As we continued our assessment of the Asus PG221's performance, we also performed a couple of subjective tests during HD movie playback, gaming, and general everyday use. We set the panel to Theater mode for movie playback, Game mode while gaming, and Standard mode during general use.
HD Movie Playback: With the Asus PG221 connected to a GeForce 8600 GTS using the latest Forceware v163.75 drivers, we watched a number of DVDs and HD video clips to see how the monitor performed with fast motion and vibrant colors on screen. The PG221's horizontal / vertical viewing angles of 170 / 160 degrees meant that we didn't have to view the monitor head-on to enjoy the picture, and the glare-type covering definitely seemed to enhance the vibrance and contrast. We did have to adjust the panel to compensate for slightly darker picture than we liked, however. But once the adjustment was made, we made it through the rest of the video tests issue. The image you see here is from the HD 'Fred Clause' movie trailer, which does a pretty good job of showcasing the PG221's vibrant color reproduction. What the picture also shows, however, is the blue light-bar running along the bottom of the screen. We found the light-bar to be distracting while watching movies on the screen from a distance. Up close, when looking at the screen from a downward angle, it isn't really visible and only casts a colored halo on a desk. From a distance though, it's an in-your-face reminder that this is a PC display and not a television.
Gaming Test: To see how the Asus PG221 handled some fast-paced gaming, we fired up the recently released Call of Duty 4 demo and burned through the level. This game's relatively dark, earthy-colored environment and rapid action make it particularly taxing on an LCD, but the PG221's 2ms pixel response time proved to be fast enough for FPS gaming. While playing CoD 4, we're pleased to report that we did not see any noticeable ghosting, and colors were vibrant and pleasing to the eye. During particularly dark scenes, the reflections caused by the glare-type display can be occasionally distracting, but it wasn't a major issue. Also note that this panel's widescreen 1680x1050 resolution is "low enough" that most relatively powerful video card should have no trouble gaming at the native resolution with acceptable frame rates.
General Usage: During a few weeks of general use, browsing, editing text, etc., the Asus PG221 performed very well. Once we had the color temperature, brightness, and contrast adjusted to our liking, we found the PG221 to be an excellent everyday display. The panel's high-contrast ratio and vibrant colors made it a pleasure to work with.
Audio Performance: We should also talk a bit about the performance of the PG221's built-in speakers. Without a doubt, the 10W satellites / 15W subwoofer combination built-into the PG211 are the best integrated speakers we have come across. Unlike the weak, tinny, speakers common to some monitors, the PG221’s speakers have a good range and produce solid bass. We do not see them as a replacement for a good set of standalone speakers, but they are quite good. We’d put them on the same level as a mid-range 2.1 speaker set. We experimented with the different audio presets and SRS audio options and found that the PG221’s speakers were able to product a pseudo-surround effect, and that the different EQ presets did have an impact on sound reproduction.