Asus VG236H 3D Vision Monitor Review
I think we all need a good lie down after that, so congratulations if you've made it this far.
With so much said in the main portion of the review, thankfully this conclusion will be hopefully briefer. I've tried to cover all the positive aspects within the main body, so a few of the less-enjoyable aspects will have to be covered here. It's why we always hope that you read the entire review to understand a product, and if you've just skipped to the conclusion then shame on you, and go and read it all. We'll wait.
It's been quite a balancing act with the Asus VG236H. The primary focus has to be the screen, but the 3D Vision is such a part of the package and the price, whilst also being the first time that we've covered it here at OC3D that it needed to be explained in depth too. They are so intertwined it's difficult to talk about one, without mentioning the other.
The main questions are does the 3D work and is the V236H a good monitor. To both the answers are an emphatic yes.
3D really works. I wish you could all pop round and see it because until you have, you'll think it's a gimmick. Or perhaps you'll remember those red and cyan glasses and presume that it's similar to that. It couldn't be further from it. There is an old axiom that 'seeing is believing', and with 3D Vision it is very apt. The main thing that I ramble on to anyone within earshot about is the sheer depth you get. Everything feels like it's exactly where you'd expect it to be in real-life.
This is helped greatly by the quality of the Asus VG236H monitor. The glasses when active do darken the scene somewhat, akin to giving the contrast a big slap. Thankfully the Asus provides such a crisp colourful image that when the glasses are doing their thing it actually still looks good.
Of course with any positive, there are negatives. Not everyone is capable of viewing in 3D. Everyone I demonstrated it to could see it fine, but my girlfriend got a real motion-sickness feeling within seconds. So it's yet another reason to actually see it in action.
The second issue is that 3D really works in a theatre environment. A big screen, darkness all around, very much ideal conditions. However at home your monitor by no means fills your vision. So as the glasses are turning on and off 60 times a second, your peripheral vision is very aware of the flickering. Similar to the above issue I am very sensitive to hertz flicker, and so this might be more of an issue for me than many. Nonetheless it's something to be aware of. Not being the whole of your vision also does take away somewhat from 3D effect. At the cinema you haven't got a keyboard in front of you. Or mice and coffee cups and arms. All these things combine to reduce the immersive nature a tad. Finally on this note the way that 3D works means the effect isn't as pronounced as on a big screen. If the two images are nearer each other then, as I explained on page four, your brain processes them as being not as far away or as near. So a 30' screen 100' away from you can give huge depth. A 23 inch monitor a foot or two away just can't give that cinema effect.
Finally what nearly kills the entire VG236H, that shiny screen. I'm sure many of you started off on CRTs and always found the fact that the room, the sun, and worst of all you, were reflected in the screen to be hugely off-putting. We all rejoiced when TFT monitors appeared with their matte screens and removed this forever. No longer was the tiniest gleam of sunlight or white t-shirt invading all you saw.
So what on earth possessed Asus to make the screen piano black?? One sure-fire way to reduce the immersion that 3D aims to give is to make sure that your room is reflected in the screen. It's like having a black mirror in front of you. Anyone with a iPhone or iPod touch will know about the gimmick applications that pretend to turn it into a mirror by turning all your icons off. This is shinier than one of those. Inexcusable. It's bad enough that it diminishes the effect of the piano black bezel, let alone it affecting any time you have something remotely dark on your screen.
Is it possible to wrap all this up then. At £400 just for the monitor it's over-priced. It's certainly one of the best TN panels we've ever seen, better even than the previous Asus efforts we've seen. So if you don't plan on using the 3D, look elsewhere. But of course you do plan on using it, and for that it works exceptionally well.
The inclusion of the 3D Vision package mean this is an all-in-one solution for around the price of a cheap 120hz monitor and the 3D Vision. For that you get a great monitor with a great stand from a brand you know will perform.
Just be aware the 3D needs a dark room to be at its best. The shiny coating on the monitor really needs a dark room to be at its best (well really it needs to be binned off at the earliest hardware revision and the guy who thought of it taken out the back and shot). And not everything works as well with 3D as you might hope. Age of game is no indicator of compatibility.
At the risk of dragging an old cliché out, this is a try before you buy. You need to try it because if 3D works for you and you can cope with the niggly issues, it's a bigger improvement than the switch from SDTV to HDTV.