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Continuing on with the OSD, Asus' 'Splendid' technology is essentially just a bunch of presets - albeit very flexible ones - and skin-tone adjustments. All the presets, which comprise Scenery, Standard, Theater, Game and Night View modes, are individually configurable, so you may actually end up using some of them. Certain limitations do apply, however. In Theater mode, for example, you can't adjust brightness, while Standard mode doesn't let you mess with the sharpness, saturation or dynamic contrast (which Asus calls ASCR) settings. Scenery and Game modes give access to every adjustment, though.
Aspect ratio controls are greyed out unless the monitor detects a lower resolution than its entertainment-friendly Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), doubtless a blessing to those who are confused by this kind of thing. If the resolution is lower but widescreen, the Asus will either display it 1:1 or try to scale it without aspect distortion, while a non-widescreen resolution will result in being offered the choice between Full (which will result in a horrible stretched image) or 4:3.
Most importantly, how does the VW246H's image quality hold up? As always with TN-based displays, there are pros and cons. On the plus side, horizontal viewing angles aren't the worst and backlight bleed is almost nonexistent. After playing with saturation settings, colours are relatively vibrant without being oversaturated.
Unfortunately, noticeable banding and a slight lack of sharpness (even with this setting at 100 per cent) combine with average greyscale performance and slight dithering to take some of the sheen off the VW246H's performance. To be honest it's no worse than many TNs and for most needs the image quality could be deemed good enough, but it fails to surprise on any level.
The opposite can be said of the 2W integrated speakers, which are far better than we'd normally expect, producing relatively rich audio at respectable volume levels without noticeable distortion. What's more, they even managed a hint of bass, all while maintaining an unusual level of depth and clarity. In fact, we'd go so far as to say it's the best audio performance from a budget monitor yet, though this isn't to say it could replace even half-decent headphones or discrete speakers.
Value is yet another strong point of this display. Though the average price for it is above the £210 mark, bringing it in line with most monitors sporting this kind of size and connectivity, it can be found for under £190 online. Keeping in mind that £220 will currently get you the BenQ M2400HD (which offers slightly better image quality in addition to a discrete webcam and inbuilt USB-hub), if your budget can't stretch that far the VW246H is worth considering.
Even for a TN-based model image quality is average, but the Asus VW246H offers a surprisingly good audio performance at an attractive price and has most of the input and output options you might need. If you're on a tight budget you could do far worse.
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