Table of contents:
- Unboxing and pics
- First impressions
Since around 2008, screen manufacturers have not pushed resolution up in 20"-30" panels. This was mainly due to Windows being bitmap based, so as Windows was designed around 100ppi monitors, you cannot use more than about ~10%+/- else most of everything would look either tiny or too big. And as Windows was not either open source or made by the same comany that produced products based on that OS, screen manufactures had to look to other stuff to distinguish their monitors. First, there was super fast response times, that were meant to help gamers see the update before their opponents (not really, any response time under 16ms [a frame at 60fps] was fine, if I remember correctly). Then there was 120Hz monitors, which let you see more than 60fps without tearing or anything. Some people believe in them, I don't see the reason (but I'm too young to play most FPSs and that's where all the difference is meant to happen ). Then they started bringing professional technologies into the consumer market. In fact, this IS a professional monitor using IPS. VA is more commonly used in cheaper panels, but IPS is still used. As it stands, this monitor is a professional monitor which is in the consumer market. There are, of course, others that were NOT meant to be professional monitors, but they are in the consumer market as some features of IPS are highly desirable; e.g. the massive viewing angles. There is also the ultra thin monitors (they are always TN; IPS needs a bit more space) I just don't get it. No one stares at their monitors from the side. You simply will not notice. And the argument "it's lighter" is absolutely useless unless you think normal monitor nowadays are CRTs. But anyway, this leads us to the U2312HM. Perfect size. Not too big, not too small, and is just the right size so it'll fit in a normal desk and 3 display Eyefinity/Surround. It has got IPS, and a matte coating. Matte coatings are like Marmite; you either love them or hate them. They are supposedly taking out much of the colour, but they also block reflections on your own monitor. I prefer matte coatings but each to their own. Now to get on with the review!
Unboxing and pics
The whole package came well packaged in sculpted foam. There was very little room for anything to move inside.
In the whole package there was the monitor, the stand, a VGA cable (jesus christ how horrifying), a UK kettle lead, a driver CD, an instruction manual, a warranty guide, a USB A to B cable, and a single link DVI cable. Personally I'm a tiny bit disappointed that they didn't give you a mDP to DP cable, mainly because it's much less of a hassle to plug it rather than screw in DVI. Else, the bundle was absolutely fantastic.
The stand is very good, it lets you use the display vertically like so:
It also has about 20 degrees tilt backwards, about 5 degrees tilt forwards, and about 75 degrees tilt to the side. The stand also goes up to 170mm off the table (maximum) and 43.5mm (minimum).
When I finished plugging the DVI, USB, and kettle lead, and I turned on my monitor, and my board finished POSTing, I had my first glimpse at IPS and its colours. WOW. I mean, it's not like purple in my old TN monitor was actually meant to be red, but it made the red... sharper. Sharp has to be the word to describe it. The colours looked more like the sort of thing you'd expect if you put it next to the ROG cardboard box. But then, when it booted, and it got into the logon screen... wow. WOW. The logon screen is where you realize how good IPS actually is.
The USB ports on the sides are useless in my opinion, as they only practically add another USB port at a marginally better position. The USB ports at the back are not at any better position.
To be entirely honest with you I was not expecting to find drivers for a monitor. Let's see what they're all about. In the CD there's a color profile which did not change much, it did change things a bit though. Useful nonetheless. It contains some monitor drivers that during the use of this monitor have not affected anything, not one thing. Then it also contains this PowerNap program. All it does is change what the monitor does when Windows goes into long idle mode; you can either set it to go into power save mode or into sleep mode. It did not actually work. It also 8MB doing that, and that's when I manually cleaned it for stuff that wasn't important. So I would not install PowerNap. But the other drivers are fine and they are non-intrusive.
The OSD is simple to use, and gives you all the settings you'd ever need. It is easy to navigate and if you have the display in vertical mode it does have a vertical OSD, which shows that they've put care into this. Some pics of the screens (excuse the blurry pictures, my hand was very shaky):
I was not able to do many tests. Viewing angles: all angles look the same. I have not taken it to extreme angles, here are some pics though:
Backlight bleeding is quite bad. However unless it's about 10x worse than this you will not notice it in everyday use simply due to the fact most programs don't use flat colours. It is not really noticed in everyday use.
For ghosting I used the PRAD.de test coupled with a camera at 1/20th shutter. It did show a tiny amount of ghosting, but nowhere near the amount on Google Images (first result). I have artificially zoomed it in, so it is seen better. The original is provided too. I made sure not to have a shaky hand here
This is a great monitor. Plain and simple. How great it is is up to YOU. If you're a hardcore gamer you would've given this a one. It has a small ghosting problem, which would be noticed by you, it isn't 120Hz, and I'm guessing the input lag isn't the best either. If you were an image editor this would've scored a five, because it has great colours and viewing angles, the two things you need the most. This is up to the person though so if this was on a review site I'd set up, it would not have a score, because your score may vary depending on who you are. However, as it stands, this scores a 4.5/5 for me, due to it being absolutely perfect except for the display bleeding (not very good in dark games) and the PowerNap software. Else, this is an almost flawless monitor.