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Looking at the rear of the monitor, it's immediately apparent that there's no large power input. That's because the MS236H uses a small external power supply, which is actually quite convenient. Another convenience is the presence of both VGA and HDMI inputs, as well as an audio output for accessing the audio from the HDMI. There are no integrated speakers, though, which given the usual quality of such efforts is no bad thing.
It's good to see an HDMI since style so often usurps functionality on a monitor such as this. It means you could use MS236H with any number of HDMI-equipped devices, like games consoles, Blu-ray players or media streamers, with little to no hassle. Of course the 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution is ideal for such sources, too.
Similar can't be said of the actual image quality of the display, though. You wouldn't realise this from the spec sheet, which talks excitedly of a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (no native figure is provided), a brightness of 250cd/m2 and a 2ms grey-to-grey response time. But, as we well know, such figures are generally very misleading. Much the same can be said of the 170 degree horizontal viewing angles, which are somewhat optimistic.
In reality, the MS236H is average: nothing more, nothing less. Its colour production is okay, its viewing angles reasonable enough for most needs and it doesn't suffer any outstanding motion handling problems, but it stands out in no way whatsoever. Particularly disappointing are both its detail in dark shades and the purity of its black level. Like many cheaper displays based on TN panel technology, it really doesn't bring the finer details out well and dark scenes tend to look a little too grey.
However, provided your demands and expectations are realistic, the MS236H is still a decent enough monitor when judged against similarly specified models. It's just that its design inflates its price by several degrees, with it currently retailing in the region of £200 to £230. Given the MS236H doesn't outperform the BenQ G2222HDL mentioned at the very start of this article, which costs a mere £120, it's clear you're paying a hefty premium for the design. Granted, the Asus does have an HDMI port where the BenQ has none, but there are plenty of £150 or so monitors that do have one in addition to DVI and VGA.
If you really like the design of the Asus MS236H - and there's no good reason why you shouldn't - then it's an interesting option. On the whole, though, it's a little too expensive given the features and performance on offer and it suffers from woeful touch controls.
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