Controls and OSD Usage
The Asus MK241H is controlled by six buttons, which are laid-out alongside the bottom-right edge of the front bezel. These are physical buttons (as opposed to touch-sensitive buttons) that emit a noticeable click with each press. The button labels are a faint white color, printed on a silver background. Needless to say, the labels are difficult to read. While most of the buttons perform multiple functions depending on which particular menu is being accessed, the primary functions of the six buttons, from left to right, are:
- "Splendid" mode (more on this below)
- Volume control
- Menu control
- Brightness control
- Video input selector
- Power on/off
As with many monitor designs, navigating the on-screen menu system took some getting used to, and we did not find the interface intuitive at all.
Different types of content can sometimes require different display settings. The MK241H attempts to address many of these content-viewing scenarios with its five "Splendid" preset viewing modes, each optimized for the different scenarios. The "Splendid" modes can be accessed by cycling through them via the "Splendid" mode button on the front bezel or through the OSD menu. Curiously, the included manual does not give an explanation of what each mode does. In addition to the "Standard" mode, the other four modes are:
- Scenery Mode: This mode is meant to bring out more details from photographs by increasing the brightness.
- Theater Mode: Designed for watching movies, this mode increases the sharpness and contrast of the image.
- Game Mode: This mode increases the color saturation so as to make the colors in games pop more.
- Night View Mode: The mode is designed to make dark images more visible, such as dark scenes in games and movies.
We found that all of the modes worked well when displaying images that fit with their respective scenarios. We were especially impressed with how the Night View Mode was able to bring out hidden details from dark images. It is important to note, however, that when viewing images that don't match the selected mode, the images can look worse--for instance, images that are not dark, appear washed out when viewed in Night View Mode. Also, we found the image quality of Theater Mode and Game Mode to be very similar. Text appeared somewhat blurry in all modes, except for Standard Mode. Also note that the Sharpness and Saturation menu options are not user-selectable when the monitor is in Standard Mode.
In addition to the Splendid Modes, the display also includes three presets for adjusting how the monitor displays Skin Tone. The Skin Tone options are available in all modes expect for Standard Mode:
The presets worked as advertised, but we're suspect as to how useful they really are. A user who requires this level of color correction is likely to use a higher-end or professional-grade display that has more granular control over the various color and image settings. We suspect that most users will likely either ignore the Skin Tone settings entirely or play with them for a while and then wind up leaving it set to Natural. The Splendid Modes are moderately more useful, but the need to manually switch modes every time the content type changes, might be more work than most users will want to deal with. We found that leaving the display in Standard Mode was good enough most of the time--the only modes we found ourselves using was the Night View Mode to bring out faint details in dark scenes in movies and games, and Theater Mode when watching movies in a dark room.