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Asus MS246H LCD Monitor

Tech Expert Holiday Gift Guide

Photography by Andrew HansonPhotography by Andrew Hanson

Asus MS246H LCD Monitor

Price: $239

Creative types often complain about having to stare at a monitor all day long. But what if that monitor was beautiful to look at? Asus’ Designo MS series will make home and office workers proud of their desk space. And because Asus hasn’t put a high premium on its good design, this monitor can be purchased for less than the cost of an average 24" high-def monitor.

The most striking aspect of this monitor is its profile that is 0.65" thick, like a novella. The second thing you notice is the ring stand that keeps this skinny screen upright. It is mounted at the back of the screen and is rather pliable. Push on the front of the monitor with your finger, and the screen will slide back ever so slightly, adjusting the angle at which it rests against the ring. Pull the screen forward and the ring returns to a more upright position. The range of motion isn’t huge, but it makes a difference. And because the monitor doesn’t perch on a stand, but rather leans against the ring, it doesn’t sit so high on the desk and block views of your workspace.

Asus’ third design accomplishment is the two-tone (black and white) color scheme. The front bezel of the monitor is black, as is the ring on the back. But a white frame goes around the black on the front, and the entire backside of the monitor is a pearly white as well. The rear is subtly curvy, too. This monitor stands out in a sea of shiny black monoliths.

On the lower right-hand corner of the monitor bezel sits a row of touch-sensitive LED buttons for power, brightness, contrast, color temperature, and video inputs.

As for the obligatory specification details, the monitor offers a native resolution of 1920x1080 (16:9 aspect ratio), HDMI (as well as VGA) input, and a cable and adapter. You can thus connect this monitor to gaming consoles, desktop PCs, and laptops to watch true HD (1080p) video. There’s also an earphone jack.

Asus claims a two ms response time, a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, brightness of 250 cd/m2, and color saturation of 72%.

When using this monitor alongside a standard 15" laptop, we found the Asus monitor to be much more crisp and bright than the laptop screen. The colors presented by this monitor aren’t as rich as those we’ve seen on ultra high-end displays, but HD content looks smooth and clear on the screen. This is the best looking (picture quality- and hardware design-wise) monitor we’ve seen this holiday season for under $250. --Rachel Rosmarin

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