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Every Christmas I buy a present for myself, and it's usually something good but nothing too crazy because, well, money's tight as always.

Being the practical bloke I am, I don't usually buy things that serve as nothing but trinkets, ornaments or whatever because that's just wasted money. What I bought this year does serve a very legitimate practical use and is something that will make my computing life a little easier.

This year, my to-me gift was a 24-inch computer monitor, the ASUS VE248H. Price paid was $169 with free shipping. And as I've just learned, the priced jumped to $199 the day after I made my purchase, so I definitely bought it at the right time. NewEgg had the best price because I searched this particular display on eBay and nobody is selling it for under $199 at the moment, so $169 was the best possible price there was. I guess it was in the cards that this was the right time to buy.

The last time I bought a monitor was almost 5 years ago on the nose on 2-Dec-2006, and it was the BenQ FP202W. The price paid for that 20.1-inch monitor was $276.71, and I do distinctly remember feeling I spent too much on it. In retrospect, I should have bought a standard-aspect 19-inch, but whatever. Lesson learned.

The FP202W's display has never been quite right since day one. Yes, it works, but I really noticed how washy the colors are and how fonts fuzz on it when I got my cheap little Dell mini 10v netbook. Everything on the 10v's display is so much clearer compared to the BenQ.

I will give the nod that the FP202W has always been bright and black does show as true black, but there's just something about the way it renders certain things that just doesn't seem quite right, particularly in the font department. Very tough to explain, but believe me, I notice it. My eyes literally start to blur after staring at that monitor too long where I'm more or less forced to use the netbook just to read on-screen stuff properly. There's an option to adjust the sharpness with 1 being sharpest and 5 being soft. I use setting 2 because 1 is too sharp, but on 2 I still don't get that happy medium between 1 and 2. If there were a 1.5 setting, believe me I'd use it.

My now-ancient 17-inch Sony SDM-S73 (which I paid a whopping $500 for in the early 2000s) that I use as my secondary display has always had a better picture, better color and has never had a problem displaying fonts properly whatsoever. I'm actually amazed the thing still works given the abuse it's been through, and it just goes to show that at one time Sony made some awesome stuff. Even on eBay you don't see SDM model Sony monitors for sale often because people refuse to give them up; they're that good. In fact, I'd say it's the best 17-inch LCD VGA monitor you could buy.

Back to the Asus VE248H, it is a matte (meaning not glossy) display, has built-in speakers which I won't be using, the controls are in the correct area (right/under) and has LED-backlighting which is far superior compared to the old incandescent backlight system.

The guy in the video below paid $220 for his last year and said it was a great deal considering what it is.

On the negative side there are reports of ghosting issues with this particular display, however it's said that the reason for this is a specific ASUS monitor feature called "Overdrive" and that it can be disabled completely to rid the vast majority of the ghosting issues.

I don't have the monitor in my possession yet as I just bought it and it'll take a few days before it gets here.

The big risk here buying from NewEgg is they have an 8-dead-pixel policy for monitor returns. Unless there are 8 dead pixels, you can't return it for a replacement. However there was nobody selling this display anywhere near NewEgg's low price point, so I took the risk and went for it. The BenQ was also bought from NewEgg and it never had any pixel issues, so hopefully the ASUS won't either.

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