First Impressions and Construction
The Asus PG221 has a somewhat unique aesthetic thanks to its glare-type screen coating, glossy bezel, and integrated speakers. Upon first glance, the monitor’s piano-black finish and machined metal base are immediate eye catchers, but as you dig a little deeper you’ll find quite a few other unique touches.
The panel at the heart of the Asus PG221 is a 22" widescreen (16:10 aspect ratio), with a native resolution of 1680x1050 and a 2ms (GTG) pixel response time. The panel itself is also outfitted with a "glare-type" coating - dubbed "Color Shine" - just like many notebooks currently on the market. If you have any experience with "glare-type" displays, however, you know they are somewhat of a double-edged sword. The glossy covering makes the panel prone to reflections, especially when darker colors are being displayed on screen. But the glossy covering also makes colors appear more vibrant due to an increase in effective contrast. Throughout our testing of the PG221, we'd definitely say the glare-coating enhanced our overall experience, but we did find ourselves re-positioning the screen occasionally to eliminate reflections from the overhead lights in the lab. With its Color Shine technology, the PG221 boasts a 2000:1 contrast ratio.
At the bottom left and right of the PG221’s front bezel, you'll see the perforations for the monitor's built-in speakers. We should also note, however, that on the back of the display there is another cylindrical speaker housing that holds the PG221’s 15W sub-woofer. The combination of the front mounted 10W ‘satellite’ speakers and rear-mounted sub made for a potent audio solution, especially considering the fact that they’re built into the display. We’ll go into more detail on the speakers’ performance a little later on in the article.
At the top of the screen the PG221’s built-in 1.3MP webcam is visible. The webcam is mounted in a rectangular housing that can be rotated with the touch of a finger. With its webcam and earphone / microphone jacks, the PG221 can provide real-time online communications while gaming or instant messaging.
If we look at the back of the PG221, the monitor’s ventilation and mounting hardware is more readily visible. There are large slots in the top and bottom of the PG221 which allow for ample air circulation and cooling. Unlike some other monitor’s we’ve used (like the HP LP3065, for example), the PG221 doesn’t get very warm to the touch. The base is a good looking machined metal look to it, but it unfortunately is not very functional. The screen can spin on the base and be tilted, but there is no height adjustment.