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Asus PW191 LCD: Looks Can Deceive

Design and Finish

I won't mince words. The PW191 is the handsomest monitor I've ever seen. It's true that people's tastes vary, but no one can deny that the Asus designers have talent. While a lot of their competitors are using a white Macintosh look for lack of better ideas, Asus is innovating, offering designs that are both personal and novel. And they've applied that know-how to good effect in designing the PW191. The monitor's lines are superb, and the choice of colors is elegant and restrained.

As for the build quality, it's simply exceptional. The base is covered with machined aluminum. The finish reminds you of the kind of design used in the hi-fi world. The monitor's shell is glossy black plastic. It doesn't scratch easily, but it is susceptible to fingerprints that certain compulsive users will find annoying. But in general, Asus has once again showed a mastery of style that will set a new standard to beat when it comes to design.

In rating the design of monitors and TV sets on a scale of one to five, the quality of the finish and the care taken in assembly are what counts.

Ergonomics

The monitor has tilt and height adjustments thanks to its double-swivel base. The base also rotates, and naturally there is a portrait mode. On the other hand, we noticed one irksome problem - the touch-sensitive control buttons. While Asus has chosen to set them on the front panel, which greatly facilitates adjustment, they are located behind the plastic panel surround. The result is that the buttons are not very sensitive. That becomes a pain if you often change adjustments, such as brightness.

Equipment And Connectivity

The monitor is fully equipped. In addition to DVI and VGA connectors, there are two loudspeakers, and for once their quality is above average as the speakers in LCD monitors are usually a disaster. But they still aren't quite what you could call satisfactory. Other models do much better in this department.