The average level of RTC errors is only 1.3%. That’s a record, actually. So far, only a few models based on S-IPS or *VA matrixes have boasted such a low level of errors, while TN-based monitors used to have an RTC error level of about 10%. This must be the explanation of the not-very-low response time: the developers of the monitor and matrix must have been looking for a compromise between speed and errors, and I think they have succeeded.
Thus, the ASUS VW222u has a very good speed, sufficient not only for movies but also for dynamic games, and has such a low level of RTC-provoked artifacts that you won’t notice them in most cases.
The color temperature setup is rather neat overall. The difference between the temperatures of grays is not bigger than 1000K in every mode. The only downside is that there is no mode with a really warm image (i.e. with a color temperature below 6500K) but most users are going to be perfectly satisfied with the 6500-7500K modes.
The brightness and contrast ratio are quite good just as you can expect from a modern TN-based monitor.
The VW222u has five factory-set modes you can switch between quickly by pressing the Splendid button. Many modern monitors offer such a feature, but the advantage of ASUS Splendid technology over the alternatives is that you can manually adjust the settings of each mode (other monitors usually allow to adjust one mode only while the others are dead-written back at the factory). This doesn’t give you full freedom, though: the Splendid modes change not only the monitor’s basic settings but also affect such deep color-related aspects as the shape of the gamma curves, for example.
I have tested the monitor in the Standard mode above. Let’s see now what we have with the other modes.
The values of brightness and contrast ratio do not vary much between the modes.
Darks of every basic color are indistinguishable from black. The red and green curves improve after the first quarter of the diagram, but the blue curve is just weird.
As a visual illustration of the peculiarities of such color reproduction, I made a photograph of color gradients on the screen of the VW222u. Ideally, they should all be similar in brightness and differ in color only, but you can see that most of the blue gradient is black, and green is the only color that is displayed more or less properly.
The Theater mode isn’t much better. Dark halftones of red and blue are displayed as black and light halftones of green are displayed as white. The blue curve has a weird shape again.
It is in the Game mode that ASUS set a record of cutting short the displayed color range: both darks and lights are not distinguishable for any color. The result is a picture in which all shadows are absolutely black while all light areas are absolutely white. In between them, there is a narrow range of queerly distorted colors.
The Night View mode is meant to make darks brighter to help you spot an enemy lurking in the shadows. Alas, it actually does just the opposite: darks are completely indistinguishable from each other for every color, especially blue. As a result, you’ll see a solid black spot instead of the enemy and shadows.
So, the Splendid modes are virtually useless except for the default Standard mode. They distort color reproduction in such a horrible way that you can’t cure that by adjusting the settings manually. Unfortunately, some of the monitor’s extended settings – sharpness, saturation, skin tone, dynamic contrast mode – are only available in the modes other than Standard.
Still, my impressions about the ASUS VW222u are positive overall. The main reason for that is the good response time of the matrix coupled with a very low level of errors of the RTC mechanism. Color reproduction is also set up accurately in the Standard mode. Hopefully, ASUS’ people will be working on the ergonomics of the onscreen menu and on the setup quality of the additional modes.
- Neat exterior design
- Good color reproduction setup in Standard mode
- Good response time
- Very low level of RTC artifacts
- Awful color reproduction setup in the Splendid modes
- Some settings are unavailable in Standard mode
- Text-based applications (documents, spreadsheets, Internet)
- Viewing and simple editing of photographs
- Movies and games (including those that require a fast matrix)