At a Glance
ASUS PM17TU Black 17 3ms (graytogray) LCD Monitor Built in Speakers
This worthy performer displayed fine text and pretty graphics, but its design is dull and it offers few extras.
The Asus PM17TU looks appealing--its bezel has a shiny black patina. The display's image quality is impressive, too. But despite those favorable traits, the slipshod manner in which the maker incorporated some of its features keep me from giving the unit a wholehearted thumbs up.
In our jury tests, this model achieved the second-highest image-quality marks, showing sharp, readable text and rich colors. Our judges noted the display's ability to render a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with sharp, even lines and excellent contrast.
The PM17TU includes built-in speakers that run along the bottom of the screen bezel. However, they produce pretty dismal sound--sufficient for standard system notifications, but not for much else. On a music track, bass notes were barely audible. With four USB 2.0 ports--two upstream on the back and two downstream on the side of the unit--the PM17TU offers flexibility for hooking up devices like USB thumb drives.
The PM17TU's greatest weakness is its base. The monitor doesn't sit solidly, and its only nod to ergonomics is the ability to tilt. Even then, I had exert some force when I tried to tilt the display, as the joint offered resistance, and the whole unit wobbled during the process.
According to Asus, the PM17TU has a 4-millisecond response time. Screens with lower response times should theoretically deliver less motion artifacting, but our real-world motion tests detected no discernable difference in motion quality between this display and products with 8ms or even 12ms response times.
At $279 (as of 2/16/06), the Asus is certainly a good deal, provided you can live with its lack of adjustability.