I love working with three screens. Probably because of my passion for panoramas! There are also many benefits to it, one of which you'll discover in this article, but it also has a drawback: it can be expensive if you choose three excellent screens! Here's why I chose a high-range main screen and two lower-range additional ones installed on each side of the main one. Four years ago I chose HP 23Xi - which production has been stopped - for under 200 euros each back then but with an IPS panel and it was an excellent surprise. The Asus VC239H has the good taste of using the same panel – and I'm so familiar with it that I can recommend it without blinking! And here's why...
Obviously, when I bought my two HP 23Xi that I just replaced by two Asus VC239H it was only to use them as additional screens in order to have my emails and internet on one side and several Photoshop tool palettes on the other side, for instance. I didn't need them to be perfect from a colorimetric point of view. I just chose screens with an IPS panel because it's a minimum, and if their edges are not too thick, then even better! And they proved to be an excellent surprise, considering their price. These Asus VC239H are their worthy successors. Nothing changes but the look and the inputs...
Note about the range of colors of the Asus VC239H! This screen is available in black (VC239H) or white (Asus VC239H-W).
Why buy a "low-range" monitor?
Since I naturally like to have three monitors in front of me to help me increase my productivity and also for the panoramic vision it offers people don't change! I chose an excellent screen with accurate colors (thus expensive the Eizo CS240 replaced during Summer 2016 by an excellent CS2420!) and two lower-range screens (even low-range) but with thin edges in addition.
My multi-screens work station: Eizo CS240 + 2 Asus VC239H...
I quickly found out it was possible to strike a good deal by looking a bit into it, and not to sacrifice everything to a low price. I was thus looking for screens with an IPS panel and I randomly bought two HP 23 Xi four years ago, which proved to be of a great value for money since they were sold around 200 euros while they still featured this famous IPS panel. The production of these screens has been stopped though, and I noticed this Asus screen that shares the same IPS panel!
I can leave 9 Photoshop tools palettes open all the time on my 23" (1,920 x 1,080).
What if this screen could be more than an additional screen?
Presentation of the Asus VC239H (or VC239H-W)
Here are a few illustrations of this screen that is available in black or white (W) to start with:
Main technical characteristics of the Asus VC239H...
Size: 23 inches - 1,920 x 1,080 - Very thin and subtle pitch - 96 dpi. Display: E-IPS* LCD (LED), matte panel coating, Colour space: sRGB Brightness/contrast: 250 Cd/m2 / 1135:1 (measured) Inputs: VGA + HDMI + DVI. Edge : Nice look and not bulky - Thin edges (1 cm). VESA wall fastening: Yes (100 mm).
* E-IPS for economic-IPS. You can imagine that at such a price range you won't have hand-picked elements!
Price incl. taxes
In the cardbox, you will find...
The screen is sold with:
Its power cable... of course!
A DVI cable
A VGA cable
An audio cable
Bulkiness and perceived quality
It's a display with super-thin edges of 10mm only so it's not bulky on a desk and perfect for a multi-screens configuration. The finish is very good. Honestly, the perceived quality is real and given the price, it's a good surprise.
The screen, its panel and its edges
1 - Definition/resolution - Even if it's not uncommon anymore nowadays to find IPS panels under 200 euros, it was four years ago when I bought my two first HP 23Xi (with the same panel). Four years later, I still love this 23" IPS panel for its incredible value for money! It can display Full HD with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels so the resolution reached is 96 dpi. It isn't a "Retina" screen, but frankly, its pitch is very thin for a 23" since this definition is usually found on 24". Moreover, any graphic card will do the trick.
2 - The panel and its anti-reflections finish - It is, as it often was a few years ago, slightly grainy, though a lot less than NECs or Eizos back then. So even though it's not as invisible as on the new and great Eizo CS2420 I just reviewed on this site, it only becomes visible when you stick your eye to the screen. So its panel, matte of course as any photographer would want it, doesn't have the smooth feel of the Eizo but it's still a very pleasant panel to look at all day long, which is what I've been doing for four years now. I can assure you I don't notice it anymore and it's been a good while.
You can tilt the screen backwards or forward, but that's pretty much it. It can't be shifted to a portrait position but features a VESA stand in 100 mm to fasten it to wall on an articulated arm. No wire grommets either but the wires are fastened below and not backwards, which is a really good evolution. Clearly, ergonomic design isn't its strong suit. As you can see in the photo above, I had to find a stand to reach my Eizo's height and thus a "good" height, one ergonomists recommend.
What is Asus VC239H like after calibration?
Even though this screen has the same panel as my old HPs, I performed a calibration because as I was explaining in a previous article, you can't share the ICC profile of a screen even between two identical models. It just doesn't work. Moreover, my graphic card is totally able to deal with several ICC profiles which isn't true of all graphic cards, so each copy has met my calibration sensor, the i1Display Pro.
Important note! I plugged my screens in DVI for practical reasons but since there's no color difference between these three inputs (DVI, VGA et HDMI) - it's just a matter of how much data can pass through every second, as I explain on my new page dedicated to choosing your graphic card and inputs - it doesn't really matter. One piece of advice though: if you're gonna go for HDMI, I was reported at least three times problems that were only due to the bad quality of the wire. So in HDMI, be sure to buy a good quality cable... if you're not sure, go for DVI!
Buy your verified HDMI, DisplayPort, etc. wires from...
Price incl. taxes
My purchasing advice for the ideal colorimeter! I calibrated these screens with all the sensors on the market - the three Spyder5 and the two X-Rite - and I can assure you the differences are subtle, even with a comparison element under your nose. I thus recommend the Colormunki Display or the Spyder5Pro to calibrate this Asus VC239H.
This review was made with thei1Display Pro - a current reference I'm using all the time - and here are the target values I picked(DVI input):
CT: 6,500K (D65)
Brightness: 80 Cd/m2
ICC norm: V2
ADC functionality or user turned on
Automatic control of the brightness of the room disabled (I don't like it!)
And after several tries, I chose the following settings in the screen menu:
Color mode (Splendid): Standard
Contrast: 80% by default (Don't go further)
Colors: user mode with R:100, G:96 and B:96.
First subjective impressions after calibration...
Well it's a really good surprise! And even an astonishing one given the price. It's a very correct screen for a photographer with a tight budget, I can assure you.
What does the final report say after calibration:
Reaching a color temperature (CT) of 6,489K when you've asked for 6,500K is quite a nice score for a screen that costs less than 200 euros! Note – and appreciate! – the contrast of 1264:1. You won't have any contrast issues with this screen.
On three test screens: 985:1, 1086:1 et 1264:1.
Now let's see the famous Delta Es after calibration following the 2000 norm I use for the calibration of all the screens on this site:
The average Delta E norm 2000 is 0.68! Just like I did, you'll notice that except for the patch 23 (a kind of really dark cyan blue) which Delta E reaches 4, which is very bad because it's visible to the naked eye, all the others are below 1.0 where only expert eyes can see a difference.
Not bad for such a cheap screen, especially considering that the color that has a bad Delta E isn't a skin tone or a sky blue!
Comparison note! Please note that these values are indeed very close to my old HP 23Xis'that were using the same panel, and my other screen is at 0.5.
Now the brightness homogeneity test:
It seems hard to make it any better under 200 euros! This panel is definitely homogeneous and you will never have the impression that one corner is too dark like it's often the case on "low-range" screens.
And last but not least, the color temperature homogeneity:
Here again, nothing to say but good things, or at least no big deal because except in the bottom right corner, the difference is only 85K averagely. Nothing noticeable to the naked eye and no reason to return this copy for another closer to the values I'd reached with my HP 23Xi.
Conclusion and my rating!
I personally own two Asus VC239H that just replaced my two old HP 23Xi (after four years of irreproachable service!) that used the same panel. Well apart from the figures, quite amazing for a screen at this level of price, I can assure you that against all expectations or whatever, these screens are way beyond correct and I know it seems impossible at this price but IT'S TRUE!
For four years, I've reviewed and calibrated many low-range screens (under $250) and I think this "low-range" panel is by far the best I've tried. It really stands out by its lack of obvious issues and please, please, forget about the price. Moreover, this panel is reliable, and what I mean by that is that you won't have to run to your calibration sensor and cross fingers to make sure you've got a good serial number as I sometimes advise you to, even for screens at $850... That's another reason why I recommend this screen. My two copies have very close figures..
So, yes, I recommend them to anyone on a budget and even if you could afford to put a bit more money in it because I can assure you since I've got them under my nose all day long that there's not a whole world of difference with my EIZO CS 240 and they're very pleasant additional screens and that an amateur photographer will have pleasure editing photos on them before stepping up to the next level later and buying a much more expensive screen! The colors are accurate and close to my EIZO's when I shift an image from one screen to the other, the grey gradients are really clean and... grey! Of course, they only display sRGB but is it really a problem?
As you'll have guessed, you'll absolutely have to calibrate them with a very good sensor like the ColorMunki Display or the Spyder5Pro that doubled its price, unfortunately. But this quality for $300, frankly, it's a bargain.
It's all said! Go on, you can start shooting but like Frédéric Leboyer said: "Yet it is..."
Average Delta E: 0.71!
Value for money
A screen full of qualities and without striking defects for less than $200!
Matte IPS panel,
Feedback: very few copies aren't aligned on these figures so no bad surprises to expect... not like others!
HDMI + DVI + VGA (favor DVI)
Thin pixels because full HD in 23",
Easy to calibrate with all the recent sensors on the market,
Thin edges perfect for multi-screens configurations.
The quality is amazing given the price but it's not worth an EIZO at $860! However, I can assure you that if you calibrate it well, it's in no way ridiculous compared to higher range screens.
Its ergonomic design is minimal: you can only tilt it or fasten it to the wall (VESA 100mm), its foot is really small,
Economic materials so limited durability. Count three years of intensive use (all day long),
sRGB "only" but is it really a problem?
Not much given its price!
8.0 / 10
My opinion: What can I say? A panel under $200 shouldn't have ended up on my desk and on no photo editor's for that matter. Well against all odds, I own two of them and I recommend them shamelessly because it seems impossible and still, these screens are amazing and of great value for money... They replaced my HP 23Xi that featured the same panel. My absolute favorite under $200!
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