This review appears in the November 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Asus was very excited about showing us its brand new 20.1in flat-panel. Happily, we were almost as excited about powering it up, enthused as we were by its startlingly polished exterior and crisp styling.

Employing a series of coloured lights in place of buttons, the Asus looks like it's been stolen from the set of a sci-fi show. Such features aren't without their flaws, sadly, and we found it all too easy to fire up a menu or switch off the screen by accident.

Generally, though, the Asus's design works very well. The stand is attractive and stable without taking up large amounts of desk space, and it's physically versatile enough to let you adjust height and angle to perfection. Pivot is another welcome addition, enabling you to rotate the screen through 90 degrees for a better viewing ratio on text-heavy applications. We also like the built-in webcam, and even the integrated speakers are of reasonable quality.

The Asus comes with an extensive raft of ports and connectors. S-Video and Component and Composite inputs join the ubiquitous DVI (digital visual interface). However, given the futuristic slant and relatively high price tag of this flat-panel, we're rather surprised to see that Asus hasn't gone further and included an even more modern HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface).

Reflective screens are all the rage these days, but Asus takes this to a new extreme, offering an ultra-polished finish that will be hell for anyone sitting in front of a window. But if you can keep natural light under control, you'll be pleased by the Asus's text and graphics output. We didn't find it to be quite as good on external DVD signals, with the colour palette proving a little light. For general PC use, though, this screen is ideal.

Asus PW201: Specs

  • 20.1in flat-panel
  • native res 1,680x1,050
  • pixel pitch 0.258mm
  • contrast ratio 800:1
  • viewing angle 176/176
  • brightness 350cd/m2
  • DVI
  • USB port
  • speakers
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • 2-year warranty
  • response time 8ms
  • 560x280x496mm
  • 9.7kg
  • 20.1in flat-panel
  • native res 1,680x1,050
  • pixel pitch 0.258mm
  • contrast ratio 800:1
  • viewing angle 176/176
  • brightness 350cd/m2
  • DVI
  • USB port
  • speakers
  • 1.3Mp webcam
  • 2-year warranty
  • response time 8ms
  • 560x280x496mm
  • 9.7kg

OUR VERDICT

We like the Asus's futuristic looks, and image quality is good for PC use. The lack of HDMI is odd but, while average users may baulk at the PW201's price – almost £100 more than the decent Philips Brilliance 200W6CS/00 – the style-conscious will probably think it worth the extra.

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