The monitor reproduces smooth color gradients rather well. Barely visible cross stripes in such gradients can only be discerned at a highly reduced contrast. The viewing angles are quite typical for a TN+Film matrix. That is to say the vertical angle is rather too narrow.
The color curves are acceptable but not ideal at analog connection and at the default settings. Some colors are lighter than they should be, especially for the blue component. The same goes for the reduced brightness/contrast settings.
When the monitor is connected via the digital input, it reproduces some tones darker than they should be at the default settings. When the brightness/contrast settings are reduced, all the three color curves slump down considerably and the monitor stops to distinguish between a fifth of the color tones: darks become the same as pure black.
The ASUS PM17TS offers three color temperature variants, and the result is hardly satisfying with any of them: the temperatures of gray and white differ too much.
The specified response time being 8 milliseconds, the measured responsiveness of this monitor is only 12 milliseconds. This discrepancy is not the main problem, though. What’s really disappointing is that the response time on black-gray transitions easily exceeds 30 milliseconds and goes down suddenly only on transitions from black to lightest colors (the pixel rise time is three times smaller on the last 10% of the graph than at the beginning, and the max and min values on the entire graph differ by a factor of four). Thus, it is no wonder that new monitors still have that “ghosting” effect in games notwithstanding what the manufacturers say to the users. This problem is only really solved in monitors with the so-called overdrive technology but we hadn’t got one in our test lab at the time of preparing this review.
The brightness and contrast ratio parameters of the PM17TS fall far from the specified numbers. It should have been a leader if the specification were true, but in reality these parameters are rather average. Note also that the DVI connection ensures a better contrast ratio and max brightness, so although I don’t generally consider the digital interface a necessity for monitors with a resolution of less than 1600x1200, it is really helpful here (of course, it is not because the information is transferred through a digital channel, but because the monitor has two different profiles for its digital and analog inputs).
So unfortunately the ASUS PM17TS has nothing exceptional about itself save for the cute exterior. An average setup, a not very fast matrix (over 30 milliseconds on some transitions), unhandy controls, and a noticeable difference in brightness/contrast parameters between the analog and digital connections – these things make it nothing more but a typical 17” monitor for undemanding users.