Top positive review
February 11, 2018
This laptop sits at just over 4 stars while some of the other similarly priced and comparable monitors from Spectre, Lenovo, and other brands hover around 4.5 stars. This gave me pause, but after looking through many of the 1-3 star reviews it was clear that the majority had harshly penalized the monitor due to its reportedly lackluster audio performance. My laptop has surprisingly decent sound so I could essentially care less about the monitor's speakers. Now if my laptop didn't sound good then I would have simply connected my laptop to my Bluetooth speaker, my old PC speakers, my blue tooth headphones, or hell even my surround sound if I felt so inclined. Those reviews are overly demanding imo.
First Impression: Time spent from opening the box to having the monitor up and running was under 5 minutes. Well designed packaging and easy to put together - no screwdriver required. Came with both a HDMI and an Aux cord... ok cool I appreciate that but whatever. First glance of the monitor on my 38" x 24" desk and I'm satisfied with its footprint. The screen bezels are tiny which looks good and helps manage size. Another plus is how the base extends behind the screen as opposed to extruding in front which would take up valuable real estate in front of the monitor. The monitor and my laptop share the desk very well, and there is even generous room for an open notebook directly in front of the monitor. I'm glad that I went with a 23.8" monitor over something like a 20-22" as that last 1-3 inches makes a noticeable difference in screen size. The design and style of the product is very sleek and it looks great on my desk. It definitely doesn't advertise its modest price tag with its expensive and luxury appearance.
Early performance: When I connected my laptop (a lightly upgraded Lenovo T440P Thinkpad, maybe a $400 laptop) via HDMI to the monitor I was met with a large snowy-owl staring at me (one of the photos that Windows cycles through before/during log-in). The picture was bright, edges were sharp, and the snow-white feathers of the owl looked like a true pure white. The contrast between the white of the owl, its dark eyes and the brown of the tree was great and everything looked realistic and accurate. After logging in I went into the Windows display settings and made a few simple adjustments on how I wanted the laptop to display to the monitor, it was very easy and intuitive to do.
First thing I did was browse some HD Youtube videos (a Lord of the Rings fight scene, and Planet Earth) and I was immediately impressed. The screen kept up with the intense action/pace of the LotR fight without any lagging frames or stuttering. Planet Earth's tropical videos looked bright and accurately colorful while the following cave video was properly dark and intense with moments of brightness. Here the speed of some of the small critters gave the monitor a little bit of blurring, especially when the color of the animal was similar to the color of the background. I then switched over to Netflix, browsed a bit, and decided on Planet Earth again since the show has so many amazing spectacles to view. Everything looked just as great and in some cases even a little bit better. The speed of the animals didn't seem to blur as with youtube (note: I didn't watch the exact same video so this is highly anecdotal.) When it came to reading text and more general browsing of the web I was pleased. Letters had sharp corners, and the additional amount of text that fits on the screen vs my 14" laptop made for less scrolling.
Happy with the video playback I rotated the monitor (set monitor to top height, grasp edges of screen, and twist it to the right) to portrait. The rotation felt smooth and solid. Boy does it make for a long screen, but I'm confident I will use it when working with long lists of data, programming, using Excel, etc. I am glad I will have the option.
Weaknesses: As mentioned before the sound is definitely weak. The volume is low, audio sounds pretty "shallow", and there just isn't much to report there. In my mostly quiet apartment I could hear and understand the audio from the monitor, but it admittedly wasn't long before I reverted back to my laptop sound. Nonetheless having an at least usable audio option as a back-up is better than nothing. I will generally award more points to any item that exceeds the expectations of its main function than I will penalize a product for including an average to below-average "extra" that is not vital to performance. If my computer chair gave me a back massage I would be very pleasantly surprised, but if it had a lumpy seat, didn't spin smoothly, and was stuck at a certain height I wouldn't be so pleased. I'll choose the chair that I can be comfortable in for hours, spins effortlessly and noiselessly, and adjusts height easily.
I can't speak to using the monitor for gaming and whether it can handle that demand as I don't have the gaming tech knowledge, the gaming experience, or even a game to test it with.
Final Pros: Sleek aesthetic/design, stand rotates landscape-to-portrait, tiny bezels, good brightness, dark blacks, efficient footprint, simple and
smooth tilt/height adjustments
Final Cons: Weak speakers, minor blurring at times of very fast moving video.
I highly recommend it!