I finally got a flat screen monitor for my computer at work, and the one they gave me is the Asus MM17T with stereo speakers, and this is what I think of it.
This is a 17" video monitor which has "splendid" technology that apparently makes the output optimal for the human eye. Good thing that, since the eyes I have are mostly human (I say "mostly" since I wear contact lenses). I have to admit that this seems to work since the screen looks clear and does have far sharper images than my old one.
Setting it up was a breeze. Our computer department just plugged it into my computer and it started working right away. One thing they did need to make sure of was that the wire for the internal speakers was plugged in properly. I know I would have put it into the wrong place, but since there are limited spots to plug the speakers into, a simple trial-and-error test would have sufficed.
Speaking of the speakers, you should know that the volume can only be controlled through the computer's audio setup. This is a bit of a problem since at work I often transcribe audio dictation. Having an external knob to adjust the volume is more convenient for me than using the computer's audio controls. When my boss speaks quietly on a voice file, I can't make it as loud as when I used external speakers that had a volume control knob, even when everything is set at maximum. When I want to listen to music (as a background while working, of course), the volume through this monitor, via my headphones, is often too loud. Then again, if you want to listen to music without headphones, these speakers give a very poor sound quality. Essentially, my office picked the perfect monitor with built-in speakers for an office setting! In other words, if you need good sound quality, don't depend on the speakers in this monitor.
But this is a monitor, not an audio system, and that means what's most important is what you see, not what you hear. Of course, after you plug it in, the first thing you'll want to do is adjust the screen to suit your taste. On the front panel of this monitor, you'll find five buttons. The middle one is for turning the screen on and off. The furthest button on the right says "menu" on it, and when you press that you'll get surprise the adjustment menu. On the far left is a button that says "splendid" on it. If you press that, you get a set of pre-determined settings you can choose from including standard, scenery, night and games. I didn't find these all that useful, and preferred to use the adjustments through the menu button. Once you've pressed that, you can move between the options using the other two buttons on the screen which are (again, surprise) a left arrow on the left and a right arrow on the right. The only thing you need to know from there is to select a particular setting inside the menus, you hit the "splendid" button (to remember that, think of saying "oh, that looks splendid. I'll keep that"), which you might have to do quite a few times to get out of one menu or another.
If I went into each and every option on the menus, this review would end up the length of War & Peace, so suffice it to say that you can adjust the colour, brightness, tone, contrast, language and more. My biggest problem with the screen options is that there's no way to choose increasing the yellow on the screen they only give you red, green and blue. This screen seems either too rosy or too pale for my taste, but hey, I don't watch films on it so the MM17T is totally sufficient for my purposes.
After looking at the quality of the screen, you might be interested in how this monitor looks, physically. Of course, being a flat screen, it is very slim and I think, quite attractive. The one I have is silver and gray, and looks very classy on my desk. The only other colour is the LED power light just below the on/off button. This is very small and subtle looking, being blue when on, yellow when in power-saving mode and off when (shocker again) off! The foot print of this monitor is very small, and stands only about 5cm away from the wall, leaving lots of desk space in front of it. And the best part is I can have it far enough away from my face that I don't need my reading glasses when I work with it. Finally, I should mention that I thought this 17" flat screen would feel bigger than my old 17" fat monitor, but it feels exactly the same, if not a touch smaller. Again, since I use it for work, that's not a huge factor for me.
All in all, this is a good LCD screen monitor. The clarity is excellent, it takes up very little desk space, setting it up and adjusting it is very easy, it is pretty to look at, the price (see "Technical Stuff" below) seems reasonable, the colours are passable and the speakers are tolerable. If you're looking for something with DVD video quality or you want superior sound quality, this isn't the monitor for you (i.e., I wouldn't buy this for the heavy gamer, for instance). However, if you're looking for a LCD monitor that is good for everyday use office/schoolwork and some general surfing of the web and you don't want to spend a fortune, this may just be what you're looking for. I'll give it four stars, and recommend it in general.
Thanks for reading!
Davida Chazan © June 2007
Since I didn't purchase this myself, I had to research the cost of this monitor. What I found was that the price for this ranges between £110 and £175 and seems to be readily available at places like Eclipse Computers, Zomp and even Amazon.co.uk.
If you want the really technical stuff about this monitor, I suggest you click on the "technical details" tab for this product here, since copying that seems redundant to me, and anyway, repeating something I don't understand seems stupid.