Asus PW-201 20-inch LCD
1st Nov 2006 | 00:00
Wide, bright and shiny as a penny. So what's the catch?
We'll admit that it's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with this swish-looking ingénue couched supine on his/her desktop. It's a pretty thing, cast in glossy black with a heavy, solid base and an entirely adjustable tilt-and-rise stand made of the most sturdy metals. As monitors go, it's looks are up there at the classy end, and its crisp panel performance will suit gamers and movie-lovers alike.
Indeed, it'd make a decent media centre display, providing you're not sat too far from the screen itself. Not a perfect one, mind - there's no HDCP compliance, no dual-link DVI or HDMI inputs and it can't scale to 1,920x1,080, so as far as signal input goes, it's very much this-generation technology.
If you're looking for a panel that's ready to tickle your optical nerve with Blu-ray or HD-DVD content, then look elsewhere, and raise your sights to the 24-inch category. And the Asus NW201 does require a little bit of tweaking to get the best out of it. While the stock contrast levels are good, there's a noticeable blue-grey cast to the image which needs a little fine-tuning to shift.
However, its games performance is very decent - across its 16:10 wide-aspect display and at the native resolution of 1,680x1,050, games look fantastic, and there's no obvious ghosting to speak of. The other extras are very hit and- miss - the tilting built-in webcam is a nice touch, and perfectly positioned above the panel, but the speakers are utter chuff, and should only be used in an emergency.
On the whole, it's a very competent, attractive display, but £400 is a bit steep for what is, after all, merely a 20-inch LCD monitor. For the same outlay, you can net a panel with all the things that this fellow is missing - like the NEC 20WGX2, which also offers breathtaking image quality. Al Bickham