Asus MX239H review

Pros

  • Good colour quality and viewing angles
  • Stylish design
  • Two HDMI ports

Cons

  • Weak dark greyscale performance
  • Limited ergonomic adjustments
  • Erratic control buttons

Thin, bezel-free monitors are all the rage these days, and for good reason; they don't take up a lot of room on your desk and they look great. The Asus MX239H is the latest floating screen style monitor to hit our labs. It uses a 23in AH-IPS (Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching) panel that delivers good colour quality and nice wide viewing angles. Its greyscale performance is a little disappointing, however, and the function buttons are skittish and unpredictable.

Design and features

This 23in IPS panel has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and resides in a glossy black housing with no bezels on the top and sides save for a very thin sliver of black plastic that holds the panel in place. The brushed metal bottom bezel is about 25mm high and sports an Asus logo in the centre.

On the right are white labels for the function buttons positioned beneath the bezel. There are seven buttons in all, including the power switch, and they are extremely sensitive and erratic. At times I ended up selecting the wrong options as the menu choices continued to change well after I took my finger off the button.

The 3.5kg cabinet is supported by a round base and arm assembly that resembles a sun dial. The base is sturdy and provides 25 degrees of tilt, but doesn't allow height, swivel, or pivot adjustments. All I/O ports are outward facing for easy access and include two HDMI ports, a VGA port, an audio input, and a headphone jack. There aren't any USB ports or a webcam on this model, but it is equipped with a better than average pair of 3 Watt speakers co-developed by Bang & Olufsen.

As with most Asus monitors, the MX239H features Splendid Video Intelligence Technology, which consists of six picture presets (standard, night view, scenery, game, theatre, sRGB) that are optimised for specific applications and lighting conditions. It also offers Quick Fit, a template for fitting documents and photos into various paper sizes for printing.

Menu options include brightness, contrast, saturation, colour temperature, and skin tone settings, as well as aspect ratio, contrast ratio and sharpness controls. There's an Eco mode setting that is supposed to conserve energy but there was no noticeable difference in power consumption while testing this feature.

Performance

The MX239H delivers the rich colours you'd expect from an IPS-based monitor. Red and blue colours matched up nicely with the CIE chromaticity standards but greens were slightly oversaturated. Fortunately, there was no evidence of tinting and skin tones appeared evenly balanced and natural looking.

Greyscale performance was mixed. The panel had no trouble displaying light shades of grey on the DisplayMate 64-step greyscale test, but the darkest swatches were compressed and appeared black instead of graduating from dark grey to black. Viewing angle performance, however, was excellent; colours remained true from every angle and there was no loss of luminance when viewed from the top, bottom, and side angles. Small text appeared crisp and well defined.

The MX239H used 28 Watts during testing with Eco mode disabled. Oddly, it used 28 Watts of power with Eco mode enabled as well. While not overly power hungry it can't match the energy efficiency of the BenQ GW2450, which required only 18 Watts of power while running in Eco mode.

Verdict

Despite its weak greyscale showing, the Asus MX239H is a capable 23in IPS monitor. It offers rich colours and very good off angle viewing performance, and you get a pair of HDMI ports, which is nice if you plan to use the monitor with a gaming console or an external Blu-ray player.

That said, the funky function buttons are a bit of a nuisance, and a more ergonomic stand would be nice. If you're looking for a comparably priced 23in IPS monitor with a more robust feature set, the NEC Multisync EA232WMi is your best bet.

Specifications

Manufacturer and Model

Asus MX239H

Supported Video Formats

1080p

PC Interfaces

Analog VGA, HDMI x 2

Video Inputs

HDMI x 2

Diagonal Screen Size

23in

Native Resolution

1920 x 1080

Aspect Ratio

16:9