How much of a whore for premium branding are you? It's that sort of introspection Asus demands of you when sizing up its undoubtedly desirable 22-inch offering, the VH222H.

After all, in return for an extra £35, it offers little on paper of real significance over its closest competition, BenQ's G2200HD. Other than the cachet of the Asus brand, that is.

Both are 16:9 ratio 22-inch screens with 1,920 x 1,080 pixel native resolutions. Both are based on the cheapest panel technology, namely TN+Film. And that means both share essentially the same basic image quality metrics.

In other words, viewing angles of 170 and 160° (horizontal and vertical respectively), 300 nits (that's luminance not head lice) of brightness, and 5ms risefall pixel response.

They even have similar image quality enhancement features. More precisely, we should say they have similarly useless image quality enhancement features including the daddy of pointless frills, dynamic contrast.

We've yet to see a dynamic contrast implementation that really got the job done. Therefore ignore the fact that the Asus apparently only achieves a 20,000-to-one rating to the BenQ's 60,000 to one.

The numbers tell you almost nothing about how these screens perform in reality. Likewise, do not lose any sleep over the likes of Asus SPLENDID Video Intelligence Technology. Nor over BenQ's similar Senseye tech. Both supposedly jazz up the visuals by parsing the data being received and tweaking them for colour balance and contrast.

But invariably, you're better off getting your screen properly calibrated and sticking with that single, static setting.

Super-calibration

Funnily enough, having the Asus calibrated properly is certainly desirable. The default colour balance is distinctly wonky.

Once calibrated, it delivers one of the broadest colour spaces among the screens on test. In other words, it's capable of rendering more colours and rendering them more accurately.

Spot checking of the brightness reveals that the VH222H also achieves good consistency across the panel. There's little evidence of the edge bleed that can blight cheaper screens.

However, one thing that this Asus doesn't do very well is occlude light in a general sense. Black tones are not its strong point. Measured static contrast clocks in below 450 to one, which is poor by any metric.

Consequently, this monitor is a poor choice for watching movies at night. Moreover, it's generally a bit watery and washed out. None of the monitors pack the vibrancy and punch of a good PVA panel. But in that regard, the VH222H is really off the pace.

That's a shame, because what you do get is an impressively comprehensive set of inputs. Along with the obligatory VGA port, both HDMI and DVI interfaces are present along with SPDIF audio. There's little this screen won't hook up to, including a wide range of set-top boxes, consoles and other devices.

Sadly, unless you absolutely need an HDMI socket on your monitor, there's little to recommend this Asus over its BenQ nemesis. That would be true even if they were priced at a parity. But they're not. And that makes the Asus V222H even harder to recommend.

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