Let's face it, when we think of portable monitors, products like the Intehill Studio Display usually come to mind (here the review) or the Arzopa 13.3 (here the review), in short, products with a diagonal not exceeding 15”. And the reason is simple: this type of monitor is light, easily manageable on the move, connects and is powered only with a USB-C cable and is poco bigger than a tablet. For this reason, when I was asked to try theAsus ZenScreen MB249C from 24” my curiosity suddenly ignited and I asked myself: “what is the point of such a large portable monitor?”.
With a diagonal of 23.8 inches and a FullHD resolution, theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it is certainly not among the most resolute on the market, but this "lack" is balanced by a portability that I had never seen in a device of this kind: it can be placed on a desk thanks to the integrated stand, it can be hung on the wall , or you can fix it using a vertical support which, by the way, is included in the package.
All very dynamic scenarios, it is true. But is it worth giving up a higher resolution, to have this "portability"?
Asus ZenScreen review: 24-inch USB-C portable monitor
Design and materials
As soon as you take it out of the package which, given the accessories supplied, is quite large and heavy despite the small size of the monitor, you immediately perceive the portable nature of theAsus ZenScreen MB249C. The monitor is made of high quality polycarbonate and the chassis features a texture along the entire back panel. The rear speakers are directed towards the back of the device and in the lower front area there is a transparent plastic strip under which rubber pads have been positioned to increase grip when resting it on a desk.
Later, then, a stand has been inserted that can be rotated at different angles (which can vary from 0 to 60 degrees): and this is one of the solutions for using this monitor, as well as the one I liked the most. The control keys have been placed along the right edge of the monitor and are well accessible and very easy to use to navigate the OSD.
What didn't blow my mind is the placement on the left edge of all ports. Of course, there is a USB-C 60w power delivery port, a standard-sized HDMI port, a headphone jack and the input for the power supply but, going to connect the cables, the effect is not the best: I would have preferred that all the inputs had been rear, because the lateral connections affect very negatively the cable management.
And just as regards the power supply, it is important that you remember one thing: given the size of the panel, not only is the power supply of the standard type, large and heavy, but theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it is not powered via USB-C like all other portable monitors, on the contrary, when it is connected to a computer via the USB cable it is able to recharge it (with the 60w limit).
Furthermore, as already mentioned, the package does not include a traditional desk support: theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it is equipped with a vertical support to be fixed to the desk which is indeed an elegant solution for optimizing space, but which I personally have not had the opportunity to try because it needs some free space before the edges of the same. But it's still a nice touch of style.
The portable monitor Asus ZenScreen MB249C uses a 23.8” IPS panel with a resolution of 1920×1080. And although for most users FullHD could be more than enough, it must be said that on a diagonal of this size it tends to limit the pixel density per inch. You see, when we talked about FullHD portable monitors, we never complained about the resolution precisely because, given the maximum 14-inch panel, the image quality was always well defined: with theAsus ZenScreen MB249C things change, because by comparing its characteristics we arrive at a pixel density per inch of 92.56 ppi.
In essence, when used up close, the images of theAsus ZenScreen MB249C they appear rather grainy, and to start seeing this annoying effect disappear, it will be necessary to move away a few centimeters. And that's really a shame, because this "jagged" effect is even noticeable on the mouse pointer.
So also the integrated speakers. Of course, Dolby Atmos audio cannot be expected from a monitor of this category, but the two 1-watt speakers are not able to guarantee good reproduction power, not to mention the balance of frequencies: essentially, the only frequencies that will be reproduced are the medium ones.
In short, they are certainly speakers not designed for entertainment, which do a good job if the monitor is used for video conferencing or if the computer to which the monitor is connected is used in an "ordinary" way.
Video quality and functionality
Having said that though, considering the lightness of the monitor (which weighs poco more than 2.5 Kg) and its portability, the good news is that the panel used in theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it's very bright indeed, and was able to exceed 220 nits peak in our tests. The idea of using a matte finish that manages to handle reflections very well and the range of colors we have detected is also a good idea: in our tests, theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it achieved 85% of the DCI-P3 gamut and 122% of the sRGB gamut.
In any case, it goes without saying that we are talking about a monitor that winks at productivity and a little less at gaming and entertainment. Given the nature of the panel, if you go to watch videos with many dark areas you will notice not extremely deep blacks, but good saturation and good detail reproduction: let it be clear, in portability conditions these are more than acceptable performances, but let's say theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it wouldn't be my first choice if I had to use it for a fixed setup.
On the other hand, theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it's a great alternative for office work (and it's for these use cases that I imagine one person would buy it for) and, whether you're working on Excel spreadsheets, editing or presenting PowerPoint, or just managing a database, this monitor would give the better than himself. However given the diagonal I would have liked to see a more resolute panel used.
The whole screen is then managed by an excellent OSD in which you will navigate through the physical side buttons, which allow perfect management of all the features. It is a successful menu, easy to interpret even by less experienced people and which also allows the activation of AMD FreeSync and a quick management of all image settings. Given the space available, I would have preferred that the brand had integrated a joystick in the back of the device, but there is no doubt that even with the side keys, scrolling is more than comfortable.
Selling price and considerations
The price ofAsus ZenScreen MB249C is 495,38 euros on Amazon. And yes, it is a price that must be well interpreted in order to reach a sensible conclusion. Considering the average price of portable monitors, one might think that this is a rather expensive display, but the figure must be compared to several features. First of all, the packaging of the vertical metal stand, and then the work done by the brand to guarantee portability and lightness despite a diagonal not really suitable for this particular market segment.
Of course, the size of the power supply (which must be used in any case), and the positioning of the ports on the side make the user experience on the move a little less comfortable but, for those who really need such a solution, theAsus ZenScreen MB249C it might be your best choice.
The only real drawback of this product is the resolution of the panel: with 24" and imagining above all an office use, therefore full of numbers and texts, I would have liked the brand to have thought of a solution capable of drastically increasing the pixel density per inch.
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