It's true that when it comes to technology, you often get what you pay for. The Asus VC239H, however, is a shining example of a more affordable monitor that can go toe-to-toe with much more expensive competition.
The curvy, black plastic body and narrow 'infinity-edge' bezels look great, but unfortunately, there's little in the way of fancy features or design flourishes here. The stand is a basic affair, and only offers the option to tilt back and forth by a few degrees. There's no height adjustability, and you're restricted to landscape view. You also have to make do with an external power brick, which can be a cumbersome annoyance.
Thankfully, all of this is made up for by the quality of the actual display. Hook up a cable to the DVI, VGA or HDMI ports at the rear, and you're likely to be pleasantly surprised. The Asus's matte 23.6in 1080p panel uses IPS technology and plays its role with aplomb. Photos and movies look bright and natural right out of the box, and while the myriad picture modes often do more harm than good, the Standard and sRGB modes hit the spot.
With the sRGB mode active, the 681:1 contrast ratio is lower than some pricier models we've tried, but an average Delta E of 1.78 is superb for the money - colour accuracy is surprisingly good. Switch to standard mode and contrast leaps to 1,115:1 for a slight trade-off in overall accuracy.
It's not fancy, but if it's a good-quality budget monitor you're after, then the Asus VC239H is a great buy.