you can’t see which menu option you’re selecting until after you touch the panel, you almost always have to back out of that initial menu and then pop up the correct one. Having the initial touch just light up the buttons and the second touch pop up the menu would be far more user friendly. I’m still a fan of actual buttons over touch sensitive ones for my display adjustments as well, but that would ruin the look of the ASUS. On the bright side, the buttons are accurate in responding to touches and I didn’t find myself having to hit them repeatedly to get them to respond.
The one final issue caused by using such a thin display is that the monitor can’t use a standard IEC cord but instead has an external power brick that you will now have to hide away as well. I’m sure most people won’t have an issue hiding the cord and adapter away, but it does make for more of a wiring mess than a typical IEC power cord would.
Here’s an overview of the full display specs:
|Video Inputs||HDMI 1.3, D-sub|
|Pixel Pitch||0.2768 mm|
|Brightness||250 nits (Typical)|
|Contrast Ratio||1,000:1 (Typical)|
|Response Time||2 ms (GTG)|
|Resolution||1920x1080 at 60 Hz|
|Viewing Angle||170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical|
|Power Consumption (operation)||< 30 W|
|Power Consumption (standby)||< 1W|
|Screen Treatment||Antiglare with hard-coating 3H|
|Tilt||-5 degrees to +20 degrees|
|Swivel||-20 degrees to +20 degrees|
|VESA Wall Mounting||Yes: 100 mm x 100 mm|
|Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD)||572mm x 431mm x 221mm|
|Weight||9.04 pounds with stand|
|Additional Features||Headphone Jack (rear)|
|Limited Warranty||3 Years Limited Parts and Labor|
|Accessories||Power adapter, VGA cable, HDMI to DVI Cable|
The OSD menus for the ASUS are pretty well designed overall. The touch sensitive buttons are well spaced and respond well to touches, so you don’t have to hit them multiple times to get an input or worry if you’re hitting the correct one. The main issue, as noted above, is that since the labels for the buttons are hidden until you actually press a button, and you don’t know which one to hit for the menu until you actually try one. That might put you into the brightness or contrast adjustments, and then you have to navigate back out into the main menu. I wish the labels would either stay illuminated (well, that might be a different sort of annoying), or better would be to have the first touch light up the menus instead of selecting an option.
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ssssss - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkGreat article, have not read it. Wahoo.
B3an - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkShut up.
And @ anyone at AT, can you introduce rules where you only review GOOD monitors. As in, nothing that has TN a panel. I know that will cut out a lot of stuff (AKA shit!) but theres still some good monitors out there that are actually worth reviewing.
Sabresiberian - Friday, October 28, 2011 - linkI disagree, I want to see companies get blasted in public for producing junk by reputable review sites like Anandtech and Tomshardware.
I also want to know myself how these monitors perform.
As far as me actually buying another TN panel - well, there's the 120Hz panels, and if they get 2560x1440 0r 2560x1600 120Hz TN panels that are top notch for TN I might just bite, but otherwise they are off my list.
ckryan - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkI really dislike TN panels. Hate it. But TN has always been awful, and now that it's better in 2011 than it was in 2003, it's still awful. e-IPS is the new TN -- able to slot into lower price points but with competitive (if not mindblowing) performance. In the laptop market you have to grin and bear it, but on your destop and in your pocket you don't have to. You can always choose a phone with an IPS screen, and now there are many more lower cost options for your desk. e-IPS and a few analogous VA paneled screens have at least decent viewing angles, color reproduction, and response times. e-IPS in particular is available in some dirt-cheap configurations with few options/no height or tilt/etc. and pricier products with more ergonomic functions and mo' betterness included. TN for desktop displays is really limited to 3D and 120HZ at the moment (I know some really like their TN panel displays, but there are cheap e-IPS options that are certainly worth a look). The U2311H and now the U23/2412 are midrange eIPS options, while NEC makes some much more expensive models. Asus and LG have some really decent eIPS models, and so I hope that prospective monitor buyers at least take a look at something other than a TN panel before making a buying decision. I hope that the explosion of mobile devices with great displays will leave people wondering why they put up with sub-par units in laptops and monitors.
Asus makes this same chassis into displays with MVA and eIPS, in addition to the TN here. This monitor, in addition to it's two other-paneled siblings would make a nice article -- hint, hint _-.
MrSpadge - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkAgreed! A TN with an unergonomic stand so that you can not even try to work around its weak points. It doesnt even have a DVI output. So unintersting! Sadly someone will buy it..
spellingmisteaks - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkI'm so over TN panels. With IPS panels dropping close to 200 bucks, there's no reason to waste money on a TN panel.
iSmug - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkTotally agree.
The 24" A-MVA version is the same price. ML249H
The 23" e-IPS version is $10 cheaper. ML239H
I don't understand why anyone would want the TN version..
I own the ML239H. It was by far the cheapest option for the monitors with the same LG panel.
dingetje - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkTN + 16:9 panel = waste of reviewspace
Daduck - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link..and included with an ugly design. Agree completely.
slick121 - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - linkAgreed. I don't know who they are targeting but I wouldn't want that on my desk.