he Asus MS236H is a stylish, designer 23in LCD monitor at an attractive real-world price - UPDATED 12 MARCH

We see lots of flat-panels here at PC Advisor. And in all honesty, the majority of them tend to blur in the mind. Most modern flat-panels have fairly good colour, and most have very similar specifications lists.

And, were you to glance at the Asus MS236H's specifications, you might well draw the same conclusions about this 23in screen. However, one brief - and almost certainly covetous - look will be enough to tell you that, actually, this is rather different from its peers.

The Asus MS236H doesn't have a stand, for a start. Or rather, it has one, but this takes the form of a ring that fastens to the back of the screen and allows it to stand up. In practice, it looks like a glossy TFT panel floating in the middle of the desk. Add to that the polished beautifully curved casing, and the Asus is definitely one of the most eye-catching screens we've ever seen.

Tap on the buttons and a panel of lights flicker into action. The controls are touch-sensitive. But if we're being honest, while the touch sensitivity fits in with the futuristic feel of the screen, it doesn't make for a perfect user experience.

You have to be quite accurate and, in contrast to some touch-sensitive flat-panels, the Asus MS236H doesn't like it if you keep your finger hovering right over the buttons. Instead, you need to keep drawing your finger back an inch or two before pushing each button.

This is particularly annoying if you're trying to go through a list of menu options and just want to press the up or down button several times in quick succession. Which is a shame, as the menu has a number of very useful options, particularly with regards to adjusting the colour palette itself.

You can adjust the skin tone, for example. And the predefined settings (including Theatre Mode, Game Mode, Night-Time Mode) are all very individual, making it easy to capture exactly the type of colour scheme you want.

Asus MS236H

The Asus MS236H 23in monitor uses a ring for support

That's a good thing too, since the Asus MS236H also happens to have a strong and versatile colour palette. Some flat-panels go for a rather high brightness rating, but Asus' figure of 250cd/m2 means that the screen is bright, but without causing too much glare.

The Asus MS236H is very comfortable to use for office work, with sharp text definition and good attention to detail. But should you want colour, the Asus is well equipped here too.

The contrast ratio is specified to a maximum of 50,000:1 using the special ASCR (Asus Smart Contrast Ratio) function, and the Asus' darker shades are almost as crisp as its beautiful whites, allowing you to see images with considerable visual flair.

The great colour and strong response rate combined with the native resolution of 1920x1080 make the Asus MS236H an ideal screen for both video and games use. There is a small amount of deterioration in the image, but this is slight compared to the majority of sub-£250 flat-panels we've seen.

HDMI and VGA ports are built into the Asus MS236H, and a cable is supplied with the screen that lets you use the HDMI port with a DVI-equipped computer - a nice touch that those without HDMI will appreciate.

Asus also believes its Asus MS236H screen to be particularly environmentally friendly, claiming that power consumption has been reduced by 40%. The maximum quoted power draw of 33W is certainly respectable. While no lower than the figures quoted by a number of Samsung's 23in screens, for instance, it is a good nine watts down on the cheaper LG Flatron W2353V.

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