DESIGN & BUILD
The Asus VG248QE looks a lot like its 23" ancestor, the VG236H. Its stand and casing are made from glossy black plastic and aren't the most original in design, but the finish is impeccable. This monitor is height-adjustable, swivels and the screen can be spun round into portrait mode.
Audio is covered by 2 x 2-watt speakers and a headphones socket around the back of the screen. An audio entry is also on hand so you can input sound when using the analogue video connections (the VGA and DVI connections only input video signals whereas HDMI inputs both video and audio).
Seeing as this monitor has a TN screen, you'll need to make sure you sit facing the screen directly when using it in portrait mode, otherwise the screen will look too dark or light when viewed from the left or right. In landscape mode, the screen looks light/dark when viewed from above or below. Asus could have got round this by using a VA or an IPS screen panel, although this would have affected the screen's responsiveness. And seeing as this monitor is first and foremost aimed at gamers, Asus' choice is understandable here.
COLORS & CONTRAST
Colours aren't as accurate as they could be in this 24" monitor. Out of the box, the colour temperature is too high, which makes for a blue overtone. The gamma (distribution of brightness levels over the grey scale) isn't ideal either. Plus, with the factory settings, we measured the average Delta E at 4.1 (Delta E measures the difference between "perfect" colours and those displayed onscreen, and should be under 3 for colours to be considered "accurate").
Switching the colour mode to sRGB brings the Delta E down to a more respectable 3.5 and gets rid of the blue tinge. The gamma still isn't perfect but gets considerably better. Another good thing about sRGB mode is that it brings the screen brightness down from 382 cd/m² to 250 cd/m², which is much less harsh on the eyes. However, this in turn pushes down contrast from 950:1 to 700:1 because the black level doesn't budge as the brightness drops. This monitor therefore isn't ideal for photo editing of graphic design. Still, those kinds of users will no doubt have already been put off by the TN display, as TN technology doesn't keep colour reproduction even and consistent over the screen.
In 2D, the VG248QE can be used with its 144 Hz maximum refresh rate. To get the very best out of this display, change the TraceFree option from 60 to 80—don't go any higher otherwise reverse ghosting appears!
This graph shows the ghosting time, in ms, which measures the time it takes this monitor to fully remove the previous frame. The shorter the time, the more fluid moving images will appear.
It's in this field that we were really expecting the VG248QE to impress, and it doesn't disappoint! We measured the ghosting time at 4 ms, making this the most responsive monitor we've reviewed yet. It knocks the Acer GN245HQ off our previous top-spot. This Asus VG248QE is therefore an excellent choice for gamers, especially FPS gamers looking to get response times as close as possible to good-old CRT screens ... or for other users looking for top-rate performances.
On top of that, the input lag of just 13.3 ms is too low to be noticeable. It therefore won't penalise gamers in online multiplayer set-ups.
If you already have an Nvidia 3D Vision 2 kit or if you're up for buying one, then this 24" monitor can be used for 3D gaming. Unlike the Asus VG278H, however, the only compatible 3D source here is a computer loaded with an Nvidia graphics card. The VG248QE can't be used with other 3D devices, as the monitor has no built-in infrared emitter for synchronising with 3D glasses. The VG248QE therefore can't be used with a 3D Blu-ray player or for 3G gaming with consoles like the PlayStation 3. A separate IR emitter supplied with the Nvidia kit needs to be hooked up to one of the computer's USB ports.
Once the 3D Vision 2 kit is installed, the 3D mode is very good. Although the maximum refresh rate is 60Hz per eye rather than the 72 Hz you may have been expecting, the left and right images don't really end up overlapping onto one another (crosstalk).
The LightBoost function is a nice touch too. This adjusts the screen's brightness on the fly to make up for the loss in brightness caused by using active-shutter glasses. Basically, the VG248QE is as good in 3D mode as it is in 2D!