The monitor business seems to be thumbing its nose at recession, with manufacturers launching ever bigger monitors almost every week. Asus sent us the Asus VK266H to underscore this point.
The Asus VK266H is a massive 26in (25.5in viewable) flat-panel with a native resolution of 1920 x 1200. The multimedia credentials of this monitor are clear when you look at the 1.3 megapixel webcam, surprisingly good speakers, and the multiplicity of inputs.
The Asus VK266Hsports D-sub, DVI, HDMI, and a composite input, so pretty much every avenue is covered. The webcam tilts through a few degrees, so you can move it up or down to get a good image.
The bezel around the panel is glossy, as is the circular base. There's a silver strip that breaks the monotony of the black chin, and all told, the monitor looks quite nice. The lack of height adjustment however, is unfortunate with a panel as large as the Asus VK266H.
The Asus VK266H looks a little top-heavy, and you might need to place it on a thick book to get the right viewing angles. The menus are easy to use, and Asus' splendid image adjustment system helps out under normal viewing conditions.
Asus VK266H: performance
The Asus VK266H was a bit of a let-down in the performance tests. For a monitor this size, we would expect it to be brighter than the 190 CDm2 we tested it at. The contrast ratio isn't good either, at only 100:1 with a checkerboard pattern on the screen.
The full black to white ratio is better, at 250:1, but still not the best. The colours however are very accurate, with the Asus VK266H getting full marks in all colour tests.
This monitor is meant for home usage so, unlike the professional monitors, it addresses only the sRGB colour space, and does a good job of that. In the real-world tests, movies and games were fun for the most part, except when they involved dark scenes.
The Dark Knight lost some of his darkness, even though fiddling with the settings yielded some results. Bright, colourful movies and games are a pleasure to watch on the Asus VK266H, with pro evolution soccer and Race Driver: GRID both being great fun.
Despite the middling performance of the panel, the Asus VK266H does have one very impressive attribute. The speakers are by a long way the best we've heard, as far as integrated speakers on monitors go.
Usually, integrated speakers are at best useful only for Windows sounds, and at worst, you won't even notice them. These, however, actually had some bass and were quite loud. The sound quality was more than decent, and they are more than capable of being used to watch movies, and listen to music on.
Naturally, 2.1 desktop speakers do a much better job, but with the Asus VK266H, the integrated speakers are actually usable, and it's not imperative to run out and buy speakers. The monitor even has a headphone out port, but it's not optimally located, being hidden at the back in the port cluster. Asus should move this port to the front or sides of the screen.
The Asus VK266H is a very large monitor, but if you're looking for great image quality, you might prefer a smaller one with better quality. That said, Asus does give you a lot of monitor for the price, so if you don't plan to watch dark movies, or play scary games, then this is definitely an option.