So I have a confession to make. The past few months I've been incredibly preoccupied with smartphones, so much so that the ASUS MS238H has been sitting on my desk for a very long time. The data's been largely taken, the display calibrated, but for whatever reason the review has endlessly been on my back burner - I'm sorry ASUS. The upside of this situation, however, is that I've spent a long time using the ASUS MS238 and feel like I know it inside and out, and it's a slim value performer. 

Let's start with the specifications. The MS238H is a 23-inch LED-backlit, TN-panel packing display with an extremely slim profile, and even slimmer budget price tag. We're used to primarily covering the high-end side of the market with IPS displays, which the MS238H definitely isn't, but that isn't to say this segment isn't worth taking a look at. The MS238H is also of the 1080P, (and thus 16:9 aspect ratio) variety, a rather disturbing trend that's all but eliminated the 1920x1200, 16:10 market. The specs are what they are, and you can find them in the table below:

ASUS MS238H - Specifications
Property Quoted Specification
Video Inputs HDMI, D-Sub (DVI-D through HDMI connector)
Audio Output 3.5mm Mini-jack for HDMI Audio
Panel Type TN with LED Backlight
Pixel Pitch 0.265 mm
Colors 16.7 Million (24 BPP)
Brightness 250 nits
Contrast Ratio 1,000:1, or 100,000:1 (dynamic)
Response Time 2ms (g2g)
Viewable Size 23" (54.8 cm) diagonal
Resolution 1920x1080 (1080P)
Viewing Angle 170 degrees horizontal, 160 degrees vertical
Power Consumption (operation) <33 watts typical
Power Consumption (standby) <1 watt typical
Screen Treatment Matte
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes: 10 degrees - 20 degrees 
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting No
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.9" (556 mm) x 15.9" (403.8 mm) x 5.9" (150.9 mm)
Weight w/o Stand 8.4 lbs (3.8 kg)
Additional Features 16.5mm thickness, kensington lock
Limited Warranty 3 years - repair or replacement
Accessories DVI-D to HDMI cable, VGA D-Sub cable, External Power Supply
Price MS238H MSRP: $229.99, Amazon: $169.99

It should be pretty obvious that this display is really oriented at budget-conscious shoppers, or gamers looking for a display small and light enough to augment a notebook or portable LAN party rig. In fact, after carrying the thing to and from rooms to photograph many a time (as inevitably happens with all other displays up for review), that's really what I'm left thinking the MS238H is most suited for. It's light, it's thin, and has a headphone jack for HDMI audio, which makes it suited for periodically connecting up to a console or two. 

Inputs are the only real concern on the MS238H - the two options are HDMI or D-SUB for VGA. It'd be nice to see two HDMI ports, or even HDMI and DVI-D, instead of D-SUB. What the MS238H does have going for it is that WLED backlighting, being a power-sipper, and again thin profile. 

First Impressions and Hardware
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  • StrangerGuy - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    Would I even bother with any TN when I can get $190 IPS Dell U2211H?
  • sprockkets - Saturday, December 25, 2010 - link

    Because it costs $240 and isn't LED backlit???
  • Solidstate89 - Sunday, December 26, 2010 - link

    Why would you want an LED backlit IPS monitor?

    You can go look at Anand's review of the Apple monitor. It's one of, if not the only IPS monitor that uses LED for backlighting and it sucks compared to something like a Dell Ultrasharp or HP's IPS monitors.
  • MrCoyote - Sunday, December 26, 2010 - link

    What is needed is local-dimming LED with IPS panel. Where there independent groups of LED's that can be turned on and off. That is the only way to get consistent black level and higher contrast ratio.

    There is also the NEC 23" IPS EA231WMi which is a CCFL IPS panel that has got just as good of reviews as the other brands. NEC is about to release an LED backlit version "EA232WMi".
  • Stimpy88 - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    I just dont get why this TN pannel crap is all there is these days. I have a lovely HP 24" monitor, but I am DESPERATE to upgrade to either another 24" or even better, a 26" one.

    I want it to be IPS, 120Hz, wide colour gamut, a good responce time, Displayport and HDMI/DVI inputs, and dont care if its 1mm thick or 100mm, or how pretty the case that it comes in looks.

    But this simply does not exist! I have money, don't any manufactures want it?
  • FATCamaro - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    This. Want a 120 Hz IPS or high end TN similar screen.
  • solgae1784 - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    Not sure if it's still true to this day, but I thought the input lag for IPS panels was worse compared to TN panels, which makes the IPS panels not very well suited for FPS and fighting games where gamers demand near-precise response time since even a 1-2 frame lag (~16.67ms on 60 frames) can make a difference between successful attacks and failed attacks (e.g. Tekken), or viewing high-motion contents. Today's panels might have improved on this.
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    IPS panels have come a long way and can be quite playable even by picky gamer standards, in terms of response time. It used to be a serious consideration, and one must still pay attention - I doubt any budget level IPS screen is going to have a decently low response time.

    Other facts are also worth considering - not all IPS screens are better than all TNs, and TNs are far better than they used to be in terms of color reproduction (their main weak point). Just jumping on to a cheap IPS because it is an IPS just doesn't make sense, especially if cost is a major factor.

    1920x1080 is below my standards, as is .265 mm pixel pitch. That pixel pitch gives me the visual sense that I'm looking through a very fine mesh screen door.

  • nwrigley - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    "I want it to be IPS, 120Hz, wide colour gamut, a good responce time, Displayport and HDMI/DVI inputs, and dont care if its 1mm thick or 100mm, or how pretty the case that it comes in looks."

    I couldn't agree more.

    I've had the same 21" Samsung 215TW for 5+ years now simply because nothing significantly better has come out. If anything, with more and more TN panels, 16:9 ratio, and shiny coatings things have gotten worse.

    Back when I bought my current monitor I thought I'd be replacing it with an SED or OLED panel by now, but obviously that hasn't happened. I guess companies realized that they can roll out cheap monitors with shiny paint and a "1080p!" sticker and people will buy it, so why bother making better products?
  • Blipton - Friday, December 24, 2010 - link

    LCD power draw figures for Dell U2711 don't make any sense at all.

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