There are three ports of the USB hub on the monitor’s side panel (this is a four-port hub, but one of its ports is taken up by the built-in web-camera). Connectors for your headphones and microphone are here, too. The ports are placed at a distance from each other, so there can be no problems with plugging in a few devices at a time.
The monitor comes with a cable that combines USB, audio, and video, but only analog video. Seems a strange solution to me, considering the gaming orientation of the product. Modern games-oriented graphics cards all have a DVI connector and the monitor’s analog interface is going to be used but seldom. The connectors are all standard, so replacing the cables won’t be a problem, but it’s still annoying that if you use a DVI connection, you have to leave the thick D-Sub cable on the desk or buy additional USB and audio cables.
The PG191 has got touch-sensitive controls. When the monitor is turned off, you can only see its Power button on an absolutely smooth front panel. But as soon as you touch it, amber LEDs wake up to highlight the other buttons. The buttons should be pressed easily with the underside of your finger. You’ll have to adjust yourself if you’re used to pressing buttons with a quick touch of a nail.
Quick access is provided to the volume adjustment, to switching between the Splendid modes (factory-set profiles), and to switching the equalizer modes.
The first of the monitor’s drawbacks I want to note is that its onscreen menu is too slow. Considering that the menu does not remember the last changed menu item and opens up every time on the first tab with the Splendid mode (although these modes are anyway easier switched with the appropriate button, without even entering the menu), this is going to get on your nerves if you have to frequently change something in the monitor’s settings to which quick access is not provided.
A funny thing this monitor can do, it can play short melodies through its own speakers when turning on and off and can also respond melodically to your pressing its buttons.
Fortunately, this can be easily disabled in the menu.
But if you like this music, you can not only enable sounds in the menu, but choose those you like best from the offered list. I guess there’ll soon be monitors you can load melodies into from the PC!
Alas, all this music cannot make you forget about other drawbacks of the monitor’s menu, one of the most annoying of which is that it just resets the user-defined brightness setting when you are switching the Splendid modes. It is a common thing (not only with ASUS’ but also with other manufacturers’ monitors) that even the darkest of the factory-set modes is too bright for working comfortably under typical indoor lighting. That’s why many users configure their monitor manually for working with text, but switch to one of the preset modes with increased brightness to watch a movie or play a game. And when they return to text again, it’s just enough to switch back into the user-defined mode.
The problem of the PG191 – and of other monitors from ASUS I have tested as well – is that you cannot return to the user-defined settings. They are just reset to their defaults each time you switch through the Splendid modes. I can’t really understand this and I have never seen monitors from other brands behave like that.
Talking about the preset modes, there are two slightly different approaches among the manufacturers. Such modes either adjust brightness, contrast and, sometimes, color temperature (like Samsung’s MagicBright) or correct the shape of the gamma curve and change some other fine settings (like NEC’s DV Mode). The latter approach often leads to incorrect reproduction of colors. For example, a mode that is claimed to increase color saturation also kills all light tones of the picture, making them indistinguishable from pure white. Quick switching between the preset modes may prove to be a useless feature if such color distortions are unacceptable for you.
The ASUS PG191 represents the second approach. Switching between the Splendid modes affects a variety of color reproduction parameters, from brightness to color saturation, and may lead to loss of details in darks or lights in some modes. Keep this in mind when you are using this feature.