Pros: LED backlight is very consistant, black level is very low, large screen size, many inputs, good OSD
Cons: Typical TN gamma shift during off viewing, cheap-o stand, seems to lean toward the cooler color temps
The VE258Q is the higher end line of Asus's value series, which is designated with the "V" at the beginning of the name. The "E" seems to stand for the inclusion of a LED backlight. The box includes all the cords you would expect from a 230+ dollar monitor (DVI, VGA, speaker cord, and power cable.) Taking the monitor out of the packaging was a little more difficult than other ASUS monitors, but easily a one person job.
As I took the monitor out of the packaging, I noticed it was very light compared to any monitor I had ever lifted before. This must be because of the LED backlight; there is no need for ballasts and such that CCFL's need. The entire package (box and all accessories) weighed 5 pounds less than the VH242H, which is a comparable LCD monitor but uses a bulkier CCFL backlight.
Like other "V" series monitors from ASUS, the stand is of lesser quality. Unlike my Dell 2005fpw, the stand is not up to the task of isolating the monitor from movements in the table that are induced from typing. While I type the monitor jiggles, which can be annoying. Luckily, the stand is far more robust than other "VH" monitors and does a better job. It is not a deal breaker, but it is something to keep in mind.
Lastly, the monitor includes many input options: DVI, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort. It also has built in speakers so it is great for people that want to attach a console to it.
OSD Settings and Color Calibration
The OSD settings include all the standard options. There are presets such as gamer, movies, etc. However, most are way oversaturated, far too bright, and hurt to look at. I eventually settled on "standard" with the brightness set to about 30. I also used the warm preset. The gamma was pretty far off, but was easy enough to adjust for normal viewing with online calibration guides.
Image Quality and Back Lighting
After setting the gamma, color correction, and contrast/brightness, the image quality was quite good for a TN. The monitor tends toward over saturating blue, so extra care must be taken when adjusting the image balance.
The main problem with other ASUS monitors is the backlight, which tend to bleed badly around the edges. The VE258Q does not exhibit this, in fact, it has one of the most consistent backlights that I have ever seen. Qualitatively, the backlight is dead even when viewing a black screen. The deepness of the black is also very good. It is actually darker than my 2005fpw, which is an IPS panel.
I was very impressed by the image quality. However, it must be noted that off viewing gamma shifts are very prevalent, so if you do not sit directly in from of the monitor, it may be a constant struggle. This is expected with TN panels.
The VE258Q is ASUS's try at splitting the difference between high end monitors and affordability. In my opinion, I think they have done a fantastic job including the features most people would want while sacrificing some things to keep the price in line.
The wide range of uses that come from the large selection of inputs and the built-in speakers are a major positive that most gamers will enjoy.
Overall, this one of the best TN panels I have seen and it gives eIPS a run for its money, especially with its super smooth backlight and deep blacks. I would definitely recommend this monitor to anyone looking for a budget solution with enthusiast features. Definitely buy the "VE" over the "VH" series, they are worlds apart.