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Widescreen LCD monitors are everywhere. We have widescreen LCD TVs (check out our growing TVs section), widescreen LCDs designed for gamers, widescreen LCDs for graphics professionals, and widescreen LCDs that try and do a bit of everything.
The reasons they’re popular are two fold. Not only do manufacturers favour them because they allow more efficient fabrication and thus a greater volume to be produced, but consumers also like them because they offer a larger active screen area - great for aiding productivity, and for viewing widescreen movies and playing games.
It therefore comes as no surprise that many companies are jumping on the widescreen bandwagon, including Asus, more commonly known for its motherboards and graphics cards. Here we have the £310 19in Asus PW191 and first impressions are mixed.
I took it out of the box, set it up, and then sat staring at it. Do I like the design? Obviously a question of personal preference. Personally, I’m not that keen. You can argue that the machined aluminium alloy base, the black chassis, and the glossy bezel give the PW191 a more unique look in an LCD world dogged by drab aesthetics, but to me it looks as if they’ve tried too hard. That said, a couple of my friends popped over and were suitably impressed. Just goes to show that one man’s mongrel is another man’s model.
For me though, and despite the fact that it houses the speakers, the bezel is just too wide and has the affect of making the picture feel smaller. The bezel’s glossy black finish also has the annoying knack of attracting fingerprints and reflections, but in my opinion the overall appearance is one that is straight out of the 80’s. Think of it as Bang and Olufsen, but not quite.
Ok, I’ve been focusing on its looks, which for some might not be as important as features and functionality. In those terms, the PW191 is more or less up there with the competition - apart from a couple of aspects that I’ll come to in a minute. First, the excellent stand. The circular base is weighty and solid, offers ample stability to the whole unit, and can be swivelled through 120 degrees. The double-hinged stand also allows the PW191 to be tilted 5 degrees forward and 20 degrees back as well as raised and lowered through approximately 13cm. And, if you enjoy writing and editing long documents the 90 degree pivot mechanism (along with that widescreen format) really comes in handy if you want to work on and view a whole sheet of A4 at a comfortable font size and at 100% zoom. A word of warning though. If you’ve threaded the cables through the aperture in the neck of the stand, make sure they feed through freely with plenty of slack before pivoting the display. Otherwise you risk wrenching the cables from their ports.