The Asus Designo MS monitor struck a chord with us when we first went hands-on with it last month, thanks to its shockingly skinny frame and promise of 1080p video on the cheap. But does skimping on the price mean skipping on picture quality too? Read on and find out in our full Asus Designo MS monitor review.
Even though the Asus Designo MS claims a full HD screen on the bigger 23 and 24-inch models (we tested the latter), you’ll still struggle to tear your eyes off the the juicy bezel surrounding it, and the rest of the unusual frame. It’s just 16.5mm thin, and seriously easy going on the peepers thanks to the polished black and white plastic. Tucked away on the bottom right hand side are a row of touch-sensitive control buttons which light up and fade away when you’re done, which only add to the feel of minimalist chic. It’s also dead simple to set up.
That display won’t be rivalling the likes of the Apple Cinema Display for image quality though. The videos we tested on it were left looking flat and slightly washed out, so don’t expect any rich shades popping your eyeballs, but the Asus Designo MS is responsive (Asus claims 2ms response) and way beyond passable for non-purists, and at least you won’t struggle with reflection as you would on an expensive glass topped display.
The only real problems arise when you try to take the Asus Designo MS monitor out of the study and into the living room. There’s only one HDMI slot, so if you’re not using VGA to lash up your PC, you won’t be able to plug in a games console or Blu-ray player too, and none of the ports are side loading so you won’t be wall mounting this. That leaves you relying on the ring shaped kick stand – it’s striking and easy to rig up, but space taking and also slightly wobbly. Still, unless you’re perching it on a wonky tabletop, you won’t notice.
But the big draw is the price. The Asus Designo MS is stunningly cheap. The bottom, 22-incher (with 720p resolution) will set you back £165, while the biggest 24-incher is just £244. For all this tech at this pricepoint, we’re not going to argue with the compromises Asus has made.
The Asus Designo MS monitor won’t meet all your TV needs like a bunch of the new multitouch all-in-one Windows 7 desktops will, it’s true. But there’s a whole generation out there who pipe their video through other means and need one screen to unite all their gadgets on a budget, whether they’re in student digs or a tiny bedsit. Sounds like you? Have some deskspace spare? The Asus Designo MS monitor is where it’s at.