capsule review

Asus PG191

At a Glance
  • Asus ASUS PG191 BlackSilver 19 2ms (GTG) LCD Monitor Built in 1.3MP web cam & Speakers with 15w Sub Woofer

    PCWorld Rating

The 19-inch Asus PG191, a pricey but unique gaming LCD, has many unusual qualities. This novelty item costs a pricey $449 (as of January 12, 2007), but if you like your monitors to do much more than just display documents and images, it might be the model for you.

For starters, the PG191's menus are accessed by touch-sensitive controls located on the right side of the panel. When you touch one of the buttons, it makes a musical sound. You can choose among four different sounds, but you can't choose to turn the sound off.

Each button offers varying and unique settings (and descriptions of those settings). Brightness controls are called 'Splendid'. The five presets are scenery, standard, theater, game, and night view. The monitor also has five sound presets: standard (the quietest), fighting game mode, strategic game mode, music mode, and theater mode (the loudest).

You can adjust color temperature on-screen, and there are three presets (from light to dark) for skin tone. Changing the latter setting alters the skin tone in photographs, though it's difficult to imagine when that adjustment might be useful.

According to Asus, the monitor's built-in speakers produce SRS TruSurroundXT audio effects. We judged the sound adequate for basic tasks and even for gaming, but for watching a long movie, you'll probably want to use a stand-alone set. Other extras include a height-adjustable 1.3-megapixel camera, three USB ports, and microphone and headphone jacks on the left side of the bezel.

The PG191's image quality didn't dazzle our judges, but the monitor did display text and graphics reasonably well. Text was easy to read at larger sizes, but became slightly blurry at a smaller 6 points. Colors looked bright, though other models produced more-realistic hues.

The PG191 has a glossy piano black finish to match its flashy features. To tilt and swivel the display (it does not pivot), you must firmly grasp it; and in doing so, you may accidentally touch the sensitive controls on the right side, as I did several times.

The price is definitely on the steep side for a 19-inch display, but that might be okay if you're looking for something a little different.

Kalpana Ettenson

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Though this monitor's text and graphics were not as strong as other models, it includes a webcam and numerous screen modes.

    Pros

    • Includes a built-in webcam
    • Has microphone and headphone ports

    Cons

    • Built-in speakers produce so-so sound
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